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Ramadan Notes, Morning 3

What is one divided by zero? It is a mathematical equation I have always wanted to solve. Because I believe in the union of all created things, the bond we share beyond the purely molecular, which any scientist will confirm for you.

And I also believe in the supreme duende: all the dark matter of the universe, the zero that no one can add up.

In the dark I came instantly awake.

So much energy in the morning. Last night I wilted, exactly like a flower without water.

Remembering those slow-motion videos I had seen of cut flowers in a vase. That over the course of three or five days flowers thrash.

This morning, third into the month, I ran. For about four miles. And in it I felt I really felt my body: the way it moved, as a physical and kinetic thing, breath and blood moving through it.

If you remember, I am afraid of the dark. It’s irrational but isn’t most fear? Perceptions, the Yoga-Sutra teaches us, are based on past memories and experiences. One hopes through a practice of yoga, to be able to perceive things as they are, and not chained to all of our own messiness, the “fluctuations of our mind’s consciousness.”

So I was running along, listening to Girlyman sing to me through my headphones–particularly a wonderful song called ‘The Shape I Found You In” which I imagine to be a song between me and an old teacher of mine–Jonji Provenzano, who taught me from 2002 until he passed away last year.

I came a dark place in the road, not illuminated by streetlights. I came to a part of the song that was about death. I thought: here I go–at a place in my life, now or some point years from now, where I will never know, I will round a corner from life into death. Like that. Like this.

What was my first reaction: fear. Close second: wonder.

I saw in the road long streaks of black that seemed to me to be like Arabic writing. I thought: the Quran is here, even now, written on the road in front of me. Not to “reassure” me about death but to say: even here, even now.

And I remembered one of my favorite verses: “Even if all the trees of the world were made into pens and all the oceans made into ink, with seven more oceans to multiply them, still the words of God would not come to an end.”

Even in the moments I most doubted, I have loved this verse. Because it is precisely about doubt: if the words are eternal then the reading must be too. God, the master of efficiency hardly repeats himself. Even in the Quran, when a story is told a second time, it is told differently.

My grandfather, Sajjad Sayeed was fond of saying, on the question of religion, “All rivers flow into the same ocean.” It wasn’t until years later that I found this saying in the writings of the vedanta scholar Swami Vivekananda. And years after that when I found it again in the writings of the sufi poet Hafez.

What I believe in, at least, is multiplicity; beyond multiplicity–though I am as yet unready to understand the true implications of it–I believe in infinity.