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Chapter 18: Shame Was His Loom

And the weaver said, Speak to us of Clothes.
And he answered:
Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.
And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain.
Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment.
For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.
Some of you say, “It is the north wind who has woven the clothes we wear.”
And I say, Ay, it was the north wind,
But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.
And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.
Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.
And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind?
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

Almustafa again has a great flight toward the heights and comes really close to the stars. I say emphatically that he comes very close, because he goes on missing a few essential things. If he had reached the target, he would not have missed them.

It is one of the most fundamental principles of life that the bridge between you and the whole, even if traveled just a little bit, starts to cleanse your eyes, your perception. But even at the very last step in the journey the whole secret is not revealed to you.

Not that existence is miserly; existence is very just. It reveals only as much as you can absorb. If you are not yet capable of absorbing the truth, existence protects you by not revealing it to you. If you are not totally ready for love, and existence opens all the mysteries of love to you, it will not give you joy, it will give you pain. It will not give you insight, it will blind you.

When a blind man has an operation, for a few days he is still kept unaware of the light and the sun. His eyes remained covered with a blindfold. If the blind man who has been operated on is no longer blind and is suddenly told, “Now you can go home. Now you can see the sun, the trees, the birds, the people you have been living with,” he will reach home with burned eyes, again blind. And the second operation is going to be far more difficult.

Nature may be slow, but it is in your favor. It gives you only that which you can digest.

Hence I say, Almustafa has come very close to some beautiful experiences, revelations. But he has not yet reached the target. His statements are true, but only fragmentarily. And I would like you to remember that a half-truth sometimes proves more dangerous than a lie, because one can be deceived by the half-truth for his whole life - nobody can be deceived by lies for that long.

So I would like to make the truth complete, and indicate to you why I am saying it is only a half-truth.

And the weaver said, Speak to us of Clothes.

This is the beauty of Kahlil Gibran, that he brings immense insight into very ordinary things. If you ask a philosopher about clothes he will laugh. He will say, “Go to some weaver, or a tailor. Philosophy has nothing to do with the clothes.”

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