What Have I Ever Lost by Dying?

I spent millions of years in the world
of inorganic things
as a star, as a rock…

Then I died and became a plant–
Forgetting my former existence
because of its otherness

Then I died and became an animal–
Forgetting my life as a plant
except for inclinations in the season
of spring and sweet herbs–
like the inclination of babes
toward their mother’s breast

Then I died and became a human
My intelligence ripened, awakening
from greed and self-seeking
to become wise and knowing
I behold a hundred thousand
intelligences most marvelous
and remember my former states
and inclinations

And when I die again
I will soar past the angels
to places I cannot imagine
Now, what have I ever lost by dying?

Jelalu’ddin Rumi (1207 – 1273),

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