About Duality, the Sorrow and Joy in Kahlil Gibran’s Poetry

Joy and Sorrow – painting by Kahlil Gibran

“We choose our joys and sorrows

long before we experience them.”

Let’s explore this article that brings the wisdom from Sahaja Yoga Meditation about Integration and Duality, along with the beauty of amazing excerpts such as ‘About Sorrow and Joy’ in Kahlil Gibran’s Prophet; we also are sharing the beauty of the Flower’s Song with Sahaj Definitions. Enjoy!

Kahlil Gibran writes in ‘The Prophet’ on Joy and Sorrow

“Then a woman said, ‘Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.’

And he answered:  Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the self same well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.  

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, Sorrow is the greater.”

“But I say unto you, they are inseparable.”

“Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced. When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall. ” Kahlil Gibran

 Quotes of Wisdom from Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi – The Founder of Sahaja Yoga Meditation

“So, this is what it is: simple, that you are integrated. By integration, you get the power to do what you understand, and you have power to feel happy with what you understand. So, you come to a stage where you develop this ‘Niranand‘. And, this ‘Niranand’ you develop when you are absolutely the Spirit. In ‘Niranand’ state there’s no duality left . It is Adwaita, without dualiy, is One Personality. That is, you are completely integrated and the joy is not anymore dented-it’s complete. It hasn’t got a happiness and a sorrow aspect, but is just Joy. The Joy is not that you laugh loud, the Joy is not that you are always smiling. No. Is the stillness, the quietude within your Self, the peace, of your being, of your Spirit, that asserts itself into Vibrations which you feel, that when you feel that peace, you feel like light of the sun, the whole rays of that beauty spreading.” ( excerpt from Shri Mataji’s lecture on Crown Chakra in 1983  )

“Song of the Flower”, by Kahlil Gibran

I am a kind word uttered and repeated

By the voice of Nature;

I am a star fallen from the

Blue tent upon the green carpet.

I am the daughter of the elements

With whom Winter conceived;

To whom Spring gave birth; I was

Reared in the lap of Summer and I

Slept in the bed of Autumn.

At dawn I unite with the breeze

To announce the coming of light;

At eventide I join the birds

In bidding the light farewell.

The plains are decorated with

My beautiful colors, and the air

Is scented with my fragrance.

As I embrace Slumber the eyes of

Night watch over me, and as I

Awaken I stare at the sun, which is

The only eye of the day.

I drink dew for wine, and hearken to

The voices of the birds, and dance

To the rhythmic swaying of the grass.

I am the lover’s gift; I am the wedding wreath;

I am the memory of a moment of happiness;

I am the last gift of the living to the dead;

I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.

But I look up high to see only the light,

And never look down to see my shadow.

This is wisdom which man must learn.”

Soon we will offer a Public Event in Burlington, specially dedicated to Kahlil Gibran, who was not only a multi-talented, inspired artist but as well a realized soul. Kahlil’s genuine and concerned love for people, as well his authentic connection with the divine – through his awakened Kundalini energy – ‘certified’ him, in a sahaj way as The Prophet.

(click!) Enjoy Kahlil Gibran about Trusting the Dreams and Interesting other Poems and Dreams shared by fellow seekers interested in meditation.

(click!) Learn about Dreams & Self Realization from Carl Gustav Jung’s VIDEO Interview & about Kundalini as a Tape recorder

Beautiful Documentary on Kahlil Gibran’s Life and Work – Music and Quotes

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. axinia

    what a wonderufl post, I especially love the quote about the true joy…will repost this one 🙂

    thank you!!!

  2. Debbie

    “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight”. This is so true and if I can be literal, thinking about the sudden death of my beloved mother, thinking about her and all she has done for me as a mother and remembering the times we shared together and how much happiness and joy this brought me, if I did not have such beautiful memories of her, then this sorrow would not exist. I am very fortunate and blessed to have the kind of love that my mother gave me. I will love her always and forever and while my heart hurts knowing that she has died, I will remember the joy and happiness she brought to me.

    Lots of love always.

    1. Theresa Houseman

      Debbie, you are so very correct. My mother has six lovely, thriving, hard-working daughters and a handsome, good, hard-working son. None of us is close with her because of her dysfunction. I long to know her love, as I have my entire life of 59 years. I’ve watched as my siblings have skirted around that void, trying to make sense of all the wasted joy and the sorrow we will never be allowed to experience because of it….

  3. Hitesh

    I am a star fallen from the
    Blue tent upon the green carpet.

    Amazing. Thank you for this!

  4. Lavanya


  5. adrian

    “they are inseperable”… This is part of Gibran’s quote. Examine the painting and one sees the hands are bound by a leather strap… And it is the woman who is smiling… and the man that shows sorrow. Interesting to think of the possibilities represented in the painting. Perhaps the metaphors are interchangable. That is to say… the woman’s joy could be hope that masks the despair of sorrow/ and the man’s sorrow could be the hope that masks his joy through despair. The point is that which ever way you see it… it is part of the dilema or not of the external in the attempt to connect or not with the inner presence of the all pervading poser/spirit. The spirit guides the hand of the painter Gibran to show the dilema of the human experience as the process of realization in an ever expanding field of love. Ultimately we choose to create what we experience… the depth of our intuition allows us to foreshadow the coming experience more closely, more deeply and more lovingly as we allow ourselves to wake up. Whether it is through art, poetry or dreams… the question is are we paying attention!

    It is a very deep painting.

    1. adrian

      “they are inseperable…”
      Only by choice…
      Choose consciously that which you should experience…
      For you have already done so…
      Before the actual experience…
      So that you may remember…
      Who you really are.

    2. arie

      GIBRAN revisited

      “We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them”

      On our small group conversation yesterday evening…

      We were introducing ourselves…
      And when Helen introduced herself…
      Someone remarked…

      “Helen of Troy”

      And I thought to myself…

      Achilles heel and “vulnerability”

      So I spoke my thought…
      And the next thing I heard was some dialogue about…


      Such an interesting synchronicity for me…
      To weave that fragment back to…
      Gibran’s comment about…

      “choosing before we experience”…

      For me/us I feel we are seeking to make THE connection/union to our true SELF…
      So we can choose to listen carefully…
      To the words and thoughts that we bring forward…
      For they may contain the seeds…
      For that which we wish to experience.

      I AM ME

  6. Sobik


  7. anaic

    The poetry of Kahlil Gibran is so modern, in fact so much out of time, inifinite, that every one, in every place of the world, can undertsand and feel from his heat this beautifull melody of love.
    Thank you again

  8. Dusan

    Thank you for such beautiful inspired words… the great things can be described in a very simple way …

  9. Manga

    The Joy..

    Laughing Baby
    Beautful flower
    Flowing stream
    Clear blue sky
    Sound of birds in silence
    Early showers in a hot place
    Sound of rain in silence
    Vibrations in the sky
    Melody of Music
    Rhythm of an instrument
    Spontaneous cheer
    A welcoming heart with a smile
    The joy of Sahasrara, Nirananda


    Enjoy the joy of Sahasrara!

  10. Amanda

    It is the human condition isn’t it? The two sides of the coin, happiness and sadness. Until now we have had no chance of escape from these two states, both of which are temporary and illusionary. At Realisation the way through to Joy is opened. This Joy is unending and can be accessed through meditation, it is always there even if we are not. If an emotion is too much, if it is really upsetting you and troubling you, then concentrate on that emotion during meditation and it will dissolve. Then you have the Peace. I have tried this, it works, it was the only thing to stop me feeling completely awful upon the death of a dear friend. You can escape the human condition.

    1. adrian

      I feel you are talking about escaping the condition of “sadness”… it is a question of how much… how much sadness that is… perhaps the sadness of loss allows us to experience empathy… that is a loving thing… Yet, if we hold onto sadness… it can consume our life energy. So I feel we have always the choice of detachment… loving detachment… that brings us into the present… and that is where we live… not in the past, nor in the future. To be fully conscious is to be in the present…

  11. Elsie

    thanks Ioana, for this post. I found it inspiring, wonderful. Kahlil Gibran crosses all cultures and his interpretation of joy and sorrow is a learning experience for me. I knew that joy is not happiness. I’ve learned the following: that joy and sorrow are inseparable, that the deeper sorrow carves out the space more joy can enter; when we cry if we look into our hearts we cry for the joyous times we once experienced; when we grieve we grieve for the beautiful connection we had with people we loved and who loved us, who are now gone. I’ve learned how fortunate I’ve been in my life to have cried and experienced intense grief. It has carved out more space for joy to enter, and I do experience joy.

    Shri Mataji tells us that “joy is not about smiling but about stillness, the peace of your being and spirit”. I have experienced this peace she describes.

    What wonderful lesson.

    I located my copy of Gibran’s “The Prophet”. I look forward to learning more about him. Thanks again

  12. selvi

    such pearls of wisdom


  13. paula

    How do we know Khalil Gibran is a realized soul? The depth and timeless quality of his heart’s expression that will echo for years to come. What is real about us, true about us. What matters. All the comments are as profound as the articles. It is a privilege to have met some of you fellow seekers and look forward to meeting more of you. I have learned so much from all of you. There is so much more to learn about ourselves, yet knowledge is not required to experience vibrations. Just desire and a gentle experiment with the truth of sahaj meditation. It is the effortless, thoughtless path to Nirvana.

    1. adrian kraayeveld

      “yet knowledge is not required to experience vibration”… ahhh

      The vibrations are the Knowledge…

      I love your comments Paula

  14. Amrit

    Wow this is so beautiful, thanks for sharing!

  15. pat ramsden

    The Prophet has been my bible for more than 35 years. Gibran is my teacher.

  16. Elsie Kuly

    My reply is posted before Selvi and Paula’s replies. Thanks

  17. Antoinette Wells

    Such a great poet and philosopher of universel caliber: K Gibran has touched the heart and soul of so many! Thank you Iona for this beautiful compilation.

  18. Elsie Kuly

    I have Kahlil’s Gibran’s book and read it often. Joy and sorrow were so perfectly interpreted by him. They are connected. Without the joy I experienced with someone, there would be no sorrow. I have lost several very close loving friends and relatives and now when I experience sorrow, I change my thoughts to the joy they gave me which will never leave my memory. I am slowly going over the poetry because it must be so to be fully understood by me. It is a wondrous meditation and gives me peace.

    Thanks Ioana for the beauty and love you have shown us through the music and the wisdom of people like Kahlil Gibran which took you a great deal of time. As he states, beauty and love are the reflection of God.

  19. Rose Hutchinson

    Thank you for sharing this and all your wonderful contributions to Sahaja. with Much Love, Rose

  20. Carolyn Vance

    Never knew why then, but as a small child I used to sit on the couch and hold Gibran’s book, The Prophet, for hours. (couldn’t read yet)…then, even before Self Realization, his writings always went very deep into my soul. Now, with Sahaja knowledge, we can connect with him in a strong way…and it’s such a humbling yet joy giving connection. Now he is everywhere!

    So much appreciate this this posting, and juxtaposing Kahil Gibran with William Blake…

  21. Colleen

    “I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow. But I look up high to see only the Light, and never look down to see my shadow. This is wisdom which man must learn.” “We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.” These are all the wise words we need to know to have a life full of an abundance of ALL and a continuous connection to the Divine. Our life is what we make it.

  22. Kyla

    I most definitely feel truth in “We choose our joys and sorrow long before we experience them”. Now that I have read that, I’m interested in further grasping it as my life plays out and witnessing these choices that I am making. I think it gives me hope and trust. Trusting the process that as I take time to meditate, to become more in tune and connected with my true self and the collective, all pervading divine energy, my choices will be enlightened, my path more enlightened, and my experiences more enlightened.
    Ioana introduced me to Kahlil Gibran by recommending the cartoon movie “The Prophet”, I’ve watched it a few times, each time has been with my son, starting when he was 4 years old. Each time it has been a nice experience for both of us.
    There are so many rich lessons and poetry in that movie. I look forward to reading his work to slow it down to an even more absorbable pace.
    I really enjoyed going through the commentary on this page. The wisdom and experiences offered were very satiating, including the exploration of the love or lack of love of a mother and the joy and sorrow or voidness of those emotions it can cause.
    Thank you everyone = )

    1. Anjali Gandhi

      Dear Kyla, thank you reminding me about the movie. I have watched it with my daughters when they were 4 too. I(we)shall watch again. So good to read how you’re taking the time to tune in through meditation to make choices that bring pure joy. I adore you and Desmond. All my love.

  23. Anjali Gandhi

    Gibran s poetry helps to deal with sorrow by making us realize that it is the absence of what we define as joy(happiness as Shri Mataji calls it) that gives us sorrow. But then I listened to Shri Mataji s talk during meditation, it is interesting how Shri Mataji always takes it a step further by explaining the true state of joy…there is such a thing as pure joy..where there is no duality…and that is the state where you’re in reality in your true existence connected to the source. Sahaja yoga, a unique meditation technique shared by Shri Mataji can transport you in that state..I surely have experienced it without paying for it, being in trans, or being hypnotized, or in sleep. In full awareness where even people around me can feel my joy shining through my eyes. If you haven’t tried it, you have nothing to loose. Join us in our online meditations. 🙂

  24. Sue Hulbert

    I absolutely loved this Kahlil Gibran post. It’s depth and beauty has brought me to tears.

  25. Helen Mittelman

    Sorrow and grief can be crippling. To go through the process with what Kahill Gibran writes helps to ease it. In addition, the teachings of Shri Mataji takes the duality, non duality further to help us to go beyond the darkness. To move into silence and witnessing.

  26. Gratiela

    Beautiful poem of Kahlil Gibran, it touched deep down my heart .Thank you Ioana for this post.

  27. Jolanta

    This post reminds me of the advice Shri Mataji gave in one of her lectures to “turn negativity into positivity”, as well as of what joy is.

    Thank you for the opportunity to gain appreciation for poetry on this website.

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