The Lebanese-American artist, poet, and author Kahlil Gibran, according to some literary experts, is the third bestselling poet of all time after Shakespeare and Lao Tzu. His major concern was relationships, especially the expressions of love in passion, desire, idealized romance, justice, friendship, and dealing with strangers, neighbors, and enemies.

Neil Douglas-Klotz is a world-renowned scholar in religious studies, spirituality, and psychology. He directs the Edinburgh Institute for Learning and and for many years was cochair of the Mysticism Group of the American Academy of Religion. He serves as the editor of this paperback; it is the second book in a series of three on Kahlil Gibran's wisdom.

In the introduction, Douglas-Klotz reveals that in the East the ancients value heart over the brain as the essential organ of consciousness. That is why he spends so much time pondering the Arabic and Semitic words for love. Gibran's poetry, he explains, "beautifully expresses the Middle Eastern view that love, whether expressed in pleasure or pain, in a passionate embrace or in intense unfulfilled longing, can lead one to a much larger sense of life."

Here are a few passages, quotes, and poems we appreciate most in this collection:

  • "Faith is the oasis in the heart
    that will never be reached by
    the caravan of thinking."
  • "Love provided me with
    a tongue and tears."
  • "Your pain is the breaking of the shell
    that encloses your understanding."
  • "Love one another
    but make not a bond of love.
    Let it rather be a moving sea
    between the shores of your souls."