CALL AND RESPONSE: The Wisdom Of Rumi
For a religious genius from the tradition of Islamic mysticism, probably the best-known example is the Sufi poet, Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi He was born near the city of Balkh present-day Afghanistan , but when he was a child his family journeyed west and avoided the onslaught of the Mongol armies. While Rumi was the subject of lengthy and reverential biographies, he is best known for his prodigious output of Persian poetry, about 30, lines of lyrical verse collected in the Divan-i Kabir , plus 25, lines of the great mystical epic, the Masnavi. For centuries, his powerful writing has enjoyed a tremendous popularity from the Balkans to India, and in recent times through English adaptations he has become a cult favorite, in selective renderings that downplay his Muslim identity and accentuate his humor, eroticism, and universality.
As one of his translators, A. In profundity of thought, inventiveness and image, and mastery of language, he stands out as the supreme genius of Islamic mysticism. While this book undoubtedly preserves a strong flavor of the oral dexterity of Rumi, it is also a both a dialogical interaction in a particular social context and a written record produced by a third party, underlining the way in which community recognition is a necessary component of religious genius.
Should we assume that Aristotle possessed the positive virtues described in the Nicomachean Ethics, just because he had the perspicacity to define them so insightfully? Another approach to the qualities of religious genius would be to switch from a focus on the individual as the supposed locus of key characteristics, turning instead to a reader-oriented perspective. From this point of view, the main issue would by the ability of the author to engender the qualities of religious by evoking them in the consciousness through literary creativity. In this way, religious genius would not be located so much in the personal qualities of Rumi whether enunciated in his writings or attributed to him in hagiographies , but in the ongoing responses to his words experienced by ongoing generations of readers.
The Sufi scholar Jami d. While Rumi was clearly embedded in the tradition of Islamic mysticism and was a master of the conventions of Persian poetry, his particular genius was the freedom with which he treated these materials, by emphasizing universal themes of human experience and the nature of the cosmos. That freedom accounts for both his accessibility and his immense popularity. Remarkably, over after his death, his writings are quite understandable to Persian speakers today, and there is an enormous amount of contemporary musical performance of his verses by outstanding vocalists.
Rumi also broke the conventional rules in lyrical poems, where he never used a signature line to end his verses as most poets did. The innovation that led Rumi to break the mold of the standard poetic persona was too original for some conventional audiences to understand. The relationship of Rumi to Shams was an extraordinary one, and its exact significance is still debated. Still, it is clear that this did not exactly fit the model of the archetypal master-disciple relation, which became highly articulated in the later development of Sufism as a formalized pedagogy.
In terms the traits of religious genius, this is dominated by love, and expressed in a highly innovative way. Whoever lacks this fire, may he be nothing! These verses display a startling innovation in the form of the Persian mystical epic. In contrast, Rumi begins with a powerful invocation of the image of the reed flute as symbol of the human soul cut off from its divine source, and its haunting melody expresses the divine longing that only the experienced can understand.
Nevertheless, the surprising focus on the agony of the human soul, in place of formally Islamic theological doctrines, is extraordinarily effective in making this experience available to the reader. The invocation of the reed flute as a symbol of the soul played upon a deep familiarity with music, which has long been a key element of Sufi practice, though the focus is on listening rather than the production of music. Not everyone possesses the capacity to listen at the highest level, as indicated by this anecdote:. The Shah allowedno expression of grief for this national hero. When the Islamic Repub-lic came to power in , the great rallying cry was against the era ofAmerican intervention in Iranian internal affairs.
I am baffled as to why Robert and I did not run into anti-Americansentiment. Surely it is there. Somehow in the exuberance of our celebrationof their all-embracing poets, Rumi and Hafez, they did not bring up the lin-gering resentment they must feel for Americans. It was very kind of them. Robert likes to say that Rumi is a way for Americans to love Islam. It isalso true that the current American enthusiasm for Rumi is a thing of won-der and delight to the Persian-speaking world. They respect us for that. Scrapwood One evening in Shiraz Robert and I take a walk with no cameras inattendance.
We go along a side street talking of our fathers. An old manis sitting on the sidewalk ahead of us with a small foot-tall, foot-squaretable on which he is sawing a piece of scrapwood into kindling with ahacksaw. He sees us coming and puts table and saw aside. Holds open hisarms to us, big smile. We stop at his storefront, where pieces of discardedwood are hanging by cords like skinny chickens.
He has no language astroke perhaps , but he is obviously inviting us to sit down with him Coleman and Robert talking. Rumi: Bridge to the Soul 23 He gestures to a bulletin board on the wall. Photos fromyounger days when he was charismatic and strong, resembling MeherBaba somewhat. We put our hands on our chests and bow to him. But wedo not sit down, which is a mistake.
When you meet the scrapwood man ofShiraz, the one beyond words, stay near, sit with him on the sidewalk, atleast until he closes shop. Spend time with such givens. There ought to beninety million, a galaxy cluster for this Milky Way presence that hasgifted us with such friendship and spontaneity. I am onlyan arrow. Fill your bow with me and let fly. Because of this love for youmy bowl has fallen from the roof.
Put down a ladder and collect the pieces, please. People ask, But which roof is your roof? I answer, Wherever the soul came fromand wherever it goes at night, my roofis in that direction. From wherever spring arrives to heal the ground,from wherever searching rises in a human being. The looking itself is a traceof what we are looking for. But we have been more like the manwho sits on his donkeyand asks the donkey where to go. Be quiet now and wait. It may be that the ocean one,the one we desire so to move into and become,desires us out here on land a little longer,going our sundry roads to the shore.
Time to be totally free, and estranged. Time to give up our souls,to set fire to structures and run out in the street. Time to ferment. How else can we leavethe world-vat and go to the lip? We must die to become true human beings. Spread out your wings as a tree lifts in the orchard. A seed scattered on the road,a stone melting to wax, candle becoming moth.
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On the chessboard a king is blessed again with his queen. With our faces so close to the love mirror,we must not breathe, but rather changeto a cleared place where a building wasand feel the treasure hiding in us. With no beginning or end we live in loversas a story they know. If you will be the key,we will be tumblers in the lock.
Late at night we meet like thieveswho have stolen gold, our candlelit faces. A pawn has become king. We sit secretly inside the presencelike a Turk in a tent among the Hindus,and yet we are traveling past a hundred watchmen,night-faring, drowned in an ocean of longing. Some people say about human beings, Dust to dust. But how can that be true of onewho changes road dust to doorway? The crop appears to be one thingwhen it is still in the field. Then the transformation time comes,and we see how it is: half chaff, half grain. In an eye, the point of light. In the chest, the soul.
The place where ecstatic lovers gois called the tavern, where everyone gambles,and whoever loses has to live there. But do not cover your chest.
Stay open there. Someone asks me, What is love? Do not look for an explanation. Dissolve into me, and you will knowwhen it calls. Walk out as a lion, as a rose. Inhale autumn, long for spring. You that change the dull field,who give conversation to damaged ears,make dying alive, award guardianshipto the wandering mind,you who erase the five senses at night,who give eyes allure and a blood clot wisdom,who give the lover heroic strength, 30 The master who teaches usis absolute light, not this visibility.
This world, a street where a funeral is passing. Let us rise together and leave this world,as water goes bowing down itself to the sea. From gardens to the gardener,from grieving to a wedding feast. We tremble like leaves about to let go. There is no avoiding pain,or feeling exiled, or the taste of dust. But also we have a green-winged longingfor the sweetness of the friend. These forms are evidence of what cannot be shown. Here is how it is to go into that:Rain that has been leaking into the housedecides to use the downspout.
The bent bowstring straining at our throatsreleases and becomes the arrow. Mice quivering in fear of the housecatsuddenly change to half-grown lion cubs,afraid of nothing. So let us begin the journey home,with love and compassion for guides,and grace protecting. Let your soul turn into an empty mirrorthat passionately wants to reflect Joseph. Hand him your present. I revolved for years with the starsthrough each astrological sign. I disappeared into the kingdom of nearness. I saw what I have seen, receiving nourishmentas a child lives in the womb.
Personalities are born once. A mystic many times. Wearing the body-robe, I have been busyin the market, weighing and arguing prices. Sometimes I have torn the robe offwith my own hands and thrown it away. I have spent long nights in monasteries,and I have slept with those who claimto believe nothing on the porches of pagodas,just traveling through.
When someone feels jealous,I am inside the hurt and the need to possess. When anyone is sick,I feel feverish and dizzy. I am cloud and rain being released,then the meadow as it soaks in. I wash the grains of mortalityfrom the cloth around a dervish. I am the rose of eternity,not made of water or fire,not of the wandering windor even earth. I play with those. I am not Shams of Tabriz,but a light within his light. If you see me, be careful. Tell no one what you have seen. A hundred camels with amazing treasure.
Midnight, a candle and someone quietly waking me,Your friend has come. I spring out of my body, put a ladder to the roof,and climb up to see if it is true. Suddenly there is a world within this world,ocean inside the water jar. A king sitting with me dressed as a servant. A garden in the chest of the gardener. I see how love has thoughts,and that these thoughts are circlingin conversation with majesty.
Let me keep opening this momentlike a dead body reviving. Shams Tabriz saw the placeless oneand from that he made a place. Touch the cloth of the robe,but do not pull it toward you,or like an arrow it will leave the bow. Presence plays with form,fleeing and hiding as the sky does in water,now one place, now nowhere. Imagination cannot contain the absolute. These poems are elusivebecause the presence is. I love the rose that is not a rose,but the second I try to speak it, any namefor God becomes so-and-so, and vanishes.
What you thought to draw lifts off the paper,as what you love slips from your heart. Spring is here.
Call and Response: The Wisdom Of Rumi
Tulip buds appear. The empty trees stagger and flaillike drunks going home. The wind recites a spell. The rose arbor trembles. The dark blue water lotus, niluphar,says to the jasmine, Look howtwisted together we are. Clover blossom to meadow grass,This is the grace we have wanted. The violets bow,responding to the hyacinths,and the narcissus winks,An interesting development. The willow slings her lightheadedhair around, saying nothing,and the cypress grows even more still.
Becoming Real: Realization and Revelation in Rumi and Ibn ‘Arabi – Baraka Institute
Everybody is so beautifullybecoming themselves. Artists go outdoors to let the beautymove through their hands and their brushes. Sweet-feathered birds light on the pulpit. The soul sings, Ya hu. The dovereplies, Coo, coo. The roses open their shirts. It is not right to stay closedwhen the time of divulging comes. One rosebud remarks to the nightingale,Lilies have hundreds of tongues,but they do not tell their secrets. No more holding back. Be reckless. Tell your love to everybody. And so the nightingale does. The plane tree bends to the vine,Stand up.
The prostratingpart of prayer is over. The vine, This prostration is not voluntary. I have that in me that makes me alwayslike this, burning with surrender,flat on my face. It is the same powerthat makes you plane. The rose asks the saffron,Why so pale? The plump red apple replies,Because saffron does not understandthat the beloved is absenceas well as this fullness.
Just then stones beginbombarding him, but he laughs,knowing how lover calls to lover. The apple absorbs a direct hitand stays on the tree. I hang here like Hallaj, feeling those lipson me, the honor of being lifted upon a crucifixion apple tree. Now the kissing is over. Let soul and world meet. The sun has drawn a fine-tempered bladeof light. We may as well surrender. Laugh at the ugly arrogance you see.
Weep for those separated from the friend. The city seethes with rumor. Some madman has escaped the prison. Or is a revolution beginning? What day is it? Is this when all we have done and beenwill be publicly known? With no thinking and no emotion,with no ideas about the soul,and no language,these drums are saying how empty we are. Where has he gone? The one like a lit candle,like a seat with roses growing around it.
Our eyes look for that one first,but I do not see him today. Say his name. If anyone herehas kissed his hand, give us your blessing. I do not know whether to be more gratefulfor the existence of his faceor for what is inside that. There is no one like him in the world. But if there is no form for that now,how is it everything turnswith the motion of his love?
Say all the possible nicknamesfor Shams Tabriz. Do not hide anything from onewho wants only to be in his presence. Sit under a tree with new blossoms. Walking the section of the marketwhere chemists sell essences,you will receive conflicting advice. Go toward kindness. If you are not sure where that is,you will be drawn in by fakes. But they have another door they leave by. Do not dip your cup in a potjust because it has reached the simmering point.
Not every reed is sugarcane. Not every under has an over. Not every eye can see. Or it may be you cannot thread the needlebecause it already has thread in it. Your loving alertness is a lantern. Keep it protected from windthat makes it crazy. Instead of that airy commotionlive in the water that gently coolsas it flows.
Be a helpful friend,and you will become a green treewith always new fruit,always deeper journeys into love. Why does a fish, gasping on land,but near the water,not move back into the sea? What keeps us from joining the dancethe dust particles do? Look at their subtle motionsin sunlight. We are out of our cageswith our wings spread,yet we do not lift off. We keep collecting rocks and broken bitsof pottery like childrenpretending they are merchants. We should split the sackof this cultureand stick our heads out. Look around. Leave your childhood. Reach your right hand upand take this book from the air.
A voice speaks to your clarity. Move into the moment of your death. Consider what you truly want. Now call out commands yourself. You are the king. Phrase your question,and expect the grace of an answer. Love is nothing but gladness and kindness. Ideas of right and wrongoperate in us until we die. Love does not have those limits. A beginner in this wayknows nothing of any beginning. Do not try to be a shepherd. Become the flock. Someone says, This is just a metaphor. But that is not so. It is as clear and directas a blind man stubbing his footagainst a stone jar.
The doorkeeper should be more careful,says the blind man. That pitcher is not in the doorway,replies the doorkeeper. The truth is, you do not knowwhere you are. A master of loveis the only sign we need. There is no better signthan someone stumbling aroundamong the waterpots looking for signs. Every particle of love,any sprig of an herb,speaks of water. Follow the tributaries. Everything we say has water within it. No need to explain this to a thirsty man. He knows what to do.
Reason says, Nonsense. I have walked and measured the walls here. There are no places like that. Love says, There are. Reason sets up a marketand begins doing business. Love has more hidden work. Hallaj steps away from the pulpitand climbs the stairs of the gallows. Lovers feel a truth inside themselvesthat rational people keep denying. It is reasonable to say, Surrenderis just an idea that keeps peoplefrom leading their lives. Love responds, No. This thinkingis what is dangerous. Using language obscureswhat Shams came to give. Every day the sun risesout of low word-cloudsinto burning silence.
The time of testing is here. Words like fortitude and valormean something among people again. Old agreements weaken and break. When the knife reaches bone,your life must change. Be glad the refining fireis around you. Laugh as you stand on this doorsill. Out of your dry thorn opens a rose garden. I point to you, because you give mejoy that cannot be said. Heavy blows beat about my head. I need your compassion.
My reason says, Be quiet. What can you know? I try to be silent,but my weeping comes anyway. Muhammad says, You did not throwwhen you threw. This I feel now in my bodyis like an arrow suddenlyreleased to its moment. The friend is everywhere,in every action. Love, a lattice. Body, fire. I say, Show me the way. You say, Put your headunder your feet. That way you rise through the starsand see a hundred other waysto be with me.
There are as many as there areflightpaths of prayer at dawn. Let sadness and any fear of deathleave the room. Wind shakes our bells. We are counters in your handpassing easily through. Music begins. There are amazing things in the ocean,and there is one who is the ocean. Now think of the onewho creates consciousness. It takes skill to extract oil from a nut. Now consider how sight lives in the eye. There is a night full of the wildnessof wanting.
Then dawn comes. You take my hand in yours. There are those who doubtthat this can happen. They pour powdered gold into barley bins. They follow donkeys to the barn. Whatever I thought to do,when I am here with you, is nothing. I come to weep. There is no escape from grief. Outwardly I am silent. Inwardly,you know how I am screaming. Make my face yours. I will shorten this poem. Read the rest inside me. Poor silent lover,you have no one to talk to? But your thoughts keep surging throughlike an army of firebrands. Alone, every person stays quiet. Nobody speaks to a closed door. But you are convincedthat you have lost your best companion.
Maybe you are already in the pure world,beyond this scroungy wantingand the metabolizing of nature. No doubt. For forty years I wander wilderness,tasting manna and quail. A ship on the ocean is a marvelous thing. But I have been sailing this boatof mine through dry desert. Moses, my soul, my friend,when you hold me, this bodyis a walkingstick. You throw it down,it becomes a snake. You are the boy Jesus,and I am your clay bird. Breathe on me. Let me fly out of sight. I am the column you lean againstthat moans when you leave.
What cover do you draw over me now? In one moment I am a stone,then iron, pure fire. Now a jangling scale flopping aboutwith nothing in it. Now poisedin balance showing weight and purchase. Feeding on a certain pasture,I am the pasture. They are tasting me,wolf, sheep, shepherd. Matter is meant to move and change. That currency reveals meaning. Those who belong with meknow I am the valuethese forms are tokens of. Come back, spring. Bring watermore fresh than Khidr or Elijah knew,from the fountain that pulsesin the well of the soul.
Where water is, there bread arrives. But not the reverse. Water never comes from loaves. You are the honored guest. Do not weep like a beggarfor pieces of the world. The river vanishes because of that desiring. Swim out of your little pond. Go where all the fish are Khidrs,where there are no secondary causes.
That water rises in the date treeand in the roses in your cheek. When it flows toward you,you will feel a deep contentment. The nightwatchman shakes his rattleas part of his fear. You will not need him anymore. Water itself guards the fishthat are in it. A rose is all rose. My loving is here with you. You come before dawn with a torchand take me, but my soul remainsback there alone. Issue another invitation.
Do not ask for one without the other.
ISBN 13: 9780595420445
If you do not go tonightand bring my soul to me,I will become a loud, disruptive noise,and I will not be making it alone. Lure him with musicor any irresistible pretext. If he says, I will be there in a little while,that is part of his beguiling,his art that can tie strands of water into knotsand make weavings of the wind. Do not accept those. Bring the presence. Yemen has the most exquisite rubies,but the one I want to seecoming through the dooris the one who lives here.
You have been caught by a lion, my dear. The friend dumps plaster on your head. Think of it as expensive perfume. Inside you there is a monsterthat must be tied up and whipped. Watch the man beating a rug. He is not mad at it. He wants to loosen the layers of dirt. Ego accumulations are not loosenedwith one swat. Continual workis necessary, disciplines. In dreams, and even awake,you will hear the beloved screaming at you. A carpenter saws and chisels a piece of wood,because he knows how he wants to use it.
Curing a hide, the tannerrubs in acid and all manner of filth. This makes a beautiful soft leather. What does the half-finished hide know? Love feels like sliding along the eddies and currents of the tao. There is too much of that energy in the first work with Rumi I did, especially in some of the quatrains.
I was very wet with such water at the time myself. I was thirty-nine. Things change; nothing wrong with that. Rumi is way happier than sex and orgasms, his wandering more con- scious and free. Rumi and Shams wander in that country. Gary Snyder says about him, This subtropical East China Sea carpenter and spear fisherman finds himself equally at home in the desert.
I am desert rat. His work or play in the world is to pull out nails, free seized nuts, break loose the rusted, open up the shutters. You can put these poems in your shoes and walk a thousand miles. When you see ugly stuff wash your eyes. When you get bad thoughts wash your mind. How can one be orderly with this? Sometimes organization and computation become absurd. First, when I was apart from you, this world did not exist, nor any other. Second, whatever I was looking for was always you. Third, why did I ever learn to count to three?
Fourth, my cornfield is burning! Fifth, this finger stands for Rabia,8 and this is for someone else. Is there a difference? Is weeping speech? What shall I do, my love? So the lover speaks, and everyone around begins to cry with him, laughing crazily, moaning in the spreading union of lover and beloved. This is the true religion. All others are thrown-away bandages beside it. This is the sema9 of slavery and mastery dancing together. This is not-being. I know these dancers. Day and night I sing their songs in this phenomenal cage. God has put into the form of hashish a power to deliver the taster from self-consciousness.
God has made sleep so that it erases every thought. Jesus was lost in his love for God. His donkey was drunk on barley. Drink from the presence of saints, not from those other jars. Every object, every being, is a jar full of delight. Be a connoisseur, and taste with caution. Any wine will get you high. My soul-parrot gets excited with sweetness. Wingbeats, a door opening in the sun. Heroes do not stay lined up in ranks for very long. I set out for Tabriz, even though my boat is anchored here.
Grow instead in universal light. When that revealed itself, God gave it a thousand different names, the least of those sweet-breathing names being, the one who is not in need of anyone. Then you come near. In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art. Why would you refuse to give this love to anyone? They swim the huge fluid freedom. In here there is no dogma and no heresy. The miracle of Jesus is himself, not what he said or did about the future.
Forget the future. Stretch your arms and take hold the cloth of your clothes with both hands. The cure for pain is in the pain. Good and bad are mixed. When one of us gets lost, is not here, he must be inside us. For Rumi the appearance of formal beauty comes as a natu- ral response to being spoken to. The rose opens because it has heard something. The cypress grows strong and straight because a love-secret is being whispered. Elegance in language arrives in response. I have a friend who, when she wants to know who I am seeing, who I am in love with, asks, Who you talking to? The exchange of deep friendship makes a fine entrance into love and trust, into the mysterious action that moves through the eyes, the voice, the heart.
Rumi wonders, Can you see these escapees, the ones who have gotten free of their personalities and into the truer self? He celebrates the freedom of those escapees, how their friendship dis- solves into everything: what anybody says, whatever hap- pens. Emily Dickinson says, I dwell in possibility, a fairer house than prose. That region where her poetry grew is sohbet. Of chambers as the cedars, Impregnable of eye.
And for an everlasting roof The gambrels of the sky. Of visitors, the fairest. For occupation, this: The spreading wide my narrow hands To gather paradise. Love with no object, conver- sation with no subject, seeing with no image, light on light, pure possibility. Lean back. Give me your mouth. Your grace is as beautiful as a sleep. Your body spreads across my brain Like a bird-filled summer; Not like a body, not like a separate thing, But like a nimbus that hovers Over every other thing in all the world.
How could you worry? You may as well free a few words from your vocabulary. Why and how and impossible. Open the mouth-cage and let those fly away. We were all born by accident, but still this wandering caravan will make camp in perfection. Forget the nonsense categories of there and here, race, nation, religion, starting point and destination. Notice how everyone has just arrived here from a journey. Notice how each wants a different food. Notice how the stars vanish as the sun comes up, and how all streams stream toward the ocean.
Look at this cup that can hold the ocean. Look at those who see the face. If you are still struggling to understand, you are not there. Shams could help you see who you are, but remember, You are not your eyes. What was told the cypress that made it strong and straight, what was whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made sugarcane sweet; whatever was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in Turkestan that makes them so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush like a human face, that is being said to me now.
I blush. The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude, chewing a piece of sugarcane, in love with the one to whom every that belongs! I deserve nothing. Today I recognize that I am the guest the mystics talk about. I play this living music for my host. Everything today is for the host. Women loved him desperately. Everyone loved him, but there came one night an experience that changed him completely. He left his kingdom and his family. He put on dervish robes and wandered from one weather, one landscape, to another.
Love dissolved his king-self and led him to Tabuk, where he worked for a time making bricks. You abandon kingdoms, because you want more than kingdoms. This is what love does and continues to do. It tastes like honey to adults and milk to children. Love is the last thirty-pound bale. When you load it on, the boat tips over. So they wandered around China like birds pecking at bits of grain. They rarely spoke because of the dangerous seriousness of the secret they knew.
That love-secret spoken pleasantly, or irritation, severs a hundred thousand heads in one swing. All that world-power wants, really, is this weakness. So these kings talk in low tones, and carefully. Only God knows what they say. They use unsayable words. Bird language.
But some people have imitated them, learned a few birdcalls, and gotten prestigious. Judith and I were in Pammukkalle, Turkey, an ancient Roman bath with a museum, and around the side, attached to it, is a shed called the Museum of Small Findings. Shards of pottery, coins, fingers and toes of statuary, just as the sign says. The guard at the door, the host, is a smiling, genial man about four-feet two-inches tall, no taller, and no pun intended.
Wherever we go now we do small findings, to make sure nothing goes unnoticed, or gets left behind. Love is the connection with spirit, and one way it flows is through form. She loved him so much she concealed his name in many phrases, the inner meanings known only to her. When she said, The wax is softening near the fire, she meant, My love is wanting me. Thirsty, his name is a sherbet. This is what the Friend can do when one is in such love. When one is united to the core of another, to speak of that is to breathe the name Hu, empty of self and filled with love.
The visible bowl of form contains food that is both nourishing and a source of heartburn. There is an unseen presence we honor that gives the gifts. It thinks its one grain is all there is to love. So we choose a tiny seed to be devoted to. This body, one path or one teacher. Look wider and farther. The essence of every human being can see, and what that essence-eye takes in, the being becomes. The ocean pours through a jar, and you might say it swims inside the fish! This mystery gives peace to your longing and makes the road home home. A sky with gold streaks across.
A stick that finds water in stone. Jesus sitting quietly near the animals. Night so peaceful. This is enough was always true. The hoopoe already wears a tufted crown. Each ant is given its elegant belt at birth. This love we feel pours through us like a giveaway song. The source of now is here! They have grown old, and their father has miraculously grown young! He has recognized his father. To doubters, this is a pain. This taste is the wine we always mention. The market square bright with understanding. Listening opens its amazed mouth. Now is. Spend the spark of iron on stone.
Sit at the head of the table. Dip your spoon in the bowl. Seat yourself next to your joy and have your awakened soul pour wine. Branches in the spring wind, easy dance of jasmine and cypress. Cloth for green robes has been cut from pure absence. Sounds of talking sprout. Identity is music, and poems are rough notations of the melodies. This station gives the lover glimpses of a spirit-whole- ness running through the apparent chaos, a rightness that weaves a pattern the lover sees in the dissonant and daily.
Here is the auspicious beginning. Kindness stands in the door. You walk out together like the Zen master Basho mov- ing around Kyoto, pining for Kyoto. The phenomenal and the numinous grow identical. The world you see, together with the poem, both are intensely alive inside each other with revelation and suchness. Samurai talk — tang of horse radish. Where, with your one rose you can buy hundreds of rose gardens? Where, for one seed you get a whole wilderness? For one weak breath, the divine wind? The basil and the carnations cannot control their laughter. The nightingale, back from his wandering, has been made singing master over all the birds.
The trees reach out their congratulations. Anemones blush because they have seen the rose naked. Spring, the only fair judge, walks in the courtroom, and several December thieves steal away. New creatures whirl in from nonexistence, galaxies scattered around their feet.
Have you met them? Do you hear the bud of Jesus crooning in the cradle? A single narcissus flower has been appointed Inspector of Kingdoms. A feast is set. The wind is pouring wine! Love used to hide inside images. No more! The orchard hangs out its lanterns. The dead come stumbling by in shrouds. Nothing can stay bound or be imprisoned. Poems are rough notations for the music we are. But how does this happen within these dense bodies full of forgetfulness and doubt and grieving?
It becomes acidic and bitter, but still as urine it retains watery qualities. It will put out a fire! So there is this music flowing through our bodies that can dowse restlessness. Hearing the sound, we gather strength. Love kindles with melody. Music feeds a lover composure, and provides form for the imagination.
Music breathes on personal fire and makes it keener. The waterhole is deep. A thirsty man climbs a walnut tree growing next to the pool and drops walnuts one by one into the beautiful place. He listens carefully to the sound as they hit and watches the bubbles. Roar, lion of the heart, and tear me open! Existence has no better gift. No amount of searching will find this. A perfect falcon, for no reason, has landed on your shoulder, and become yours. In one wheat grain a thousand sheaf stacks. The clear bead at the center changes everything.
There are no edges to my loving now. A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home. Now the king has become the place and all the players, prey, bystander, bow, arrow, hand and release. How does that feel? We sometimes make spiderwebs of smoke and saliva, fragile thought-packets. Leave thinking to the one who gave intelligence. Stop weaving, and watch how the pattern improves. AUCTION As elephants remember India perfectly, as mind dissolves, as song begins, as the glass fills, wind rising, a roomful of conversation, a sanctuary of prostration, a bird lights on my hand in this day born of friends, an ocean covering everything, all roads opening, a person changing to kindness, no one reasonable, religious jargon forgotten, and Saladin there raising his hand to bid on the bedraggled boy Joseph!
Escaping into Silence Close the language-door the mouth. Open the love-win- dow the eyes. Moving into silence with a friend, and with what comes through the eyes and both presences then, we may become those escapees Rumi calls those who associate in the heart. I recom- mend we all try a day of silence with someone.
Just one day! Your way begins on the other side. Become the sky. Take an ax to the prison wall. Walk out like someone suddenly born into color. Do it now. Slide out the side. Die, and be quiet. Your old life was a frantic running from silence. The speechless full moon comes out now. Seawater begs the pearl to break its shell. And the lily, how passionately it needs some wild darling! Breathe into me. Close the language-door and open the love-window. Our friendship is made of being awake. The waterwheel accepts water and turns and gives it away, weeping.
That way it stays in the garden, whereas another roundness rolls through a dry riverbed looking for what it thinks it wants. Stay here, quivering with each moment like a drop of mercury. This marriage be the leaves and fruit of a date tree. This marriage be women laughing together for days on end. This marriage, a sign for us to study. This marriage, beauty. This marriage, a moon in a light blue sky. This marriage, this silence, fully mixed with spirit.
After days of sleeping, stay awake one night. After these times of bitter storytelling, joking, and serious considerations, we should give ourselves two days between layers of baklava in the quiet seclusion where soul sweetens and thrives more than with language. Heart has plundered mind of its eloquence. Love writes a transparent calligraphy, so on the empty page my soul can read and recollect.
Which is worth more, a crowd of thousands, or your own genuine solitude? Freedom, or power over an entire nation? A little while alone in your room will prove more valuable than anything else that could ever be given you. You are the origin of all jasmine, narcissi, and irises to come. You set the grain in the husk. A rose torn open, my head not worrying about debt, you, soul and body mortared together in bed, you saying, you are, you are, then stopping to twist the strings to sweeten the voice.
When I give this body to the ground, you will find another way. These words are an alternate existence. Hear the passage into silence and be that. A New Life As one becomes a lover, duties change to inspirations. Prac- tices become dance, poetry, creek music moving along.
Impossible natural images of transformation appear: candle becomes moth; a dry, broken stick breaks into bud. A chick- pea becomes its cook not so impossible, the natural tast- ing! Something enters that spontaneously enjoys itself. Finding a purpose for acting is no longer the problem.
The soul is here for its own joy. Eyes are meant to see things. We have this great love-ache for the ocean and the seabirds sewing the hem of her robe. That is the subject here. We long for beauty, even as we swim within it. Abdul Qadir Gilani describes this region of the heart as a baby. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen also speaks of it this way. Some- one asked Bawa once what it felt like to be him. He answered by closing his eyes and making little kissing noises like a baby nursing. In this new life a baby is born in the heart. Purity comes and a playfulness, an ease, a peace.
Gilani says this new heart-baby sometimes talks to the soul in dreams. It understands every voice that floats on the wind because it is in unity and compassion. Everyone felt it. My mother died she was sixty-four, lung cancer on May 8, My dad died of a stroke on July 2, , at seventy-two. In the time between fifty-five days , Dad lost all judgmental tenden- cies.
He met everyone with unconditional love. He would go out on any excuse to walk around and talk with strangers. He had unlimited time and attention and help- fulness for everyone. So beautiful. To hear Rev. Ryan Seawright pray outdoors in the wind at a June wedding, as I did recently, is about as much as a heart can stand.
When pedestrians would see his face, it was like they were struck full-power with one of those old searchlights from Second World War airfields. The connecting extends to all living beings. Go on back now. When your heart dissolves in this love, books are beside the point. We learn from the taste of life events. Jelaluddin Chelebi once asked me what religion I was. I threw up my hands in the who knows gesture.
Do you see them? Open your eyes for those who escape to meet with other escapees, whose hearts associate in a way they have of leaving their false selves to live in a truer self. They will come back like a smiling drunk. The thirsty ones die of their thirst. The nightingale sometimes flies from a garden to sing in the forest. Love comes sailing through and I scream. Love sits beside me like a private supply of itself. Love puts away the instruments and takes off the silk robes.
Our nakedness together changes me completely. Today I recognized that that jewel-like beauty is the presence, our loving confusion, the glow in which watery clay gets brighter than fire, the one we call the Friend. His ego falls like a battered wall.
He unites with God, alive, but emptied of Nasuh. His ship sinks and in its place move the ocean waves. His stones drink in water. His field shines like satin with gold threads in it. Someone dead a hundred years steps out strong and handsome. A broken stick breaks into bud. Nightingale, iris, parrot, jasmine, I speak those languages, along with the idiom of my longing for Shamsi Tabriz. When someone is a goldsmith, wherever he goes, he asks for the goldsmith. The clouds build with what we share. Wheat stays wheat right through the threshing.
How just do you feel when you load a lame donkey? The world has some share in this cup. Let the lean and wounded be revived in your garden. Fish washed free and clean of fear. You drive us away, but we return like pet pigeons. Ten nights becoming dawn flow in us as a new kind of waking. Shahabuddin Osmond joins the circle! We will say the poem again so he can play. There is no end to anything round. Grief The deeper the grief, the more radiant the love.
We miss our friend. That lack of grieving, the feel of not to feel it,23 is not heard much in Rumi. The movie focuses on the use of the starkest tragedies, not just his, to open the heart and help us find the vital core of consciousness, the soul. My favorite part is Ram Dass near the end saying yumyumyumyumyum when he hears a young woman tell her dream of her lover who has been murdered in Colombia.
Ram Dass ecstatically tastes the truth of what the dead lover says. No sticky possessiveness, no hanging on to the past. This one does. No one can take your place in existence or in absence. The roof of the kingdom within has collapsed! When I say the word you, I mean a hundred universes. That bright fire bird Saladin went like an arrow, and now the bow trembles and sobs.
If you know how to weep for human beings, weep for Saladin. Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birdwings.