How can a 13th-century Sufi mystic help you navigate your spiritual path?
The answer is both simple and profound. The mystical poetry of Rumi, who was born Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī in present-day Afghanistan, has an incredible capacity to ignite the fire of divine love in our hearts and illuminate the way of passion for spiritual seekers.
I wrote this post for The Shift Network blog. I hope you enjoy the beauty of Rumi’s poetry!
Wherever you are in your spiritual search, Rumi is there, comforting, encouraging and inspiring you to leap with joyous abandon into the loving arms of the Divine.
If your first exposure to unfamiliar spiritual teachings uproots your belief system and leaves you reeling from information overload, Rumi is there, welcoming you into a new and beautiful world of understanding and assuring you that all is well.
Looking up gives light,
though at first it makes you dizzy.
If your search for wisdom is exclusively directed outwards, Rumi is there, admonishing you to look within.
There is a basket of fresh bread on your head, and
yet you go door to door asking for crusts.
Knock on your inner door. No other.
If you tell yourself that you are unworthy of God’s attention, Rumi is there to scold you to remember your divine birthright.
You were born with wings.
Why prefer to crawl through life?
In time, you discover that every step forward on your spiritual path leads to another step, and another step beyond that. Again, Rumi is there, urging you to push complacency to the side of the road and keep walking.
By God, don’t linger
in any spiritual benefit you have gained,
but yearn for more—like one suffering from illness
whose thirst for water is never quenched.
If you’re intent on achieving mastery instead of surrendering to mystery, Rumi is there, telling you that the idea of God is like all ideas: a detached mental construct unable to satisfy your deep longing for love and connection.
Sell your cleverness, and purchase bewilderment.
If nonetheless you come to a place of knowing — when you are certain you know God — Rumi is there, again reminding you that the mind is fundamentally unable to lead you to the Source of all that is, that the exalted state of conscious unity with the Divine Beloved can only be attained through the crucible of experience.
If your knowledge of fire has been turned to certainty
By words alone,
then seek to be cooked by the fire itself.
Don’t abide in borrowed certainty.
There is no real certainty until you burn;
if you wish for this, sit down in the fire.
If the pleasures, problems and demands of the world distract you from your Divine goal, Rumi is there, warning you that time is fleeting and emphasizing the urgency of your mission.
Travelers, it is late.
Life’s sun is going to set.
During these brief days that you have strength,
be quick and spare no effort of your wings.
When you experience setbacks, losses and disappointments, Rumi is there, encouraging you to look for evidence of God’s fingerprints.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
If your grief is especially intense, Rumi is there to let you know that recognizing, much less appreciating, the upside of suffering requires great maturity and wisdom.
I saw grief drinking a cup of sorrow,
and I called out,
It tastes sweet, does it not?
You have caught me, grief answered,
and you have ruined my business.
How can I sell sorrow
when you know it is a blessing?
And if despite your best efforts to stay attuned to the Divine current, you find your life falling apart, Rumi is there, comforting you and reassuring you that you have not been abandoned.
It is God’s kindness to terrify you in order to lead you
When you viscerally know that there is no thing and no place where God is not, and to the best of your ability strive to expand the scope of your vision by looking through God’s eyes, Rumi is there, assuring you that no matter what you look at, it will be brimming over with God’s loving presence.
If in thirst you drink water from a cup, you see God in
it. Those who are not in love with God will see only
their own faces in it.
Indeed, when you seek to find beauty in everything you look at, you will find it. And Rumi is there, affirming that the Divine Beloved is just beneath the surface of every moment, every event, every encounter.
For those who realize that everything is from God,
everything is the same.
When you transition from losing yourself in ego and unconsciously acting selfishly to losing yourself in Spirit and consciously acting selflessly, Rumi is there, applauding you and beckoning you to go deeper still.
Once you get hold of selflessness, you’ll be dragged
from your ego and freed from many traps.
Come, return to the root of the root of your self.
And when you welcome God’s love into your life, awaken to a whole new way of being in the world, and find that the most ordinary of moments shimmers with artistry and promise, Rumi is there, inviting you to blissfully melt back into the Source from whence you came.
That which God said to the rose,
and caused it to laugh in full-blown beauty,
He said to my heart,
and made it a hundred times more beautiful.
When you joyously acknowledge that everything you do is for God and that everything you have is from God, you are liberated from the prison of other people’s expectations and judgments. And Rumi is there, beaming with approval.
Take someone who does not keep score,
who is not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing,
who has not the slightest interest even
in his own personality. He is free.
And when you come to identify more with your Divine heritage than with your body-bound personality, Rumi is there to welcome you to your true home in spirit.
Live in the nowhere that you came from,
even though you have an address here.
When you intuitively realize that your soul, the individualized God force within you, is but a wave of spirit in the vast ocean of Spirit, Rumis is there, affirming that just as a wave is not the ocean itself, still it is of the ocean and has all the characteristics of the ocean.
Let the water settle; you will see the moon and stars
mirrored in your being.
When you finally find yourself melting in the tender embrace of the Divine Beloved, Rumi will be there, confirming that every moment of your life has unfolded with beauty, love and perfection.
If God said,
“Rumi, pay homage to everything that has helped you
enter my arms,”
there would not be one experience of my life, not one
thought, not one feeling, not any act,
I would not bow to.
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
If you feel more stressed than blessed . . . if you have more confusion than clarity about how to live your beliefs . . . if you long to live a richer, happier, more meaningful life . . . you will find a wealth of insight and guidance in Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World.
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Readers everywhere are discovering that when you challenge yourself to look through God’s eyes, the world around you changes, and so do you.
Who will benefit from reading Through God’s Eyes?
Anyone who is on a spiritual path, or wants to be.
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SEE EVERY MOMENT AS A GIFT
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