Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Reflections on Rumi

My master's program is tough. The program is constantly pushing me to new limits. This past week was definitely one of those weeks, so I sought solace in some poetry by the wise Rumi. I vaguely remembered hearing about his greatness in one of my undergraduate MESA classes, but I never read any of his works and was only reminded of him while watching "The Kiterunner." Amir recited a beautiful poem of war and sorrow while he and his father were fleeing Afghanistan. The thoughtful and piercing words ignited my curiosity.

When the pressures of my program overwhelmed me, I found myself in a tucked away corner of the library searching for a release. I found dozens of books that brought a smile to my face merely by reading their titles. I envisioned myself in an alternate reality in which I actually had time to read my new found treasures.

In the slender book, "Night & Sleep," Coleman Barks wrote a brief introduction about Rumi and concluded with an insightful piece of advice: "There often seems to be something missing from a Rumi poem, a space. This is the center of longing in each of them. 'You must fill it with yourself.'"

With no further adieu, Rumi:

The Friend
Friend, our closeness is this:
Anywhere you put your foot, feel me in the firmness under you.

How is it with this love.
I see your world and not you?

The Ears
The big ear on the outside of our head could be closed.
It is so good at hearing that the inner ear goes deaf.
What if you had no hearing at all, no nose, no mind-stuff!
Then one could hear well the three syllables: "Turn around."

Our sounds, our works, our renown, these are outer.
When we move inwardly, we move through inner space.
Our feet walk firmly, they experience sidewalks well.
There is one inside who walks like Jesus on the sea.

I will hopefully find some time to post more Rumi with some elaboration later.

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