The name Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi stands for love and ecstatic flight into the infinite. Rumi is one of the great spiritual masters and poetical geniuses. His quotes and poems are well known and oft-read. While others may have their own favourites, here are 5 of my personal favourites, that provoke the mind to open and fill the heart. (All poems are part of the collection in the book The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks)
- When you are with everyone but me,
You’re with no one.
When you are with no one but me,
You’re with everyone.
Instead of being so bound up with everyone,
When you become that many, you’re nothing.
It’s a habit of yours to walk slowly.
You hold a grudge for years.
With such heaviness, how can you be modest?
With such attachments, do you expect to arrive anywhere?
Be wide as the air to learn a secret.
Right now you’re equal portions clay
And what, thick mud.
Abraham learned how the sun and moon and stars all set.
He said, No longer will I try to assign partners for God.
You are so weak. Give up to grace.
The ocean takes care of each wave
Till it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.
You’re trying to live your life in open scaffolding.
Say Bismillah, In the name of God,
As the priest does with the knife when he offers an animal.
Bismillah your old self
To find your real name.
- ONLY BREATH
Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu
Buddhist, Sufi, or zen. Not any religion
Or cultural system. I am not from the East
Or the West, not out of the ocean or up
From the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
Composed of elements at all. I do not exist,
Am not an entity in this world or in the next,
Did not descend from Adam and Eve or any
Origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
Of the traceless. Neither body or soul.
I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
Worlds as one and that one call to and know,
First, last, outer, inner, only that
Breath breathing human being.
- Does sunset sometimes look like the sun’s coming up?
Do you know what a faithful love is like?
You’re crying. You say you’ve burned yourself.
But can you think of anyone who’s not
Hazy with smoke?
- The way of love is not
a subtle argument.
The door there
Birds make great sky-circles
Of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling,
They’re given wings.