“Rumi is Social Media Crack Cocaine.” ~ Waylon Lewis

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jun 30, 2012
get elephant's newsletter


Here’s something a very handsome charming (and modest) author wrote up about how every uberhipsterspiritualist quotes Rumi non-stop:

“I’ll meet you in the field lalalalal”

…his quotes are everywhere and yet no one knows anything about him. He was a Sufi! He was cool. Let’s learn more!

A call for renewed “Slow” Social Media consumption & sharing.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
~ Rumi

Oh yeah? I agree. Probably.

But a little feel good quote ain’t spirituality, or even real joy. Leave me alone with your trite share-happy aphorisms, oh Facebookers, Pinteresters, and other too-speedy-to-be-present friends. ~ ed.

Rumi love quote


“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”

~ Rumi

I gave a little seminar or workshop on Social Media for the Greater Good, yesterday, at the Unreasonable Institute, where I’m honored to serve as a mentor.

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
~ Rumi

The Beloved Poet Rumi


I used Austin’s Black Swan Yoga’s Facebook Page as a prime example of how a small business can go big, gathering community, online, for free.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
~ Rumi




And I said “Rumi is social media crack cocaine,” at one point. It’s true: all of human history, learning, and civilization, and we’ve become Pinterested only in pretty photos and quotes. Put one of those up, and speedy Americans will share, like, and move on. And your brand will grow.


“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.”
~ Rumi

Of course, we all need to go deeper. And that’s what yoga classes (in Black Swan’s case) are for. So hopefully all that sharing, liking, and speediness will relax into good ol’fashioned 3D reality: you know…sunlight, fresh air, doing things, with people, making those memories that blow up the balloon that is a life, well-lived.

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
~ Rumi

ego rumi quote

We all love Rumi. But we could love his eloquent, mind-stopping, heart-pounding wisdom more fully.

So let this be a call (to me, to you, to her, to him) for renewed appreciation of Rumi, Hafiz, Dr. Seuss, and other much-overused victims of our quest for more fans.

Let this be a call for “Slow Social Media” consumption and sharing.

Is this call futile? Will it fall on mostly-closed ears and too-speedy minds? Probably.

But that’s no reason not to sound the horn. ~ Waylon Lewis


Let’s learn about Rumi, together!


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


82 Responses to ““Rumi is Social Media Crack Cocaine.” ~ Waylon Lewis”

  1. Lisa Moore says:

    I write poetry, I read poetry, I love poetry, don't tell me how I should or shouldn't and where I should read it. I studied the New Romantics in college………..etc. I actually donot think social media is a place for pollution and degrading others. If I enjoy posting a Rumi quote or something kind, than so be it. Besides, I don't smoke anymore, don't drink anymore, having found out that the drunken poet myth is just that, a myth. I also haven't fallen in love in the last two or more decades. To busy perhaps serving others, family, friends, loved ones.

  2. […] helpful if your best efforts aren’t inspiring you enough to adore the gift of your life and as Rumi says, “kneel and kiss the […]

  3. […] Twain, C.S. Lewis and “Anonymous.” Whoever said it, it’s important to remember. We get so speedy and busy. We worry about lots of different things we need to have or do, that in the long run might not matter […]

  4. […] quote about adversity. You can’t handle every difficult situation in life by throwing Rumi quotes at a Facebook Wall and hoping one […]

  5. Patrycja says:

    I can be totally guilty of spreading too many words and not letting them process. I do think, however, that if people are attracted to the organization I work with because of a good message, then heck yeah! Most importantly, though, thanks for your article; I appreciate the call for embodiment of the words we use.

  6. […] give a lot of talks on how to do social media right. I gave one two days ago, as part of the Unreasonable Climax. In it I emphasized that, really, even when you’re swimming in a digital world, we […]

  7. […] Western culture, we like the slogan idea. We love sharing inspirational quotes (especially on Facebook!), but we often gravitate towards the superficial, happy “everything is great” style […]

  8. […] Rumi quotes alone will not save you. I am so grateful that poets such as Rumi, Rilke, and Hafiz march their way wall to wall on Facebook. The poets alone cannot save us until we internalize their words. There words will effect us over time. Allow them to walk ephemerally in and out of our consciousness. […]

  9. […] AC is on full blast 8. Worrying about your love life, consoling self with trite, soon-forgotten, loosely translated Rumi quotes on Pinterest 9. surfing the internet, reading articles with funny headlines that make you feel even worse about […]

  10. […] can be typed out with quotes around it, but very few deserve to be Photoshopped over a sunset and posted on Pinterest. The yoga world has been up to their crown chakra with these things for as long as I can remember. So […]

  11. […] I’ve found myself getting lost in a sea of chia-seed appreciation groups, love hearts and Rumi quotes. This non-stop bombardment of information feels more like a fancy marketing strategy than a […]

  12. […] Positivity is no longer just a New Agey spiritualist‘s naive obsession. It’s no longer a teenage dream. It’s gone mainstream through yoga classes and greeting cards and half-baked faux-Rumi quotes on Facebook. […]

  13. […] $300 in Wah!, Krisna Das and Deva Premal. How could I not bring my future students the words of Rumi, Mary Oliver, Lalla, and Hafiz? Into the bag went the sacred music and […]

  14. […] think you messed it up. I need to read a professional meditation teacher, like Rumi, I […]

  15. Lokken says:

    This is super-cynical and presumptuous. How do you know what people do with positive quotes?
    Bashing positivity like this does not create enlightened society in my book. You are creating more karma,
    in fact causing ME to create Karma by writing this. I have a headache. Are you doing this in the name of Shambhala?

  16. Sense says:

    This is one of the most pretentious things that I’ve ever read.

  17. JenG says:

    When spirituality is broken down into easy-to-understand bullet-point lists, and 5 Free (or Cheap!) Ways to Find Your Center, then is has become marketable.

    But you still have to chop the wood and carry the water.

  18. allison says:

    HA i love this! well written..

  19. elephantjournal says:

    Shireen Q Sufis like Rumi (and HIS mentor, Shams of Tabriz) would hate over consumption and social sharing of sound bytes like the one you mention in your article. It goes against everything they believe in.

    A Sufi

    Shireen Q "I find these “Facebook Rumi”s as a sign of contemporary individualistic, feel-good consumerism that is interested in “individual experience” more than any type of spiritual transformation." – by Omid Safi

    Jessica Johnson I love Rumi, but this is funny.

    Elephant Journal We love him too! So let's learn about him, more, let's go deeper!

    Jessica Johnson I used to teach Rumi to 10th graders – great experience!!

    Leila J OK guilty. Rumi has the best quotes ever & I love them. But I did know that his birthday was a couple days ago & there is a big festival of celebration marking it.

    Kalika H Hahaha …..

    Jenneen C: Love it, Funny, cause it true! But … it's RUMI so could we ever go wrong!?!

    Sarah Z: Rumi is my crack cocaine

    Joanne M: Rumi would appreciate this

    Jackie G noooooo

  20. Jenna B. Wiser says:

    There can only be two important questions that are asked with regard to human relationships:

    1). Where am I going?

    2). Who is going with me

    Do not invert the order of these questions.

    Now that we have that clear remember this:

    What we find in a soulmate is not something wild to tame, but something wild to run with.

    And that concludes this session of “Deep Thoughts” by Jack Handey. 🙂

  21. Stacey B says:

    Awesome. Waylon – I like your style. I want to type something in here to everyone who’s being overly sensitive like, “go eat (an ethically raised) steak and get over it, but is probably get in trouble. As I traveled on Grateful Dead tour I had a book of Rumi poems and a copy of The Prophet. Let’s start a trend of everyone quoting Gibran!

  22. Rachel says:

    I can’t tell if you are pro or anti black swan but for what it’s worth when I visited Austin recently I was sure to take a class at the studio only because we followed each other on Instagram and I wanted to put a name to the face plus I enjoy their posts.

    It was a great class.

  23. jaleeza says:

    Is it wrong that I immediately Pinned this article? Valid points. 🙂

  24. Deborah A Davis says:

    Oh Good Waylon,

    sometimes, when bits of the soul is shredded, a little bandaid feels good. Feeling good is allowable in all but the most self flaggilating lifestyles. A litttle healing is better than none.

  25. Ginnie Dickinson says:

    I enjoy the excerpts of Rumi’s work that cross my feed because they DO remind me of his greater body of work and its meaning.
    The same is true of all the poets, philosophers, poets, mystics, and musicians I’ve encountered in my life. Then again, I had a few decades prior to the advent of social media to experience life and literature first hand.
    I think the meme-based “quote mania” of modern social media is a double-edged sword: for one thing, almost no one seems aware of the grammatical fact that “quote” and “quotes” are verbs, and the corresponding noun is “quotation”.
    It is a little too easy to graze on these snippets, like using snack foods to replace nourishing meals.
    On the other hand, if these excerpts do encourage the people they touch to read the original works, and creating/sharing the memes helps us recognize like-minded souls out there in the virtual world, helping us to create communities, I find some value in that.
    I prefer it to relentless recaps of people’s workout regimens, or trite , not-inspiring-at-all memes with cliches like “everything happens for a reason”.

  26. Ginnie Dickinson says:


  27. Ginnie Dickinson says:

    And that’s the gist, I think. If you are chopping the wood and carrying the water, these shared snippets of philosophy and poetry will remind you of the whole body of work and its layers of meaning, but if you aren’t, it’s just another method of relentless consumption.

  28. Tanya says:

    Precisely. I dont like this feel of one-upmanship. I'm not often motivated to comment, and particularly on a thread like this where I fear I would lose the who is the most spiritual/yogic yadayadayada competition. I take the optimistic view that someone is posting a brief quote, because for at least a brief moment, it meant something to them. If. for at least a brief moment that means something to me, that can only be a good thing. Joining the dots between those moments is a personal journey that some people choose to take, or not, and at varying speeds. Let it BE.

  29. sparkleduck2014 says:

    Lighten up. And the yogis @ Black Swan have a great sense of humor. They mostly post things that are legitimately funny, and not already posted ad nauseam anywhere else.

    You gotta love people complaining about the very readership benefiting them on facebook.

    You know what I dislike? Sites that provide a link to something I'd like to read, and upon my clicking it, asking me to pay for a subscription first. How dare they make money by using such an obvious marketing scheme?

  30. loveyogalivewell says:

    Sorry, but Waylon's right. What good is a brief moment of 'inspiration' ala Rumi/The DL or Gandhi or whoever else is the quote of the day when we don't live it and digest it….and we can't possibly digest it all at the rate these things are shared. It's just like, yeah that's nice…how lovely…move on…and we still behave in the same way as we did before. Maybe not the best example, but it's like if you swear every time you open your mouth, it loses its meaning and impact and becomes just another part of general conversation…If you're going to consume it, take time, sit down with it, really think on it and move forward with awareness. Those who are objecting so vehemently are missing the point entirely. Take a breath, unjerk your knees and chill the hell out. Try to understand what he's saying and you'll see that the man makes a good point

  31. Thomas says:

    Honestly, don't you think there are more important things to give your attention to?