February 20, 2013

Where the Path of Love & Loss Leads.

The spiritual path winds up to the summit of a tall mountain. When we reach the top we are exhausted but exalted, seemingly free from suffering.

It is easy to live and teach on the mountaintop, above the pain of others, disconnected from our loved ones.

A famous traditional Islamic teacher named Mevlana, with many followers, lived a prosperous life. His world abruptly changed when he met a mysterious spiritual man known as Shams. No one but Mevlana ever knew who Shams really was. But Mevlana, remarked, “Today I have seen the God, I have worshiped all my life in human form.”

It was a deep and beautiful relationship of teaching in pure love.

Mevlana would spend his days and nights with his Beloved Shams, not meeting his family and followers for weeks. This went on for sometime. Mevlana’s family and followers grew deeply jealous and felt threatened by how Mevlana was losing himself with Shams. Mevlana ignored the voices trying to tear the two apart.

It was never proven what happened but it is believed Mevlana’s family and friends murdered Shams. Mevlana went into deep mourning, not meeting anyone for days. The pain of separation was profound, marking the loss of everything he loved. It also marked the death of Mevlana.

The only rule is, suffer the pain.
Your desire must be disciplined,
And what you want to happen
In time, sacrificed.

We can not stay on the mountain top trying to avoid the pain below.

We have to let go of our old ideas of how things should be, or we create more suffering. The way up becomes the way down. Down into the suffering and the uncertainty. This is a path that takes sacrifice and discipline. This is the path of the beloved.

The core of every fruit is better than its rind:
consider the body to be the rind,
and its friend, the spirit, to be the core.
seek it, inspired by the divine breath.

Mevlana sat for days as the pain and discomfort dissolved him.

He dove deeper and deeper into the core. At times he surely felt like he was drowning and became desperate to rise up. He kept diving until finally he found the treasure at the bottom. He began singing and dancing night and day, remembering his divine beloved. Poetry poured from his lips, and his words were eventually collected into some of the greatest poetry in the world.

The spiritual path wrecks the body
and afterwards restores it to health.
It destroys the house to unearth the treasure,
and with that treasure builds it better than before.

Mevlana died to his old self. He sacrificed everything to the divine fire of love and found complete transformation.

When he did, what was left was the poet Rumi.

If you have lost heart in the path of love
Flee to me without delay
I am a fortress; invincible.

The path of the Beloved asks you to go deeper into the discomfort of transformation. As we walk this path we will stumble, we will fall. When you want to rise above the pain don’t give up. It is then that you will know that you are close to miraculous rewards.

Dive deeper into the core. When you reach it you will find the most sacred of treasures, pure love beating in your own wounded heart.

This is the path of the beloved. The path that strips away everything to your true self.

The path of the beloved is the path home.

Beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

(All quotes by Rumi.)


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Ed: Kate Bartolotta


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