November 20, 2016

This Rumi Poem is Exactly what the World Needs Right Now.

Molavi/Wikimedia Creative Commons

I am feeling at peace at the moment. With each exhalation I make the decision to let go of ugliness, and I inhale with the intention to receive only beauty.

But the truth is, I have been riddled with questions lately, my mind frantic to solve all the heartache I have witnessed in our world—political and otherwise.

Maybe it is this season, when we tend to spend more time inside, that’s spurning this deep reflection, but I know it is also recent events that seem to divide our world rather then unite it, causing pain.

Today I needed something to ignite a flame of hope inside of me, to remind me that I could trust in this life and the people in it. It needed to be something profound—something beyond my own voice telling me it was so.

My heart yearned for ancient guidance, for spiritual advice on holding light in a less-than-ideal atmosphere. I needed wisdom that had been tested, proven and successfully integrated for centuries.

I found a recording of a poem by Jalal ad-Din Rumi.

This enlightened being has stirred my soul ever since I read about his devoted practices of Sufi mysticism and his unorthodox and disputed love affair with his spiritual teacher Shams Tabrizi.

For over 800 years, his poetry has enabled so many to hobble through hard times, serving as a poultice that transcends cultural, ethnic and economic borders.

We need Rumi’s advice now, because he was an individual who understood a bit about the unknown. With the shakiness I’ve been feeling lately, I realize our current climate may seem fragmented and broken.

One thing is certain though: we must come together to awaken through this. Hope is not found in fighting; it is discovered through remembering we are all one.

If you need inspiration right now (as I do), I invite you to take a moment and listen to the video or read the poem below:


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.

From Essential Rumi
 by Coleman Barks

Times of uneasiness are transcended more successfully when we understand that there is nothing actually separating us from each other, because we are each just a human being trying to figure out how to survive on this one, crazy, blue planet.


Author: Sarah Norrad

Image: Molavi/Wikimedia Commons

Editor: Toby Israel


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