Monday, January 31, 2011

Rumi: Nightingale

In my vertigo, in my dizziness, in my drunken haze,
whirling and dancing like a spinning wheel,
I saw myself as the source of existence,
I was there at the beginning and I was the spirit of love.
  -- Rumi


Today is the last day of the Rumi/Barks Celebration ... I have enjoyed living with the wisdom of these two amazing men for the past 31 days.  I would like to especially thank YouTube for providing riches beyond imagining and Eryk Hanut for the inspiration provided each day from the incredible "The Rumi Card Book."  I hope you have enjoyed the series also.

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:  
Category: Birth -- The fragrance, my friend, that floats to you this moment streams from the tent of the secrets of God.  Your life has reached a decisive and very positive turning point.
Category description from the book:  "Each moment of our lives is potentially a new birth, if our hearts are open.  Rumi always claimed that the wind of grace is always blowing from God, but that we are too rarely open to its fertile power.  Nevertheless, through Divine generosity, signs of new birth constantly dance in and out of our lives, inviting us to hope, creativity, passion, and praise!



Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rumi: Quatrains


Sometimes you hear a voice through
the door calling you, as fish out of

water hear the waves or a hunting
falcon hears the drums come back.

This turning toward what you deeply love
saves you.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book: 
Reward Card -- Dawn:  Its breezes swim with musk; Wake-up!  Breathe in this fragrance!  A wonderful fresh beginning is inviting you to act:  Be aware!
Category explanation from the book: The divine Love that urges our journey ever onward also constantly and lavishly rewards us for every sacrifice we make and every action of true generosity that we undertake.  When the eyes of Love really open in us, we see that life is an unbroken stream of ordinary miracles and that just to be alive is a matchless reward.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rumi: Scarcity Scared Silly

I am your moon and your moonlight too
I am your flower garden and your water too
I have come all this way, eager for you
Without shoes or shawl
I want you to laugh
To kill all your worries
To love you
To nourish you.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:  
Category:  Warning ... If a tree could only walk, he would never have to fear being chopped down.  Keep always changing and growing.


From the book:  "One of the essential features of a real seeker's life is to start humbly listening to the warnings--inner and outer--that the universe will always be trying to give to him or her.  This takes true discrimination, what Jesus called "the wisdom of the Serpent," detachment from our own plans, and a constant willingness to listen to the often quiet and obvious instructions of the Divine."


Friday, January 28, 2011

Rumi: Love Comes with a Knife

There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life.
There is a gem in the mountain of your body, seek that mine.
O traveler, if you are in search of that
Don't look outside, look inside yourself and seek that.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Category: Ordeal ... With this pain, you are digging a path for yourself. The suffering you are undergoing will lead to true wisdom.
Category explanation from the book: One of the glories of Rumi's work is its naked honesty about the necessity of ordeal--about what could be called "the alchemy of Agony." The family of ordeal cards, then, deals with both sides of the nature of suffering in our lives: that it is unavoidable and that, through understanding its inner purpose, it can be transmuted into the gold of Grace.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rumi: I Met One Traveling

A thousand half-loves must be forsaken 
to take whole heart home.
  -- Rumi 

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book: 

Transformation Card:  Before death takes what has been given to you, you must give away everything you can give.  Generosity is the key to everything you really want:  act now.

Category explanation from the book:  In the universe of Love, all things are in perpetual metamorphosis.  Love powers an endless evolution and a cosmic dance in which all things constantly are born and die and change shape.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rumi: These Spiritual Window Shoppers

Every object, every being,
is a jar full of delight.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:  
Category: Birth -- The world grows green again, and runs with gardens.  Jewels from the mines glitter in each tree; souls open like suns and link with one another.  harmony and prosperity join hands in your life:  be grateful.
Category description from the book:  "Each moment of our lives is potentially a new birth, if our hearts are open.  Rumi always claimed that the wind of grace is always blowing from God, but that we are too rarely open to its fertile power.  Nevertheless, through Divine generosity, signs of new birth constantly dance in and out of our lives, inviting us to hope, creativity, passion, and praise!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rumi: Poet of the Heart

Speak a new language
so that the world
will be a new world.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:  
Category Love: -- Hold me in the fire; and although I die, I know for whom and why.  Love has brought you to the moment when you can choose it without fear. 
Category explanation from the book:  Rumi wrote, "Wherever you may be, in whatever situation or circumstance you may find yourself, strive always to be a lover, and a passionate lover.  Once you possess your heart in love, you will always be a lover, in the tomb, at the Resurrection, and in paradise forever and ever." 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rumi: Whatever Circles Comes from the Center

Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you're perfectly free.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Category: Birth -- They offered many reasons why the rose is laughing. None of them knew the truth: its prayer has been granted by Spring. The true reason for the joy you feel is that it comes from Divine grace.
Category description from the book: "Each moment of our lives is potentially a new birth, if our hearts are open. Rumi always claimed that the wind of grace is always blowing from God, but that we are too rarely open to its fertile power. Nevertheless, through Divine generosity, signs of new birth constantly dance in and out of our lives, inviting us to hope, creativity, passion, and praise!
This beautiful reading is accompanied by a haunting reed flute.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rumi: Sitar, Roses and Poems

It is Love that holds everything together,
and it is the everything also.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Transformation Card:  Put your trust in him who gives Life and Ecstasy.  Don't mourn what doesn't exist; cling to what does.  Don't look back at the past.  Turn your head to wisdom and truth.
Category explanation from the book:  In the universe of Love, all things are in perpetual metamorphosis.  Love powers an endless evolution and a cosmic dance in which all things constantly are born and die and change shape.
This video include some familiar and some less familiar Rumi poems read by Coleman Barks and Robert Bly.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rumi: The Language of Life 9

There is some kiss
we want
with our whole lives,
the touch of spirit on the body.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Category Love: -- It is certain that an atom of goodness on the path of faith is never lost.  never lose faith that your acts of love (do not) go unnoticed.  May also be an invitation to more generous actions.
Category explanation from the book:  Rumi wrote, "Wherever you may be, in whatever situation or circumstance you may find yourself, strive always to be a lover, and a passionate lover.  Once you possess your heart in love, you will always be a lover, in the tomb, at the Resurrection, and in paradise forever and ever." 
The last segment from the Bill Moyers Series "The Language of Life" which includes small poems and the interview between Moyers and Barks. 


Friday, January 21, 2011

Rumi: The Language of Life 8

Everything in the universe is within you.
Ask all from yourself.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Category: Warning ... Support patiently the disagreements inflicted by ignorant men. Fight against fools and you make matters worse: Keep calm.
From the book: "One of the essential features of a real seeker's life is to start humbly listening to the warnings--inner and outer--that the universe will always be trying to give to him or her. This takes true discrimination, what Jesus called "the wisdom of the Serpent," detachment from our own plans, and a constant willingness to listen to the often quiet and obvious instructions of the Divine."
Part 8 from the Bill Moyers Series "The Language of Life" and includes small poems and the interview between Moyers and Barks. Barks is joined by Robert Bly


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Word Lottery

Today as I was leaving a comment on Louise's beautiful blog, Recover Your Joy, I was asked to type in the prove-you're-human word:  elfillog.  It struck me that it was a great word ... elf . il . log.  It rolls off the tongue and calls mystery into my brain.  What is it, this elfillog that came calling this morning?

Then I headed over to Maureen's Writing without Paper for another feast of tasty tidbits in her "Facts, New or Not" series.  I had to leave a comment since she introduced me to an interesting new book.  This time, my prove-you're-human word was: sproca.  Is it that I'm feeling rather sproca this morning ... perhaps a combination of spry and sweet (as in almond roca)?

Since I was on a word roll, I decided to check out Diane's Contemplative Photography where I found a lovely poem by Meister Eckhart and the word matdaniz ... which does not connect as easily.  Mat . da . niz ... mat . dan . iz  ... a new dance?  a protective surface for knees?  hmmmm ... what do you think?

It seems like a new contribution from the electronic world is this constant word lottery that comes our way as we sign up for something or leave comments here and there.  How many of them will find their way into Websters?


Rumi: The Language of Life 7

Straying maps the path.
-- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Transformation Card:  Through love, disaster becomes good fortune.  Through love, a prison becomes a garden.  The way from defeat to victory runs through love:  Things are never as hard as you imagine them to be.
Category explanation from the book:  In the universe of Love, all things are in perpetual metamorphosis.  Love powers an endless evolution and a cosmic dance in which all things constantly are born and die and change shape.

Part 7 from the Bill Moyers Series "The Language of Life" and includes small poems and the interview between Moyers and Barks.  Barks tells the story of the karmic connection with Rumi.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rumi: The Language of Life 6

Gold becomes constantly more and more beautiful
from the blow the jeweler inflicts on it.  

 -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Reward Card -- He's here.  Invisible.  Absolute.  And he makes the world grow fragrant.  The blessings you have been looking for have at last arrived.
Category explanation from the book: The divine Love that urges our journey ever onward also constantly and lavishly rewards us for every sacrifice we make and every action of true generosity that we undertake.  When the eyes of Love really open in us, we see that life is an unbroken stream of ordinary miracles and that just to be alive is a matchless reward.
Part 6 from the Bill Moyers Series "The Language of Life" and includes small poems and the interview between Moyers and Barks.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rumi: The Lanugage of Life 4

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. 
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book
Category: Birth -- You touched the egg of my heart.  It broke apart, the bird of heave is opening its wings.  Inspirations of all kinds flood your mind:  Seize the time.
Category description from the book:  "Each moment of our lives is potentially a new birth, if our hearts are open.  Rumi always claimed that the wind of grace is always blowing from God, but that we are too rarely open to its fertile power.  Nevertheless, through Divine generosity, signs of new birth constantly dance in and out of our lives, inviting us to hope, creativity, passion, and praise!
Part 4 from the Bill Moyers Series "The Language of Life" and includes small poems and the interview between Moyers and Barks.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rumi: The Lanugage of Life 3

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Category: Ordeal ... You want everything to be yours?  Become nothing to yourself and all things.  The only hope to find a solution to the problem is through total detachment.
Category explanation from the book:  One of the glories of Rumi's work is its naked honesty about the necessity of ordeal--about what could be called "the alchemy of Agony."  The family of ordeal cards, then, deals with both sides of the nature of suffering in our lives:  that it is unavoidable and that, through understanding its inner purpose, it can be transmuted into the gold of Grace.
Part 3 from the Bill Moyers Series "The Language of Life" and includes small poems and the interview between Moyers and Barks.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rumi: The Language of Life 2

Drum sounds rise on the air,
and with them, my heart.
A voice inside the beat says,
I know you are tired,
but come.
This is the way.
   -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Category: Birth -- Your soul was a snake, but is now a fish; it leaps in the spring of immortal life.  Love and hard work have changed you from someone who was struggling into someone who lives in joy.
Category description from the book:  "Each moment of our lives is potentially a new birth, if our hearts are open.  Rumi always claimed that the wind of grace is always blowing from God, but that we are too rarely open to its fertile power.  Nevertheless, through Divine generosity, signs of new birth constantly dance in and out of our lives, inviting us to hope, creativity, passion, and praise!
 Another story about the destiny that brought Coleman Barks to Rumi:
Now comes the funniest and baffling anecdote. Coleman discovered his hidden relation with his life's destiny rather recently. At age six, he was a geography freak who would recite the capitals of all countries when randomly questioned by his father's colleagues. "Bulgaria", some one would yell and he would chirp back, "Sophia!" Until one day, when a trickster of a teacher, fresh from his Latin class, threw him a stunner, "Cappadocia!" The look on Coleman's face, when he was stumped earned him his nickname - Capp!
And then, years later as a Rumi scholar, came the stunning revelation! Cappadocia, was the Anatolian country where the central city was Iconium or Konya, where Rumi lived and was buried!!!
Part 2 of Bill Moyers' series "The Language of Life"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rumi: The Language of Life 1

The moon has become a dancer
at this festival of love.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Category Love: -- Fall into his hands and you'll weep like a cloud; Run from him and you'll freeze over like snow.  You have to choose love knowing clearly its conditions.
Category explanation from the book:  Rumi wrote, "Wherever you may be, in whatever situation or circumstance you may find yourself, strive always to be a lover, and a passionate lover.  Once you possess your heart in love, you will always be a lover, in the tomb, at the Resurrection, and in paradise forever and ever."  -- from The Rumi Card Book
Now that you have been thoroughly introduced to Rumi, perhaps you would like to know more about how Coleman Barks was introduced to the 13th century poet.  The story is told well here and includes excerpt:
Now, to return to Coleman Barks and his discovery of Rumi - the Professor was handed over A. J. Arberry's translations of Rumi in 1976 with the plea (from Robert Bly) that 'these poems need to be released from their cages'. He had never heard of Rumi till that date! He sent some of his works to a friend who taught law at Rutgers-Camden. He, without any specific reason, read them aloud to his law students in class! One student asked him for Coleman's address and requested him to meet his teacher at Philadelphia. Thus, Coleman Barks met the Srilankan saint and learned teacher - Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. Coleman realized that he had seen Bawa's face in a dream an year before! Quote, "I can't explain such an event, nor can I deny that it did happen." Bawa asked Coleman to work on Rumi, telling him, "It has to be done." Rumi, Coleman Barks discovered, was all about love and tolerance. "Love is the religion, and the universe is the book."
This is from the Bill Moyers Series "The Language of Life" and includes a series of small poems and the interview between Moyers and Barks.





Listen to presences inside poems,
Let them take you where they will.
Follow those private hints,
And never leave the premises."
- Rumi (The Tent)

Numbers

Every year I post this poem on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 
birthday in honor of all that he gave us and in hopes that
we live up to his words.

Twenty-six he was when destiny crooked its finger,
beckoning the still-green minister-scholar into the world.
Forty-two she was when she pounded on the door
Theoretically opened ninety-four years before.

It was the first of December, 1955, when history wove
Their fates together into a multi-colored tapestry of change.
“Tired,” she said, “Bone tired. Tired of giving up.
Tired of giving in,” she said and sat in the front of the bus.


Montgomery, Alabama, shivered as the temperature rose.
The old ways could be heard keening long into the night
As 42,000 people left the buses to stand by Rosa’s side.
381 days they walked: nannies, maids, carpenters, all.

Two hundred years of anger rose up to shatter the silence
And from this deafening roar came a molasses-rich voice
Spinning a song of hope with a melody of peace and love.
“I have a dream,” boomed and echoed across the land.

The young minister-leader painted a picture of a life
without color lines, a world without violence.
His voice lifted the dream: Richmond, Little Rock,
Dallas opened their buses, took down their signs.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent
about things that matter," he said, never silent again.
He took our hands and led us step-by-step onto a new path,
Brothers and sisters connected by heart rather than skin.

“Always avoid violence,” he said.
“If you succumb to the temptation …
unborn generations will be the recipients
of a long and desolate night of bitterness,
and your chief legacy to the future will be an
endless reign of meaningless chaos."

Thirty nine he was when one man with a gun silenced the voice,
But not the words …those four words branded into our brains:
“I have a dream …,” saffron-rich messengers left behind to
Carry forward the dream of a color-blind world of hope and peace.

Dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. born January 15, 1929;
Assassinated April 4, 1968.
And Rosa Parks, civil rights activist, born February 4, 1913
Died October 24, 2005

-- Joyce Wycoff, copyright, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rumi: The Water You Want

This outward Spring and garden are a reflection of the inward garden.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Transformation Card:  Anyone who asks to be illuminated now will be made a torch to light up the world.  This is a time radiant with blessings:  Realize your deepest dreams.
Category explanation from the book:  In the universe of Love, all things are in perpetual metamorphosis.  Love powers an endless evolution and a cosmic dance in which all things constantly are born and die and change shape.
The Water You Want




The Water You Want
Someone may be clairvoyant, able to see
the future, and yet have very little wisdom.
Like the man who sees water in his dream
and began leading everyone toward his mirage.
I am the one with heart vision.
I have torn open the veil.
So they set out with him inside the dream,
while he is actually sleeping
beside a river of pure water.
Any search moves away from the spot
where the object of the quest is.
Sleep deeply wherever you are on the way.
Maybe some traveler will wake you.
Give up subtle thinking, the twofold, threefold
multiplication of mistakes.
Listen to the sound of waves within you.
You are dreaming your thirst,
when the water you want

is inside the big vein on your neck.

From:  A YEAR WITH RUMI  by Coleman Barks, http://colemanbarks.com

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Someone Like Me

Yesterday was Vivian Maier day for the blog sisters.  For the full story, go to this Chicagomag.com article, but the nutshell version is that Vivian Maier was a French nanny professionally and a street photographer avocationally.  But she wasn't just an average hobbyist.  She shot thousands of scenes on the Chicago streets over several decades and may be one of the best street photographers ever.  It's an interesting story and there's a great video available at Writing without Paper.

But, for me, the story becomes fascinating, if not actually karmic, when John Maloof, a 26-year-old realtor happens to buy boxes of her stuff at an unclaimed storage auction.  In the video, he comments that he doesn't know why "someone like me" found this treasure, inferring that he doesn't know enough about photography or how to handle a collection like this as he should.  But, perhaps John was the perfect person.  Like someone who has had a baby dropped off on his doorstep, he has carefully tended and nourished it.  He is carefully scanning negatives, developing hundreds of rolls of film still in the containers and connecting Vivian to the art world she never engaged with while she was alive. 

John Maloof's story can be seen as a metaphor.  While following his passion (writing a book about his Chicago neighborhood), he finds a mysterious object.  He can walk away from it ... or he can explore it further.  He pays the price and takes it home and as he unravels it, he finds ... not what he was looking for ... but something else shiny and fascinating.  At each moment he can put it back in the attic and return to normal life.  But he stays, digging deeper and deeper until he discovers the real treasure of a hidden life  and, in the process, even more about himself.

Sometimes we just have to take what life hands us and discover what gold it contains.

I will watch with great interest as this story unfolds, and, fortunately for me, I'll be in Chicago in time to see Vivian's show at the Chicago Cultural Center (show dates:  Jan 8 through Apr 3).  And, for any of you interested in investing in the movie, John and his partners are raising funds for a film about Vivian.  Just go to http://kickstarter.com and search under Vivian Maier.

Rumi: I, You, He, She, We

Oh, my friend,
all that you see of me
is just a shell,
and the rest belongs to love.

  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Category: Ordeal ... You'll only enjoy the City and your relations after enduring all the griefs and ordeals of exile.  After all you have been through, joy and prosperity will taste even better.
Category explanation from the book:  One of the glories of Rumi's work is its naked honesty about the necessity of ordeal--about what could be called "the alchemy of Agony."  The family of ordeal cards, then, deals with both sides of the nature of suffering in our lives:  that it is unavoidable and that, through understanding its inner purpose, it can be transmuted into the gold of Grace.
I, You, He, She, We.  & The Animal Soul



I, you, he, she, we.
In the garden of mystic lovers
these are not true distinctions.

The Animal Soul
There's part of us that's like an itch.
Call it the animal soul, a foolishness
That when we're in it, we make
Hundreds of others around us itchy

And there is an intelligent soul
With another desire, more like sweet basil,
Or the feel of a breeze.

Listen and be thankful even for scolding
That comes from the intelligent soul.
It flows out close to where you flowed out.

But that itchiness wants to put food
In our mouths that will make us sick,

Feverish with the aftertaste of kissing
A donkey's rump. It's like blackening your robe
Against a kettle without being anywhere
Near a table of companionship

The truth of a being human is an empty table
Made of soul-intelligence

Gradually reduce what you give your animal soul,
The bread that after all overflows from sunlight.

The animal soul itself spilled out
And sprouted from the other.

Taste more often what nourishes your clear light,
And you'll have less use for the smoky oven.

You'll bury that baking equipment in the ground!

More about Coleman Barks:  http://colemanbarks.com

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Rumi: Today, Like Every Other Day

The fault is in the one who blames. Spirit sees nothing to criticize.
 -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book
Category: Birth -- Love has come to rule and transform. Stay awake, my heart, stay awake.  Be acutely aware of the hidden teachings and blessings you are about to receive.
Category description from the book:  "Each moment of our lives is potentially a new birth, if our hearts are open.  Rumi always claimed that the wind of grace is always blowing from God, but that we are too rarely open to its fertile power.  Nevertheless, through Divine generosity, signs of new birth constantly dance in and out of our lives, inviting us to hope, creativity, passion, and praise!
Today, Like Every Other Day



Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened.  Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading.  Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

translated by John Moyne and Coleman Barks, http://colemanbarks, com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rumi: Who Says Words with My Mouth

There is a candle in your heart,
ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul,
ready to be filled.
You feel it, don't you?

 -- Rumi
Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:  
Category:  Warning ... Do not call a cup the Sea; do not call mad the sage of Love.  Do not inflate your experience:  Honor the true wisdom.
Category explanation from the book:  "One of the essential features of a real seeker's life is to start humbly listening to the warnings--inner and outer--that the universe will always be trying to give to him or her.  This takes true discrimination, what Jesus called "the wisdom of the Serpent," detachment from our own plans, and a constant willingness to listen to the often quiet and obvious instructions of the Divine."
Who Says Words with My Mouth

(The video shows San Francisco before the great fire caused by the earthquake of 1906.  The music is Debussy's Clair de Lune)




Who Says Words With My Mouth?

All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I'll be completely sober.  Meanwhile,
I'm like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,

but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?
Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.

If I could taste one sip of an answer,
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This poetry, I never know what I'm going to say.
I don't plan it.
When I'm outside the saying of it,
I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

From Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks, http://colemanbarks.com

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rumi: Imagine the Time

Learn the alchemy true human beings know.
The moment you accept what troubles you've been given,
the door will open.

  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Category: Ordeal ... You fear the rocks?  Better men than you have died on them.  Dying on love's rock is better than a life of death.  Stop being afraid and full of self-pity.  Your duty is to act on your deepest beliefs.
Category explanation from the book:  One of the glories of Rumi's work is its naked honesty about the necessity of ordeal--about what could be called "the alchemy of Agony."  The family of ordeal cards, then, deals with both sides of the nature of suffering in our lives:  that it is unavoidable and that, through understanding its inner purpose, it can be transmuted into the gold of Grace.
Imagine the Time



From: http://rumidays.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html

Imagine the time the particle you are
returns where it came from.

The family darling comes home. Wine,
without being contained in cups,
is handed around.

A red glint appears in a granite outcrop,
and suddenly the whole cliff turns to ruby.

At dawn I walked along with a monk
on his way to the monastery.

We do the same work, I told him.
We suffer the same.

He gave me a bowl, and I saw.
The soul has this shape.

Shams, and actual sunlight, help me now,
being in the middle of being
partly in myself, and partly outside.

More about Coleman Barks:

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rumi: Those Who Don't Feel This Love

Let us fall in love again
and scatter gold dust all over the world.

-- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Category Love: -- If it is love you are looking for, take a knife and cut off the head of fear.  It is a time when love itself is willing to teach the truth directly.  To find love, destroy your old patterns.
Category explanation from the book:  Rumi wrote, "Wherever you may be, in whatever situation or circumstance you may find yourself, strive always to be a lover, and a passionate lover.  Once you possess your heart in love, you will always be a lover, in the tomb, at the Resurrection, and in paradise forever and ever." 
Warning:  Mild Nudity



Those who don’t feel this Love

Those who don’t feel this Love
pulling them like a river,
those who don’t drink dawn
like a cup of spring water
or take in sunset like supper,
those who don’t want to change,
let them sleep.

This Love is beyond the study of theology,
that old trickery and hypocrisy.
I you want to improve your mind that way,
sleep on.

I’ve given up on my brain.
I’ve torn the cloth to shreds
and thrown it away.
If you’re not completely naked,
wrap your beautiful robe of words
around you,

and sleep.

More about Coleman Barks:   

Saturday, January 8, 2011

This Falls on All of Us

After reading some of Loughner's writings, it seems apparent that he's a mad man.  But his madness is wide-spread, perhaps pandemic in our society.  This tragedy does not fall at Sarah Palin's feet, it falls on all of us as we have allowed the political divide to create an "Us and Them" mindset in what should be a "United" States.  We have allowed vile, violent and dishonest rhetoric to flourish in our media and far too few of us have called for a return to polite discourse and honest sharing of differences.

Perhaps this great tragedy should give us a pause to remember that we are one country and if we do not find a way to explore our differences and take actions for the good of all, we may descend into the Loughner madness of violence and mayhem.

Perhaps we should start by praying for the victims and their families and for a miraculous recovery for Gabrielle Giffords.  We will need all the leaders we can get if we're going to put this hate and violence behind us.  And, may each one of us refrain from passing along hate.

Rumi: What Was Said to the Rose

Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.
-- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Reward Card -- Eat on and on, you lovers, at Eternity's table; its feast is forever; and spread out for you.  Prosperity of all kinds is now open to you.
Category explanation from the book: The divine Love that urges our journey ever onward also constantly and lavishly rewards us for every sacrifice we make and every action of true generosity that we undertake.  When the eyes of Love really open in us, we see that life is an unbroken stream of ordinary miracles and that just to be alive is a matchless reward.





What Was Said to the Rose

What was said to the rose that made it open
was said to me here in my chest.

What was told the Cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was

whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever

was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil in
Turkestan that makes them

so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is

being said to me now. I blush. Whatever put eloquence in
language, that's happening here.

The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane,

in love with the one to whom every that belongs!

Poem by Jalaluddin Rumi

More about Coleman Barks:   


translation ©2005 — Coleman Barks

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rumi: Gnats and Other Small Things

Love rests on no foundation.
It is an endless ocean,
with no beginning or end.

 -- Rumi
Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Transformation Card:  Through love, disaster becomes good fortune.  Through love, a prison becomes a garden.  The way from defeat to victory runs through love:  Things are never as bad as you imagine them to be.
Category explanation from the book:  In the universe of Love, all things are in perpetual metamorphosis.  Love powers an endless evolution and a cosmic dance in which all things constantly are born and die and change shape.
Today's recording is special as it features both Coleman Barks and Robert Bly (poet, author, activist and leader of the mythopoetic men's movement) reading Rumi.  There is a repeat of "Inside Water" from an earlier post (but do we ever get tired of hearing him?) and Bly reads "Come to the orchard in spring" one of my favorites.




Gnats Inside the Wind

Some gnats come from the grass to speak with Solomon.
O Solomon, you are the champion of the oppressed.
You give justice to the little guys, and they don't get
any littler than us. We are tiny metaphors
for frailty. Can you defend us'
Who has mistreated you'
Our complaint is against the wind.
Well, says Solomon, you have pretty voices,
you gnats, but remember, a judge cannot listen
to just one side. I must hear both litigants.
Of course, agree the gnats.
Summon the East Wind, calls out Solomon,
and the wind arrives almost immediately.
What happened to the gnat plaintiffs' Gone.
Such is the way of every seeker who comes to complain
at the High Court. When the presence of God arrives,
where are the seekers' First there's dying,

then union, like gnats inside the wind.

Come to the orchard in Spring.
There is light and wine, and sweethearts        
in the pomegranate flowers.

If you do not come, these do not matter.
If you do come, these do not matter.

More about Coleman Barks:  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rumi: Out beyond the Field

Move from within.
Don’t move the way that fear wants you to.
Begin a foolish project.
Noah did.

 -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:
Reward Card -- After despair, many hopes flourish just as after darkness, thousands of Suns open and start to shine.  Your suffering has earned you a glorious fresh start.
Category explanation from the book: The divine Love that urges our journey ever onward also constantly and lavishly rewards us for every sacrifice we make and every action of true generosity that we undertake.  When the eyes of Love really open in us, we see that life is an unbroken stream of ordinary miracles and that just to be alive is a matchless reward.

Click here to watch:
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/archives/rumi_vid.html

Out Beyond the Field


Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
Out 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 ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn't make any sense.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rumi: Only Breath

I was you
and never knew it.
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:

Category: Ordeal ... From every direction, agonies have crowded you to drag you at last toward the directionless.  The meaning of all the losses you are sustaining is to turn you totally toward the Divine.
Category explanation from the book:  One of the glories of Rumi's work is its naked honesty about the necessity of ordeal--about what could be called "the alchemy of Agony."  The family of ordeal cards, then, deals with both sides of the nature of suffering in our lives:  that it is unavoidable and that, through understanding its inner purpose, it can be transmuted into the gold of Grace.



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

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seahorse Medicine

The vision collage is completed and now I'm listening to what it says. One surprise was how many seahorses showed up ... six in all ... I wasn't looking for seahorses or thinking about seahorses ... they just paraded their way onto the page. So, it seems that there should be a message that comes with them. So off to google where I find that this small but surprising creature has long had mystical significance.

The following is from this article:

"A relatively calm, and mild-mannered creature, the seahorse is seemingly content to roam the seas. Their bodies are geared for ambling-type motion - not for speed. Thus, they are symbolic of patience and contentment - they are happy with being where they are, and are in no hurry for advancement.
Further testimony to these attributes is the lack of evolution of the seahorse’s body style. They have remained with this body style without change since their inception. Content to be who they are, and not feeling the need to change - these are a few profound lessons the seahorse provides us.
However, along with a resistance to change, and a carefree approach to progress, the seahorse can be a symbol of inflexibilty or stubbornness. To wit, the seahorse wraps its tail around the nearest object in order to anchor itself in turbulent waters. This is a lesson to be persistent in our goals, but be mindful that we are not too inflexible or stubborn in our achieving them."
Patience and contentment with a dollop of persistence seems like a very good message to start the year.

Rumi: The Jars of Springwater

"The ruby and the sunrise are one."
  -- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:  


Category: Birth -- The world grows green again and runs with gardens.  Jewels from the mines glitter in each tree.  Souls open like suns and link with one another.  Harmony and prosperity join hands in your life:  Be grateful.

Category description from the book:  "Each moment of our lives is potentially a new birth, if our hearts are open.  Rumi always claimed that the wind of grace is always blowing from God, but that we are too rarely open to its fertile power.  Nevertheless, through Divine generosity, signs of new birth constantly dance in and out of our lives, inviting us to hope, creativity, passion, and praise!




Jars of springwater are not enough anymore.
Take us down to the river.

The face of peace, the sun itself.
No more the slippery, cloudlike moon.

Give us one clear morning after another,
and the one whose work remains unfinished,

who is our work as we diminish,
idle, though occupied, empty, and open.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ancestors

A few months ago I attended a workshop where paying honor to our ancestors was part of the ritual.  It wasn't a very meaningful part of the workshop because I have no ancestors ... at least no knowledge of any.  I know my DNA drifted down the river of time somehow but it didn't seem like it involved real people or that it had any relevance to me.

Awareness of lineage was not part of my family culture and divorce had so muddied the waters that no one really kept track of relationships.  This became very clear to me when I was about fourteen and decided to chart my family tree. I had heard that my birth-father's family came from Austria and Norway and I thought that was exotic and wanted to know more.  But, in those pre-computer days this was not an easy task, especially for my mother's family who couldn't seem to remember all the sibling names let alone any of the details.  And, I had no idea how to find my father's family.

At the end of the recent workshop, I thought maybe I should try again since it is so much easier to find information these days.  That thought went unexercised until today.  After ancestry.com showed up in three different places, I decided to check it out.  I started a tree for my father's side expecting to find that my grandparents had emigrated from Austria and Norway and wound up in Maine.  However, Ancestry.com is like playing a game, drawing you deeper and deeper into the past.  Census records from the 1800s offer spouses and children and the tree starts to sprout branches.  Other people working on different branches of the same tree (there is, of course, only one big tree) and I was surprised to see the trail dipping deeper and deeper into the past ... all in Maine until in the 1700s when the births, deaths and marriages moved to Massachusetts with one ancestor named Benjamin was born on July 5, 1776 (it was probably a popular name about that time).  But, it didn't stop there ... back and back the line went until it reached Plymouth in the 1630s (the Mayflower landed in 1620).  There's even an ancestor who wrote a genealogy that traced the family back to 1066 ... of course that required a jump across the water to England, Ireland and Scotland.

Now, there is nothing remarkable about any of this ... every one of us have ancestors that go back to 1066 ... and even further.  What stunned me was that I didn't know any of this.  Some of my ancestors were religious rebels, adventurers who made a dangerous voyage across the ocean for their principles.  They risked everything and I didn't know enough to honor them.  Somewhere along the line, most of us stopped talking about our ancestors.  We let our date-and-battlefield laden textbooks sap the juice out of our history.  Our ancestors were real people who faced incredible challenges and passed along real genes.  Mine are part of me and yet I am completely ignorant about who they were and what they gave me.

I read recently that genealogy is today's number one fastest-growing hobby ... maybe that's a really good thing.  Maybe we'll start telling our children about their ancestors and helping them feel a connection to and pride in the past while their young.  Of course, I thought I was going to turn out to be a Viking and, instead, I've wound up as a Pilgrim.  Hmmmm.

About this Image:  this is what my ancestry.com efforts felt like ... the tracks were clear but I couldn't see what left them ... or where they were going.

Rumi: Love Dogs

Those who don't feel this Love
pulling them like a river,
those who don't drink dawn
like a cup of spring water
or take in sunset like supper,
those who don't want to change,
let them sleep.
-- Rumi

Today's guidance from The Rumi Card Book:

Category: Warning ... The mirror of the heart must be polished constantly before you can see clearly in it Good and Evil. Do not rely on your own judgment. Pray for guidance.
Category description from the book: "One of the essential features of a real seeker's life is to start humbly listening to the warnings--inner and outer--that the universe will always be trying to give to him or her. This takes true discrimination, what Jesus called "the wisdom of the Serpent," detachment from our own plans, and a constant willingness to listen to the often quiet and obvious instructions of the Divine."



"Love Dogs."

One night a man was crying Allah! Allah!
His lips grew sweet with praising,
until a cynic said, “So!
I’ve heard you calling our, but have you ever
gotten any response?”
The man had no answer to that.
He quit praying and fell into a confused sleep.
He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,
in a thick, green foliage.
“Why did you stop praising?” “Because
I’ve never heard anything back.”
“This longing you express
is the return message.”
The grief you cry out from
draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog for its master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.
Give your life
to be one of them.

Additional Resource: Rumi Days http://rumidays.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Rumi: Inside Water

There are amazing things in the ocean,
and there is one who is the ocean.

  -- Rumi

Several years ago, I found a deck of Rumi cards (The Rumi Card Book by Eryk Hanut and Michele Wetherbee) that are used for inspiration and guidance.  You pick a card and the message on the card is expanded by a related message in the book.  So, I'll choose a card each day and we can share the wisdom.

Category:  Love -- Each night, the Moon kisses secretly the lover who counts the stars.
Pay constant attention to the Divine guidance and you will be blessed.
Rumi wrote, "Wherever you may be, in whatever situation or circumstance you may find yourself, strive always to be a lover, and a passionate lover.  Once you possess your heart in love, you will always be a lover, in the tomb, at the Resurrection, and in paradise forever and ever."  -- from The Rumi Card Book



Inside water, a water wheel turns.
The star circulates with the moon.

We live in the night ocean wondering
What are these lights.

You have said what you are.
I am what I am.
Your actions in my head
My head here in my hands
With something circling inside.
I have no name for what circles
so perfectly.


Additional Resource:  Rumi's Continuing Emergence in Our Culture -- a one-hour reading and music.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Rumi & Barks Celebration

"Come, come, whoever you are,
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows
a thousand times.
Come, yet again, come, come."
-- Inscription on Rumi's shrine in Konya, Turkey (translation: Coleman Barks)

“If Rumi is the most read poet in America today, Coleman Barks is in good part responsible. His ear for the truly divine madness in Rumi’s poetry is truly remarkable.”
-- Huston Smith, author, The World’s Religions

Jalal ad-Din Rumi is the 13th-century Persian muslim poet and Sufi mystic, known as the Poet of Love. He was born on September 30, 1207, in the village of Wakhsh in what is now Tajikistan and died on December 17, 1273.

I don't know whom I love more Rumi or Coleman Barks. Rumi's words plus Coleman's spirit and voice make an irresistible whole worth celebrating. Barks gave the world the gift of Rumi. Were it not for his poetic translations and his resonant voice, we might never have come to revere Rumi as we do, making him the best-selling poet in our world today.

There is a mystical connection between Rumi and Coleman Barks, a connection that translates the passion and poetry of a 13th century Persian into the language of a 21st century seeker. Compare the earlier, probably more literal translation, with Barks' version above:
Whoever you may be, come
Even though you may be
An infidel, a pagan, or a fire-worshipper, come
Our brotherhood is not one of despair
Even though you have broken
Your vows of repentance a hundred times, come.
(translator unknown)
Barks' version is passionate and poetic, as if Rumi were alive in the room drumming his words directly into our hearts.

There is a destiny fulfilled in the coming together of Rumi born in 1207 in Persia and Barks born in 1937 in Tennessee. Seven hundred years and a world apart and yet they weave a tapestry of love and yearning that draws us in and makes us a part of their song. I first heard Barks at a conference years ago talking about his journey to Sufism and Rumi. His words landed in a pool somewhere inside my being and now bubble up and over like spring snow melt bounding down the hills. There is a jubilation in this union of words and voice. Barks often chuckles as if Rumi is speaking directly in his ear. Sometimes his voice deepens with an ache that goes beyond the words.

For the next 30 days, I invite you to celebrate the gift of Rumi and Coleman Barks. Sometimes I find that these words don't linger in my rational brain but go straight to a place that doesn't comprehend their meaning yet vibrates with a type of understanding nonetheless. Rumi might say, "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there." Rumi and Barks create that field where we meet beyond ideas, beyond thought, in a pure encounter of the divine.

Please share your favorite Rumi quotes or thoughts on these poems and also feel free to pass these posts of celebration along to others. Most of all, I hope you enjoy starting this remarkable year with these two incredible poets.