His teachings are not about religion or even about philosophy, they entreat us into an experience of the Divine as our great beloved, our friend, our encourager, our challenger (to bring the best out in us) and the great one into whom we can surrender and discover more wonder, joy and passion than we have ever known. Rumi brings out the optimist, the one who is not afraid to be foolish, the one who is therefore courageous and willing to live life and not hide away behind controlling perfectionism.
Rumi’s Mystical Poetry
When I contemplate Rumi, I imagine our souls as being ravished by the Divine. We could worry that our hair is out of place and turn the lights off and hide beneath a sheet, not making a sound. Or we could open our souls up to the Divine, willing to have our hair and our souls divinely dishevelled, trusting there is only love in the exchange, and nothing to fear. I remember hearing a story about a man who was having a really difficult day. He was dumped by his business partners quite out of the blue, and came home that evening to be dumped by his wife, too. It was not the way he saw his day progressing when he woke up that morning! However, it was so profoundly shocking that he had a sudden thought.
Only the Divine could mess up his life with so much power and precision in such an instant way! So instead of worrying, he decided to trust that the Divine was up to something. As it turned out, his intuition was correct and many changes that brought greater happiness to all involved unfolded through his trusting attitude. You could say that he wasn’t afraid when the Divine was pulling at his soul shirt and passionately messing up his hair. Rumi’s mystical poetry is an encouragement towards unconditional trust because he believes in the unconditional love that the Divine has for us, and that we are deep within.
In a world that is still so often dominated by fear-based, status-oriented, control-driven attitudes, his active encouragement to surrender and seek the deeper meaning meaning of our life experience is a welcome relief. Even on the path of spiritual healing and self-improvement we need to take care. Rumi reminds us that all life experiences are valuable, and that becoming a better person is not necessarily the point of the path at all. Through his guiding light we find permission to be ourselves–our human, messy, soulful and sometimes downright confused or bewildered selves.
In Love with the Divine
If we are in love with the Divine, passionate about spirit, then we are going to be contemplating a vast intelligence that we cannot possibly understand. That means we are going to be scratching our heads a lot and wondering what the Universe is up to! That’s fine. In fact, it’s important. It’s part of how we can express our devotion– to just be in awe and say wow, because we saw a polkadotted bee for the first time (it’s called a domino cuckoo bee, by the way) or because there was an incredible lunar eclipse that made the moon look like a blood-red celestial omen. It also means that when things seem to be falling apart around our ears, we can also say wow, and remain willing to participate in this strangely beautiful mystery that we know as life. Rumi often speaks of intoxication as an analogy for how we feel when we are drunk on divine bliss.
If you’ve ever had this experience yourself, you’ll know that is exactly how it feels–like being happily drunk (but with a healthier liver the next morning). There are times when, in our intention to make progress in our lives, even on our spiritual or self-healing path, we can forget how important it is to have fun, to enjoy the occasional ridiculousness of life, to laugh at a volume that is not appropriate (writing that just made me snort-laugh SO loudly) and basically let go and feel alive.
Rumi Helps us Connect
Rumi helps us keep a check on our seriousness so that it is useful but not constraining to the wild misfit within that needs to be let out to play from time to time. That part of us understands that sometimes giggling hysterically, to the point that you cannot do anything else, may well be the best medicine for what ails the mind. This is the part of us that is not afraid to mess up and therefore is willing to take chances in life. This is the sort of soul that the Universe loves to play with, to lead on adventures, to share great mysteries and insights with … that open, curious, sense-of-humour-intact being is a magnet for divine blessing and mystical experience. Rumi helps us connect with this cheeky and curious consciousness within.
He helps us remember that love is a festival, a celebration, an invitation to the greatest divine party ever. You may well be swinging from a crystal chandelier, trying to fly, as the raucous evening progresses, but the Divine is not going to punish you for it. Instead you’ll just be granted wings to help you fulfil your heart’s desire for lift off. When you are ready to deepen your journey with Rumi, it’s time to give up being the warrior and embrace being the lover and the beloved. It’s time to experience your life not as an endless obstacle course to be navigated, or battle to be won, but rather as a great big playground and sumptuous banquet where you get to experience as much as your soul is hungry for –and then some–whilst running wild with other souls, recognising that the same divine light that you love so much also burns in you and in all beings.
It is also a time when you can be sure that your soul is asking you to give up on the way you have related to the Universe and open yourself to a more radically unconditional form of trust. It is advanced spiritual training to learn how to be at peace no matter what is unfolding in your life. When you are going through big growth spurts, it’s not necessarily easy to accept the darkness and pain that can arise as part of that process, even if you know at a deeper level that it will ultimately bring you greater light, happiness and peace in time.
Rumi doesn’t want us to wait until later to feel trust and love for the Universe, he wants us to live it now–in the dark night of the soul and in the bright light of a breakthrough into greater divine connection. He reminds us that it is all part of the workings–mysterious as they are–of a greater divine love in our lives. In a way this lets us off the hook of the misconception that if something is not flowing in our lives, we must be doing something wrong. Sometimes there is chaos because we are ready for something new and different, the old is dismantled so that the new can emerge. It’s like a home renovation in the soul and in our lives– a mess, but worth it for the end result! Rumi’s guiding light helps us remember that night will turn into day, but we don’t have to wait for that moment to feel hope and relief.
Remembering that we are loved, that we can laugh, that we can recognise and embrace the silliness of our own antics, we can be human with all it entails, including vibrant creativity, profound wisdom and the ability to trip over the edge of a Turkish carpet at the precise moment we want to make a fabulous first impression. Rumi just shrugs his soul shoulders, beams at us with love in his eyes, and leans over to playfully tug at our nose. May his beautiful spirit free you from guilt, shame and fear, and empower you to live your life fully and freely, from the heart.
With love and blessings,
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