This week I have struggled a little bit with some of the Rumi that I’ve read. Here are a range of my journal notes: Reading Rumi’s poems, I wonder what it must have been like for him to try to portray through his words what his revelations were. How do you describe the sky to a blind person? It’s always there but it has it’s moods and is always changing. Even in the moment of describing the sky it may change before your eyes. On another day I wrote: I think Rumi is telling us we try too hard. Even if we do nothing we will reap the rewards of the harvest. And one day I questioned who actually wrote the poem (Only Breath) or who was it who inspired Rumi to write the words he did?
Today “Where Everything is Music” resonates with me. In 2015, as an adult with no musical background, I decided to learn to play cello.(Seen in the above photo!) I have loved every minute of the journey. It has been challenging for sure but it has opened my eyes to a world I had been on the periphery of before. I feel I have “opened a window” as Rumi suggests in his final stanza of this poem.
“We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.
Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.” ~ Rumi
Rumi compares love, his passion for life and living, to the intoxicating effect of music, with its enlivening effect on the soul.
Throughout the day today I see references to Bach and to Nietzsche, “Without music life would be a mistake.” Reminders of Rumi’s words are everywhere. A quote from Virginia Woolf falls open, “That is the quality which dance music has – no other: it stirs some barbaric instinct – lulled asleep in our sober lives – you forget centuries of civilization in a second and yield to that strange passion which sends you whirling round the room – oblivious of everything save that you must keep swaying with the music -” I listen to my favorite songs and I know that Rumi’s assessment of music will resonate with many!
Today I felt I was sitting at Rumi’s feet listening to him teach. His calm, gentle demeanor radiated out to create a calm, gentle atmosphere in the circle of his teaching.
“I’ve said before that every craftsman
searches for what’s not there
to practice his craft.”
Rumi goes on to say how a builder notices a hole in a roof, a water carrier notices an empty jug, a carpenter notices a house without a door. Each craftsman is looking for something that isn’t there so they can then practice their craft, have something to do. But then Rumi states:
“Their hope, though,
is for emptiness, so don’t think
you must avoid it. It contains
what you need!”
The poem continues with a teaching frm another Sufi mystic, Attar. As always, I am left with a hint of knowing but still not 100% sure of Rumi’s message. I am left with more of a feeling than actual knowing. But I believe from this hint of knowledge, great knowing can be acquired if I am patient.
The road winds into the distance
rocks, roots, puddles and mud
draw them higher.
Each step one closer to the lodge
built years ago by others
who passed beneath more youthful trees.
Trees that now bend and sway
creak and groan as they lean
to hear conversation below,
chatter to ease the monotony
of the upward stretch.
Clouds twist and tumble
tease with grey and blues swirls,
jackets on and off
in rhythm with their play.
Each stride squashes every day worry.
Layers of adult responsibility shed
as boots splash and smiles spread.
Friends greet each other,
prairie dogs happy to ascend to the alpine,
to explore new territory.
Covered in mud they giggle,
children who play in the rain
because they can.
Words have fled my lips,
like moulting feathers that litter the ground,
My heart is in my throat.
I see abundance.
Numerous seals and penguins dot the landscape
like so many pixels creating an image.
Great beauty rises from stark surroundings.
Thick glaciers melt into leaping waterfalls,
cascade to the sea.
Wash over red rust whaling station scars
that blister the horizon.
Macabre glory days over,
sea and salt air reclaim what once ignored her.
Beleaguered oil containers lean into the future
waiting for cargo that will no longer fill
their insatiable appetite.
Once we pillaged the sea,
now the earth.
Sights and sounds flow
rolling me along the river of life
Radiant sunlight filters through
a canopy of leaves
scattered across my smooth surface
solar energy touching my rocky being
Rain drops add to the river
cares and worries pitter patter around me
howling wind and icy hail
roil the waters
Vibrant birds alight
colorful refractions shimmer across my hard surface
a dancing sparkle in the water
and peck and peck
then fly away
graceful wings growing smaller in the distance