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!
A doctor after a 12 hour shift in a New York hospital with only Covid-19 patients stated, “I’m going to change my clothing and get back into my street clothes, after taking a shower and scrubbing any part of the virus from my body, if not my soul.”
None of us believed we would be faced with a situation like this but here we are. Here are our front-line workers, fighting on our behalf. Here we are with more “free time” than we know what to do with.
Maybe we can use some of that spare time to find ways to express our gratitude, although it may never be enough, to those working tirelessly on our behalf to care for our sick, loved ones; for those who are working to keep us safe; for those who are behind the scenes coordinating our front-line workers; for those who are scrambling to find a vaccination or a cure.
Maybe we can use some of our free time to find ways that will lead to the telling of a different story than before. A story where we do not sleep walk through life. A story where we really see and acknowledge each other. A story where we know beyond any doubt, and embody, the essence of the African term, Ubuntu, “I am because we all are.” We don’t have to live in fear. Together we will pass through an exit even if we have to hobble.
Be patient. Be kind, to each other and ourselves. We will persevere.
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart