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Daily Wisdomisms: Rumi (The Guest House)

Today’s tidbit is an inspiring and eye-opening poem from Rumi. Enjoy!

 

“This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

 

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

 

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.

 

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing,

and invite them in.

 

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.”     The Essential Rumi, p. 109

 

To me, this is a poem about perception. I like the idea that being human is a guest house whose purpose seems to be to entertain all these different experiences. But isn’t that the point? We are here to experience all that life and the world has to offer to us. The good and the bad. I”ll be the first to admit, it’s hard to meet the negative at the door laughing. It’s even harder to invite them in. But in the end, even those experiences add to our character and strengthen our souls.  We can’t live life in fear of or trying to avoid negativity and hardship. It WILL find us eventually. There is no escaping the fact that life isn’t all smiles and rainbows. The greatest weapon we have against them is our perception of them.

Even when they “come into our house and violently sweep out all of our furniture” we still treat them honorably. Even when something happens in our lives that totally screws everything up we have to keep a reasonable perception about it. After all, change is often a violent and unsettling process, but the end result is always likely to be a “new delight.”  Seeing misfortune and hardship any other way is a one way ticket for self-pity and depression. And life’s too short to spend in the dark place of our souls all the time.

So” be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond”.  Each and every experience of our lives is serving to move our souls toward growth and development. So we have to be conscious of falling into the self-pity, woe-is-me mind traps that open so easily every time misfortune knocks on our door. Remember, every time we grow comfortable, we cease to grow.

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Daily Wisdomisms: Rumi (An Empty Garlic)

In today’s Wisdomism, I ruminate on Rumi once again. Enjoy!

 

AN EMPTY GARLIC

 

You will miss the garden,

because you want a small fig from a random tree.

You don’t meet the beautiful woman.

You’re joking with an old crone.

It makes me want to cry how she detains you,

stinking mouthed, with a hundred talons,

putting her head over the roof edge to call down,

tasteless fig, fold over fold empty

as dry-rotten garlic.

 

She has you by the belt,

even though there’s no flower and no milk

inside her body.

Death will open your eyes

to what her face is: leather spine

of a black lizard. No more advice.

 

Let yourself be silently drawn

by the stronger pull of what you really love.  The Essential Rumi, p. 50

 

How often do we find ourselves distracted from the fullness of life by the old crone? How often do we miss out on the grand design because we are focused on one unimportant fig?

In this poem, I believe the crone represents hollow pursuits, including material gain. The crone has the young man “by the belt”. She has his full attention, even though there is “no flower and no milk” (she is lifeless, dried up.) in her. Meanwhile, the beauty of life passes us by until finally death takes us and we realize just how much time we wasted joking with the crone.  We live in a world now where the crone has us distracted nearly 100% of the time. So often we must forsake the stronger pull of what we really love in order to survive. The crone holds all the keys and she constantly dangles them before us, tantalizing us, lying to us and telling us our dreams are just around the next corner. Just a few more years to retire. A little more money to save up. A little more of our lives lived and gone forever until it’s too late to do anything about it. No more advice.

We have the power to change the world. We have the power to write our own stories. All we have to do is turn away from the crone.  All we have to do is look up from whatever has our focus and see the limitless possibility before us. We are only slaves because we choose to be. Because we believe the lies that have been ingrained within our collective consciousness. I, for one, choose to believe it’s time to wake up and follow that stronger pull.

Daily Wisdomisms: Rumi

A short piece, but a powerful one. Enjoy!

An Egypt that Doesn’t Exist

I want to say words that flame
as I say them, but I keep quiet and don’t try
to make both worlds fit in one mouthful.

I keep secret in myself an Egypt
that doesn’t exist.
Is that good or bad? I don’t know.

For years I gave away sexual love
with my eyes. Now I don’t.
I’m not in any one place. I don’t have a name
for what I gave away. Whatever Shams
gave, that you can have from me.

—-From The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks and John Moyne.

Daily Wisdom-isms: Rumi (Solomon’s Crooked Crown)

Another piece from Rumi. Wisdom? Judgement? Even the wise judges can lose sight of their God-given wisdom. This is illustrated in the following poem: Enjoy!

SOLOMON’S CROOKED CROWN

Solomon was busy judging others,
when it was his personal thoughts
that were disrupting the community.

His crown slid crooked on his head.
He put it straight, but the crown went
awry again. Eight times this happened.

Finally he began to talk to his headpiece.
“Why do you keep tilting over my eyes?”

“I have to. When your power loses compassion,
I have to show you what such a condition looks like.”

Immediately Solomon recognized the truth.
He knelt and asked forgiveness.
The crown centered itself on his crown.

When something goes wrong, accuse yourself first.
Even the wisdom of Plato or Solomon
can wobble and go blind.

Listen when your crown reminds you
of what makes you cold toward others,
as you pamper the greedy energy inside.

This needs to be read and applied by EVERY world leader today. And a vast majority of the laity could benefit from this simple lesson too. Unfortunately, humanity has become too proud to kneel and ask forgiveness.

Daily Wisdom-isms: Rumi

Today’s bit of brightness comes from The Essential Rumi as translated by, Coleman Barks. I can’t get enough of this book. Beautiful metaphysical and love poetry. Almost every poem tugs at my heart. Truly a timeless joy. The selection comes from a poem called, “The Worm’s Waking”. Enjoy!

This is how a human being can change:

there’s a worm addicted to eating
grape leaves.

Suddenly, he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he’s no longer
a worm.
He’s the entire vineyard
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn’t need
to devour.

One day, all us worms will wake up and realize we don’t need to devour to survive, that we don’t need to consume to find happiness and completion in our lives.

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