Rumi Poems — A Difficult Path

Rumi Poems — Diving Deep
Rumi Poems — Mean-spirited Roadhouses

A Difficult Path — the road Rumi suggests is not an easy one, because it’s all about being who you are, as opposed to expecting others to pave the path for you.

Rumi’s Poetry as a Way Inside

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Many moons ago, I wrote a series of articles featuring some of Rumi’s poems. I think it’s time for a revisit.

Jelaluddin Rumi lived during the 13th century. He was a theologian with his own divinity school. At age 37, through a relationship with a dervish monk, Shams, Rumi began to transform his being, and in the process, to write some of the most beautiful mystical poetry ever written. For the next several weeks, we’ll reflect on some of his poems.

I’m using a translation from the book The Illuminated Rumi.


Be Source, not result

We must not be afraid of what anyone might say:
Be source, not result.

Rumi


Jelaluddin Rumi lived during the 13th century. He was a theologian with his own divinity school. At age 37, through a relationship with a dervish monk, Shams, Rumi began to transform his being, and in the process, to write some of the most beautiful mystical poetry ever written. For the next several weeks, we’ll reflect on some of his poems.

I’m using a translation found in the book The Illuminated Rumi.


difficult pathI seem OK to me…

This line is the tail end of a poem about Spirit and madness. A preceding line says: “half-crazy is not nearly enough for you!”

This difficult path… the e idea of being source, not result flies in the face of societal teachings. Yet, this theme is prevalent among great thinkers:

- Here’s a related quote from one of my favourite humans, Robert F. Kennedy:

Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it.

And this:

This poem was written by Mother Teresa and is engraved on the wall of her home for children in Calcutta.

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy it overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Mother Teresa


This, truly, is a difficult path.

Perhaps the hardest thing to learn or admit to is this: In relation to others, we are absolutely powerless to make them change. In relation to ourselves, we are absolutely in charge of our own experience.

Now, why is this so hard to get? I suspect it has something to do with our deep instinct to fix things that are “out there.” Now, paradoxically, that is what we do in our business lives. We adjust systems, create products, invent cures — in short, we spend our working careers looking for what’s broken, and creating solutions. And this is as it should be.

When it comes to the status of our own deep structure — our selves — our instinct is to apply the same criteria: “My life is a mess, let me see who is messing it up, and get them to shift.”

One client averaged a year with each man she “dated.” She tried to fix the men who treated her badly, then kicked them out when they wouldn’t “fix.” The men who treated her well soon became boring.

Now, it would have been “easy” to talk with her about how she dealt with men, but my tack was to ask her to explore her own needs and desires. What did she want out of a relationship?

She sat quietly, wheels spinning. Finally, she said, “I don’t know. I don’t even know if I want to be in relationship.” And hidden in that was, “I put up with this dating crap to keep from being alone.”

I notice that when people actually choose to walk this path of self-examination and self-reflection, much about them changes.

difficult path

There is a deepening groundedness, an ability to see what’s actually happening.

Rumi reminds us to look to our own creativity; to be a creator, not a tag-along. And because of the lines above, he recognizes that being a creator takes a good supply of crazy.

It is of course easier to fit in. I’ll bet you can still remember the one or two kids in High School who didn’t fit in — and you likely remember the names they were called.

And you’ll likely remember, as I do, the superficial stuff you changed to pretend to be unique — letting my hair grow long in 1968 comes to mind — while doing everything in your power to be accepted.

As we do this outward-focussed dance, as we change our direction based upon what we think others want or will do, we move further and further away from ourselves. And all of it is based upon wanting to fit in to what society is doing!

To me, that’s really scary.

To “be source, not result” is the ultimate freedom to live our lives as we were intended to. Mother Teresa speaks of this quite frankly — when you step out of society’s line, when you live your heart’s passion and desire, you’re going to annoy people — and her advice is “do it anyway.”

But what will people think?” Beats me.

I find, as usual, a paradox. People bent on control, people who would like others to behave a certain way, can really annoy themselves over those others and their direction.

On the other hand, the more I walk the difficult path, the more I dedicate myself to knowing as much as I can about me and my journey, the more I meet people on a similar walk. So I lose some, but certainly win some. This crowd of “friends” is not huge, but boy, are they fun to hang around with.

Which is why Rumi spoke, not to the masses, but to his community. Which is why Mother Teresa had that quote tacked up in her home for her children — the quote was for her sisters, for the kids, not for “the world.”

Or as the Kennedy quote says,

Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it.”

I do not judge that the path of “the world” is wrong. I have decided that it is a path I choose not to walk.

I do not judge average, everyday, standard, manipulative relationships to be wrong. I do judge that having one would make me miserable, so I choose total honesty, deep commitment, intimacy and joy in my relationships.

I do not judge that people who are living their lives dishonestly — by continually trying to figure out what others want and changing to fit that mold, or trying to get the other person to change, are wrong. I judge that I have enough to do learning to live inside my own skin, having my feelings, claiming my judgements as being totally about me, discovering and re-discovering my passion and living it out.

I re-invite you to join us on this walk. Look inside and see the drama. Look inside and purge yourself of the need for approval. Look inside and see the depth and beauty that is your essence. Start right this moment to build what only you can build, from the depth of you.

Others may attempt to tear it down, but the success of our life is not measured in what we pile up. It’s measured in the act of creation itself. A dynamic process and a fluid intermingling of like minded souls.

And it’s a walk on a road that is never crowded.


About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web’s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press
Rumi Poems — Diving Deep
Rumi Poems — Mean-spirited Roadhouses

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