Reflections on Rumi’s Poetry

I have given each being a separate and unique way of seeing and knowing and saying that knowledge. What seems wrong to you is right for him. What is poison to one is honey to someone else.
Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship, these mean nothing to me. I am apart from all that. Ways of worshiping are not to be ranked as better or worse than one another.
It’s not me that’s glorified …in acts of worship. It’s the worshipers! I don’t hear the words they say. I look inside at the humility.
Forget phraseology. I want burning, burning. Be friends with your burning. Burn up your thinking and your forms of expression! Lovers who burn are another.
Don’t scold the Lover. The “wrong” way he talks is better than a hundred “right” ways of others.
When you look in a mirror, you see yourself, not the state of the mirror. The flute player puts breath into a flute, and who makes the music? Not the flute. The flute player!
~ Rumi,

I understand Rumi’s writing as saying the essence of who we are is what matters, not the state of the mirror we see ourselves in. The essence is the flute player from whom the breath comes to play music, not the flute itself.

It is the essence of the worshippers and the lovers that matters, not the expressions or behaviour of the worship. This is quite an interesting and poetic way to describe the substance and significance of our divine being.

When your chest is free of your limiting ego,

Then you will see the ageless Beloved.

You can not see yourself without a mirror;

Look at the Beloved, He is the brightest mirror.

~ Rumi

It is interesting to learn that our Beloved is our brightest mirror, in whom we see most clearly our true identity as love. It makes me realise that our Beloved is also the still waters in whom we see our reflection and our soul remembers who we are. He is also the green pastures on whom we lie down and rest, feeding on the substance of our true identity. He is both our Shepherd and our mirror and our spiritual food. I think that is awesome.

When the sweet glance of my true love caught my eyes,

Like alchemy, it transformed my copper-like soul.

I searched for Him with a thousand hands,

He stretched out His arms and clutched my feeT

~ Rumi

I think this poetic expression is beautiful – the alchemy of our soul is stirred by our divine Lover’s desire towards us, longing for us to know Love in knowing Him and to see ourselves as Love. Even as we seek Him and reach for Him, we realise He is all the while actively seeking us with unrelenting passion, not willing to rest until He finds us and restores us to enjoy the richness of the kingdom within us. Even then, He continues to lavish His grace upon us and establish us in His grace and righteousness, so that we remain in peace and joy all the days of our life.

The Freshness

When it’s cold and raining,

you are more beautiful.

And the snow brings me

even closer to your lips.

The inner secret, that which was never born,

you are that freshness, and I am with you now.

I can’t explain the goings,

or the comings. You enter suddenly,

and I am nowhere again.

Inside the majesty.

From Soul of Rumi

by Coleman Barks

I like the imagery of the rain and snow in this poem as they remind me of Isaiah 55 in which we learn that God’s highest thoughts and ways come down as the rain and snow, bringing rest and refreshing to our souls. As the word of His grace enter into our being, we become saturated and enriched by His love, and in due time we bear fruit and multiply, as we are soaked in His loving presence.

Dance, when you’re broken open

Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off

Dance in the middle of the fighting

Dance in your blood

Dance, when you’re perfectly free


Yes, dancing is the joyful expression of our beauty. It brings out the energy of love within us as we discover our liberation from the shackles of illusion and religion. Dancing brings life and colour to an otherwise lifeless and colourless world that is bound by the law system. We celebrate the revelation of our true identity through music and dancing. Indeed, there is music and dancing in our Father’s house.

Poems are the rough notation for the music we are ♫


Yes, in a way, we are the music in the bosom of our Father, and we can express ourselves through poetry such as psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in our hearts. Music defines who we are, and whenever we hear or read the gospel, it is in essence sweet music to our ears, bringing peace and health to our entire beings.

Birdsong brings relief
to my longing
I’m just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say!
Please universal soul, practice
some song or something through me!

From Essential Rumi

Your love lifts my soul from the body to the sky
And you lift me up out of the two worlds.
I want your sun to reach my raindrops,
So your heat can raise my soul upward like a cloud.

From Thief of Sleep

by Shahram Shiva

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