look


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look at love
how it tangles
with the one fallen in love

look at spirit
how it fuses with earth
giving it new life

why are you so busy
with this or that or good or bad
pay attention to how things blend

why talk about all
the known and the unknown
see how the unknown merges into the known

why think seperately
of this life and the next
when one is born from the last

look at your heart and tongue
one feels but deaf and dumb
the other speaks in words and signs

look at water and fire
earth and wind
enemies and friends all at once

the wolf and the lamb
the lion and the deer
far away yet together

look at the unity of this
spring and winter
manifested in the equinox

you too must mingle my friends
since the earth and the sky
are mingled just for you and me

be like sugarcane
sweet yet silent
don’t get mixed up with bitter words

my beloved grows
right out of my own heart
how much more union can there be

circle


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Today in London the Circle line isn’t running. In fact all tube lines are down. There is a strike on. Thank goodness for poems as this arrived in the night and was nestled safely in my in box. I am typing this out as I stand on the platform amongst other souls, some quiet some chatting about the mundane. But I’m calm and frazzled free with the blue skies above me and the sun warm on my bare neck and shoulders. Life is good.

Anyway back to the poem. The poem below isn’t about a tube line although it could be. It’s about surrendering to what is. There is very little in our control anyway.

“Circle”
by Rumi

Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
To gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Beside ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.

Roger Housden, a man known for his writing work, writes:

It seems the poem is asking us to drop all pretense at being the master of your life, or you won’t have the remotest chance of seeing how things really are. In this marvelous poem, Rumi is urging us not to demean or abase ourselves, but to be willing to stand there with our jaw dropped open. Our jaw rarely drops open because we don’t want to swallow a fly. We don’t want to be susceptible to the unknown, to unexpected circumstances that can blow in at any moment from any angle. Except that we are, and we know we are – all the time – which is why we hang on so tightly. We stay busy, we keep our focus narrow and the windows shut.

I read somewhere else in another wonderful blog that Rumi is not asking us to cringe in a corner, to feel small, or to fall in depression because we don’t know what to do or where to go. That is not the kind of helplessness he has in mind. Ultimately, these are all postures of defense in the face of the immensity. Look around, he is saying. Look at the millions of dust motes dancing. Stand there, arms wide open, and embrace the unspeakable paradox. Be dumbfounded, strung between yes and no, this direction and that, that answer and this.

Lovely. I’m considering the beauty of surrender and the grace of kindness.

PS. As I end this post I am on the train to Kings X and I even got a seat! See, the power of surrender does work.

rumi’s wise words


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You think because you understand ‘one’ you must also understand ‘two’, because one and one make two. But you must also understand ‘and’.

Powerfully put.

Rumi is an excellent Professor of the Natural World, teaching respect for nature by highlighting the wonders of the natural environment. Humans must treat nature respectfully and lovingly, by preserving it, not wasting it, and studying it carefully as God’s Viceregents, to recognize and respect the Creator behind the creation. Rumi never allows his students, nor his readers, forget that the universe guides us to higher knowledge of our Creator and Sustainer.

His beautiful words live on till today, and here are some of my favorite quotes by Rumi:

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And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.

Travel brings power and love back into your life.

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.

Only from the heart can you touch the sky.

If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.

Whenever we can manage to love without expectations, calculations, negotiations, we are indeed in heaven.

Listen with ears of tolerance. See through the eyes of compassion. Speak with the language of love.

Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others’ faults. Be like running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear.

Whoever’s calm and sensible is insane!
You are not just the drop in the ocean. You are the mighty ocean in the drop.
When someone is counting out gold for you, don’t look at your hands, or the gold. Look at the giver.

When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

Dancing is not just getting up painlessly, like a leaf blown on the wind; dancing is when you tear your heart out and rise out of your body to hang suspended between the worlds.

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?

Two there are who are never satisfied — the lover of the world and the lover of knowledge.

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.

Peaceful is the one who’s not concerned with having more or less. Unbound by name and fame, he is free from sorrow from the world and mostly from himself.

Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.

And finally, I have never been happier to quote someone so wise – “Either give me more wine or leave me alone.”

speak softly


speak softly

I am in a slightly more melancholic mood today; finding myself being pulled towards soft voices and dulcet tones and it got me thinking.

The tone of a person’s voice has tremendous power over us.

Sometimes it’s less what people say but more of how they say it. Words spoken from a place of intellect very rarely touches me inside, it only merely brushes off the surface of my psyche. I may be impressed with one’s intelligence but to really move me inside, well, now it’s not so much what you say but it is how you say what you say to me.

Have you ever heard Maya Angelou speak? If you haven’t, I would recommend that you do. Go to YouTube, type her name in and you’ll find out why I have urged you to do so. The minute she utters her first word, that’s it. You are under her spell. You are drawn to her for reasons you will find hard to explain. You yearn to hear her speak. You want her to keep going on and not stop. And when she does stop, you will miss her.

You see her voice has a direct transmission to your heart.

speak softly5It is a bit like when someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. I think it has something to do with where the words are coming from. If it is merely from the intellect then they leave one cold and dry. But if they come from the heart, they will most certainly touch another’s heart.

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Nietzsche once said:

“the voice of beauty speaks softly; it creeps only into the most fully awakened souls”

And I think if he and I were taking a stroll in a park on this wonderful crisp winter morning in London I may be tempted to agree with him.

So how do you speak to others and how do you speak to the ones you say you love?

Rumi gently reminds us that:

“there is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen”

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So imagine Rumi is sitting with you right now in a lovely room filled with beautiful burnt-orange cushions and dark plush deep-red carpets; you’re sharing a pot of steaming hot masala chai, how well will you listen and what will you hear, not with your ears but with your heart?

I think I may have an inkling to what Rumi is referring to. I would love to ask him myself (hey I’d love to be in a room filled with burnt-orange cushions and plush deep-red carpets!) but for now, I think I will need to be content in finding it out for myself.

Have a softly spoken weekend and may it be gentle, kind and peaceful.

And listen to a voice that speaks without words.