Tag Archives: Rumi

Live From the Well

The idea that what one has long held of a person is apt to stop one’s eyes and ears. —Marcel Proust

Elders from GLEN MILNER on Vimeo.

The self is a metaphor. We can decide to limit it to our skin, our person, our family, our organization, or our species. We can select its boundaries in objective reality As the systems theorists see it, our consciousness illuminates a small arc in the wider currents and loops of knowing that interconnect us. It is just as plausible to conceive of mind as coexistent with these larger circuits, the entire “pattern that connects,” as Bateson said. Do not think that to broaden the construct of self this way involves an eclipse of one’s distinctiveness. Do not think that you will lose your identity like a drop in the ocean merging into the oneness of Brahma. From the systems perspective this interaction, creating larger wholes and patterns, allows for and even requires diversity. You become more yourself. Integration and differentiation go hand in hand. From: ‘World as Lover, world as Self’ — Joanna Macy

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.
(Rumi, version by Coleman Barks)

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Whirling Around World Events

Whirling Dervishes Istanbul from John Cummins on Vimeo.

All the saints and sages have said evil deeds
become a dark hole which encloses the evil doer.
The worse the doer’s deed, the darker is the hole.
You may intend to snare someone else,
but you’re digging that pit for yourself to fall down.
Watch out! Don’t dig too deep.
Be soft earth so that you may sprout folwers of many colors.
You’ve been a jagged rock for years.
Just once–as an experiment–be earth!

(Rumi)

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Is This Love?

The clear bead at the center changes everything.
There are no edges to my loving now.
I’ve heard it said there’s a window that opens
from one mind to another,
but if there’s no wall, there’s no need
for fitting the window or the latch.
– Rumi, version by Coleman Barks

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Relishing the Friend

The-Exo-God-sm

The Exo God, S.Calhoun 2014

Rumi: “ The cup wants to be lifted and used, not broken but carried carefully to the next. The cup knows there is a state for you beyond this one that comes with more vast awareness. The cup looks still but acts in secret to help. Sometimes you pour cup to cup, nothing happens. Pour instead into your deep ocean self, without calculation. If eyesight blurs, use a railing to follow.”

So another way that we limit ourselves or contain ourselves, is through being useful. It’s another way that we keep our rim dry, to take a utilitarian view of the spiritual life, when what we’re really trying to do is way beyond any kind of usefulness in the ordinary sense of the word. So Bhante talks about this in ‘Wisdom Beyond Words’ as the greater mandala. And it’s really, I means it’s just pure genius this chapter on the greater mandala which some people don’t know about, I think. So if you’re interested do look that up.

So he talks about this greater mandala, and he says that the Bodhisattva operates within this greater mandala. It’s a mandala of relishing, of enjoying, of taking delight, it’s a mandala of aesthetic appreciation.

Vajradarshini: “Kavyasiddhi what are you doing today?”

Kavyasiddhi: “Well Vajradarshini I’m mainly just relishing people, taking delight, and enjoying what arises, within that I will be, you know, earning money, washing my clothes, having a run, but that’s by the by really.”

excerpted from the excellent essay, We Have A Huge Barrel of Wine But No Cups  by Vajradarshini Audio Available at: http://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/talks/details?num=OM779

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The Pen

The Pen

The Pen – 12×12″ – from a photograph – S.Calhoun

Although it is evidently visible yet there is no one there who sees it. Amazing!

Even though it exists in everyone everywhere yet it has gone unrecognized. Amazing!

Nevertheless, you hope to obtain some other fruit than this elsewhere. Amazing!

Even though it exists within yourself and nowhere else yet you seek for it elsewhere. Amazing!

–Rumi

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Eyes Have It

Rumi quatrain

O dear friend, I am bound to you through friendship.

Wherever you may step, I am the ground for you.

In the creed of loverhood it is never allowed

That I should see the world through you and not see you.

I am joyous, because I am free from worldly joy.

I am drunk, because even though I don’t drink wine, I am elated.

I don’t have a need to be concerned about anyone else’s state.

May this secret glory [continue to] be a blessing for me.

May the heart of love never gaze at this base world!

What is there to gaze upon except Love?

I will reject my eyes on the day of my death

If they forsake love due to gazing at this life.

How long will I [need to] experience colors and smells from the world of time?

It’s time for me to meet that one of exquisite character.

When I look at him, I’ll see my own image.

And when I look at myself, I’ll see his image.

Translation by Rawan Farhadi and Ibraham Gamard (src)

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Dance A Round

Sema'a No. 1

Sema No. 1 – from a photograph (2014, S.Calhoun)

Paradox

Paradoxes: best wakefulness in sleep, wealth in having
nothing, a pearl necklace

fastened around an iron collar. Fire contained in boiling
water. Revenues growing from

funds flowing out. Giving is gainful employment. It brings in
money. Taking time for

ritual prayer and meditation saves time. Sweet fruit hide in
leaves. Dung becomes food

for the ground and generative power in trees. Nonexistence
contains existence. Love

encloses beauty. Brown flint and gray steel have orange
candlelight in them. Inside

fear, safety. In the black pupil of the eye, many
brilliancies. Inside

the body-cow, a handsome prince.

Rumi, version by Coleman Barks

 

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Don’t Bow to Everybody

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R O S E

A Yellow Rose
A Yellow Rose – 2013
S. Calhoun; from a photograph


Do you know a word that doesn’t refer to something? Have you ever picked and held a rose from R O S E ? You say the NAME. Now try to find the reality it names. Look at the moon in the sky, not the one in the lake. If you want to be free of your obsession with words and beautiful lettering, make one stroke down. There’s no self, no characteristics, but a bright center where you have the knowledge the Prophets have, without books or interpreter.

When you are with everyone but me, you’re with no one. When you are with no one but me, you’re with everyone. Instead of being so bound up with everyone, be everyone! When you become that many, you’re nothing. Empty.

Rumi, ra

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To Speak With Solomon

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Foliage

Fall Foliage

Lovers of Truth- rise up!
Let us go toward heaven.
We have seen enough of this world,
It’s time to see another…

No, no- don’t stop here.
The gardens may flow with beauty
But let us go to the Gardner Himself.

Let us go,
Bowing to the ocean
like a raging torrent.

Let us go,
Riding upon the foaming waters
of the sea.

Let us travel from this desert of
Hunger and tears
To the feast of the newlyweds.

Let us change our expression
From one of saffron
To the blossoms of the Judas tree.

Our hearts beat fast
We tremble like leaves about to fall.
Let us become the immovable mountain.

There is no escape from pain for one in exile;
There is no escape from dust
For one who lives in a dustbowl.
Let us be like the birds of paradise,
That fly about drinking sweet water.

We are surrounded by the forms
of a formless creator.
Enough with these forms!
Let us go to the Formless One.

Love is our steady guide
On this road full of hardships.
Even if the king offers you his protection,
It is better to travel with the caravan.

We are the rain that falls upon
a leaky roof-
let us miss the holes
and fall smoothly down the spout.

We are crooked bows
With strings that run from our head to toes;
Soon we will be straight
like an arrow in flight.
We run like mice when we see a cat –
yet we are the lion’s roar.
Let us become that Lion.

Let our souls
mirror the love of our Master.
Let us go before Him
With a handful of gifts.

Now let us be silent
So that the Giver of Speech may speak.
Let us be silent
So we can hear Him calling us
Secretly in the night….

We are surrounded by the forms
Of a formless Creator.
Enough with these forms!
Let us go to the Formless One!

(version of Rumi by Coleman Barks)

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Teaching Cartoon: Bart’s Lesson

Bart-Repeats

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Rumi: Flutes and Peas

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Found: Coleman Barks

Poet Coleman Barks

Several weeks ago I went searching on the net for Coleman Barks. Barks, a poet, is most well known for his versions of Rumi. In fact, to the extent Rumi is known by the English-speaking world, a lion’s share of the credit accrues to Mr. Barks and to his colleague and co-author John Moyne.

Having done this same search years ago, I knew there are numerous resources and media, but, one such resource at the CBC had been taken down, an interview with Barks and Andrew Harvey by Mary Hynes (as part of Ms. Hynes’ Tapestry Series.) I made an inquiry.

Lo and behold a few days later a nice gentleman from the CBC emailed me and asked if I would be interested in providing an introduction for this archival podcast. I jumped at the opportunity to help bring the interview back into circulation.

The podcast at the CBC is back, and listed here. (Direct download-mp3)

Coleman Barks interview at Lapham’s Quarterly. (mp3)

Video at Poetry Everywhere (PBS)

Rumi-Big-Red-Book

The Big Red Book is the newest exploration of Rumi by Coleman Barks. It focuses on Rumi’s relationship with Shams of Tabriz. One of the aphorisms of Shams is a touchstone for me:

Follow the perfume, not the tracks.

The following video provides a beguiling introduction to Rumi and Shams.

Jalaluddin El-Rumi & Shams El Tabriz from Raphael Rousseau Sason on Vimeo.

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To Speak With Solomon

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I NEVER HEARD ANYTHING BACK

Reader: Coleman Barks

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I’M CONCEALED

I’m so close to you that I’m far apart,

So completely merged that I’m separate,

So vastly exposed that I’m concealed,

So whole and sound that I’ll never be healed.

#1121, from Rumi’s Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi
Edited by Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (Tehran, Amir Kabir, 1988).

From translations of Rumi by Zara Houshmand

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TO HIM IT’S ALL ONE

The friend to whom flower and thorn are one,

In whose faith, Koran and Cross are the same —

Why should we worry? To him it’s all one:

The swiftest horse or a donkey that’s lame.

#454: From Rumi’s Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi
Edited by Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (Tehran, Amir Kabir, 1988).

Translated by Zara Houshmand

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