My Worst Habit – Rumi

My worst habit is I get so tired of winter
I become a torture to those I am with.
If you’re not here, nothing grows.
I lack clarity. My words
tangle up and knot.
How to cure bad water? Send it back to the river.
How to cure bad habits?  Send me back to you.
When water gets caught in the habitual whirlpools,
dig a way out through the bottom
to the ocean. There is a secret medicine
given only to those who hurt so hard
they can’t hope.
The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.
Look as long as you can at the friend you love,
no matter if that friend is moving away from you
or coming back towards you.
Don’t let your throat tighten
with fear. Take sips of breath
all day and night, before death
closes your mouth.
– Rumi

take an axe to the prison wall

Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Escape.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You’re covered with a thick cloud.
Slide out the side.
Die, and be quiet.
Quietness is the surest sign that you’ve died.
Your old life was a frantic running from silence.
The speechless full moon comes out now.

~ Rumi

the little door – Rumi

brown concrete door

Photo by Ankush Rathi on Pexels.com

Moses put a low gate in the Jerusalem wall,
so that even unconsciously
everyone would have to put down his pack
and lower his head, bowing at least that much,
as though to say,
I pray that I can put down what I carry.

The function given kings and all authorities
is so that people who won’t bow down
and surrender to the presence
will have one place where they are humble.

The gate was called Babi-Saghir,
the little door.

Consider the world-power you acknowledge
as a small gate you must go through
to pay homage to a dunghill,
and instead of doing that, recognize the holy ones,
who are sweet as sugarcane.

Don’t grovel in front of political leaders.
Not your highness, say your lowness
to those empty weed-stems. Honor the sun we see by.

Don’t play a cat-and-mouse game.
Join the lion and swift deer in their hunt for soul.

Let pot-lickers follow the big basin-licker.
I could continue and make some rulers and administrators
very angry. They know who I’m talking about.

A Two-Headed Thing – Rumi (…never think that you are worthless. God has paid an enormous amount for you…)

The universe swings again into orbit around us.
Am I looking for you or you for me?
The question is wrong.

As long as I keep using two pronouns,
I am this in-between, two-headed thing.

Some of the water in my stream flows quickly by.
Some stays frozen in an ice ledge along the bank.

Sun says to stone, Let me shine inside you
and change your center to ruby.

As the sun of infinite love
comes into your love,
you are given more humble work,
something common like streetsweeping;
then you are given mastery.

The sun says to the unripe grape,
There is a kitchen inside you
where you can make vinegar,
or if I help, sweet juice.

The king says to the falcon, I cover your eyes
with a hood, so that you will break
with your kind and see only my face.
The falcon replies, Yes.

The rose says to the garden,
I display these robes,
so that you will let the other flowers go
and be a one-rose garden.

Imagine a man selling his donkey
to be with Jesus.

Now imagine him selling Jesus
to get a ride on a donkey.
This does happen.
Jesus can transform a drunk into gold.
If the drunk is already golden,
he can be changed to pure diamond.
If already that, he can become the circling
planets, Jupiter, Venus, the moon.

Never think that you are worthless.
God has paid an enormous amount for you,
and the gifts keep arriving.

Dates from a withered branch,
the sweet light that came to Jesus in the cradle.

My face now makes the world’s bathhouse hot.
Don’t look at the wet wall paintings.
Look here.

There is something in us
that has nothing to do with night and day,
grapes that never saw a vineyard.

WE ARE ALL RETURNING.

says the Qur’an. Enjoy Shams,
or if you cannot do that, at least
consider what honest people tell you.

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Your First Eyes

A lover has four streams inside,
of water, wine, honey, and milk.

Find those in yourself, and pay no attention
what so-and-so says about such-and such.

The rose does not care if someone calls it a thorn,
or a jasmine. Ordinary eyes categorize
human beings, that one is Zoroastrian.
This one is Muslim.

Walk instead with the other vision given you,
your first eyes. Don’t squint,
and don’t stare blankly like a vulture.
Those who love fire fall in the fire.
A fly slips from the edge into the whey.

If you are in love with the infinite,
why grieve over earth washing away in the rain?

Bow to the essence in a human being.
A desert drinks war-blood,
but if it knew this secret,
springs would rise, rose gardens.

Don’t be content with judging people good and bad.
Grow out of that. The great blessing is
that Shams has poured a strength into the ground
that lets us wait and trust the waiting.

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A Cleared Site – Rumi

The presence rolling through again
clears the shelves and shuts down the shops.

Friend of the soul, enemy of the soul,
why do you want mine?

     Bring tribute from the village.
But the village is gone in your flood.

     That cleared site is what I want.
Live in the opening where there is no door
to hide behind. Be pure absence.
In that state everything is essential.

The rest of this must be said in silence
because of the enormous difference between light
and words that try to say light.

Dark Sweetness – Rumi

The ground turns green. A drum begins.
Commentaries on the heart arrive in seven volumes.
The pen puts its head down
to give a dark sweetness to the page.

Planets go wherever they want.
Venus sways near the North Star.
The moon holds on to Leo.

The host who has no self is here.
We look in each other’s eyes.

A child is still a child
even after it’s learned the alphabet.

Solomon lifts his morning cup to the mountains.
Sit down in this pavilion,
and don’t listen to religious bickering.
Be silent as we absorb the spring.

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