Rumi (1207 – 1273) gave the world a legacy of questions and advice that shines as brightly as ever.
He was a Muslim poet, jurist, Islamic Scholar, theologian and Sufi mystic. Would he have been stopped at the border had he gone to America? And what would the security officials have thought of his statement:
‘Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it’?
Nation states aren’t usually lovable although they’re not the same either. Vanuatu is relaxed at the border, much of Europe is low key, and the USA assumes that you’re a terrorist.
The point is that Rumi is offering challenges rather than advice. What does he mean by ‘love’? What are ‘barriers’? Can we set these ‘barriers’ aside?
I know that one of the barriers is habit. I enjoyed the scene in ‘Bruce Almighty’ where Morgan Freeman, acting
as a janitor, turns out to be God. The Hindu greeting, ‘Namaste’, predates Bruce by a very long time and means ‘I bow to the divine in you’.
If a quotation from Rumi can effortlessly draw attention to a link between Hinduism, Islam and Christianity, maybe he still has plenty to contribute to troubled humanity. He’s nudging us to pay less attention to Donald ‘Build the Wall’ Trump and think more about the walls we build around ourselves.
This is one of the ideas at the heart of The Learning Connexion. It’s only when our personal walls come down that we can be creative. When we’re creative we’re more attractive.
Thanks Rumi. QED.
Here are some more of his provocations:
‘Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.’
‘Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.’
‘The wound is the place where the Light enters you.’
(In ‘Anthem’ Leonard Cohen said ‘There is a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in.’ Art recycles.)
- Jonathan Milne