This place is a dream only a sleeper considers it real
then death comes like dawn and you wake up laughing
at what you thought was your grief.
A man goes to sleep in the town where he has always lived and he dreams
he's living in another town
in the dream he doesn't remember the town he's sleeping in his bed in
he believes the reality of the dream town
the world is that kind of sleep.
Humankind is being led along an evolving course, through this migration
and though we seem to be sleeping
there is an inner wakefulness, that directs the dream
and that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are.
Essential Rumi. Translated by Coleman Barks (at Poetry-Chaikhana.com).
Desire and the Importance of Failing
A window opens. A curtain pulls back. The lamp of lovers connect, not at their ceramic bases,
but in their lightedness.
No lover wants union with the Beloved without the Beloved also wanting the lover.
Love makes the lover weak, while the Beloved gets strong.
Lightning from here strikes there. When you begin
to love God, God
is loving you. A clapping sound does not come from
A thirsty man calls out, 'Delicious water, where are
you?' While the water moans, 'Where is the water
The thirst in our souls is the attraction put out by the Water itself.
We belong to It, and It to us.
God's wisdom made us lovers of one another.
In fact, all the particles of the world
are in love and looking for lovers.
Pieces of straw tremble in the presence of amber. We tremble like iron filings,
welcoming the magnet.
Whatever that Presence gives us we take in. Earth signs
feed. Water signs wash and freshen. Air signs clear the
Fire signs jiggle the skillet, so we cook without getting
And the Holy Spirit helps with everything, like a young man trying to support a family.
We, like the man's young wife, stay home, taking care of the house, nursing the children.
Spirit and matter work together like this, in a division of labor.
Sweethearts kiss and taste the delight before they slip
into bed and mate.
The desire of each lover is that the work of the other be
By this man-and-woman cooperation, the world gets preserved.
Roses and blue arghawan flowers flower. Night and day meet in a mutual hug.
So different, but they do love each other, the day and the night, like family.
And without their mutual alternation
we would have no energy.
Every part of the cosmos is draws toward its mate.
The ground keeps talking to the body, saying, 'Come back!
It's better for you down here where you came from.'
The streamwater calls to the moisture in the body.
The fiery aether whispers to the body's heat, 'I am your
origin. Come with me.'
Seventy-two diseases are caused by the various elements
pulling inside the body.
Disease comes, and the organs fall out of harmony.
We're like four different birds, that each had one leg tied in
with the other birds.
A flopping bouguet of birds!
Death releases the binding, and they fly off, but before that, their pulling is our pain.
Consider how the soul must be, in the midst of these
tensions, feeling its own exalted pull.
My longing is more profound.
The birds want sweet green herbs
and the water running by.
I want the infinite! I want wisdom.
These birds want orchards and meadows
and vines with fruit on them.
I want a vast expansion.
They want profit and security
of having enough food.
Remember what the soul wants, because in that, eternity is wanting our souls!
Which is the meaning of the text,
They love That, and That loves them.
If I keep on explaining this, the Mathnawi will run to eighty volumes!
The gist is: whatever anyone seeks,
that is seeking the seeker.
No matter if its animal,
or vegetable, or mineral.
Every bit of the universe is filled with wanting,
and whatever any bit wants,
wants the wanter!
This subject must dissolve again.
Back to Sadri Jahan and the uneducated peasant
who loved him, so that gradually Sadri Jahan
loved the lowly man. But who really
attracted who, whoom, Huuuu?
Don't be presumptuous and say one or the other.
Close your lips. The mystery of loving
is God's sweetest secret.
Keep it. Bury it. Leave it here where I leave it, drawn as I am
by the pull of the Puller to something else.
You know how it is. Sometimes
we plan a trip to one place, but something takes us to another.
When a horse is being broken, the trainer pulls it in many different directions,
so the horse will come to know what it is to be ridden.
The most beautiful and alert horse is one completely attuned to the rider.
God fixes a passionate desire in you,
and then disappoints you.
God does that a hundred times!
God breaks the wings of one intention and then gives you another,
cuts the rope of contriving, so you'll remember your dependence.
But sometimes your plans work out!
You feel fulfilled and in control.
That's because, if you were always failing, you might give up. But remember,
it is by failures that lovers stay aware of how they are loved.
Failure is the key
to the kingdom within.
Your prayer should be, "Break the legs of what I
want to happen. Humiliate my desire. Eat me like candy.
It's spring and finally I have no will."
Source: Mathnawi, III (4391 - 4472). Feeling
the Shoulder of the Lion. Translated by Coleman Barks.