Rumi’s Words in My Head


Wake and Walk Out 

–Rumi

 

If I flinched at every grief, I

would be an intelligent idiot. If

 

I were not the sun, I’d ebb and

flow like sadness.  If you were not

 

my guide, I’d wander lost in Sanai.

If there were no light, I’d keep

 

opening and closing the door.  If

there were no rose garden, where

 

would the morning breezes go?  If

love did not want music and laughter

 

and poetry, what would I say?  If

you were not medicine, I would look

 

sick and skinny.  If there were no

leafy limbs in the air, there would

 

be no wet roots.  If no gifts were

given, I’d grow arrogant and cruel.

 

If there were no way into God, I

would not have lain in the grave of

 

this body so long.  If there were no

way from left to right, I could not

 

be swaying in the grasses.  If

there were no grace and no kindness,

 

conversation would be useless, and

nothing we do would matter.  Listen

 

to the new stories that begin every

day.  If light were not beginning

 

again in the east, I would not now

wake and walk out inside the dawn

 

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Form is Ecstatic

–Rumi

There is a shimmering excitement in

being sentient and shaped.  The

 

caravan masters sees his camels lost

in it, nose to tail, as he himself is,

 

his friend, and the stranger coming

toward them.  A gardener watches the

 

sky break into song, cloud wobbly with

what it is.  Bud, thorn, the same.

 

Wind, water, wandering this essential

state.  Fire, ground, gone.  That’s

 

how it is with the outside.  Form

it ecstatic.  Now imagine the inner:

 

soul, intelligence, the secret worlds!

And don’t think the garden loses its

 

ecstacy in the winter.  It’s quiet, but

the roots down there riotous.

 

If someone bumps you in the street,

don’t be angry.  Everyone careens

 

shout in this surprise.  Respond in

kind.  Let the knots untie, turbans

 

be given away.  Someone drunk on this

could drink a donkeyload a night.

 

Believer, unbeliever, cynic, lover,

all combine in the spirit-form we are.

 

but no one yet is awake like Shams.

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I was at the hospital today, visiting my friend who is recovering from the surgeries well, but she still has Stage 4 cancer. And I could hear Rumi putting words in my head, and I could feel his energy and his reminder that his religion is Love, and our religion is Love, no matter what path you follow.  The ecstasy in the path of Love can help you get through the trying times and sometimes in the devastating times.   When the going is the toughest, it’s good to remember that the God is Love, Lover and Beloved, and nothing else can be all three.

The Magic of this Lifetime


Flowers and Photography by Barbara Mattio

” Full of life now, compact, visible,
I, forty years old the eighty-third year of the States,
To one a century hence or any number of centuries hence,
To you yet unborn these, seeking you.
When you read these I that was visible am become invisible,
Now it is you, compact, visible, realizing my poems, seeking me,
Fancying how happy you were if I could be with you and become your comrade;
Be it as if I were with you. ( Be not too certain but I am now with you.)

 

—–Walt Whitman
Laws of Creation

Humanity under a magnifying glass, an experience of telescoping time, sensual and direct. These describe Whitman’s writings.  His vision of people was democratic, nonjudgmental and filled with the width and breadth of human existence.
During Whitman’s lifetime, he looked at America as an idea and a nation.
He lived during great revolution, poverty and war.

Whitman was one of the American poets who saw the reality of the past and the allure of the future. He was a man capable of introspection and contemplation which fueled his poetry. His poetry has a flow and a music which starts slowly and builds to a crescendo of joy, ecstasy, and love.

Myrtle Beach, SC, Photo by Barbara Mattio

Whitman had an uncanny way to perceive the truth in life, our nation and the people he met in his many travels. His love and clear seeing and thinking led him to say:  ” I sing the body electric.”

I think we could do much worse in 2012, than to read and/or meditate upon his words and what they could mean in our lives.

To Find the Ecstasy in Your Life


Thoreau, Frost and Whitman were all poets who found happiness in their experience in nature and nature led them to an experience with God. Their writings are very uplifting and filled with wisdom. Some of their poetry is so famous high school students still memorize the words. Some of these have come back to me as I walk in the mountains when visiting my best friend. There is a connection that develops between the experience and the poetry.

 

Black Mountain, NC; Photo by Barbara Mattio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Mountain, NC Photo by Barbara Mattio

Thirty some years ago, a dear friend gave me a book of poetry. The poetry was by Kabir, a fifteenth century Indian poet. He was the son of a weaver and was influenced by Sufis and the ideas of the Hindus. This particular collection of some of his poems is translated by Robert Bly. The originals were written in Hindi. I hope the journey that his words take you on is as amazing of a journey as mine has been. Kabir went into the inner landscape to experience God and the ecstasy of loving The One.

 

“Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into the experience while you are alive!
Think…and think…while you are alive.
What you call “salvation” belongs to the time before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten—
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing new,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now,in the next life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that
does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.”
—–Kabir

Lumberton , NC Photo by Barbara Mattio