READING RUMI

I have been reading Rumi

for the pleasure I get from him

Like one enjoys the beautiful countryside

or eats a delicious meal

 

In exquisite descriptions of the play of life

in turns of phrase and light of image

wonder awakens and I am satisfied

reminded of experiences I’ve had or may yet have

of pleasures I once enjoyed and perhaps may still attain

 

When reading Rumi

I journey through exotic pleasure gardens

I sit at the edge of the stage of desire

tasting exquisite beauty

 

I once watched a young erotic gorgeous dancer

showing her swoon of aahh and oooh  

taking all the attention my mind could give

Absorbing the consideration of everything else

as if she was the very vision of God

 

Now

after many dances

romantic trysts

and exquisite dinners

after beautiful sunsets and walks

fascinating books, discussions

lovely poems, great movies

and occasions

of sweet and passionate lovemaking

It seems

each and every one of these experiences has

left me wounded with suffering

and

a feeling of failure

never enough

 

Perhaps that is why,

when I now read Rumi

I hear him talking of sacrifice of self

He is not suggesting pleasure or glorification

 

It is embarrassing

but

I went to Rumi

as a fish might go looking for water

 

 

All my life,

I have been seeking pleasure

and

avoiding sacrifice

I do not want to look at inevitable death or old age

I try to avoid all that

or at least its consequences

but

all the implications imply

I must change my life

 

I can no longer read Rumi only for the beauty of his poetry

I can no longer read him for exquisite insights

that fascinate my mind with their turning phrases

 

I remember the gorgeous stripper dancing on the stage

showing her luscious, wondrous naked beauty

bending  from side to side

riveting my attention

with sinuous sway of hips and thighs

gestures of arms and feet

and revelations of breasts

In all of this

there is not a single thing that is 'wrong'

 

But

Rumi does not sing of a

life purposed to its own display

He is speaking of Reality

Talking of what

IS

altogether

more than vision can see

or ear can hear

More that what all my senses

have ever informed me of 

or ever can

 

It seems

I must read Rumi for what he cannot say

for what he has thrown away

I must read Rumi for what his teacher Shams told him

I must read Rumi for what he sacrificed into the fire of life

I must read and remember he gave everything up

like a rich man gives up poverty,

not because he has renounced poverty

but because he is now wealthy

 

I must never forget that Rumi lost himself

in the greatest wealth of all

I will read him and listen for the terrible mystery

that gave him birth and took away his life

The same inexorable power that

will destroy each of us

and everything we love one day

 

 

Like Rumi, I eat the same food in this life

but

I do not digest what he digests

I must fast to read Rumi

I must develop a great hunger to hear what he is speaking of

I must have a terrible yearning for nourishment

 

Otherwise, I eat only Rumi’s shit

what he has left behind in a pile of words

and think and feel it is tasty and good

 

In this way

I am merely entertained

and made comfortable

not radiant and free

 

The words of Rumi are manure

for my poor garden of metaphors

and

I am a person

who has not yet done the work of awakening

I am a garden who may in a distant, not-now future

bring forth real flowers

that are now only thoughts

remembered and romanticized

 

 

I have read enough Rumi,

that when his lines and verse spill down the slopes of my mind

and out into the feeling lake of my hearing heart

I hear a terrible truth ringing across the waters:

Divine Beauty is in 'me'

like a drop is in the ocean

 

This is not

a ‘me’ I know or ever can

but

Only

Be

through sacrifice of everything

I am

 

Could it be that

What we are looking for

does not dwell in her beautiful breasts

or in her sweet and charming voice

Does not dwell in the luscious curve of her ass

or the beautiful flowing rivers of her legs?

No

I believe

It dwells there too

I must turn away

from nothing

 

 

What Rumi says of what is and who I am

is simply not my experience

I have not found his treasure

So

I hear only words and see images

of romance and passion

 

And if that young girl came down off the stage

looked deeply into my eyes

and

said that she will love me forever and ever

That her heart will be mine for all time

That we will never age or argue

That we will never get sick

And everything will not be ripped from us

in our blissful, blessed marriage . . .

 

I apologize

but that is how superficially I have been reading Rumi

and all the other Realizers, Scriptures and Truths of what is Truly Great

I have not been serious

I have taken them as ideals

distractions from my own living sacrifice

of all

that ‘I’ has, wants and is

I apologize

for making a cheap movie out of Rumi

 

I pray

that

one day,  I won’t read Rumi for the cheap thrills of sex alone

for the feelings of the heart's romance

and the mind's  ideals

I will read him in the sweat of a desperate spiritual yearning

tasting my own saliva

or Maybe

I won’t read him at all