A Community of the Spirit

Rumi. I always come back to Rumi. A poet who lived so long ago with words that make perfect sense now. This time it’s A Community of the Spirit. Every phrase of this does indeed make sense to me. This one – ‘feel the delight of walking in the noisy street and being the noise’ – calls me to be willing to speak up when called upon. And this – ‘close both your eyes to see with the other eye’ – speaks to the urgent need to see beyond what I think I know for sure; to trust my intuition. And of course, the end – ‘move outside the tangle of fear-thinking, live in silence’ – begs me to go beyond the fearful rhetoric of the collective pull and instead get still and clear, ‘flowing down and down in always widening rings of being’.

But it is the middle that is a true calling out. This part: ‘Consider what you have been doing. Why do you stay with such a mean-spirited and dangerous partner? For the security of having food. Admit it.’

For me, why do I stay with mean-spirited and dangerous thought patterns and beliefs that separate me from others, that cloud the connections? For the security of being right, being safe, being comfortable. Admit it. ‘Give up that life…Quit acting like a wolf and feel the shepherd’s love filling you.’

A Community of the Spirit

There is a community of the spirit.

Join it, and feel the delight

of walking in the noisy street

and being the noise.

Drink all your passion,

and be a disgrace.

Close both eyes

to see with the other eye.

Open your hands,

if you want to be held.

Consider what you have been doing.

Why do you stay

with such a mean-spirited and dangerous partner?

For the security of having food. Admit it.

Here is a better arrangement.

Give up this life, and get a hundred new lives.

Sit down in the circle.

Quit acting like a wolf, and feel

the shepherd’s love filling you.

At night, your beloved wanders.

Do not take painkillers.

Tonight, no consolations.

And do not eat.

Close your mouth against food.

Taste the lover’s mouth in yours.

You moan, “But she left me.” “He left me.”

Twenty more will come.

Be empty of worrying.

Think of who created thought!

Why do you stay in prison

when the door is so wide open?

Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking.

Live in silence.

Flow down and down

in always widening rings of being.

From Rumi – Selected Poems (Penguin Classics)

Translated by Coleman Barks with John Moyne

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One Comment on “A Community of the Spirit

  1. Pingback: In Summary…Keeping the Peace | Ellen Sauer

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Regina Leffers McCaleb, Ph.D.

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