Photo: Wodaabe Fula man at the Guerewol festivities in Niger.
Isn’t it a fact that the accursed Pharaoh threatened punishment on the earth,
Saying, I will cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides
and hang you upside down.
You will not be spared punishment.
He thought that they were in the same state of imagination, terror, distraction, and doubt,
Trembling in fear at these threats of the worldly ego.
He didn’t know that they were emancipated,
sitting at the window of the heart,
That they could tell the difference
between the shadow and their real selves,
That they were quick and alert, happy and alive.
Even if the mortar of Fortune should pound them into pieces in this material world,
Since they had seen the ever-present Origin,
They did not fear the Derivatives of Imagination. . .
The Prophet said that this apparently substantial world
Is but a sleeper’s dream. Some merely believe in these words,
But the mystic travelers have perceived it themselves,
Even without the Prophet’s words
Many are asleep in the daytime. Don’t think otherwise.
Your life may be as insubstantial
as a shadow cast by moonlight.
What you think is sleep and what you think is waking
Are both happening in your sleep.
What does it matter if a potter breaks a pot? He’ll make another one.
A blind man walking a road has a thousand fears,
But someone who can see knows the dangers and obstacles
Bring it on, Pharaoh!
We won’t be scared by the cries of ghouls!
Rend the fabric. We know who will re-sew it,
Or, if not, it’s better to be naked to embrace the Beloved,
Nothing is sweeter than to be stripped of physicality and personality.
(Rumi; trans. Kabir Helminski)
'The Rumi Daybook: 365 Poems and Teachings from the Beloved Sufi Master'
By Kabir Helminski (Author), Camille Adams Helminski (Author)
"My heart wandered through the world
constantly seeking after my cure,
but the sweet and delicious water of life
had to break through the granite of my heart."
When the words of Rumi enter your heart, something softens, breaks, and is subtly reborn. That he wrote the words seven hundred years ago in a medieval Persian world that bears little resemblance to ours makes their uncanny resonance to us today just that much more remarkable. Here is a treasury of daily wisdom from this most beloved of all the Sufi masters—both his prose and his ecstatic poetry—that you can use to start every day for a year, or that you can dip into for inspiration any time you need to break through the granite of your heart.