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  Mystery & Mysticism What can I learn from Mystic Poets?

Mystic Poets | Hafiz | Hopkins | Rumi | Tagore | Rabbi Yitzhak



Persian Sufi master

In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.

She asks, “Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth.”

He says, “There's nothing left of me.
I’m like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
to sunlight.”

This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!

The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.

Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.

Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.

Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.

Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.

Coleman Barks, The Essential Rumi (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997),


Excerpt from
Mevlana Jalal’uddin Rumi: His Life and Poetry

by Mark W. Muesse

In the land where he spent the greater portion of his life, the country we today call Turkey, the mystic poet Rumi is scarcely known by that name. The Turks call him Mevlana, or “our master.” “Rumi” is more of a nickname than a surname, and it simply means the “Roman” or more accurately, the “Byzantine,” since this part of the world was once the Byzantine Empire, the successor of the East Roman Empire.

But this “Rumi” was not a Roman, or a Byzantine, or even a Turk. He was born in the area of Balkh in present-day Afghanistan, then known as Khorasan, a place bustling with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians. Jalal’uddin Rumi was born into this religiously diverse place on 30 September 1207, making him the contemporary of two other great mystics, Francis of Assisi (c. 1182-1226) and Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1328).

Rumi seems in his early life to have been every bit a conventional Muslim. During this period, in the 1230s and 1240s, he led a normal life for a religious scholar, teaching, praying, and helping the poor. But in October 1244, when he was 37 years old, Rumi had an encounter that would forever change his life. There are several conflicting accounts of this event. One story maintains that on his way home from the madrasa, Rumi met a wandering dervish (Sufi) who asked him a question that impacted him like a Zen koan. There are even different versions of this question, and today we are not certain of its actual content. But it stirred Rumi profoundly.

In another account, Rumi was teaching by a fountain in a square in Konya. The wandering stranger pushed through crowd and tossed into the fountain the books from which Rumi was teaching. When Rumi demanded to know who this stranger was and why he did this, the stranger replied: “You must now live what you have been reading about.” The stranger then turned to the books at the bottom of the fountain and said “We can retrieve them. They’ll be as dry as they were.” He picked one up from the bottom of the fountain, and it was dry. Rumi said “leave them.”

Full text
(Woodstock, Vermont: Skylight Paths Publishing, 2004.) 36-37.



> What makes
someone a Mystic?

> How do I find the
Mystic Path?

> What can I learn
from Mystic Poets?

> How can I nurture
my connection to the Sacred?



>How can I explore
the Mystery?

>What can I know for certain?

>What shows me that
God cares?

>How can Jesus help
me understand?

>Where can I touch
the edge of heaven?















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