Day 81 (6 June): Rumi had a view
A comment from a friend on Face Book has drawn my attention to Rumi, the 13th-century Persian poet, scholar and mystic.
I had read of him in a novel by Elif Shafak , “The Forty Rules of Love”, which constituted my evening iPhone reading while holed up in shelters on my walk across Norway last year.
This morning I ordered some of his poetry and whilst waiting for it to arrive I began reading
about him on the web. He certainly had a pithy and penetrating way with words. I have selected a few quotes which appeal to me.
Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion. Bewilderment brings intuitive knowledge.
This describes aptly enough where I am. I do not vaunt myself as having a great deal of cleverness to sell and potential buyers are not queuing up at my door. But I am thinking of selling anyway, as cleverness has not been the most helpful tool in my toolbox. My need to be clever has always sprung from my urge to impress; and my urge to impress had its origins in a need for recognition and acceptance and a lack of confidence that people could love me.
I am learning to be wary of what cleverness I have and I think I'm pretty much through with trying to impress. It is like the showman spinning plates - you are just waiting for the inevitable.
I am no stranger to bewilderment. I am constantly bewildered. I think I have a decent grasp of what is going on in my life and an awareness of my motivations and triggers, but I still behave foolishly and childishly in my dealings with those I love. I am like a general fighting yesterday’s wars in that I am not always relating to the person who is actually in front of me or reacting to the issue we are supposedly looking at.
Note to self: Dear Neil, situations will not conform to the templates you have drawn up for them and people will not speak the lines you have written for them. Listen and engage with the real.
I know this - I just have to do it. Damn it. And a quick question: Am I alone in reacting badly and realising after the event exactly how and why I have reacted badly? Why don't I manage to get the realisation first?
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
All my life I thought I was building barriers to keep love in by being a pleaser, a provider, a protector, and an anticipator of needs. All of which lead to suffocation of love and, again, spoke more of a need for recognition and a fear of rejection. It is a scary prospect dismantling barriers, because trust brings with it vulnerability and includes the risk of more hurt and further feelings of inadequacy. Bugger it! (another Rumi quote), I am now determined to take risks and let life lead me. Bring on the colours and the flavours!
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
I have often felt like the object of a laser show with beams piercing me everywhere. I tried, and failed, to patch over wounds and walk around in full body armour. Well bugger that too!
I am throwing off that shabby and ineffective carapace. Light brings knowledge, awareness and hopefully, healing.
I'm not sure what Rumi would say but I reckon the first two, knowledge and awareness, are necessary but not sufficient. The image I would offer is that of a physics professor who is about to be hit on the head by a baseball bat. The professor has an unparalleled understanding of the laws governing mass and motion. He can estimate the trajectory of the bat based on its weight and composition, the force behind the blow and the way in which it is being held. He can even allow for variables such as the effect of windspeed on trajectory. He has full awareness of the how, and might also be aware of why he is being struck.
But his state of awareness will be of no help to his brain when bat hits bone.
In short, I consider myself as being relatively (we are still with our physicist here!) aware of how I am as I am and why I am as I am. The challenge is to identify and make the beneficial changes. I'm up for that.
“My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”
That is the conclusion I have come to. I am aware of where I am and aware that I wish to move higher and higher. I have work to do. I have to learn where beauty lies, set my course and start the journey to get there. Little by little one travels far.