From the World's Most Popular Poet
Rumi is considered the most popular poet in the world. He is even credited as the best-selling poet in the US. When you consider the fact that he was a Muslim from the ancient Ottoman Empire of the 13th century, that credited title becomes even more impressive.
Throw in the fact that he was a mystic - a Sufi - and it is mesmerizing he has captured the heart and soul of a fundamentally Christian nation of the modern world. Yet, anybody that knows mysticism, knows it goes beyond the borders of time, nations, and religion.
Here are 10 Life-Changing quotes from a truly great man that is still teaching us from beyond.
1. "Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious."
Well, this first one doesn’t sound very wise, does it? Yet, if we truly did go beyond what we think we know to be ‘right’, we may actually discover what it means to live. We are so confident we have the right idea of good and bad, but all we have mostly done is play by somebody else’s rules our entire lives.
Go away from what you think you know and discover a whole new world. Live where you fear to live, be it social status, place, or mindset.
2. "Do not be satisfied with the stories that come before you. Unfold your own myth."
We all think we are writing our own stories in life, but are we? Really? If you know how to get your next promotion or can buy a book to guide you along your path… Well, you aren’t. Don’t settle for just being a footnote in a story already told. Become a myth. A legend.
3. "Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life."
This isn’t another quote about ‘just be positive’. That could lead to a life of denial. But it is possible to not be in denial about the shitty things that happen in life, while also learning to appreciate all the good things in life.
Psychologically speaking it takes six positive things to equal one negative thing in our minds and hearts. There’s a problem there, right? It is up to us to try to balance the scales and this begins by really noticing, appreciating, and being grateful for the good things in life. And who knows, once you reach a Rumi-level of awareness and gratitude, you may just find you appreciate every heartbreak and disappointment as another miracle of life.
4. "Why should I stay at the bottom of a well, when a strong rope is in my hand?"
We often have too much pride to ask for help, or sometimes we simply like to wallow in our own self-pity. Though it is good to be aware of the pain in our lives, and we should learn from it, if we have the choice to pull our way out of it, we should. What is the ‘strong rope’ will only be for us to see. It is quite possible that the rope is part of the well itself. ‘The cure for pain is in the pain.’ (Another Rumi quote)
5. "As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears."
We have so much anxiety about what lies ahead of us. We want to know that when we do one thing, we will get a specific result. To just start our journey and trust that we will find our way frightens the living bejesus out of us. We are, albeit a bit shamefully, frightened little bunnies when it comes to uncertainty.
Yet, if we take a gamble and trust our intuition, our guts, then things start to naturally appear before us the way they need to. It may not be obvious at first. Perhaps a problem doesn’t seem like a necessary obstacle to overcome to better walk our path. Yet, if we are walking our way, the path will always be in front of us, even if we can only see as far as a weak flashlight in the dark.
6. "If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?"
We get so frustrated when things don’t go our way. People, in particular, just rub us the wrong way. ‘Why don’t you just do what I say and shut up about it!’ Yet, if we take the time to see why these people or events irritate us, and often seem to hinder us, we can come to learn about ourselves.
Are these people really that stupid, or do I just give bad instructions?
Is he really trying to be an asshole or do I just get too defensive and negative at times?
Am I really bothered by that other person flirting with my partner, or am I insecure due to something beyond my current relationship?
If taking the rubbing as an attempt to polish our characters or our lives, these disappointments that seem to be ‘everybody else’s fault’ will come back to us as an opportunity to become people that shine off the little annoyances of life.
7. "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."
If you are open to love, love will find you. The secret isn’t that anything has to be found. It’s already there. Sure, in different forms and intensities, but love has the possibility to be apart of every interaction and relationship you have.
We naturally build up defenses to keep ourselves from getting hurt. Call it smart. Call it cowardice. Whatever the justification or judgment, the walls we have built prevent us from experiencing the greatest gift life has to offer.
8. "The wound is the place where the Light enters you."
Learn From Suffering
When we hurt, we often feel that there is a hole inside of us. That we are broken. Damaged. Incomplete or unwhole.
The truth is, we are always whole. Being ‘broken’ is just Life saying, ‘Goddamn, man, open a window. Let some light in. Get some fresh air. It’s too dark and clammy in here.’ And if you had no windows because you really did build yourself into your defensible darkness, then life will bust down an entire wall.
Don’t fight it. Embrace it. The sun feels good on everyone’s face and she comes out for us all.
9. "I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think."
Don't Be Concerned With What Others Think Of You
We hear this time again from Disney and Pixar, and yet we still find ourselves caring what others think.
Will my family read my books?
Do the people at the park think my puppies are aggressive?
Do my wife’s friends find me strange?
Does it matter? We are owned by the people we are trying to impress. To not care is to be free. And once you have truly embraced this freedom, you will sing as the birds sing and everyone will respect you.
10. "Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love."
Do What You Love
Probably the most timeless piece of advice we ignore is to ‘do what we love’. But what about this obligation? Or that hang-up? All these outside hardships can really distract us from what is truly important to us. To what our true loves in life are.
My life motto:
Follow your gut. That is your path. That is your calling. That is your bliss.
When you start to follow it, trust your heart. Listen to it. It will tell you if you are pointed in the right direction as you try to follow your path in this dark and hazy world.
Lastly, use your brain to make it happen. We so often follow and trust our brains. The brain is only a tool to help you be who you are meant to be. It will find a way to provide for the kids and fulfill your wildest dreams if you first just try to chase your dreams and trust your heart in the process.
Find what you love and let it be you to the end.
[When I Die - Rumi]