Rumi – Poet of the Heart

Rumi – Poet of the Heart

So there’s this cool 1998 documentary on Jelaluddin Rumi (embedded below from YouTube). Rumi: Poet Of The Heart explores the life, poetry, and vision of the great 13th century Sufi mystical poet and original “whirling dervish.” Rumi’s poetry is a vision of love and ecstasy and the longing for union with the divine, as relevant and compelling today as it was 700 years ago:       Only Breath Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion or cultural system. I am not from the East or the West, not out of the ocean or up from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all. I do not exist, am not an entity in this world or the next, did not descend from Adam or Eve or any origin story. My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless. Neither body or soul. I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one and that one call to and know, first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing human being. – Translated by Coleman Barks   Rumi – Poet of the Heart is an impressive achievement, less a traditional documentary than an experience itself. It features contributions from Coleman Barks (listening to Barks reading Rumi’s poetry is a mystical experience in itself), Robert Bly, Huston Smith, Michael Meade, Deepak Chopra, and many others.          ...

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You’re Either a Mystic or an A-hole

You’re Either a Mystic or an A-hole

How’s that for a headline? (FYI – I’m using the G-rated version of the word asshole in this post because it’s important to me that I keep Renaissance It Now family-friendly and safe at all times.) Now, the very first thing I need to point out is that I don’t consider myself a mystic. But that doesn’t make my personal theory any less valid. In fact, I would argue that my admission gives it more credibility. But to understand what I’m getting at with my bold, dualistic assertion, I need to define my terms. What is a Mystic? To me, a mystic is the rare individual who, through some unique experience or conscious choice, experiences life – every aspect of it – as already unified. They don’t just believe the universe (literally “one song”) is unified – they live that reality. As a result, mystics transcend belief, creed, and philosophy. And while many traditions can lay claim to important mystics as members  – and often founders – of their tradition, the fact that those mystics show up in multiple traditions, philosophies, and disciplines tends to undercut the importance of those traditions in the first place. It’s the mysticism we long for, not the rigid belief systems that attempt to replace deep, direct experiences of life itself with an intellectual approximation. And truth is not something that originates – or even survives for long – in the intellectual realm.   What to Do and Not to Do When You Meet a Mystic When we encounter a mystic, either personally or through their works, it might be a good idea to consciously set aside our daily habitual a-hole distractions and consider modeling our lives on the same principles these mystics have discovered and are sometimes generous enough to attempt to articulate. Historically, however, it’s always been more common to let the mystics do the heavy lifting in regards to the self while we admire them from afar, or worse, worship them as superior beings and establish religions around our misunderstandings of their teachings. Because once you “own” a mystic, you never have to worry about experiencing life directly ever again. No, at that point you can control life, and harness its powers since you’re finally clear on its purpose and how it functions. Or so some...

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