What is this bliss, this sweet intoxication known to lovers of God? What is this bewildering state of the heart in which the mind is dissolved and the soul is awakened? Rumi, a thirteenth-century Sufi teacher, and one of the world’s greatest poets of mystical love, knew of these mysteries of the heart. His verses tell the stories of the soul’s love affair with God, whom the Sufis call the Beloved, the love affair that leads from the pain and anguish of longing until we are reunited with our divine nature. This is the great mystical journey that draws us from ourselves back to our Beloved until
The Beloved has permeated every cell of my body
Of myself there remains only a name, everything else is Him.
Rumi was a learned scholar until one day in the marketplace of Konya he met a wandering dervish, Shams-i Tabriz, and fell at his feet after the ragged dervish recited these verses:
If knowledge does not liberate the self from the self
Then ignorance is better than such knowledge.
Shams was the spark that ignited the fire of divine longing within Rumi, awakening the passion of the soul, such that Rumi said of his life, “I burnt, and burnt and burnt.” His time with Shams transformed him, and the love that was awakened still speaks to us now, so many centuries later.
The tender words we said to one another
Are stored in the secret heart of heaven:
One day like rain they will fall and spread,
And our mystery will grow green over the world.
Beneath all the words is the cry of the heart, the primal cry of the soul separate from God, the “reed torn from the reed bed.” And from this longing the lover is turned away from himself back to God, back to the Source. This is the great mystery of love, the way in which our heart is awakened to its divine nature. Love burns away the impurities that cover our heart and soul, until gradually we begin to taste the truth of who we really are: not a separate self or dysfunctional ego, but part of a cosmic dance in which every cell praises and glorifies God…