Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Rumi Circle

Rumi, wikimedia image
Rumi quotes:
“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.”

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there."

"When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.” 

"The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

My Rumi Circle, as I call it, is small.  No one knows about it.  Those few people who are in this circle don’t even know they are in it. It’s not like having facebook friends. It’s a little group of people I think of as soulmates, friends who float through the real world grounded, purposeful, and looking for the lightness of being.  Not in the Milan Kundera sense, but in the sense of seeking light while wandering through a forest.  A dark forest with many paths.

Probably they would like the Rumi quotes above, or we would talk about them with zeal.  I think of these friends as critical (in the broad sense of the word) and tolerant, wide-ranging in their interests, knowledgable, travelled, compassionate, open and searching. They are imperfect and know it but they stretch.   They are flawed, and they deal with it.  They reach out with open arms, sometimes not knowing who or what they might embrace.  They welcome the marginal and the lost.  

My brother Loren is in my Rumi circle, beloved, and Andy, Doris and people who understand some of my blogs, facebook comments and rants.  I feel safe ranting with them because they know I’ll get back to the center somehow, somewhere, and they know it as the process is unfolding.  We all go off like this.  But we know where we are heading ultimately, the general direction, often circuitous, which is to that field Rumi talks about. 

My Rumi circle just instinctively understands this.  We don't have to say anything.  It's not a matter of discussion. We just know in our gut that there's a reason for rising indignation and there will be a reason for adjusting it.  There's some compelling impetus behind the indignation and urge to rant, and the same compelling impetus in defusing it.  Things just settle where they are supposed to in time. 

The people in my Rumi Circle live far apart, some here on earth and others only the goddess knows where.  They do not know each other. Sometimes we don’t communicate for ages, years even, that is not in words or on facebook or skype even, but for me they are always there, always present. It's an unbreakable connection.

“The smallest coffin is the heaviest,” said a mourner today at a burial of the children killed by Taliban terrorists at a Peshawar, Pakistan school.  

It’s a sadness that led me to think about this Rumi circle in the first place. I believe these friends understand how the smallest is the heaviest. In lots of ways. On so many levels.  “Too horrific for words,” said reporter Nic Robinson of CNN. Yes, and through the disbelief and the outrage rises the compelling indignation, and the need to rant.  The souls in my Rumi Circle can walk in and through contradictions and foolishness, and even outrageousness, and find that we are still behind one another. This circle of unusual friends.  

We understand what others might consider “weird” things.  Like Rumi saying that “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” 

We know these wounds. They are wounds we carry from childhood, from mistakes we have made, the shame we bear, the rejection we have experienced, the pain and loneliness brought on by ourselves or sometimes others.  We also know the inexpressible joy that emerges in time from these same wounds, self-inflicted or other-inflicted.  It’s like Mary Oliver says in her poem Wild Geese: 
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

In the Rumi circle, we share our wounds, and our imaginations; we help each other heal and expand, to take our part “in the family of things.”  Hard as it is, and as far as we fall from grace, we reach for the transcendent and universal, that spirit, that field, that light that Rumi and Mary Oliver talk about. 

Poem (The spirit likes to dress up...) by Mary Oliver
The spirit
likes to dress up like this:
ten fingers,
ten toes,

shoulders, and all the rest
at night
in the black branches,
in the morning

in the blue branches
of the world.
It could float, of course,
but would rather

plumb rough matter.
Airy and shapeless thing,
it needs
the metaphor of the body,

lime and appetite,
the oceanic fluids;
it needs the body's world,
instinct

and imagination
and the dark hug of time,
sweetness
and tangibility,

to be understood,
to be more than pure light
that burns
where no one is --

so it enters us --
in the morning
shines from brute comfort
like a stitch of lightning;

and at night
lights up the deep and wondrous
drownings of the body
like a star.
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