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This is a book I return to again and again I play a game with this bookI will concentrate on a problem or a situation, then open the book randomly to a page and start reading something in the poem that I selected will have some relevance to the thought at hand Of course, it has to do with my interpretation of the situation, but it always lends itself to deeper thought, or it will allow me to be able to gain some fresh insight into the problem Basically, Rumi I Ching The translations of these poems is fairly astounding, because I think that they are done in a way that is not at all literal, but somehow maintains the essence of the beauty of Rumi s devotion and longing It makes me wish I could read these in their original language So, in short, it is a personal book for me I don t consider myself a religious person, but I can relate to a key metaphor in Sufism, that of the Ney reed flute used in playing Dervish devotional music the reed used to make the Ney is cut from the bed, so the music played through it, with the breath, incidentally, is music of the reed longing to return to its origin So it is with the musician who plays His soul also longs to return to its origin.These are devotional poems, but the meaning and interpretations lend themselves to human understanding, of ourselves, and others We all need help This book helps me. This is always by my bed when I haven t returned it to the library again because it gracefully and fiercely reminds me of what it means to be alive, to long for truth and love, to open my heart again and again even when the wind is blowing wickedly all around me. This Revised And Expanded Edition Of The Essential Rumi Includes A New Introduction By Coleman Barks And Than Never Before Published PoemsThrough His Lyrical Translations, Coleman Barks Has Been Instrumental In Bringing This Exquisite Literature To A Remarkably Wide Range Of Readers, Making The Ecstatic, Spiritual Poetry Of Thirteenth Century Sufi Mystic Rumi Popular Than EverThe Essential Rumi Continues To Be The Bestselling Of All Rumi Books, And The Definitive Selection Of His Beautiful, Mystical Poetry Miraculous I learn something new every time I open this book The image that sticks to mind if how we should try to emulate a reed flute and let God s breath flow through us I ve stopped being religious when I stopped going to church when I was 16 but reading Rumi s writings is probably the closest I am to religion right now. A phenomenal read This book of poetry by the gifted Coleman Barks has become one of my bibles of spirituality it is what I would call a one in a million read I ve added it to Thoreau s Walden and the holy books The artistry and tapestry of language is unparalleled The words of Rumi come alive under the care of Barks It is impossible not to be moved by Rumi s words in this compilation If the universe could speak, this is what it would say Highly recommended I don t even, I can t even dare review this It is beyond me. This place is a dream.Only a sleeper considers it real. This is a hard book for me to rate It almost seems impossible, unbearable to only reward it with three stars Parts of it gently touched my soul, and reading those few lines of pure beauty, almost felt revolutionary Rumi is mostly known for his love poems, and I can clearly see why There s a certain hint of unision and belonging in his great visions of love and he strings his words together in such a delicate serenity I fell in love with his idea of love.However there were uninteresting parts as well and I skipped a few long poems along the way Some of it felt too religious, too spiritual for my simple want of beautiful words Some of Rumi s metaphors felt weak and insufficient, some of his musings were too repetitive Good parts and bad parts The three stars both resemble divine inspiration and repetitive boredom That is why I am so ambivalent about it Birds make great sky circlesof their freedom.How do they learn it They fall, and falling,they re given wings. I am filled with you.Skin, blood, bone, brain, and soul.There s no room for lack of trust, or trust.Nothing in this existence but that existence. I have deliberately taken over 6 years to read this book I wanted to savor it like fine wine This book is an anthology of the theologian, jurist and mystic known as The Roman despite being born in Afghanistan and writing mostly in Persian though he did live in the former Eastern Roman Empire for much of his life This book is controversially translated by Coleman Barks who opted for a poetic translation instead of a literal one This often comes up when translating poetry I remember seeing this same controversy over english translations of The Divine Comedy With Dante, I elected for a poetic translation and I do so here Even with Barks filter, the thesis is still Rumi s I will not waste too much time feebly trying to describe this book, but I feel obligated to say a few words This book displays the heights of Sufism in the Middle Ages and the descriptions of sensual, erotic, neo platonic, and divine love in this collection is staggering Rumi is not some ancient hippie poet, but he keeps his faith and his interpretaiton of it as the key to fully understanding his poetry I offer here, for instance, my favorite of the bunch, The Question One Dervish to another, What was your vision of God s presence I haven t seen anything.But for the sake of conversation, I ll tell you a story.God s presence is there in front of me, a fire on the left,a lovely stream on the right.One group walks towards the fire, into the fire, another toward the sweet flowing water.No one knows which are blessed and which not.Whoever walks into the fire appears suddenly in the stream.A head goes under on the water surface, that head pokes out of the fire.Most people guard against going into the fire,and so end up in it.Those who love the water of pleasure and make it their devotion are cheated with this reversal.The trickery goes further.The voice of the fire tells the truth saying, I am not fire.I am fountainhed Come into me and don t mind the sparks.If you are a friend of God, fire is your water.You should wish to have a hundred thousand sets of mothwings, so you could burn them away, one set a night.The moth sees light and goes into the fire.You should see fire and go toward the light.Fire is what of God is world consuming.Water, world protecting.Somehow each gives the appearance of the other To these eyes you have now, what looks like water burns.What looks like fire is a great relief to be inside.You ve seen a magician make a bowl of rice seem a dish full of tiny live worms.Before an assembly with one breath he made a floor swarm with scorpions that weren t there.How much amazing God s tricks.Generation after generation lies down defeated, they think, but they re like a woman underneath a man,circling him.One molecule mote second thinking of God s reversalof comfort and pain is better than attending any ritual.That splinter of intelligence is substance.The fire and water themselves Accidental, done with mirrors. This is a small sample of the package that you get with Jal l ad D n Muhammad Though he spent his life mostly as an Islamic jurist and theologian positions he inherited from his father , it was not until he met a traveling mystic named Shams of Tabriz that his transformation into Sufi devotee and master happened When Shams was killed by Rumi s jealous students, his career as poet and dervish began and it has been his claim to fame for over 700 years For Rumi Shams did not die, but became whole Rumi would spend the rest of his life trying to become whole as well.An Egypt That Doesn t Exist I want to say words that flameas I say them, but I keep quietand don t try to make both worldsfit in one mouthful.I keep secret in myselfan Egypt that does not exist.Is that good or bad I don t know.For years I gave away sexual lovewith my eyes Now I don t.I am not in any one place.I do not have a name for what I give away.Whatever Shams gave,that you can have from me. Make way, make way Just a modern version of Rodin s The Stinker, err, The Thinker, coming through Currently, I am ruminantly ruminating Rumi s ruminative ruminations in the loo And I guess I ll have to stay in here for a number of days ruminating, that is because I wanted to Besides, I dropped by to sh t and stink, sit and think, mind you And deary, please, could you give me loo papersLate, by myself, in the boat of myself,no light and no land anywhere, cloudcover thick I try to stay just above the surface, yet I m already under and living within the ocean Light is the image of your teacher Your enemieslove the dark A spider weaves a web over a light,out of himself, or herself, makes a veil Humble living does not diminish It fills Going back to a simpler self gives wisdom Which is worth , a crowd of thousands, or your own genuine solitude Freedom, or power over an entire nation A little while alone in your roomwill prove valuable than anything elsethat could ever be given you Enough Words What hurts you, blesses you Darkness is your candle Your boundaries are your quest The GrassesWhat is form in the presence of reality Very feeble Reality keeps the sky turned over like a cup above us, revolving Who turns the sky wheel The universal intelligence Someone Digging in the GroundAn eye is meant to see things.The soul is here for its own joy.A head has one use for loving a true love.Legs to run after.Love is for vanishing into the sky The mind,for learning what men have done and tried to do.Mysteries are not to be solved The eye goes blindwhen it only wants to see why The Guest HouseThis being human is a guest house.Every morning a new arrival.A joy, a depression, a meanness,some momentary awareness comesas an unexpected visitor.Welcome and entertain them all Even if they re a crowd of sorrows,who violently sweep your houseempty of its furniture,still, treat each guest honorably.He may be clearing you outfor some new delight.The dark thought, the shame, the malice,meet them at the door laughing,and invite them in.Be grateful for whoever comes,because each has been sentas a guide from beyond The Dream That Must Be InterpretedThis place is a dream.Only a sleeper considers it real.Then death comes like dawn,and you wake up laughingat what you thought was your grief.But there s a difference with this dream.Everything cruel and unconsciousdone in the illusion of the present world,all that does not fade away at the death waking.It stays,and it must be interpreted BirdwingsYour grief for what you ve lost lifts a mirrorup to where you re bravely working.Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,here s the joyful face you ve been wanting to see.Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.If it were always a fist or always stretched open,you would be paralyzed.Your deepest presence is in every small contractingand expanding,the two as beautifully balanced and coordinatedas birdwings. The Essential Rumi, Rumi, Coleman Barks Translator , Reynold Nicholson Translator , A.J Arberry Translator , John Moyne Translator This revised and expanded edition of The Essential Rumi includes a new introduction by Coleman Barks and than 80 never before published poems Through his lyrical translations, Coleman Barks has been instrumental in bringing this exquisite literature to a remarkably wide range of readers, making the ecstatic, spiritual poetry of thirteenth century Sufi Mystic Rumi popular than ever The Essential Rumi continues to be the bestselling of all Rumi books, and the definitive selection of his beautiful, mystical poetry The essential Rumi, By Mowlavi , Jalaloddin Mohammad ibn e Mohammad, 1207 1273, Translated by Coleman Barks with Reynold Nicholson, A.J Arberry, John Moyne New York 2004, 409 Pages.An eye is meant to see things.The soul is here for its own joy.A head has one use For loving a true love.Feet To chase after.Love is for vanishing into the sky The mind,for learning what men have done and tried to do.Mysteries are not to be solved The eye goes blindwhen it only wants to see why.A lover is always accused of something.But when he finds his love, whatever was lostin the looking comes back completely changed 2012 13 20.