I was recently speaking to a good friend, and we ended talking about the 13th-century poet and mystic Rumi. It reminded me how some words of wisdom are timeless. And in a world today that is full of noise, it’s even more important to be reminded about what is truly important. Here’s a selection of his words that I find especially relevant today*:
Do you know yourself?
“You know the value of every article of merchandise,
but if you don’t know the value of your own life,
it’s all foolishness”
“Your thinking is like a horse rider,
and you are the horse:
it drives you in every direction under its bitter control.”
“Hungry, you’re a dog, angry and bad-natured.
Having eaten your fill, you become a carcass;
you lie down like a wall, senseless.
At one time dog, at another time carcass,
how will you run with lions, or follow the wisest ones?”
“Take someone who doesn’t keep score,
who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing,
who has not the slightest interest even
in his own personality: he’s free.”
“Strip the clothing of pride from your body:
in learning, put on the garment of humility.
Life receives from life-experience the knowledge of humility,
not from books or speech.”
“Feed your heart in conversation
with someone harmonious with it;
seek wisdom from one who is advanced.”
“Many of the faults you see in others, dear reader,
are your own nature reflected in them.
As the it has been said,
‘Sincere people are mirrors to one another.'”
“An arrogant person sees some fault,
and the flames of anger rise up in him.
He calls that angry pride defense of reason;
he doesn’t notice his own arrogant soul.”
“Everyone in the world, whether man or woman,
is dying and continually passing through the agony of death.
Regard their words as the final injunctions
which a father gives his son.In this way
consideration and compassion may grow in your heart,
and the root of hatred and jealousy may be cut away.”
Praise and flattery
“Your unhappiness is connected to your rudeness
and refusal to praise. Whoever feels himself living
the good life, and refuses to praise – that man or woman
steals from others every day – is a shoplifter!”
“The world’s flattery and hypocrisy is a sweet dessert:
eat less of it, for its full of fire.
Its fire is hidden, while its taste is unmistakable
but its smoke becomes visible in the end.”
Pain and tough times
“If you are irritated by every rub
how will your mirror be polished?”
“Wherever pain is, that’s where the cure goes;
wherever there is poverty, that’s where provision goes.
Wherever a difficult question is,
that’s where the answer goes;
wherever a ship is, water goes to it.
Don’t seek the water; increase your thirst,
so water may gush forth from above and below.”
* taken from the book The Rumi Collection with some modifications by me for ease of understanding
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