Moonlighting by Judy Cools: Rumi

August 17, 2012


Rumi was a mystical poet who lived in the 13th century. He’s well known worldwide as a Sufi and the founder of a dervish sect – more specifically the “whirling dervishes.” He remains now, 800 years later, a classic standard of Persian mystical poetry, his spiritual insights being very quotable.

His work seems to be having a resurgence lately on forums like Facebook, e-mail tag-lines, and electronic bulletin boards. One of the merits of his written thoughts is their succinctness. A few words will capture a strong and poignant thought. The works are timeless, as their longevity demonstrates, and apply today just as well as when they were written.

One of my favorites: “Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots.”

With that as background, I confess that this evening I found myself taking issue with Rumi, despite his stature, despite his fame and his longevity. I realized this favorite quotation seems backward to me. I would prefer it to read: “Maybe you are searching among the roots, for what only appears in the branches.”

In either case, of course, the simple message is that we won’t find the object of our quest if we look in the wrong places. Just like any fine, classical literature, you can examine and digest the different sorts of symbolism in the words and you’ll come up with finer points to consider. However, my version is a call to stop rooting around in the muck and look higher. Elevate your position in things, look to the sun, the fruit, the new growth. Raise your focus and perhaps you will find the object of your search.

© 2012, J. Cools

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