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sourceSunlight fell upon the wall; the wall received a borrowed splendor. Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one? Seek out the source which shines forever.

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

There’s nothing I appreciate more than a Pointless Pun. Here’s an example:

I like my poets like I like my pants.

Rumi.

Now, your response is probably, “Get the hook! Get off the stage! You stink!”

Yep, you’re right. It’s terrible! But when it comes to Rumi, the renowned Persian philosopher, I have a rather quirky theory. I know he was, well, a Very Deep Cat, but looking at some of his writings, I’m thinking people just starting recording everything he said. Maybe sometimes, he was just chatting, like we all do.

I imagine this quote came during dinner, when some protégé got overzealous, jotting down every word Rumi said and calling it an important nugget of truth:

“Either give me more wine or leave me alone.”

Because, really, even Great Poets get thirsty. Probably from saying all those lovely words and Being Deep.

Then they arrived at the bar for more libations after dinner, and his friend was hung-over from the previous night’s excesses:

“I know you’re tired, but come, this is the way.”

At some point, his gossipy friend got a bit too TMZ on The Man of Many Words, so Rumi said:

“Listen! Clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell, for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend.”

And then, Rumi had a bit too much wine and said this:

“I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.”

Because there was no such thing as Uber back in those days and his Honda Accord was in the shop.

Just to be clear, kind people. I don’t mean to be disrespectful of Rumi at all – he really was an incredibly gifted poet. So much of what he said centuries ago still resonates beautifully today.

My point (though it’s a stretch, I’ll grant you that! But then, heck, so are my yoga pants) is that sometimes, a sign on the highway is just that. Not everything in life is a metaphor, and you don’t have to change course based on tea leaves or fortune cookies. Your truth is already inside you. If you think you’re going in the right direction, keep going. Nobody needs to tell you what you know in your bones.

And while you’re walking your own path, it’s okay to be adventurous and dream big. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have a great story to tell your grandchildren someday. There’s no point in putting limits on yourself, and certainly not on God.

Even Rumi – the Man Himself – agrees with me on this count:

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

Now that, dear friends, is some really deep wisdom.

The thing about the truth is this.
You don’t have to quantify it,
justify it,
verify it.
You just soak it in.

If you feel it in your bones,
that’s all the proof you need.

Whoever imparts it,
embrace it with grace.

People say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but at the bookstore, I find myself only picking up hardcovers that catch my eye – whether with a bold design or a picture of a fascinating figure from history.  It’s rare that I’ll gravitate toward a book without an interesting graphic on it.

So, yeh, I’ll admit it.  I do size up people based on how they look.  But I’ve always told myself that I do it “without judgment.”  That I’m just analyzing data based on years of experience with all types of people and that I always treat everyone exactly the same way.  With respect.

Imagine my surprise to find out I regularly categorize people based on preconceived ideas, even stereotypes!  Shocking.  I guess I must have known that I do this, but thought it was not intended in a malicious way, so it was no big deal.

Watching a documentary about spiritual journeys, I heard my eyebrows raising as a white man with a long grey beard and a name his mama surely didn’t give him (Bagavon Something or Other) came onto the screen.  I felt my cheek starting to curl into a smirk.  Down in my throat, I sensed the words, “are you for real?” forming.

And then it happened.  Bagwan Thisorthat said something I never expected.

The truth.

He gave me something I didn’t see coming.

A way to articulate deep wisdom in very simple words.

Pause for effect….

He said,

“Worrying is praying for what you don’t want.”

Sheesh.  Got me good with that one, God.

Out of respect for the gift he gave me, I googled the actual name of this fellow traveler on the road of life and it is:  Bhagavan Das.  Apparently he’s a Buddhist yogi who is popular in some spiritual circles. I do admit that I stifled a chuckle when I learned his real name was Kermit Michael Riggs and that he was born in Laguna Beach, California (Om, dude!).  But I’ll give him his props for teaching me a couple of things.  You never know who God will speak through, and you can judge a book by the cover, but you may miss a good story.  At least open the book to see what’s inside.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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