"I want one who can quit seeing himself, / fill with God and, instead of being / irritated by interruption and daily / resentments, feel those as kindness." --Rumi 

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Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation
Dervishes (photo detail) performing at Ruhaniyat Purana, Qila, 2011, by Ajaiberwarl. Wikimedia Commons.
Dervishes (photo detail) performing at Ruhaniyat Purana, Qila, 2011, by Ajaiberwarl. Wikimedia Commons.    
Mystics and Non-Dual Thinkers:
Week 1 
Friday, July 17, 2015
(Ramadan ends at sunset) 

Jalaludin Rumi (1207-1273) was a Persian Sufi or mystic, a scholar, theologian, and poet. He is the most translated poet in the world. Rumi inherited a position from his father as head of a dervish learning community in Turkey. Coleman Barks, who has translated a great deal of Rumi's poetry, describes the community's purpose: "to open the heart, to explore the mystery of union, to fiercely search for and try to say truth, and to celebrate the glory and difficulty of being in a human incarnation." [1] Like Eckhart, Rumi was not cut off from the common world. He worked in the gardens and advocated for his students' needs, giving practical advice on all sorts of so-called secular matters. Perhaps this earthy grounding allowed Rumi to explore the very heights and depths of mystical experience.


Sufism is the mystical arm of Islam. Mainline Islam, like most organized religion, largely emphasizes external behaviors, whereas Sufism developed and emphasized the interior life. [2] According to Daniel Ladinsky, "the Sufis themselves say their 'way' has always existed, under many names, in many lands, associated with the mystical dimension of every spiritual system." The special emphasis of Sufism is "intense, often ecstatic, one-pointed devotion to God." [3] If you have ever seen a Sufi Dervish twirl around one pivot, as I was privileged to witness in Turkey, all the message is contained therein.


Rumi's experience of ecstasy was born in grief. It seems his beloved teacher and friend, Shams of Tabriz, was killed by jealous students. Rumi's sorrow led him into a yet deeper search for intimacy with the Divine. Ladinsky writes: "Rumi was inconsolable and began wandering, searching for any trace of his friend who was All-in-All to him. Finally he realized that his beloved Shams was within him. That is exactly the role of a Master, to create an intense desire for union with the Beloved--and when union happens, an atomic mystical power is released that can be directed toward humanity." [4]


Rumi often refers to the Divine Presence as a guest or a friend. Here is just one small jewel, translated by Coleman Barks, of Rumi's approximately 70,000 poems. [5]


One Who Can Quit Seeing Himself


I look for one simple and open enough

to see the Friend, not an intelligence


weighing several perspectives. I want

an empty shell to hold this pearl, not


a stone who pretends to have a secret

center, when the surface is all through.


I want one who can quit seeing himself,

fill with God and, instead of being


irritated by interruption and daily

resentments, feel those as kindness.
Gateway to Silence
"I am a hole in a flute that the Christ's breath moves through." --Hafiz
[1] Coleman Barks, trans., The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems (Harper Collins: 2001), 4.
[2] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Following the Mystics Through the Narrow Gate . . . Seeing God in All Things (Center for Action and Contemplation), disc 1 ( CD, DVD, MP3 download).
[3] Daniel Ladinsky, A Year with Hafiz: Daily Contemplations (Penguin Books: 2011), xxii.
[4] Ladinsky, Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices From the East and West (Penguin Compass: 2002), 58-59.
[5] Barks, 242.
Living School for Action and Contemplation

Study and practice to deepen awareness of union with God.

Discover and live out your soul task in service to the world.


Embark on a two-year program combining
online studies and onsite learning in New Mexico 

with core faculty members
Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and James Finley.


Explore and apply at cac.org/living-school  


Admissions open July 1-September 30, 2015, for the 2016-2018 Living School Program.
The Living School application packet includes a variety of digital resources to
support your spiritual journey and discernment process (a $66 value).

Applications are available July 1-September 16, 2015. 

This talk, included in the Living School application packet, is also available separately:


Returning to Essentials: Teaching an Alternative Orthodoxy


Living School faculty Rohr, Bourgeault, and Finley
point to the essential, yet often overlooked, mystical and wisdom teachings.


Pay what you're able--as little as $1--for the audio download at store.cac.org.


Donations are gratefully accepted. A CD recording can be purchased for $15.

2015 Daily Meditation Theme

Richard Rohr's meditations this year explore his "Wisdom Lineage," the teachers, texts, and traditions that have most influenced his spirituality. Read an introduction to the year's theme and view a list of the elements of Fr. Richard's lineage in CAC's January newsletter, the Mendicant.  

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