Tripping over Rumi, by Libby Moore

A while back, when we were trying to think of an appropriate name for this spiritual deepening program for Unitarian Universalists, we thought about a saying which had been used at the start of our quiet times during a spiritual retreat in Mexico that Joy and I attended. The quote was attributed to Rumi and goes like this:

We begin by remembering
The sound and feeling of the One Being,
The wellspring of love. 
We affirm that the next thing we experience
Shimmers with the light of the whole universe.

The “wellspring of love” seemed perfect for our vision for this group, but, wanting to be accurate, we did a little more research and discovered that indeed, this wasn’t a Rumi poem at all but a poetic translation by Neil Douglas Klotz of an Arabic word, bismillah, a way of readying oneself for prayer.

More recently, as we planned a program to tell prospective new participants about Wellspring, we chose a poem called “Tripping Over Joy,” also attributed to Rumi, as a discussion starter. It’s a beauty of a poem, full of light and joy:

Tripping Over Joy

What is the difference
Between your experience of Existence
And that of a saint?

The saint knows
That the spiritual path
Is a sublime chess game with God

And that the Beloved
Has just made such a Fantastic Move

That the saint is now continually
Tripping over Joy
And bursting out in Laughter
And saying, “I surrender!”
Whereas, my dear,
I am afraid you still think
You have a thousand serious moves.

But again, on further research, we discovered that it was written not by Rumi, but by Hafiz, another Persian poet who lived a century after Rumi, according to several sources on the Internet.
They’re all such lovely words; it’s not surprising they were attributed to Rumi, who seems more familiar to us and who wrote so many other beautiful words. Does it matter, all this checking on Internet sites? Maybe not. I’m not a Rumi expert. I just know that these words speak to me and open my soul to the universe. Maybe it’s just the words themselves, wherever they come from, that matter. Sit with them a while and see what happens.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>