Ramana Maharshi and Rumi would agree: the joy of being human is in uncovering the core we already are, the treasure buried in the ruin.
The mystics always say that the experience they're talking about is ineffable, that you can't say it. Rumi was asked one time why he talked so much about silence. He said, "The radiant one inside me has never said a word."
I think we all have a core that's ecstatic, that knows and that looks up in wonder. We all know that there are marvelous moments of eternity that just happen. We know them.
If you think there's an important difference between being a Christian or a Jew or a Hindu or a Muslim or a Buddhist, then you're making a division between your heart, what you love with, and the way you act in the world.
Just being sentient and in a body with the sun coming up is a state of rapture.
When you meet a new friend, the world has more light in it, doesn't it? Things become more spontaneous, and more full of laughing and freedom and novelty.
I had been a kind of natural mystic my whole life, growing up there in Tennessee next to the river. Somehow, that was important for my consciousness. I still don't study [mysticism]. I just wait for experiences.
It's such a foolish thing to argue about names, when what we're doing is all one thing.
Anything you grab hold of on the bank breaks with the river's pressure. When you do things from your soul, the river itself moves through you. Freshness and a deep joy are signs of the current.
Longing becomes more poignant if in the distance you can't tell whether your friend is going away or coming back. The pushing away pulls you in.
The religions of the world are luminous in their individuality, and they have valuable social and soulmaking functions. Surely someday we will quit killing each other over their different strategies.
It's a beautiful lucid dream that has language that I can fiddle with.
What I deeply want... is for Rumi to become vitally present for readers, part of what John Keats called our soul-making, that process that is both collective and uniquely individual, that happens outside time and space and inside, that is the ocean we all inhabit and each singular droplet-self.
There's some sort of exchange that goes on between human beings that is one of the highest things we do.
[Rumi] is trying to get us to feel the vastness of our true identity... like the sense you might get walking into a cathedral.
I had never heard of Rumi until Robert Bly handed me this book and he said, ah, “These poems need to be released from their cages.”
If you teach three university courses a day, you need something to turn your mind off.
I like to walk around my neighborhood, late in the afternoon. I sometimes wind up at the wonderful, old Shell station that's been changed into a coffee shop. Right where Johnny used to change my oil, I have a latte and take out my little book bag. It doesn't sound very austere.
I think my life is tremendously interesting, and surely, other people do too.
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