Psychotherapy to the Core

Poems by Rumi, 13th-century Sufi Poet
From The Essential Rumi, translations by Coleman Barks

Today, Like Every Other Day

A meditation on not getting too “into your head” about things.

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Who makes these changes?

On the futility of trying to control everything.

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Acts of Helplessness

Beauty and possibility arise from connection—emerging from agony, confusion, and desperation.

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Today, Like Every Other Day

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

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Who makes these changes?

Who makes these changes?
I shoot an arrow right.
It lands left.
I ride after a deer and find myself
chased by a hog.
I plot to get what I want
and end up in prison.

I dig pits to trap others
and fall in.

I should be suspicious
of what I want.

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Acts of Helplessness

Here are the miracle-signs you want: that
you cry through the night and get up at dawn, asking,
that in the absence of what you ask for your day gets dark,
your neck thin as a spindle, that what you give away
is all you own, that you sacrifice belongings,
sleep, health, your head, that you often
sit down in a fire like aloes wood, and often go out
to meet a blade like a battered helmet.
When acts of helplessness become habitual,
those are the signs.
But you run back and forth listening for unusual events,
peering into the faces of travelers.
“Why are you looking at me like a madman?”
I have lost a friend. Please forgive me.

Searching like that does not fail.
There will come a rider who holds you close.
You faint and gibber. The uninitiated say,
“He’s faking.”
How could they know?
Water washes over a beached fish, the water
of those signs I just mentioned.
Excuse my wandering.
How can one be orderly with this?
It’s like counting leaves in a garden,
along with the song-notes of partridges,
and crows.

                 Sometimes organization
and computation become absurd.

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