Define me, shrink me: you starve your self of Self.

Keep me nailed in a box of unyielding words,

That box becomes your coffin.

I do not know who I am.

I live in brilliant astonishment.

I am not Christian. I am not Jew. I am not Zoroastrian.

Even a Muslim, I am not.

I don’t belong to land, or to known or unknown seas.

I am not claimed by nature or by heaven.

Not by India, China, or Bulgaria.

No place is my birthplace…

You ay that you can see my mouth, ears, eyes and nose?

They are not mine,

I am the life of life.

I am  that cat and this stone.

I am no one.

I have discarded duality like a worn cloth.

I see and know all times and universes

as one, one, eternally one,

What must I do to get you to know who is speaking>

Know this–and change everything!

This! Your voice resounding on the walls of God.  ~ Rumi



An Ocean without Shore

I marveled at an Ocean without shore,
and at a Shore that did not have an ocean;
And at a Morning Light without darkness,
and at a Night that was without daybreak;
And then a Sphere with no locality
known to either fool or learned scholar;
And at an azure Dome raised over the earth,
circulating ’round its center – Compulsion;
And at a rich Earth without o’er-arching vault
and no specific location, the Secret concealed…

I courted a Secret which existence did not alter;
for it was asked of me: “Has Thought enchanted you? ”
– To which I replied: “I have no power over that;
I counsel you: Be patient with it while you live.
But, truly, if Thought becomes established
in my mind, the embers kindle into flame,
And everything is given up to fire
the like of which was never seen before!”
And it was said to me: “He does not pluck a flower
who calls himself with courtesy ‘Freeborn’.”
“He who woos the belle femme in her boudoir, love-beguiled,
will never deem the bridal-price too high!”

I gave her the dower and was given her in marriage
throughout the night until the break of Dawn –
But other than Myself I did not find. – Rather,
that One whom I married – may his affair be known:
For added to the Sun’s measure of light
are the radiant New Moon and shining Stars;
Like Time, dispraised – though the Prophet (Blessings on him!)
had once declared of your Lord that He is Time.

~ Ibn Arabi

Mathnawi, II 1680-1708

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 hard, you neck thin as a spindle, that what you give away

is all your won, that you sacrifice belongings,

sleep, healthy, your head, that you often

sit dow in a fire like aloes-wood, and often got 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.


Some organization and computation

become absurd.

~ Rumi, We Are Three (New Translations by Coleman Barks, 1987)

The New Rule

Rumi, not Maher

It’s the old rule that drunks have to argue

and get into fights.

The lover is just as bad: He falls into a hold.

But down in that hole he finds something shining,

worth more than any amount of money or power.

Last night the moon cam dropping it’s clothes in the street.

I took it as a sign to start singing,

falling up int the bowl of the sky.

The bowl breaks. Everywhere is falling everywhere.

Nothing else to do.


Here’s the new rule: Break the wineglass,

and fall

toward the glassblower’s breath.

In The Waves and Underneath

Inspired by ocean-walking dreams, of the surface of the waves and the surface of the bottom; watching dolphins and seals yesterday, I couldn’t think of a better time to share this.


A man is wandering the marketplace at noon with a candle

in his hand, totally ecstatic.
“Hey,” calls the shopkeeper, “is this a joke? Who are you

looking for?”  “Someone breathing
Huuu, the divine breath.”
“Well, there are plenty of those to choose from.”

“But I want one who
can be in anger and desire and still a true human being

in the same moment.”  “A rare thing!
But maybe you’re searching among branches for what

appears only in the roots.”  There is
a river that turns these millstongs. Human will is an illusion.

Those who are proud
of the deciding and carrying out decisions are the rawest of

the raw! Watch
the thought-kettles boiling, then look down at the first.

God said to Job, “ You value
your patience well. Consider now that I gave you that

patience.” Don’t be absorbed
with the waterwheel’s motion. Turn your head and gaze

at the river.  You say, “But,
I’m looking there already.”  There are several signs in eyes

that see all the way to
the ocean. Bewilderment is one. Those who study the foam and

flotsam near the edge
have purposes, and they’ll explain them at length. Those who

look out to the sea become the sea,
and they can’t speak about that. On the beach there’s

desire-singing and rage-ranting,
the elaborate language-dance of personality, but in the waves

and underneath there’s no

volition, no hypocrisy, just love forming and unfolding.   ~Rumi