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Personalize: talk about podcast On Being about Rumi (http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2010/rumi/)

Rumi- Sufi poet from the 13th century, discussing different themes in his poetry:

I think one idea or major concept that the Sufi tradition and Rumi in particular have to contribute to our current culture is value in perplexity, the fact that not knowing is a source of learning, something that propels us forward into finding out. Longing, perplexity, these are all very valuable things. We want to unravel things and get answers and be done, but as far as he’s concerned, it’s a continual process. We can’t be done, and that’s good.

Contextualize:

So much of our cultural focus is about completing and arriving at an end. Dieting until you attain the perfect weight, finishing the race, getting the degree, the job, the relationship and house…  Yoga, like the themes of Rumi’s poetry is a practice that is never complete. I’ve been practicing for over a decade and still feel that I’m in so many ways just a novice, just beginning.

Universalize: We can choose to see our incompleteness/unknowns/perplexity as lack OR we can use it as fuel for our longing to connect more and more with our deepest essence and live our best life. Our philosophy affirms the old cliché that life is about the journey, not the destination. In the heart-space can we live the truth of this cliché?

Even in our longing, we are already full. Purnatva in Sanskrit means fullness, it’s where we get the root for English perfect. Purnatva- One of the attributes of the divine- that the divine is full and lacking nothing. When hold the paradox of our inherent perfection and our longing to be even more full alongside one another, this creates magical momentum for our practice of awakening.

Context Statements:

–     the separation and the longing themselves are a kind of arrival.

–     destination is the journey itself. So there isn’t a point where you say, ‘OK, I’m here, I’ve reached, I’m done, I’m perfect.

–     New moon/Chinese new year- honor the incompleteness and even a sense of emptiness. It is inherent in that incompleteness, in the process of going forward, that you make yourself better and better. So the separation or incompleteness is the powerful force that keeps you going. If you ever felt that, ‘I have arrived, I’ve reached, this is it,’ then you wouldn’t go any further.

–     Not knowing is a necessary and even creative state

–     What is the deepest longing in your heart?

 

Open Lvl Class Plan

Focus: sbl/ shoulderblades on back (shoulder loop). Melt heart=longing

Demo: contrast “lack” posture (rounded/hard upper back) to “longing” > sbl, melt heart/SBOB

All fours- SBL/SBOB

Dog

Plank

cobra

Dolphin> plank

Lunges w/ jump switches

Inverted L

Standing poses with side planks btwn

Quad stretches

Abs

Puvottanasna

Bridge pose

Swaying bridge

Bridge> urdva danurasana> danurasana

Dog> Utt> Parsvottanasana> reclining> Savasana

 

The Song of the Reed – on Rumi’s birth anniversary

Listen to the song of the reed,

How it wails with the pain of separation:

“Ever since I was taken from my reed bed

My woeful song has caused men and women to weep.

I seek out those whose hearts are torn by separation

For only they understand the pain of this longing.

Whoever is taken away from his homeland

Yearns for the day he will return.

In every gathering, among those who are happy or sad,

I cry with the same lament.

Everyone hears according to his own understanding,

None has searched for the secrets within me.

My secret is found in my lament

But an eye or ear without light cannot know it..”

The sound of the reed comes from fire, not wind

What use is one’s life without this fire?

It is the fire of love that brings music to the reed.

It is the ferment of love that gives taste to the wine.

The song of the reed soothes the pain of lost love.

Its melody sweeps the veils from the heart.

Can there be a poison so bitter or a sugar so sweet

As the song of the reed?

To hear the song of the reed

everything you have ever known must be left behind.

— Version by Jonathan Star

“Rumi – In the Arms of the Beloved”

Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York 1997

 

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ON STEADFASTNESS:

Ms. Keshavarz: [Translating] When pain arrives side by side with your love, I promise not to flee. When you ask me for my life, I promise not to fight. I’m holding a cup in my hand, but God, if you do not come till the end of time, I promise not to pour out the wine nor to drink a sip. Your bright face is my day. Your dark curls bring the night. If you do not let me near you, I promise not to go to sleep nor rise. Your magnificence has made me a wonder. Your charm has taught me the way of love. I am the progeny of Abraham. I’ll find my way through fire.

Ms. Tippett: What do you hear in that? What do you reflect on in that?

Ms. Keshavarz: It’s about steadfastness, about staying centered and keeping your eye on the goal, but at the same time, very much being in love and allowing the ecstasy of love take over. You see, he is very aware of the fact that, as human beings, we are limited. We have our limits. We just are not able to do everything that we desire to do. Our rationality is there; it’s very helpful. It does its job in questioning things and showing the way, but that has its limits too. What opens the way beyond that is love. What enables us to feel the pain and still go forth in the face of all of that is experiencing that love. And if you look at our lives, you know, people who produce great works of art, who are creative, who do something that goes beyond day-to-day activities, have that kind of steadfastness, that kind of devotion that lets them go through. What I see in that poem is that I promise to have that, but that comes from you. It’s your magnificence, your love that gives me that energy, that power to stay, and I promise to hold onto it.

Ms. Tippett: And “you” is the beloved, is God, is Allah.

Ms. Keshavarz: Yes, and that’s where the ambiguity comes in, of course, because you should be able to relate to it as a human being in love with another human being. That would be your entry into the poem.

Ms. Tippett: It’s also probably important to note that Rumi had a great turning point with a friendship, with Shams, a Sufi master. I think it is actually helpful that the love relationship, out of which Rumi drew so many of his analogies, you know, is not a romantic love relationship. And what you’re saying to me is that love is the core, but to think about the many forms that love takes in our lives. I mean, there’s also the passionate love that we have for our children.

Ms. Keshavarz: Yes, and so they are a blessing and they all have their own place. And in the end, we don’t replace them with the divine. It’s like warming up, in a way. It’s like getting you ready for a major exercise, a physical activity. You warm up gradually. You get yourself to a state where you can do it, test your abilities, see your problems and issues, ask your questions, quarrel with yourself, and get ready for it. And I think all these forms of experience of attachment with other human beings are various ways of experiencing that.

 

http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2010/rumi/transcript.shtml


Below is an excerpt from an interview between Krista Tippett (Host of “On Being” and Ms. Keshavarz a scholar on the beloved Sufi poet from the 13th century, Rumi.

In the “Song of the Reed,” Rumi reflects on the human spirit through the metaphor of the ancient reed flute or ney that is popular in Middle Eastern music. This poem opened the Masnavi, Rumi’s compendium of rhyming couplets that explored Sufi theology and the spiritual journey.

Ms. Keshavarz: [Reciting] Listen to the story told by the reed of being separated. Since I was cut from the reed bed, I have made this crying sound. Anyone apart from someone he loves understands what I say. Anyone pulled from a source longs to go back. At any gathering, I’m there, mingling and laughing and grieving — a friend to each, but few will hear the secrets hidden within the notes. No ears for that. Body flowing out of spirit, spirit out from body, no concealing that mixing. But it’s not given us to see, so the reed flute is fire, not wind. Leave that empty.

Ms. Tippett: There’s a theme that is part of that, that runs all the way through, about separation and longing as part of — well, not just the spiritual life, but being human, and also a kind of sense that the separation and the longing themselves are a kind of arrival.

Ms. Keshavarz: On one level, you have to get on the road. You have to get started. You know, just like the earth that, you know, have to plow the earth, you have to get moving. On another level, time and again, he reminds us that the destination is the journey itself. So there isn’t a point where you say, ‘OK, I’m here, I’ve reached, I’m done, I’m perfect. I don’t need to do anything anymore.’ In the incompleteness of that, the need to move forward is inherent in that incompleteness, in the process of going forward, that you make yourself better and better and you, in a way, never reach. So the separation is the powerful force that keeps you going. If you ever felt that, ‘I have arrived, I’ve reached, this is it,’ then you wouldn’t go any further.

Ms. Tippett: You know, and I think it is counterintuitive in our culture — not that we necessarily think this through very often, but we think of desires and longings as something that we need to find something to meet, right?

Ms. Keshavarz: Yes, yes.

Ms. Tippett: And …

Ms. Keshavarz: And we want to meet it really fast and perfect. Yes.

Ms. Tippett: Yes, because, somehow, the feeling of longing and separation from whatever it is, especially if we don’t know what it is we want, that that is unsatisfying and there’s something wrong with that.

Ms. Keshavarz: Yes.

Ms. Tippett: And yet, what Rumi is saying is that, you know, the longing itself is redemptive and is progress, kind of.

Ms. Keshavarz: Yes, and the longing itself — and also not to understand exactly what that longing is in itself is very productive. I think one idea or major concept that the Sufi tradition and Rumi in particular have to contribute to our current culture is value in perplexity, the fact that not knowing is a source of learning, something that propels us forward into finding out. Longing, perplexity, these are all very valuable things. We want to unravel things and get answers and be done, but as far as he’s concerned, it’s a continual process. We can’t be done, and that’s good.

http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2010/rumi/transcript.shtml

“Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings.”

Rumi

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