Recently Twyla echoed Larry's lament, "Where is this generation's Rumi?"
Where within us is this moment's Rumi? Where is the creative wellspring that Rumi dipped into? Where is that spirit bubbling up now? Surely it is not confined to some man or woman born a safe one or two thousand years ago? Those men and women are gone. They are of the past and longer exist. You are alive and carry the living fire. Look within to find the source of ecstasy that moved Rumi. It is here whole and complete, with nothing missing, patiently waiting for you to step out of your own way. Let go into it, allow it to emerge, and in the sacred act of psychological self-immolation burn for the Lover. Let go of preoccupation with the past. Move from searching for Rumi to burning yourself in the fire that consumes him. Many of our questions assume an external focus, an outward looking, salvific orientation. Where is this generation's Rumi if not in your searingly open heart, in the naked awareness that is taking in these letters on the screen before you now?
What if you stumbled upon this generation's Rumi? Would you recognize him? Or Jesus, would you recognize him? Would you recognize the man whose life Erik Reese described as "a combination of walking, eating with followers and social outcasts, preaching, fishing a little, telling stories that no one seemed to understand, and offering largely unsolicited diatribes against the powers that be. That is to say, the life of Jesus -- if unconventional -- was nevertheless ordinary enough. Thousands of homeless men and women do pretty much the same thing every day in this country." Would you recognize Kabir? Or do you prefer he and his poetry safely quarantined in a book?
When Being meets Itself in your naked heart you begin singing love songs to anyone who will listen, or to the wind, the sky and the stars. Then the search for Rumi will be over and you will be the One enthralling us with love's authentic fire. You realize with an intuitive certainty that this fire burns deeply, obscurely within you now. Otherwise how could you recognize the vibration of a Rumi or a Kabir, a Lao Tzu, Mirabai, Heraclitus, Basho, Blake, Yeats or Rilke, a Krishnamurti, Osho, Jesus, or Siddhartha, or a Meredith or Tommy for that matter? If we did not have that divinity, whole and complete within us, we would not recognize... there would be no resonance. Instead Rumi's creative expressions deeply resonate within us, like chords of deep music that move us to a place beyond our willful control. That resonance, those strings singing, reverberating in our Being, is the very wellspring he drank from. Drunk on this nectar, always and everywhere present, he showered love like an overfull rain cloud falling on a desert; he burned like Jesus, giving himself up as fuel for the holy fire, for illumination and warmth, and when the fuel was exhausted, he burned the ash and threw the dust into the open sky.
Would we want to commune with a living, flesh and blood Rumi? A Rumi freed from his hardback cage at Amazon.com or his low security incarceration on our coffee table? Perhaps, coming across a latter-day Rumi we might experience uneasiness, a fear or insecurity in the face of the man's too-full intimacy. We may feel uncomfortable, perhaps out-of-control; his vibrant presence challenging our beliefs and unquestioned assumptions. Just his presence may upset the applecart of our spiritual complacency. The genuine energy of transformation would certainly invite us to come out of the familiar, stuffy confines of our psychological cocoons, into a world of color and movement, of fresh air and light, of vitality and spontaneity, the world of a butterfly on the wing.
How would the modern mind receive a Jesus, Rumi, Buddha, Mirabai today -- a living invitation to contemporary, subversive communion? How might we receive an invitation to drown in the stream of divine intimacy, in a love flood swallowing the foundations of our self-identification, in a sacred tide beyond our will and control, undermining the exclusive dominion of ego fixation? Contemporary mind tends to respond with avoidance or aggression to that which shakes the foundation of identity, psychological survival and social-security. That's the tendency isn't it: fear or contempt of the unknown, repression of that which lies in shadow?
Where is this generation's Rumi? The modern-day Rumi may be well aware of the consequence of rising to the questions of his whereabouts, but he rises nonetheless. Overburdended with love, what can he do? He needs to share, and giving his most precious treasure he is grateful to us for receiving, for listening to his song, for allowing him to unburden his overflowing heart. While we may lack the vision to see his spirit, our Rumi's overcome enmity and contempt and sing for us on a daily basis. They die to themselves and rise again as the burning flame beside us everyday, loving and encouraging and nurturing us with the warmth of the Phoenix' fire.
Clearing your eyes of the trance of self with its want and fear, you will see Rumi - in the eyes of a child or a checker at the supermarket, in the animals and the trees, in music, poetry and dance, in the sun, the stars and the rain. But more important, you will see Rumi and the rest of your spiritual ancestors inside you. The whole courageous lineage is there burning. Seeing this flame you will begin burning from within and your light and warmth will carry to others. You may be dismissed as just an ordinary Tommy, or a common Meredith, but something will resonate in your friends and lovers, something deep, obscure, discomforting and enthralling, disillusioning and exhilarating. Questions may arise, "Where is this generation's Rumi? Where is the authentic song of Freedom? Where is God genuinely manifesting in modern life?” To your delight you realize the words are emerging from the lips of God, pretending to be Larry.