as part of my daily spiritual practice i draw an inspirational card from ‘the rumi deck”, which is sadly no longer in print. the cards are divided into ‘families’: birth, love, ordeal, transformation, warnings, and rewards. each card has a short quotation from one of rumi’s works. each one is a pithy guide for my meditation and the rest of the day. what was true to the brilliant, 13th century persian sufi poet has deep resonance even in the 21st century. in fact, rumi is the most read poet in the world today. the book that accompanies the cards was written by andrew harvey, a contemporary mystic, who adds a short insight into the quotation.
the ‘family’ of love is particularly inspiring, of course. harvey tells us, in the introduction to the ‘family’, that rumi says, in one of his odes, “all that we will take across the waters of death is the jewel of love.”
as elders we have the wisdom to appreciate love’s vital role in life, to express that love and to cultivate it as we would a garden. love needs nourishment, good soil, sunshine and water. it needs conscious attention as well as an open heart. to inspire ourselves with the beauty of love is one of our reasons for being on the planet. our continued opening to love gives us courage to live honestly and passionately…even in the face of love’s pain and disappointment.
in some ways, love itself is a kind of death. we can open and let go of the hardened parts of ourselves, the armour that kept love away. we can learn to be with what is and let go of our need to have the world be exactly as we would want it. we can surrender to truth and let go of our expectations and inauthenticity. each of those lettings go is a small death. these deaths contribute to the softening of the ego that many spiritual traditions encourage.
it is death in the bliss and ecstasy of love.