For the past several years, I’ve made a habit out of not making New Year’s Resolutions. That way when I’m unable to “stop eating chocolate,” for example, I won’t feel like a complete failure. This year was no different.
This week, however, while quietly sitting on my mat, the verse, “What you seek is seeking you,” appeared in my thoughts.
I often see these words on various yoga websites, merchandise and greeting cards; the quote credited to someone named Rumi. But, who the heck is Rumi and what did he mean when he said, “What you seek is seeking you?"
I decided to really sit and contemplate what it was I was seeking. It didn’t take long for the word “PEACE” to make it’s way to the forefront of my mind. I often fantasize about spending time away in a cabin reading and writing without the distraction of devices—completely unplugged and therefore totally present, at ease and full of peace.
As I let my fantasy play out in my head, I had an ephiphany—I don’t need a cabin in order to disconnect. I simply need to put down the phone, turn the TV off, and find a quiet space within my current environment. And so inadvertently I created a New Year’s Resolution: Less devices + more time in quiet reflection equals PEACE.
Now on the question of, “Who is Rumi?”, I did a little research and pulled out a few key points from Wikipedia.
Rumi was a 13th century Persian, Sunni Muslim poet, jurist, Islamic Scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic.
So like the book, “If you give a mouse a cookie,” I now needed to research the word mystic, in order to truly understand the various roles Rumi played, especially as it was used in this context.
According to Wikipedia, Mysticism is popularly known as becoming one with God, but may refer to any kind of ecstasy or altered state of consciousness which is given a religious or spiritual meaning.
Rumi's public life as an Islamic jurist and teacher began around the year 1241, and it was during this period of time that he travelled to Damascus and spent several years. While there, Rumi met a dervish, a Muslim Sufi who had taken a vow of poverty, named Shams. That meeting completely changed his life. From an accomplished teacher and jurist, he was transformed into an ascetic, adopting a frugal lifestyle and renouncing material possessions and physical pleasures in order to focus on his spiritual practice.
The irony that my first thought was, "I need a cabin in order to find peace," is not lost on me; a stark contrast of the very definition of asceticism.
On the night of December 5th, in the year 1248, as Rumi and Shams were talking, Shams was called to the back door. He went out and was never seen again. Rumi expressed his love and grief for his missing friend and spiritual teacher in an outpouring of lyrical poems. He went out searching for Shams and it was upon this journey that he came to the following realization:
Why should I seek?
I am the same as he.
His essence speaks through me.
I have been looking for myself!
While sitting quietly reflecting on the word “peace” and what it means to me, I recalled another famous quote, “Peace comes from within, do not seek without.” These wise words are attributed to another spiritual leader, Siddartha Gautama otherwise known as Buddha.
For the past several years, I have intentionally not made a New Year’s resolution, so who knows if this inadvertent New Year’s resolution of unplugging and sitting quietly will last more than the week, but I did succeed in writing this new blog post…so yay!
Peace In. Peace Out.