During my first long retreat in Turkey, 2015, I woke up one Thursday morning after 4 weeks in the mountains and knew I had to go to Konya. At this stage I knew nothing about Konya, but have come across Rumi and his profound poetry through some of my Teachers and their performing group, "unstructured light".
Arriving to Konya in the early morning hours of Friday, I went to the Mevlana Museum and visited the building where the Dervishes lived and practiced. Spending about 30 mins (but it could just as well have been 3 hours... or lifetimes...) in deep meditation in the courtyard. Endless tears came running down my face as I had the most profound experiences of the masculine and feminine energies moving through time and space, the magical love and struggles that keeps them separate, yet never apart.
I became one with the "story" of Rumi and his beloved Shams, 2 people who shared the highest levels of love and inspiration. I never fully knew or understood the story before that point, yet I had the clear memories of the love, the sadness, pain and inspiration as if the story was repeated in my own life. The memory was triggered in every cell of my being.
That evening I went to the dervish ceremony, an experience that changed my life in all the good ways very few will ever fully understand. Hundreds of people from all over the world came to see the "show" while my consciousness would not allow me to treat this as anything less than the highest levels of enlightened action... grace. I was humbled to have been guided to this space, and as the gratitude opened my heart, I felt my root chakra completely opening up for the first time in my life. It was like all the distortions and fear that "tangled" the energy in this space was unravelled and surrendered... integrating part of the consciousness that has always been present in existence, just not within my reach.
I was blind, but now I could see...
A few days later in another part of Turkey I met an amazing Political Science professor with 3 of his students. They gave me a lift from the mountains into town after a long day of walking contemplation and we ended up in deep conversation while watching the sunset, continuing over the next few days as well, and eventually he invited me to visit him and his family in Istanbul. He was a scholar of Rumi and convinced that I was Shams. I suddenly found myself in a position to "pass it on" and saw the inspiration, wisdom and love from yet another perspective.
After my return from retreat to London, I handed my Teacher a small picture with Rumi and Shams with great humility for the role he played in my life. I could clearly see the journey I have really been on and was it not for him, the full potential extent of the beauty within the madness, would have never been revealed or understood.
This abstract moved me deeply as I can still feel the suffering, joy, terror and love in equal amounts... the memory is very real to me. I would however say, in my case it was not 60 days but quite a few years before the "cell door" opened.
“Jalal trembled as Shams led him into the street. He watched his feet as though they belonged to somebody else, somebody whose mind was not in turmoil, somebody assured of the direction in which he was walking. There were two people walking arm in arm with the grizzled dervish. One feared for his reputation, his sanity, his life. Such speed - the sudden spilling down the steps of the medrese, professor’s gown flapping: years of study and careful grooming by his teachers and in the swipe of an arm, this miracle-working dervish had sent him reeling. Gone was his dignity, his bearing, his poise.
He owned nothing other than his faith and his life, and both he was willing to give away to this stranger. He did not understand why and suddenly he didn’t care. For the other person who inhabited Jalal was on fire. The streets were on fire, the houses, his robes, his sandals. Fire was falling from the sky, each footstep – fire. Something was happening to him, something so great and so glorious that misgivings shrivelled in its inferno. Nothing could stop this movement of his legs, one in front of the other. Even if this was Satan by his side and he was walking into the mouth of hell, Jalal would follow, praising God. His heart was singing, for his heart knew the journey they were on. They were walking toward the sea, arm in arm, burning a path up the cliff.
Jalal saw now that all his study, all his discipline, all his practice was to lead him to this moment - the point where he stood on the edge of the cliff and looked down onto the rocks of his own destruction. He had always known of the drop, though hidden the knowledge from himself. There were terror and madness in too soon gazing over the edge, but one part of him had always sensed the wind blowing up from the ground, cooling his face and ruffling his hair. Now for the first time he was daring to look over the edge. Shams was inviting him to take the next step. This step was one that only he could make, one which could take him a second, or a lifetime. He may never abandon the solid ground he had created for himself. He could stay where he was, a man of achievement, a man respected and loved. To move forward meant almost certain death. It meant madness. It meant smashing the precious object of his learning and station and ownership.
All life collapsed into this single moment, the whole of creation waiting for the decision. ‘I can’t go on,’ he cried, but his words were a croak, barely audible.
His legs, his whole body was moving to the cliff edge. His heart was crying for release. Jalal watched himself, his body no longer under his own control. A hand was placed in the centre of his back and he felt a wave of joy so intense the man at his side had to steady him. Before he even looked up, Jalal knew he had stepped. He was falling. No more words were spoken as Shams closed the cell door behind them. It was sixty days before it opened again."
The way of love - by Nigel Watts, published by Harper-Collins in 1998
This excerpt was shared with me in the beginning of 2021 during a catch up with a dear friend, Stewart Coltman from Germany, who has an amazing collection of wisdom teachings he has translated from various teachers such as Ram Das. Again, the timing for receiving this was a great reminder of the experiences I have almost now forgotten I have had. My deepest gratitude for him sharing this with me...
I got this image from this link: https://za.pinterest.com/zafarali200/mulana-rumi/
Very beautiful and true words spoken indeed