Friday, January 7, 2011

The Turn: Dance in Your Blood - the turning poems of Rumi

Last evening I meditated on some of the turning poetry that Rumi wrote. The 'turn' is the moving meditation done by Mevlevi dervishes and it originated with Rumi. You have heard of the 'whirling dirvishes' perhaps your mother even called you one of these now and then? Well, Rumi is the fellow who came upon this way to connect ecstatically with the spirit. Dervish means doorway and Rumi believed that by turning in ecstatic whirls one could dissolve ego and become one with the all.

Here are a few of them from the collection in the Essential Rumi starting on page 277:

Inside water, a waterwheel turns.
A star circulates with the moon.

We live in the night ocean wondering,
What are these lights?

~   ~     ~

Walk to the well.
Turn as the earth and the moon turn,
circling what they love.
Whatever circles comes from the center.

~   ~   ~

Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you're perfectly free.

commentary: I felt I hit my sweet spot meditating on this set of poems. I have loved seeing photos and film of the whirling dirvishes - something in it seems so right to me. Often when I sit I find that I get into this small vibration with my body - like a pendulum - sometimes just back and forth and sometimes in circles. No one could see it - it is pretty much internal although I feel it - I usually don't let myself do it - it seems a guilty pleasure or an avoidance of the technique of shamata - the practice of calm abiding. Last evening I let myself feel it for a bit longer than I normally would. I remember back in my hippy days when I was interested in the notion of astral projection and that feeling, the same feeling, would be generated throughout my body. Hmmm...
The last line of the first poem 'We live in the night ocean wondering, what are those lights?' - I think of our planet whirling through space and of course from the night ocean we can see the stars as they whirl by. Those time lapse photos of the night sky show the incredible movement and as Rumi says - it comes from the center. The earth is moving. And so might we.


  1. Turn as the moon and the earth turn, I've always loved that image.

  2. It is wonderful, isn't it Ruth? So nice to find a fellow Rumi freak.

  3. Jan I am an absolute Rumi disciple! Maybe he connected the dots between us - no wonder you feel like a kindred spirit!

  4. Only dance, and your illusions will blow in the wind
    Dance, and make joyous the love around you
    Dance, and your veils which hide the Light
    Shall swirl in a heap at your feet.