Stay Awake


For years, copying other people, I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn’t decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.



7 responses

  1. There are thousands of Rumi poems I love. I love Rumi’s intimacy with God. In this poem, Rumi hears God calling his name, and he walks toward the voice he hears. In the second stanza, Rumi tells us that he hears this voice in the breeze at dawn, it is everywhere to be found. I sense that was all yearn for this voice, this pure voice in the wilderness calling to us. Perhaps we have heard it once, or twice, or more. And we yearn to hear it again and again. We go back and forth, from intellect to heart, looking for this voice. Rumi tells us we must ask for what we really want. And we must truly listen for this voice – it is within us all. The door is round and open,awake, with our hearts round and openwe move through it.***What does this poem say to you? What does it mean when Rumi says,”Don’t go back to sleep.”?What do you think it means when he writes,”People are gong back and forth across the doorsillwhere two worlds touch…”?

  2. Hi Meredith :-)I liked best the line – You must ask for what you really want.It seems to be at odds with the idea of only wanting what you think God’s will for you is, but I’d like to think that what we really want says something important about us, and we shouldn’t be afraid to affirm what we honestly want.The don’t go back to sleep reminds me of The Matrix :-)and the part about people going back and forth by the door, brings up thoughts of reincarnation.A very evocative poem.zumpcbtj

  3. This reminds me of some of Gwendolyn McEwan’s poems — Poems in Braille — or some of her TE Lawrence stuff — where it touches you before you can figure out what it says.Don’t go back to sleep. I think the “trick” to enlightenment isn’t becoming enlightened — that’s actually pretty easy. Its staying there. At some point we waver — I waver — and drop back into that world of language and ideas and scrupulously getting everything just so — all of it — in the end — ego needs.

  4. Crystal and David,Thank you for responding. This is kind of fun! Both of your comments reminded me of something I have been looking into lately – that of spritual inquiry. This means different things to different people, but to me it means asking a simple question, and then, with the answer, asking the question again, and again, going deeper and deeper until the question dissolves. Perhaps the questioner, too, dissolves. Below the questions, and below our conceptual answers, we find the part of ourselves beyond our concepts, beyond our small selves. This is where I find my truest intimacy with God.For Chrystal, since the “Ask for what you really want” line sparked a recognition, I would ask, “What is it that you really want?” And how would that be helpful? And how would that be helpful? And how would that be helpful?” or some train of inquiry such as that.And for David, perhaps an inquiry might be, how is it “that world of language and ideas and scrupulously getting everything just so…” fulfills you? Or, possibly the question is, “What is good about this?” And “Why would this be good? And why is this good? And Why is this good?” Keep this going till you run out of answers.Simplistically, the responses might go something like this:”Getting everything just right makes me feel good. When I feel good I’m happier. When I’m happier my life goes better. When my life goes better I don’t worry so much. When I don’t worry so much, I …”I have used this inquiry with resentments I carried, and also with the burden of grief I carried for Oh-so-long. Asking what was good about the resentment shed a lot of light on the shallow, ego driven place inside that harbored this. And the same thing with grief. Initially after a loss, gieving is a natural response, but in holding my grief I realized that it had turned into something much different. It had turned into my identity to some degree. Perhaps these sound like psychological inqiries, but often it is our psyche’s, our rationality, our thinking, such as our concepts that hold us separate from the kind of intimacy with God that Rumi seems to enjoy.If you try this, I’d be curious about the experience of the inquiry. Does it take you deeper? What became apparent to you as you went deeper?

  5. This is wonderful, Meredith; a lovely poem! lovely comments. David, I think you’ve touched the mother lode here.Re the voice: yes, God speaks incessantly, but too often we are stone deaf. God spoke to me in myriad ways for 30 years, but it wasn’t until I got seriously interested in my future that I heard. Then I felt like I had spoken first, and God immediately answered: extravagantly, amazingly, heart changingly. Since then the dialogue is sporadic: I do go in and out the door; I wake and sleep; the door to me is the kingdom of God, in which I occasionaly live (and look forward to inhabiting it permanently: myself and all of you. Hurrah!I much appreciate sharing your life with us as you have done. I must say that for me the door is to intellect at least as much as to heart. I constantly remember that God told us to love him “with all our heart- and all our mind” (and a couple of other ways).

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  7. Thank you Larry. I, too, have that feeling of the sporadic nature of a dialogue with God, of going in and out the door, of waking up and going to sleep. Recently I wondered, “Why does this happen, and could our relating be more constant?” This led me to examine what is happening when I feel a distance, and more importantly, what is happening when I feel intimacy. This was an interesting query to delve into. Perhaps this is a topic for another dialogue if any are interested. As for our hearts and minds, Yes! Loving fully is to love with our whole being. My point was more to not get trapped by our thinking, our concepts of good and bad, concepts of our own identification, concepts of “proper practice,” and things like that. I found these things are often mute points with regard to intimacy with God’s presence. This was a key for me in the query I mentioned above. My thinking, I realized, could distance me from God. Figuring this out is, however, a matter of thinking, yes? We can smile together. And we can honor our wholeness; our hearts and minds are integral, and at their best, integrated.

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