During the day I was singing with you

by Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

English version by Coleman Barks
Original Language Persian/Farsi & Turkish

During the day I was singing with you.
At night we slept in the same bed.
I wasn't conscious day or night.
I thought I knew who I was,
but I was you.

-- from Open Secret: Versions of Rumi, Translated by Coleman Barks / Translated by John Moyne

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This snippet of a poem by Rumi is rich with meaning.

When Rumi speaks of sleeping in the same bed with God, he is drawing a parallel -- as have many mystics -- between the ecstatic state and sexual union. This can be shocking to more orthodox religious sensibilities, but the comparison can be appropriate.

Without wanting to sound crass, the sacred experience can be described as orgasmic. There is a sense of ecstasy that goes beyond words, a sense of profound release, and a rising heat often felt to originate from the seat. But, whereas sexual orgasm is focused outward and quickly dissipates, this sacred energy turns inward and upward, spreading a glowing awareness of bliss throughout the body and mind.

On an even deeper level, this union is the merging of the individual sense of self with with the Divine, the Eternal Self.

When Rumi says he "wasn't conscious day or night," he is talking of the mystical experience of being radically free from what most people think of as normal state of mind; all of the mental chatter and concepts no longer rule perception. There is no separation between things, no "night and no "day." And there is no little sense of self from which to view it. What remains, instead, is a blissful, silent, awareness that drinks in everything unfiltered. There is perception, but there is no "I" to perceive or to be "conscious."

In such utter stillness, you discover that everything you thought you were was a mere phantom. You are stunned to discover that there is no difference between you and that pure vastness that is the Beloved, that is God.

Recommended Books: Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World Poetry for the Spirit: Poems of Universal Wisdom and Beauty Music of a Distant Drum: Classical Arabic, Persian, Turkish & Hebrew Poems Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom
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During the day I