The Book of Rumi


(1207 – 1273)

English Translations by Coleman Barks

We come spinning out of nothing, scattering stars like dust…. [So] …Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you….Close your eyes and just surrender. 

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop. 

I have one small drop of knowing in my soul. Let it dissolve in your ocean.

And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself? …. [Because] … What you seek is seeking you. 

Read the book of your own life. That’s the story.

Keep knocking and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there. 


There is a courage involved if you want to become truth. 

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.

If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished? 

How sad that you yourself veil the treasure that is yours. 

How did you get here? Close your eyes and surrender. There is a voice that doesn’t use words.

The garden of the world has no limits except in your mind. 

The intelligent want self-control. Children want candy.

However you think it is. It is different than that. 

Why do you stay in prison when the door is open? 

Talk to your vital heart, and all worries will disappear. 

The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart. 

Only from the heart can you touch the sky. 

When you do things from the soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.

Only let the moving waters calm down; and the sun and the moon will be reflected in your being. 

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. 

Whoever finds love beneath hurt and grief disappears into emptiness without a thousand  new disguises

Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Where the world lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. 

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell
Don’t go back to sleep
Ask for what you really want
Don’t go back to sleep
People are moving back and forth
Across the threshold where
The two worlds touch
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep. 

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances. That’s not for human beings.
Move within but don’t move the way fear makes you move.
Today, like every other day, we wake up empty and frightened.
Don’t open the door to the study and begin reading.
Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. 

Come, come, whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper,
Lover of leaving – it doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows
A hundred times, a thousand times.
Come, come again, come.

What I tell about “me” I tell about you
The walls between us long ago burned down
This voice seizing me is your voice
Burning to speak to us of us. 

Do you think I know what I’m doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it’s writing
Or the ball can guess where it’s going next. 

The Guesthouse 

This being human is a guesthouse.
Every morning a new arrival. 

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor. 

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in. 

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond. 

The wound is the place where light enters you. 

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

Dance as though no one is watching you.
Sing as though no one can hear you.
Live as though heaven is on earth.
Love as though you have never been hurt.

The day of my death will be my wedding day with eternity.