(Photo by the author)

Eight hundred years is a long way to look back and extract meaningful guidance about ‘today’s world’, and yet I can say with honesty that the historical figure whose wisdom made one of the most important differences to my spiritual life lived in the 13th century

Generally known by the short-form of his last name: Rumi, the Sufi mystic and poet Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi can be said to have done more than any other contemporary to bring to us the essence and vision of the mystical tradition of the Sufi schools. It needs to be remembered that the Sufi tradition operates within Islam; the latter forming a basis for society, behaviour and everyday worship.

Sufism provides the living and experiential heart of the mystical tradition – the realisation of the ‘divine’.

As with Gnostic Christianity within its parent, the two are not easy bedfellows – and yet the strength of a culture that has both behavioural and visionary layers to its learning has been lauded over the centuries.

Sufism – a school of the soul – lived under constant threat from narrow dogma and authoritarianism. The ideas of Gnostic Christianity are embedded in many mystical schools, today.

(Above: depiction of Rumi by the artist Hossein Behzad. Colour enhancement by the author; source Wikipedia)

Rumi, (1207-1273) also known as Mevlana (‘master’), was a Persian scholar and Sufi mystic. His influence, even today, transcends national borders, and – more importantly – ethnic divisions.

Rumi’s teachings – often expressed as poetry or simple sayings, continue to be central to spiritual thought in Iran, Tajikistan, Turkey, Greece and within the Indian subcontinent. He has even been described as the ‘best-selling poet’ in America; which perhaps demonstrates the continued hunger for his style of clear and intelligently mischievous writing.

Rumi takes us on a journey – it’s a story; the best way to learn anything is to immerse yourself in its story…

Below is the Rumi aphorism that made such a difference to my own mystical journey.

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

The Sufi tradition is one of poetry and concealment ‘in plain sight’. Its goal is to unite the ‘seeker’ with an inner presence known as ‘The Beloved’. We all have a inner Beloved, just as we have a personal inner journey awaiting us when we are ready to take it.

The Sufi and Gnostic Christian journey is one of inner unity with a part of us that is more real than we can comprehend – until we get there. This strange-sounding dilemma is due to the properties of the mind.

Mind is the organ of experience, both inner and outer. It has vast power over our intellectual and physical vehicles, even allowing us to take an action that will end our organic lives.

But mind is object based… By this I mean it views itself as separate from what ‘its’ senses tell it is happening in the world of its things – objects. It creates an ‘in-here’ and an ‘out-there’, and the result of that is the secondary creation of a ‘me’.

Eventually, the ‘me’ – a separate entity in this colourful world – decides it is interested in ‘heaven’ – a super-state. It wants to aspire to this state, as this might assuage the deep hunger it feels for meaning. The mind, outward-facing since childhood, senses that its world of objects is limiting. The initially bright and wonderful world it had in childhood – when all the objects were new – has faded…

When the mind sets off to build this picture of heaven, it does so in the way it does everything else – by doing, and by adding more.

And this is where Rumi’s wisdom comes in…

The trouble with creating a picture of heaven to be your destination is that it is formed in the outward-facing mind and is therefore made up of separate objects – things, just better things.

Rumi’s words remind us that we are the ones who have separated ourselves from the goal, which is Love – the Beloved. What we need to remove is the inner separation, not build a new bridge to an unseen, unfelt place.

To get to that ‘heaven’ – the superstate of consciousness which is real and pre-existing in our lives, we need to dismantle the barriers – the negative objects related to our concept of self – and then feel the fresh breeze of the real Self – the Beloved – coming to transform our lives’

This task is the objective of the ‘mystery schools’. In various forms, these have existed for centuries – even millennia. Mystery Schools use different methods to light the path and enable the traveller, depending on where the School arose and what the background was of their founders.

But they all share the same goal…

The Silent Eye is a modern mystery school whose teachings include wisdom derived from the Sufis; though we are not associated with Islam in any way.

The ‘barriers to love’ are the negative states we have built in our personalities. They have no lasting reality and no real power beyond their bluff and bluster. With care and gentle supervision, they can be systematically identified and ‘turned’ to face our personal source of life and love…at which point they become their opposites!

This process unveils an ever-brightening path upon which the personal Beloved reveals itself and takes an active and unmistakable role in our advancement.

There is no reason why such arcane wisdom need be complex. The right understanding propels everything…

©Stephen Tanham 2023

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

6 Comments on “Barriers to Love

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