Say Yes Quickly


Below is one of my favorite poems by Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi. This one is a translation by the American poet, Coleman Barks.There is an interview with Coleman here, in which he speaks to the idea, near and dear to my heart, that ecstatic states are not necessarily limited to transcendent, meditative states that one patiently works years to experience, but a profound joy experienced in the course of mundane, commonplace occurences.

“Barks gave a precise definition of ecstasy in that Moyers interview: “each moment [is] solid and actual, yet numinous, shot through with divine light and guidance.” He also gave a telling anecdotal definition of ecstasy when I asked him more recently to define it: “I was with my granddaughter, going around the yard lifting up stones to see what was there — there’s always something good, something interesting — and a woman walking by on the street just turned her…

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5 thoughts on “Say Yes Quickly

  1. you go on the street, the street
    where everyone says, “How are you?”
    and no one says How aren’t you?

    I like these lines very much – and really enjoyed the poem. From looking at the Chinese culture (especially how they deal with the ego) and also (the old Rabbi’s teaching) in Judaism and the Christian teachings of Jesus (from a Jewish standpoint), I realise that the West never spends enough time looking inside; at how we behave and (for those who do believe in G-d) not trusting that G-d is in charge of everything. People should look under stones more often, but I think many are too afraid at what they may find. Fear and shame are powerful walls against learning and experiencing something new, do you think Josh?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, guilt. I agree. It’s very unfortunate that often us Westerners set so high a goal that to fall is massively devastating to the ego – guilt and shame follow close behind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a new ager who feels we should get rid of our ego but to master it, saddle it if you like, understanding ourselves and our companion ‘ego’ we can move forward in learning. Have you ever heard of the term Mussar?


      2. No, never heard of Mussar. When it comes to ego I see it as more of a mediator between the different parts of ourselves–that we are not our egos, but the ego is just one of the many “selves” that we are. But we give central place to ego and think that is “us.” Thus I think ego needs to be relativized, seen for what it is (as I understand it), and put in its place.


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