Rumi and de Mello: Soul Marinade

   Each morning when I rise, after checking my electronic life-line for anything urgent (the ridiculous iphone), I pull out a small book from Rumi to read a few pages from, to soften my heart with his poetry of God-Love before beginning my listening prayer for 20-30 minutes. I find his words the perfect marinade for my soul these days.

Everything, except love of the Most

Beautiful, is really agony.

It’s agony to move toward death and not

drink the water of life.”     

from Love’s Ripening: Rumi on the Heart’s Journey, 2010

“How does Rumi’s teaching apply to the context of “human love” and all of its difficulties—our possessive, protective, and demanding nature? Rumi never denies the value and beauty of any form of love, but he sees every form of love as a stepping-stone to a higher love. We are always and continually searching for the one thing that will satisfy our hearts. The need for love is behind all human desires.” —from the Introduction

In the evenings, before I fall asleep, I like to read one–or maybe two— short parables from Anthony de Mello. They fill me with spacious wonder as I prepare for sleep—trusting my Unconscious to chew and digest my perceptions of the world’s happenings and my deepest struggles. De Mello’s words, like Rumi’s, prepare me to experience God in the midst of the personal, and to experience the personal in the midst of God. Here’s one I love:

“When Brother Bruno was at prayer one night he was disturbed by the croaking of a bullfrog. All his attempts to disregard the sound were unsuccessful so he shouted from his window, “Quiet! I’m at my prayers.”

Now Brother Bruno was a saint so his command was instantly obeyed. Every living creature held its voice so as to create a silence that would be favorable to prayer.

But now another sound intruded on Bruno’s worship—an inner voice that said, “Maybe God is as pleased with the croaking of that frog as with the chanting of your psalms.” “What can please the ears of God in the croak of a frog?” was Bruno’s scornful rejoinder. But the voice refused to give up. “Why would you think God invented the sound?”

Bruno decided to find out why. He leaned out of his window and gave the order, “Sing!” The bullfrog’s measured croaking filled the air to the ludicrous accompaniment of all the frogs in the vicinity. And as Bruno attended to the sound, their voices ceased to jar for he discovered that, if he stopped resisting them, they actually enriched the silence of the night.

With that discovery Bruno’s heart became harmonious with the universe and, for the first time in his life, he understood what it means to pray.

—from Taking Flight: A Book of Story Meditations, 1990

May you find just the right ministrations for your own soul today.

Chaplain LeAnn

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