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

Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi


A Joy

Topic: Joy & Happiness

When you do things from your soul,
you feel a river moving in you, a joy.
When actions come from another section,
the feeling disappears.
Don’t let others lead you. They may be blind,
or worse, vultures. Reach for the rope
of God. And what is that?
Putting aside self-will.
Because of willfulness people sit in jail.
From willfulness, the trapped birds’ wings are tied.
From willfulness, the fish sizzles in the skillet.
The anger of police is willfulness.
You’ve seen a magistrate inflict visible punishment.
Now see the invisible.
If you could leave selfishness, you would see
how your soul has been tortured.
We are born and live inside black water in a well.
How could we know what an open field of sunlight is?
Don’t insist on going where you think you want to go.
Ask the way to the Spring.
Your living pieces will form a harmony.
There is a moving palace that floats through the air,
with balconies and clear water running in every part of it,
infinity everywhere, yet contained under a single tent.

Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, born on September 30, 1207, and known as Mawlānā or simply as Rumi in the Western world, was an extraordinary poet, philosopher, and Sufi mystic. He was a prominent figure in the Islamic world, born in the region of present-day Afghanistan, then within the greater Persian Empire, and later settled in Konya, present-day Turkey. Rumi's passionate love for humanity and his deep spiritual insights transcended geographical, linguistic, and cultural barriers, making his poetry and teachings resonate not only within the Islamic world but also with audiences globally.

Rumi's spiritual journey led him to develop a unique approach to Sufism that emphasized love, tolerance, and the pursuit of enlightenment. He created a fusion of traditional Islamic beliefs with mysticism, nurturing a school of thought that flourished in his followers. They established a sect known to the Western world as the 'Whirling Dervishes', a term derived from their mesmerizing practice of whirling as a form of physical meditation. The proper name for this branch is the Mevlevi order, dedicated to preserving and promoting Rumi's teachings.

In addition to being a mystic, Rumi was an accomplished scholar and theologian who left behind an impressive literary legacy. His best-known work, the Mathnawi or Masnavi, is a six-volume poetic epic that explores themes of love, divine mystery, and human connection to the spiritual world. Rumi's poetic style is marked by profound emotion and philosophical depth, weaving metaphors and allegory to create timeless pieces that continue to inspire readers today. Rumi's influence reaches far beyond his time, as his teachings on love, compassion, and unity continue to touch the hearts of millions, transcending barriers of religion, culture, and era.

(1207-1273) Islam

Rūmī Jalāl al-Dīn. The Essential Rumi. Translated by Coleman Barks, HarperCollins, 2004 [Moving Water by J. M. Rumi].

Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi

Theme: Joy

About This Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi Quote [Commentary]

Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic, teaches that joy comes not from external achievements but from aligning our actions with the soul’s essence. His metaphor, “When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy,” captures the essence of true contentment found in living authentically. This joy, like a flowing river, symbolizes a state of grace and ease achieved by engaging with life from a place of deep authenticity. Rumi’s words suggest that genuine happiness is found in the harmony between one’s actions and innermost being, emphasizing that true contentment and vitality spring from within.

Rumi warns against the pitfalls of willfulness, differentiating between pursuing goals that resonate with one’s higher purpose and stubbornly following self-centered desires. He advocates for surrendering not to defeat but to the wisdom of the soul, which naturally inclines towards goodness and love. This act of surrender is portrayed not as giving up but as aligning with universal love and harmony, offering a pathway to freedom and joy beyond the ego’s temporary pleasures. Rumi’s counsel is a reminder that true joy and fulfillment lie in embracing the soul’s guidance over ego-driven ambitions.

Rumi’s teachings invite us to find joy in the ordinary and the divine within the mundane. He encourages seeking the “Spring”—a metaphor for the eternal source of joy within us, independent of external conditions. This intrinsic joy is accessible through living in alignment with our soul’s desires, offering a perspective where joy is not an external goal but an ever-present companion. Rumi’s poetic wisdom guides us toward recognizing and embracing the inner wellspring of joy, suggesting a journey filled with ease, grace, and the discovery of our deepest connections.

Love Makes All the Difference: An Introduction to Rumi, by Jason Espada

To say that many of us don’t see this world as it is, would be a huge understatement, I know, but we have to start somewhere. For a lot of people, human beings are little more than animals, and life is mostly about struggle―it’s something to be gotten through, with only brief moments of light or happiness. Or else, there’s a quality of ‘nothing special’ about it, with no feeling one way or another.

The tragedy of course is that our experience here doesn’t have to be this way. There are a few other people who tell us that, far from being a burden, this life is something to be celebrated. There are people who say this world is Divine―that it can be an unending source of wonder and joy. What do you think?

Most people usually don’t see it this way, and so they take advantage of each other, they prey on each other, or else they waste time, or feel bored, or dissatisfied. This is all so common.

In the greatest contrast to the way most people experience this world, there are those who have found a deep source of nourishment in this life, such that everything they say, and everything they do comes out of that joy. Such people throughout time have been called ‘mystics’.

The 13th century Persian teacher and poet, Jelaluddin Rumi was one such person who was able to offer the world an inspiring vision, and also the guidance and encouragement to live from this realization. He tells us:

“Every object and being in the universe is
a jar overflowing with wisdom and beauty,
a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained by any skin.
Every jarful spills and makes the earth more shining,
as though covered in satin…”

And he says:

“Make peace with the universe. Take joy in it.
It will turn to gold. Resurrection
will be now. Every moment,
a new beauty.”


“Human beings are mines.
World-power means nothing. Only the unsayable,
jeweled inner life matters…”

“A man sleeps heavily,
though something blazes in him like the sun,
like a magnificent fringe sewn up under the hem…”

Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi was born 1207, in what is now Afghanistan. As a child, Rumi’s family traveled and settled in Turkey. Rumi succeeded his father as a Muslim teacher. Then, when he was 37 years old, Rumi met a mystic named Shams-I-Tabriz, and the two formed a deep spiritual relationship. Rumi’s students, it’s told, were jealous, and Shams disappeared, apparently killed out of jealousy.

Rumi grieved for his loss, having seen the Divine in Shams, or we can say having seen Shams as God, and as a doorway, to further understanding the mysteries of this life. In his grief, Rumi created the Turning Dance (called ’Whirling’) that is still a part of the Sufi Tradition today. The turning represents the search for Truth, the Beloved, the Divine, or God.
The Sufis are the mystics of Islam. The Sufi Path is sometimes called ‘The Path of Love’, or ‘The Way of Passion’, as love is such a strong element in their search for Truth, in their way of life, and their teaching.

Although they have some elements in common with more Orthodox Muslim Traditions, the Sufis are also unique in some ways. They are not only looking for an intellectual understanding of the Divine – they aim for personal experience, and for union with this deep Truth, or with God.
Another feature that stands out is that the Sufi’s love, for God, for the Divine, or for this life is often expressed in earthy, sensual language, like a lover speaking or writing to his beloved. And so their writing moves from the experiences of longing, to the joy at being touched, to those of fulfillment…


“In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.”
In the translations that have reached the West, there are included many teaching stories that are meant to guide people to living more deeply. In addition to being beautifully expressed, there is a whole way of life described in these writings.

Rumi describes how we can grow and develop as individuals, how we can learn to see, and to live more authentic lives; how we can find fulfillment. He describes many of the processes and obstacles that are a part of life―often in a humorous way, but always with compassion and respect for his listeners.