Remember, the entrance to the sanctuary is inside you


Hyderabad: 9 September 2021: In the early 1990s ? it was December ? I was sitting in meditation under the green dome that houses Rumi's tomb in Konya. Someone came up and gave me a green shawl. As you might imagine, I treasure it still and use it in my meditation. I love the wrapped, rapt feeling.

Going in, feeling the limpid contentment in being oneself and the endless discovery there: the green shawl is that, reminiscent of a child's tent-making delight, the rainy-day times when you spread a sheet over a card table and a chair, anchored it with safety pins, and crept under the shelter where imagination could flower. How we forget this tent making for such long spans is a mystery in itself. Rumi tells of Solomon's practice of building each dawn a place made of intention and compassion and sohbet (mystical conversation).

He calls it the "far mosque." Solomon goes there to listen to the plants, the new ones that come up each morning. They tell him of their medicinal qualities, their potential for health, and also the dangers of poisoning. I suggest we all get green shawls.

"Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you" ("Entrance Door"). Mary's hiding place and the great warehouse ("What Was Told, That") are other images of the listening tent, where conversation thrives and love deepens. Rumi often hears it as the birdlike song-talk that begins at dawn under the dome of meditation. Build a far mosque where you can read your soul-book and listen to the dreams that grew in the night. Attar says:

Let love lead your soul.

Make it a place to retire to,a kind of cave, a retreat for the deep core of being.

Prof. Coleman Barks, The Soul of Rumi 

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