September 26 th


Meditation on Rumi


Jalal-ad-Din was a thirteenth century Sufi mystic, poet, jurist, and theologian. Universally known as Rumi, he wrote about love, interconnection, and the human condition.

Poetry is a powerful way to meditate and to connect with the soul. It allows us to bypass our cognitive thought processes and connect with images, feelings and sensations. And it can be quite transformative.

My work is about transformation, wholeness and coaching the human spirit. And although coaching often begins as a verbal exercise, there are many ways to unlock the soul’s potential and walk a path of wholeness. Rumi’s piece below moves me deeply.  I am curious to hear how it speaks to you?

From the moment you came into this world,
A ladder was placed in front of you,
That you might transcend it.
From earth, you became plant,
From plant, you became animal,
Afterwards, you became a human being
Endowed with knowledge, intellect and faith.
Behold the body, born of dust,
How perfect it has become.
Why should you fear its end?
Where were you ever made less by dying?
When you pass beyond this human form
No doubt you will become an angel
And soar through the heavens,
But don’t stop there, even heavenly bodies grow old.
Pass again from the heavenly realm and
Plunge, plunge into the vast ocean of consciousness,
Let the drop of water that is you
Become a hundred mighty seas.
But do not think that the drop alone
Becomes the ocean.
The ocean too becomes the drop.

 — Rumi 

Rumi’s words invite us into a beautiful meditation. If you can, take 5-10 minutes to sit with this. Here is a suggested practice:

1. Choose to sit someplace away from your work where you are not distracted.

2. Turn off your phone for the allotted time. Set a timer if you like.

3. Take a few deep breaths. Empty your mind. Breathe from your belly.

4. Focus on Rumi’s words. Read each line slowly. Read out loud to yourself.

5. Notice the images, feelings, and body sensations that arise. Afterward, take out a journal and capture anything that seems important.

Rumi’s words are infused with deep insight and wisdom. Like an Oracle, they offer us messages. What messages do you take away from this piece?

Take action now. Click “like” if you like this post. Share itTweet itPlus One it. And leave a comment below. What feelings arise as you read and reflect on this piece?  




  1. Laura Gates says:

    I love Rumi, I love this line:
    But do not think that the drop alone
    Becomes the ocean.
    The ocean too becomes the drop.

    For me, Rumi is like a meditation and so this speaks to me what you are saying. I studied with Angeles Arrien (the Four Fold Way) and she quotes Rumi a lot in her training.

    Thanks for the reminder about poetry as a meditation, we so often only equate it with silence!

    • Laura, I love that line too. To me it speaks to our interconnection.

      I also love Angeles Arrien and the Fourfold Way. I have not trained with her but have trained with folks who have trained with her! 🙂 More synchronicity in our experiences . . .

      And yes, I am fond of poetry as meditation. Actually, I like to get creative with mindfulness practices. To me, sitting meditation is not the only way! 😉

  2. Ashley says:

    This is beautiful! I’m going to practice this meditation tonight.

    Love and light,

  3. Jenn Burton says:

    Love love love this. Love Rumi. Experiencing his poetry is such a gift. This piece particularly elicits feelings of totality, of love from our creator. I feel infinite and safe. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. Boy, that’s deep. LOL I always say I’m one of those people who are plagued with the inability to meditate. But when I think of meditation, I always think of just sitting with my legs crossed, eyes closed, thinking of nothing. I never thought of using poetry as a source for something to focus on besides my busy brain. Or maybe even song. The above poem reminds me of a beautiful Hebrew song we used to sing in camp:

    Eli, Eli (God)
    I pray that these things never end:
    The sand and the sea;
    The rush of the water;
    The crash of the heavens;
    The prayer of the heart.

    It’s nice to have a different perspective!

    • Jess, I too felt a lot more freedom when I began expanding my notion of meditation. To me sitting with legs crossed, eyes closed, straight back, in silence, with so many rules is a linear and masculine way of inviting mindful awareness. It’s an important form to be sure. And it’s also not the only way. I think feminine forms of meditation often invite more diversity of experience. The point is to get out of our head and into our bodies. Poetry, songs, chanting, painting … are all great ways to do that. I can also recall a number of camp songs that invite a similar experience. And I love Eli Eli!

  5. First, I just love Rumi. Second, I am reminded of a practice I had of reading poetry upon rising and just before turning out the lights. I loved that, but don’t know where it went.

    This poem, for me, is about impermanence of the present. It’s about not becoming attached and being the best we can be in the moment. It’s also about not fearing the future. We all die, so why live in fear. Live in joy.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Laurie, I once heard the poet David Whyte suggest reading poetry before bed and upon arising. It’s great that you have had that as a practice. I have never tried it and you have inspired me!

      I love Rumi too. And I love your takeaways from this piece … the importance of impermanence, non-attachment, living in the present moment, living in joy. Such welcome reminders. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Sheila says:

    Beautiful meditation, Laurie, I too was going to comment on the ‘ocean becomes the drop’ lines of the poetry and see that Laura spoke to those lines also. So powerful and yet I struggle to find words to express how they impact me other than to say I feel my heart open and expand with his words.
    It makes life more exciting to not fear dying. And although one doesn’t know until faced with it, I do not fear it. Thank you for sharing this profound Rumi wisdom.

    • Shelia, what you have described is my experience too … “I feel my heart open and expand with his words.” I think it’s why his work moves me so deeply.

      Like you, I am also touched by his words: “When were you ever made less by dying?” Throughout my life, I have not been afraid of dying either. Although as you say, one doesn’t truly know, until one is faced with it. But I think this is why I am so drawn to transformation … because transformation offers us the experiences of death and rebirth in big and small ways throughout out lives, if we are conscious and aware of it. Psychic death and rebirth is happening all the time. Thanks for commenting here and sharing.

  7. Wow. What a wonderful poem. I’m with Laura and Sheila.
    I love the lines:
    “But do not think that the drop alone
    Becomes the ocean.
    The ocean too becomes the drop.”

    Shows that we’re all interwoven and interdependent! Meditation and just taking deep breaths with eyes closed have helped me so much to release stress and stay present.

    Thanks for reminding us to be in-tune with our sensations!

  8. Yvette says:

    Oh boy, I have to be honest, I seemed to have a block around “meditating” can’t seem to be able to do it. I start and very quickly loose focus, and I’m very good at staying focused, dunno…This is a thought provoking post but I’m having a bit of a struggle finding the words to express how they impact me. Great post, though thanks Laurie!

    • Yvette, I can relate to the block you mention about meditating. What do you think your block is about? I know that I have a block when it comes to sitting still in the traditional way. I like to get creative with my mindfulness practices. Meditating on poetry or, as Jessica suggests above, song lyrics, can be clever ways to slow down and focus on “being” rather than “doing”.

      Thanks for your willingness to share what is true for you about meditation and about the poem. The fact that you are struggling to express how it impacts you … that is an impact! Yay for noticing! 😉

  9. Rumi is so beautiful. What I appreciate most (personally) is the invitation to meditate on the poem. My life is more centered and calm when my morning practice is constant. For the past week I’d gotten out of practice and your invitation was one of several to reconnect to the Divine wellspring that resides within. I saw clouds, drops of water, and oceans morphing in & out of one another, reminding me of the oneness of all. Thank you <3

    • Maddy, my life is more centered and calm when my morning practice is constant too. Thanks for sharing the beautiful images you saw as you meditated on Rumi’s words. Welcome and thanks for visiting me here.

  10. wow! thank you for the invitation to meditate with you right now. I’ve had the pleasure of 24 hours unplugged, and then and tea with a new friend, followed by a long walk in the sunshine ~ All forms of meditation for me, in many ways. Then Rumi pops into my consciousness, as I’m getting back into my work – how perfect.
    I especially appreciate “Why should you fear its end? Where were you ever made less by dying? …No doubt you will become an angel
    And soar through the heavens,But don’t stop there…”
    It’s sometimes easy to think the work we have to do, is restrained by this human body ~ and it isn’t. Thanks for the beautiful reminder.

    • Loralee, all of the forms of meditation you describe here sound so nourishing. I, too, was moved by the lines you mention and your interpretation. I think one way that shows up for me (the idea that we could be restrained by this human body) is in taking myself too seriously. To me, these lines remind me that we are larger than we think we are. Thanks for sharing.

  11. “Sit, be still, and listen, because you’re drunk and we’re at the edge of the roof.” Rumi

    This is one of my favorites by Rumi.

    Love your suggestion Laurie !

  12. I have to admit that I haven’t read much by Rumi (save for some specific lines vs. entire poems) nor have I successfuly got into meditation. I have the same affliction as Jessica – thinking about meditating in a certain way instead of thinking of it in the way you describe. What a great shift to think about poetry as a way to focus and quiet the mind – especially with one this beautiful.

    Thanks, Laurie!

    • Jennifer, yes, it was a surprise to me too when I realized that poetry is a phenomenal way to quiet the mind, access the heart, and connect with the body. Meditation can be quite a bit larger than sitting meditation. I am glad this sparked some ideas for you. 😉

  13. Tina Pruitt says:

    I was just turned on to Rumi this past year, and really love his writings. I agree with Laura that one of my favorite parts is:

    But do not think that the drop alone
    Becomes the ocean.
    The ocean too becomes the drop.

    Love that….
    Thanks for the post…

  14. Tanya says:

    I love Rumi and this poem is so beautiful. I really resonate with “plunging into the ocean of consciousness.”

    To me it is about self-realization and awakening. To not fear death.

    • Tanya, glad you enjoyed this Rumi piece and thanks for sharing the lines that struck you. Yes … self-realization, awakening, not fearing death … such wise insights.

  15. Kathleen says:

    I have great regard for Rumi, Laurie! So many of his works. And yet, for me, this one personally has a wee rub in it. Of course I know that he is a deeply religious/spiritual man. I prefer his reference to god as the Inner Beloved. Yes, this is something I can deeply relate to! This is how passionate I feel about my inner self… the Most Loved One! I am not so keen on the dis on the body, or this existence… and that some day we will become angels. I have long since laid to rest that form of spirituality. To me, there is nothing more sacred than being embodied in THIS sacred body… which to me IS the angel… and IS life eternal… NOW. This is it! I think when people can come to terms with the fact of imminent death, something very profound happens. At least it has for me.

    I think my favorite of Rumi’s quotes is this one… “Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field; I’ll meet you there.”

    • Kathleen says:

      and… I would add. I LOVE David Whyte’s Poetry! So amazing! His story, so exquisite, yes? Just as we have been told to tell it. Working in a company, hiding his poetry, and becoming more miserable everyday. So inspiring. Remind me of this when things become dark again. I will take one of his poems into meditation. We would start each morning of our intensive bodysoul training with Marion Woodman with a poem… often from Mary Olive. It set the tone of the whole day’s work!

      Thank you for your beautiful posts!

      • And yes I love David Whyte’s story as well as his poetry, and Mary Oliver’s too! Mostly what I love about it is that it gets me out of my head and enables me to connect with the imagery as much if not more than the words themselves. Like Tarot, I sense the larger messages and symbolism in poetry. Thanks, as always, for your heartfelt sharing. xoxo

    • Kathleen, I always learn something new reading your reflections. Thanks for sharing your take on this particular piece of Rumi’s writing. There is a lot in this piece. I have this image of Rumi saying “yes!” in response to your response. In some ways it could be said that the body, this form of existence, and any realms beyond are both the ocean and the drop. What I see in this piece with all of it’s allusion to interconnectedness is an invitation to unity and to nonduality. I do not see him negating the body or this form of existence as much as inviting us to expand our perspective, and to see it in a larger context. For me anyway, I can get caught up in taking myself and my work too seriously so this piece pulls me into a place of greater ease.

      By the way, I love the Rumi quote you mention. It is one of my favorites too.