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  • Erika Murphy

The Empowered Journey

Unfold your own myth, without complicated explanation. ~ Rumi

Part of our soul's journey involves finding and using our power to move forward on the spiritual path. A common metaphor used in Eastern spiritual poetry is that of the tavern, which represents our time in the ordinary world. The tavern is the place where we immerse ourselves in a variety of intoxicating experiences, finding both enjoyment and deep suffering. At some point, the tavern patron feels a longing for something more than the tavern can offer and decides to leave and go exploring.


Our spiritual journeys often reflect the comical story of Sheik Nasruddin, who is said to have stumbled out of a tavern one evening and walked around the streets aimlessly for hours. Eventually, a policeman stops him and asks "Why are you out wandering the streets in the middle of the night?" "Sir," Nasruddin replies, "if I knew the answer to that question, I would have been home hours ago!"


While seekers may feel lost as they try to follow the call back home, the Sufi poet Rumi reminds us that we are empowered to "unfold our own myth." He urges us to forge ahead: "Chase a deer and wind up everywhere!" At the same time, we need to learn how to create our own way. Rumi warns us: "Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others." The empowered seeker looks for guidance from within, and uses spiritual practices to stoke the fires of enthusiasm, devotion, and longing. Ultimately, the light of that fire reveals our path into the arms of the divine, where we have always already been: "a moment of feeling the wings you've grown, lifting."


(Material taken from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks).

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