Rumi and Breathing


Rise up nimbly and go on your strange journey to the ocean of meanings…



“In the mid-thirteenth century, in a dusty marketplace in Konya, Turkey, a city where Muslim, Christian, Hindu, and Buddhist travelers mingled, Jelaluddin Rumi, a popular philosopher and scholar, met Shams of Tabriz, a wandering dervish.  Their meeting forever altered the course of Rumi’s life and influenced the mystical evolution of the planet.  The bond they formed was everlasting–a powerful transcendent friendship that would flow through Rumi as some of the world’s best-loved ecstatic poetry.

Cover of "The Illuminated Rumi"

Rumi’s passionate, playful poems find and celebrate sacred life in everyday existence.  They speak across all traditions, to all peoples, and today his relevance and popularity continue to grow.  In The Illuminated Rumi, Coleman Barks, widely regarded as the world’s premier translator of Rumi’s writings, presents some of his most brilliant work, including many new translations.  To complement Rumi’s universal vision, Michael Green has worked the ancient art of illumination into a new, visually stunning form that joins typography, original art, old masters, photographs, and prints with sacred images from around the world.

The Illuminated Rumi is a truly groundbreaking collaboration that interweaves word and image: a magnificent meeting of ancient tradition and modern interpretation that uniquely captures the spiritual wealth of Rumi’s teachings.  Coleman Barks’ wise and witty commentary, together with Michael Green’s art, makes this a classic guide to the life of the soul for a whole new generation of seekers.” (From the book flap)

The images below are two pages of this magnificent book on Rumi. If you are interested, there are also many YouTube video’s with Coleman speaking Rumi poems. Alia and I bought this work of art as a wedding present to ourselves and have treasured it over the years.

The first page that is reproduced here is Rumi’s poem “Breathing”; the second page is Coleman’s commentary on that poem, in which he introduces Sufi Breathing. The third image is a blowup of the mandala itself where you make out the words La illaha and Il’ Allahu within the design.









Breathing p 40

Sufi Breathing medium

Here is a blowup of the mandala itself where you make out the words La illaha and Il’ Allahu within the design.

Sufi Breathing seal

The Tavern, by Rumi

All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and

what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from

elsewhere, I’m sure of that, And I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.

When I get back around to that place, I’ll be completely sober.

Meanwhile, I’m like a bird from

another continent, sitting in this aviary.

The day is coming when I fly off,

But who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?

Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking.

If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks.

I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.

Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This poetry. I never know what I’m going to say. I don’t plan it. When I’m

outside the saying of it, I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

Shams of Tabriz— If you show me your face again  

I could flee the imposition of this life.



20 thoughts on “Rumi and Breathing

  1. Pingback: Rumi ~ The Alchemy of Love | The Mystery of Christ

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  4. What a beautiful way to begin a marriage! I show this video at the beginning of our Poetry Unit…now I will have to chose which one to show. Beautiful post! xmarga

    • Wow! Marga – this rendition together with the extraordinary video and the exquisite Claire de Lune music! And what a contrast to the one I posted with David Darling and Coleman doing the blue’s version! Thanks!

  5. Love it, I want this at my funeral I think! I have just bought the Illuminated Rumi, it is fabulous. Beautiful post.

  6. Thank you for sharing the video – I love Coleman Barks’ translations of Rumi, and read that poetry often, but this is the first time I’ve heard/seen him do a reading. Must go in search of more…!

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