This week, I ticked something off my bucket list.
I visited Rumi’s mausoleum in Konya, Turkey.
I’ve been reading Rumi for the last four years or so. His words, life, and story with Shams Tabrizi moved me so greatly that I was adamant to visit his final resting place.
And so I did.
As I approached the dervish lodge, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Am I really here in Konya? Is this really happening? Then I started imagining silly things: this is where Rumi walked, this is where he could have met Shams, this is where he grieved, this is where he meditated.
Then I enter the mausoleum. On the left and right side stand different coffins of the dervishes who accompanied Rumi, and at the door, there are tombstones of the Ney players who performed Sufi ceremonies.
I look right in front of me and I see the sarcophagus of Rumi, his father, and his son, all covered by a huge dome with inscriptions and gold on it.
In front of the dome, a few people are offering their prayers. And there I am, behind them, standing in awe. Rumi’s body is five meters away from me, Sufi books are surrounding me, and Rumi’s cloak and books are at my left.
Lost where to look and what to embrace, I couldn’t help but feel an immense sense of gratitude for Rumi’s existence. For nearly 15 minutes, I cried and smiled a thousand times.
I looked at his mausoleum and said “thank you.” I could thank Rumi for many things, but I’m forever indebted to him for particular lessons that have changed me to my core.
Standing in front of him, his father, his Ney players, and all the great Sufi teachers, I reflected on all the things that Mevlâna had changed within me.
1. Let your broken heart open.
When Shams disappeared from Rumi’s life, Rumi was heartbroken and devastated. Not knowing if he was murdered, he aimlessly looked for him everywhere for weeks and months. After grieving for a long time, Rumi poured all his pain in nearly 70,000 verses of poetry.
“A wound is a place where light enters your soul.” ~ Rumi
He opened his broken heart. He had realizations and epiphanies that wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for Shams’ disappearance. Rumi taught me to open my broken heart. When I grieve, I try to transcend my pain instead of getting stuck in it.
Ask yourself, “How can this pain mold me?” Demolish your emotional wall and build a bridge that gets you to a new side. Just like Rumi, we all want to keep our “Shams,” but the winds aren’t always in our favor. When they blow, move with them.
2. Allow loss to change you.
Before meeting Shams, Rumi was a scholar and a member of high society. When he met Shams and after losing him, Rumi became a spiritual teacher, a poet, and a mystic. Without Shams, there wouldn’t be the Rumi we know today.
“Love has taken away my practices and filled me with poetry.” ~ Rumi
Loss had changed Rumi. I learned that when I lose someone or something, I should allow space for change. Within my loss lies my spiritual growth and knowledge.
The time after a loss can be painful, devastating, and heart-wrenching. But let’s remember that in something’s absence, there is a presence of something else. Search for it and embrace it.
3. Live the life you want.
Rumi and Shams’ relationship was problematic at the time. Rumi was born into wealth, and he was respected, while Shams was a homeless wanderer. After spending lots of time together, Shams received threats, and Rumi’s reputation was at stake. Still, Rumi stood against his family and town to preserve his relationship with Shams because he knew that it was essential for his growth and happiness.
“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” ~ Rumi
Stand for what you believe is true and live the life you want. No one else knows what’s in our hearts and minds, and no one gets to live our own experiences. Most importantly, I learned to seek the people who shed light and wisdom on my path just like Rumi had sought Shams and kept him close.
Don’t let anyone move you away from your own intuition. Listen to the voice that doesn’t speak, and turn down the voices that speak loudly around you.