Rumi & back pain

White Buffalo

White Buffalo

I am finding Rumi gems hither and yon and re-falling in love with this poetry.  As someone with a wee bit of lower back pain this morning, I smiled when accidentally discovering this poem.  Suzi Banks Baum sent it to me in a comment back (no pun intended) on this post  in January, 2012.

May we all discover the light that exists in pain, in grief, in the “cold and dark” of a  moment’s cave.

Wishing you the best, always, my friends.

Light in darkness

Light in darkness

Back pain

Muhammad went to visit a sick friend.
Such kindness brings more kindness,
and there is no knowing the proliferation from there.

The man was about to die.
Muhammad put his face close and kissed him.

His friend began to revive.
Muhammad’s visit re-created him.
He began to feel grateful for an illness
that brought such light.

And also for the back pain
that wakes him in the night.

No need to snore away like a buffalo
when this wonder is walking the world.

There are values in pain that are difficult
to see without the presence of a guest.

Don’t complain about autumn.
Walk with grief like a good friend.
Listen to what he says.

Sometimes the cold and dark of a cave
give the opening we most want.


Light in the forest

Light in the forest

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in September 2014 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Rumi & back pain

  1. Oh Kathy….this today of all days….is so wonderful to read. I do dwell in Rumi daily and lately Hafiz is keeping me company too. I was telling two Anthology authors about our time together and a vision for an a bigger get-together surfaced. How much fun would that be? Off to chop vegetables and send you love, to you and your back. xoxo S

    The vegetables would like to be cut

    By someone who is singing God’s Name

    How could Hafiz know
    Such top secret information?
    Once we were all tomatoes,
    Potatoes, onions or
    – Hafiz

    • Kathy says:

      Once we all were tomatoes, potatoes, onions or Zucchini!!! I love it. As for that anthology possibility…how cool would that be? Waiting with a smile to see what grows in the garden of vision.

  2. lisaspiral says:

    There are so many gems in Rumi, but this is a good one for today! Hope you’re feeling better.

  3. sonali says:

    He he! It was fun reading this one.. Have a. Good day you too darling Kathy

  4. Carol says:

    Reading your blog and Robin’s (Breezes at Dawn), I really need to learn more about Rumi, from whom beautiful words seem to pour.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, I do so like Rumi–and another guy called Hafiz. You have to find the right book, though. I have one and some of the pieces are kind of challenging. It’s easier to find gems on line.

  5. “There are values in pain that are difficult to see without the presence of a guest.”

    I love that line – left alone with pain our thoughts can take such a nosedive. It’s so helpful to have someone nearby to help us keep things in perspective. (I’m speaking as one who has felt suicidal in the past when suffering migraines.)

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, I can not imagine feeling that much pain. (Although I do remember writhing in incredible pain and throwing up in earlier years…sorry, that may have been too much information.) You are right. The presence of that guest can keep things in perspective, surely.

  6. Oh, sure hope your back feels better soon! Lovely post! I’m taking my aching bones off on a seven-mile walk to pick up my car!

    • Kathy says:

      A SEVEN mile walk, Cindy? Ohmygoodness. I think the longest walk I’ve ever taken was 5-6 miles long. Hope your bones feel better afterwards, not worse. Hoping you were able to enjoy some of the scenery…

      • Well…I used to walk six and a half miles regularly, like three or four times a week…but it has been a while. I was kind of counting on getting a ride (not hitch-hiking, exactly, but usually folks will stop to see if you need a ride…and all roads lead to the town in the harbor), as these days one or two miles is what I’m used to. By the time the nice folks offered me a ride today, I’d gone close to four miles, and I was contemplating a nice rest on the shoulder of the road!

        • Kathy says:

          That sounds like the perfect length walk, Cindy. Enough to get some exercise; not too much to want to collapse. (Although a rest alongside the road could have been fun, too.) I amazed so often how folks show up when we really need them. Glad those people stopped and offered you a ride.

  7. Heather says:

    Such good words. I think I’ll have a re-read or two. Hope you back pain goes away, or at least brings a light into your life.

    • Kathy says:

      I am opting for that “light”, Heather! Did you see another Rumi quote I put on Facebook along with a Florida picture of some bird, maybe an egret? Rumi sends me. He truly does.

  8. Gee whis Kathy, back pain is a b—- for sure. I like the Rumi poem very much. I’m sending good vibes and karma your way to help you along to a “better back.” The forest pic is beautiful.

    • Kathy says:

      Hey, Yvonne, I may have received some of your good vibes. The back feels better this afternoon. It hasn’t gone out since March or April, so am hoping all the love will make it better. Glad you liked the forest photo.

  9. Kathy – This is a new Rumi piece for me. Thank you so much for the introduction 🙂

  10. john k says:

    Once again you have taught me something new … thank you

  11. Stacy says:

    This is a new discovery for me, Kathy. It comes at a time when I have made many discoveries that have enriched my life. Thanks for this. xo

    • Kathy says:

      Gosh, Stacy, you don’t know HOW happy I am that you have made so many new discoveries. I would love if you shared them all in detail via email, but that may be greedy of me. So, instead will just continue to delight in your openings…

  12. Very lovely and I’m inspired to look into Rumi. I have never read it before. This post reminds me of some stiffness I’ve been feeling in my hips and that led to doing some gentle stretching in the mornings which is now one of the highlights of my day. A blessing in disguise, as they say.

    • Kathy says:

      Seriously, Patty, you’ve never stumbled into Rumi before? Or Hafiz? You would love them both. You are so right about blessings in disguise. The weird thing about my back ache is that I did the most gentle yoga stretching yesterday morning. So the back should have been happy, right? I love that your stretching is one of the highlights of your day, Patty. By the way, are you loving your new home?

  13. Susan D says:

    Marvelous Rumi, Marvelous Kathy. I love you both. Thanks for this today.

  14. sybil says:

    Judging from the head-nodding comments, the folk who read your blog seem to be such … understanding … knowing … grown up hippie sorta folk. I struggle with what Rumi is saying here. Can’t imagine being grateful for pain. or grief.

    Guess I’m just not “there” yet.

    • Kathy says:

      I love your honesty, Sybil, that you’re true to your understanding. You are right where you should be. And if you ever find yourself being grateful for pain or grief, that’s where you should be. In the meantime, I delight that you are a true to your experience.

  15. Joanne says:

    Ah yes, in a world so filled with expectations of perfection, we so often find even greater wonderful moments in the imperfect situations. The only thing required is an open heart.

    I’m remembering the days spent with my mother, before she died.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Joanne, that’s a good way to put it. We only require an open heart–one that allows the greater revelations to show themselves through the pain or imperfection. It can be so challenging, though. I am glad you found some of this when your mother died.

  16. jeffstroud says:

    Lovely! Not that you are in pain but that you found a source of light within it! Rumi captures that moment beautifully. I may use a few lines for my blog and blogging/writing assignment.

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you enjoyed this, Jeff. It’s amazing how we get prompted by our friends and acquaintances and that spurs our writing. In my process I notice that it’s not that I find the light just once in the course of something like a back ache. It’s that the light of awareness keeps showing its face, like the sun peeking out from behind clouds. May we keep noticing that light…

  17. Dawn says:

    You (and Rumi) are right. We should celebrate what we DO have. Hope you feel better soon!!

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, what we do have is a precious gift, although so many times we seem to be trapped in a story of our desires and fears. I do like how the present moment is a gift when we can see it dancing right in front of our faces all along.

  18. Elisa says:

    I noted something in the writing that is different than what others may think. Needing and wanting that company creates an environment of a wallow and a misery that grows and binds one to needing the misery in order to have that same feeling of commiserating. It is very weird for a people to be supposed to not be able to simply ask for that company and to have to invent or to take part in a “man flu” type situation to gain nurturing. I think, perhaps, that this is why heeeeeeeeeeeeeal this and heaaaaaaaaaaaal that are still such buzzwords. I suppose then, this is related to the fix-it post. I am thinking that I took the Rumi too literally, but at this reading of this one, this is what I thought.

    At other readings, I have noted nodding my head about pain, sickness, and grief, being grounding points, perhaps forced ones, but grounding ones. A forced stop, a forced narrowing of view, a smaller and slower moment by moment event. The joy of a hot cup on cool lips, or a cool drop of fluid on hot ones. In the case of back, to be so still and relaxed to locate the spot that removes pain, or to notice things that occur, such as that friend, where the pain is dissociated into something else–a cause for celebration.

    • Kathy says:

      Good morning, Elisa, thank you for sharing your thoughts about the poem. Isn’t it interesting how different things strike us from a piece of writing at different times? Sometimes it can be taken literally and other times not so much. I agree with you about that misery of wanting that company–can be so challenging.

      I took it to mean (in this reading) that the “guest” is awareness. That without the guest of awareness back pain hurts like hell. With Presence, it begins to feel just like sensations rising and falling in the moment.

      By the way, have been pondering what you have perhaps described a bit in the last paragraph–the expansion and contraction, the contraction and expansion. Haven’t thought of it as a grounding point–thank you–a new pondering.

  19. Robin says:

    Hoping the wee bit of lower back pain has resolved itself. I think we’re living parallel lives or something. I’ve been seeking out Rumi again, too. That’s a wonderful poem. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I LOVE how some of us seem to live parallel lives at times, Robin. It seems like a flowing river that connects and nourishes some of us who are connected. Maybe it’s those who *believe in* serendipity. Just love when it happens!

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