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Rumi: The Poet of the Heart

Rumi, a name that resonates through centuries, is a 13th-century Persian poet whose works transcend borders and beliefs. Born in 1207 in present-day Afghanistan, Rumi’s poetry and teachings offer a profound exploration of love, spirituality, and the human condition. His words continue to inspire and connect people from diverse backgrounds, making him one of the most widely read poets in the world today. In this article, we explore Rumi’s life and teachings, his major works, and ten of his most beloved poems.

Rumi: Life and Teachings

Rumi, whose full name is Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, was born in Balkh and later moved to Konya in present-day Turkey. His life was marked by a deep spiritual journey, influenced heavily by his father and his spiritual mentor, Shams of Tabriz. The meeting with Shams was a turning point for Rumi, igniting a profound transformation that led to the creation of his most celebrated works. Shams’ sudden disappearance deeply affected Rumi, and it is said that his prolific output of poetry began as an attempt to express and process his grief.

Rumi’s teachings revolve around the themes of love, unity, and the pursuit of divine truth. He believed in the power of love to transcend earthly concerns and connect directly with the divine. His poetry often reflects a yearning for a deeper connection with the universe and a surrender to the transformative power of love.

Rumi’s Major Works

Rumi’s literary contributions are vast, encompassing both poetic and prose works. His poetry is often divided into two main collections: the Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi (The Collected Poems of Shams of Tabriz) and the Masnavi. Additionally, his prose works include notable collections such as Fihi Ma Fihi, Majalis-e Sab’a, and The Letters (Makatib).

Rumi’s Poetic Works

Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi: This collection is a tribute to his beloved mentor, Shams. It contains over 40,000 verses and is celebrated for its passionate and mystical expression of divine love.

Masnavi: Often referred to as the “Quran in Persian,” the Masnavi is Rumi’s magnum opus. Comprising six books of rhyming couplets, it offers spiritual lessons and guidance through stories and parables. It is a cornerstone of Sufi literature and reflects Rumi’s deep philosophical and spiritual insights.

Rumi’s Prose Works

Fihi Ma Fihi: Translating to “In It What’s in It,” this collection of discourses provides a window into Rumi’s thoughts and teachings. It covers various topics, including spirituality, ethics, and the nature of the universe.

Majalis-e Sab’a: This work, known as “The Seven Sessions,” is a series of sermons and lectures that Rumi delivered. It offers practical advice on living a spiritually fulfilling life.

The Letters (Makatib): This collection includes Rumi’s letters to his family, friends, and followers. These letters provide personal insights into his daily life, relationships, and spiritual guidance. They reveal a more intimate side of Rumi, showcasing his kindness, wisdom, and concern for the well-being of others.

Top 10 Poems/Excerpts by Rumi

Rumi’s poetry is vast and varied, but here are ten of his most beloved poems that continue to inspire readers worldwide:

1. “The Guest House”

Description: This poem invites readers to think of themselves as a guest house, where every emotion that visits is a guest to be welcomed and entertained. Rumi encourages not resisting any emotions, whether they are joy, sorrow, or anger, but instead embracing them with mindfulness. Each feeling has a purpose, bringing lessons and insights, and by accepting all emotions with grace, we can achieve greater self-awareness and growth.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

2. “Let the Beauty of What You Love”

Description: In this poem, Rumi calls us to follow our passions and dreams, suggesting that the beauty we love reveals our purpose in life. It serves as an encouragement to pursue what truly resonates with our hearts, emphasizing that engaging in our passions brings us closer to the divine and to a fulfilling life.

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.
There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.

Sign in the Secret Garden at the Dreamers Writing Farm, taken by Kat McNichol.

3. “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing”

Description: This excerpt is a meditation on unity and love, transcending the dualities of right and wrong. Rumi envisions a field beyond these concepts, where we can meet and connect on a deeper, spiritual level. It speaks to the importance of moving beyond judgment and embracing a universal love that unites all of humanity.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
There is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
The world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
Doesn’t make any sense.

4. “The Alchemy of Love”

Description: Rumi explores the transformative power of love in this poem. He likens love to an alchemical process that transforms the base elements of our being into spiritual gold. Love, in Rumi’s view, has the power to purify and elevate our souls, bringing us closer to the divine and to our true selves.

You come to us
from another world

From beyond the stars
and void of space.
Transcendent, Pure,
Of unimaginable beauty,
Bringing with you
the essence of love

You transform all
who are touched by you.
Mundane concerns,
troubles, and sorrows
dissolve in your presence,
Bringing joy
to ruler and ruled
To peasant and king

You bewilder us
with your grace.
All evils
transform into

You are the master alchemist.

You light the fire of love
in earth and sky
in heart and soul
of every being.

Through your love
existence and nonexistence merge.
All opposites unite.
All that is profane
becomes sacred again.

5. “Dance, when you’re broken open”

Description: This poem encourages finding joy and expression even in moments of hardship. Rumi suggests that breaking open allows us to release old pain and make room for new growth. By dancing through our struggles, we can transform our pain into a source of strength and renewal.

Dance, when you’re broken open.
Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off.

Dance in the middle of fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you’re perfectly free.

the dancers hear the tambourine inside them,
as a wave turns the foam on its very top, begin.

Maybe you don’t hear that tambourine,
all the tree leaves clapping time.

Close the ears on your head
that listen mostly to lies
and cynical jokes.

There are other things to hear and see
dance, music and a brilliant city inside the soul.

6. “Wherever you are, and whatever you do”

Description: Rumi reminds us of the omnipresence of love, urging us to seek love in every moment and action. No matter where we are or what we are doing, love is always accessible. This poem emphasizes the importance of staying connected to love as a guiding force in our lives.

Wherever you are
And whatever you do
Be in love.

7. “Don’t grieve

Description: In this reflection on loss and transformation, Rumi offers comfort and hope. He reassures us that loss is not the end but a part of a larger cycle of change. Everything we lose returns to us in a new form, bringing new opportunities and growth.

Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.

8. “Only from the heart can you touch the sky.”

Description: This ode to the power of the heart celebrates the limitless potential that comes from living with an open and loving heart. Rumi suggests that true greatness and spiritual elevation are achieved through heartfelt connections and sincere emotions.

Only from the heart can you touch the sky.

9. “You are the entire ocean

Description: Rumi makes a powerful statement about individual and universal interconnectedness. He reminds us that each of us contains the essence of the entire universe. This poem speaks to the idea that we are both unique and an integral part of the greater whole.

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.

10. “When I am silent…”

Description: This poem celebrates inner peace and the music of the soul. Rumi suggests that in moments of silence, we can connect with the deeper rhythms of life and the universe. Silence allows us to hear the inner music that guides and harmonizes our existence.

When I am silent, I fall into the place where everything is music.


Rumi’s legacy is a testament to the timeless appeal of his teachings. His works have been translated into many languages and continue to resonate with people across the globe. Rumi’s poetry is not just about mysticism; it speaks to the universal human experience. His emphasis on love, tolerance, and understanding offers a beacon of hope in a fragmented world.

Rumi’s influence extends beyond literature; his teachings have impacted philosophy, theology, and even psychology. The Mevlevi Order, also known as the Whirling Dervishes, was founded by Rumi’s followers and continues to perform the whirling dance as a form of spiritual meditation.


Rumi’s poetry and teachings offer a timeless exploration of love and spirituality. His words remind us of the power of love to transcend the mundane and connect us with the divine. As we navigate the complexities of modern life, Rumi’s poetry serves as a beacon, guiding us toward a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. His legacy lives on, inspiring generations to seek the beauty and truth that lie within.

Meanwhile, at Dreamers…