Ocean love: ” God is pleased when your love realizes it is part of something oceanic and begins to move with the whole …” ~ Rumi

sunset shore ocean love rumi

God is pleased when your love realizes
it is part of something oceanic
and begins to move with the whole.

The larger love is more real,
being itself reality. These forms, a mix
of earth and water. Yes, you say,
but I already have a deep love.

Not deep or vast enough.
More like river water filled with silt.
Don’t wash your hands there.

The love you must enter lives in the saints
and prophets. It is already the ocean, whereas
most loving still filters through countryside,
enjoying the passage.

The ocean says, Quit pretending to be clear.
That pretense keeps you from receiving
what I can give.

Your water wants to reach the sea,
but landscape keeps holding it back.

If you could shake lose your foot,
the earth would be completely dry
and ocean water completely free.

But desserts and undiluted wine
soak you back into wet ground.

Wanting wealth, power, and more tasty food
have made you drunk.

When you can’t have what you want, you get headaches.
That hungover disappointment is proof
that what made you drunk was desire.

Let a more measured necessity
govern the intensity of wanting.

You say, I don’t need help with this.
I am already united with God.

That’s like groundwater claiming to move with the tide.
Not yet. Stay with those who have pure love.

The taste of milk and honey is not it.
Love instead that which gave deliciousness.

This world is a watery shadow of ocean-love.
That sea of light cannot be contained
in single human beings, so leave fragments,
and be the mountain.

rainier ocean love mountain rumi

As you become existence,
you will distribute creation,
lavishly blessing everybody.

Hold out your apron to catch what comes
with being in the presence.

Don’t tear the cloth collecting stone.
Wait for the smooth old coins,
the silver and gold.

Don’t pretend like children
that rocks are precious.

Let the held-out apron be your honesty,
and don’t worry about finding a white-haired teacher.

Merging with ocean-love has nothing to do with age
or the color of anyone’s hair.

~~ Rumi

This poem is an excerpt from Chapter 28, A New Section: The Pistachio Passport which is from Coleman Barks’ book The Essential Rumi – the new expanded edition (see attribution below) …

In one of his other books, Soul Fury, Coleman shares his perspective on Rumi’s love – the larger love, or “ocean love.” In this book’s Introduction, from the section Rumi and Kindness :

I met a beautiful man once, Jelaluddin Chelebi, who was at the time the head of the Mevlevi Order, the one begun by Rumi’s son. Chelebi was visiting Atlanta. He sat me down and said, “Now, what religion are you?” I raised my arms in the “who knows” gesture. “Good,” he said. “Love is the religion, and the universe is the book.” At the time he was the direct living descendant in the line of Rumi. “Yes!” I said quickly. … …

multicultural friendship holi ocean love rumi

… some people do live in a consciousness that is more compassionate and wiser than others. I once asked such a teacher, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, what it was like to be him, as opposed to being me. He answered with a fable. There was once an ocean frog who came to visit a frog living in a ditch three feet by four feet and two feet deep. The frog jumped proudly all around his ditch, side to side and down to the bottom. When he came up, he asked the ocean frog, “Is this not a wonderful place to live? I am having such a fine time in this ditch.” “Yes, it is an amazing place,” said the ocean frog. “How is it where you live?” asked the ditch frog. “That’s hard to talk about, because where I live has no boundaries. It is infinite. It has no shore.” Bawa explained that where I lived was bounded by mind and desire. Where he lived was beyond those constrictions. The ocean frog then says, “I may not be able to tell you about it, but someday I hope to take you there. You can be in that shoreless ocean with me.”
… …
… Bawa had used the old Taoist story to answer my question. (The parable probably has many lineages.) He was open to truth from any culture and from every human life. When you came into his room, he always wanted to know what you had been doing earlier that day. Then he would use that as a point of reference. The great teachers and saints of every tradition know that there is a table where we can all sit down, everybody in this mysterious, hilarious family.

So I agree with those two Jelaluddins, Chelebi and Rumi. Love, together with kindness, is the religion that we must learn to practice more and more deeply, in all the many ways that there are to love. This universe and our lives as we are daily leading them are the book that we delight in studying, this shared experience of being alive.The excitement and the depth of sharing—that friendship—are some of what Rumi and Shams are teaching. May we read this superbly edited text (the world) long and well together.… …”

Earlier, in this same Introduction, Coleman says more on Rumi’s ocean love: “… The interior of a Rumi poem is friendship with a specific human being and with the mystery of Allah, which he calls the friend, or the unsayable absence, or daylight, or night, or the presence inside the growing springtime green, or many other things. Rumi’s poetry is very consciously engaged in collaborative listening and making, the friendships and the powerful conversational dynamic going on in and around it there in the moment of its making. The poems come out of his love, and perhaps we love them for the glimpses they give of that, as well as for the light and the grief—for the taste of how it is to be, and how it is to be nothing at all. …”

  ~ Coleman Barks


Here’s more on Coleman Barks in a previous post: The Dream That Must Be Interpreted – Rumi – you must scroll to the bottom.


Poem from The Essential Rumi – reissue: New Expanded Edition, translated by Coleman Barks and John Moyne
Italicized Text on Rumi’s Love (In blockquote): Rumi: Soul Fury: Rumi and Shams Tabriz on Friendship, by Coleman Barks.
Images (edited and logo added): Featured and 1) Seashore during sunset by Nick Rizzo/Scopio, 2) Mt Fuji by warasit, 3) Multicultural happy friends at holi festival by IgorVetushko. 2&3) Purchased from depositphotos, 1) Purchased from scopio for use only on our website/social channels (these images are not permitted to be shared separate from this post). 


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