“Secret Practices ~ ON SECRECY

The egg is Rumi’s image for the private place where each individual globe of soul fruit becomes elaborately unique. Incubation in secret practices produces the lovely differences. Out of one leathery egg, a sparrow, out of a similar one, a snake. Transformations that happen on retreat, the forty-day chilla, are comparable to the changes that come during nine months in a human womb. Meditation, or any solitary practice (a walk before dawn, a poem every morning, sitting on the roof at sunset), gives depth and expands the soul’s action. A man in prison is sent a prayer rug by his friend. What he had wanted, of course, was a file or a crowbar or a key! But he began using the rug, doing five-times prayer before dawn, at noon, mid-afternoon, after sunset, and before sleep. Bowing, sitting up, bowing again, he notices an odd pattern in the weave of the rug, just at the qibla, the point, where his head touches. He studies and meditates on that pattern, gradually discovering that it is a diagram of the lock that confines him in his cell and how it works. He’s able to escape. Anything you do every day can open into the deepest spiritual place, which is freedom.” from “The Essential Rumi – reissue: New Expanded Edition” by Coleman Barks, Jalal al-Din Rumi, John Moyne