A few days ago, I sent my friend Ed in Michigan a link to Andrew Harvey’s Vimeo, “Rumi Returning: The Triumph of Divine Passion.” Ed, a Rumi scholar in his own right, called yesterday morning to thank me and discuss the book he is immersed in at the current time: “The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems,” translated by Coleman Barks. At least I thought that was the book he mentioned; our phone line was crackly, and I only heard part of the title. If that was the title, the book sounded so familiar, but I couldn’t exactly place where I’d heard about it. We eventually went on to discuss another of our Coleman Barks favorites, “The Illuminated Rumi,” one I am more familiar with, as I open it frequently to read Rumi’s words and admire the exquisite illustrations by Michael Green.
A few hours after Ed’s and my conversation, my daughter Julie brought me a book, asking if it was mine. It was, as you might guess, “The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems”! I still couldn’t place it and thought it might belong to my son-in-law, David, who also loves poetry. If it was mine, it had been a long time since I’d opened it. (We have many shelves in our home, filled with books, so losing track of one for an extended period of time isn’t that hard to do.) I did, however, find it interesting that she was bringing me the exact book that I thought, and was now fairly certain, Ed had mentioned just a few hours earlier. Julie, by the way, hadn’t been home when we were talking on the phone, so she knew nothing about my earlier association to the very book she was holding in her hand.
As you can imagine from reading my blog posts in the past, things got even more interesting from there…
After talking to Julie, I went back to editing my latest work in progress and landed – within a few sentences – on a journaling example from 2006 I’d included in the manuscript. I included this specific journal entry because it illustrates so well how a similar meaningful coincidence often appears in “clusters.” Does it surprise you that this old journal entry is the only place in my manuscript that I mention the “The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems”? Ha! I now realized why the title sounded so familiar when Ed brought it up to me!
From my book “Synchronicity Journaling: Working with Dreams, Visions, and Meaningful Coincidence”:
Synchronicity Journal Entry 8/22/2006: Do Not Go Back to Sleep!
I am lying in bed, thinking about Wayne Dyer’s appearance on PBS last night and his advice to those who find themselves wide awake in the wee hours of the morning: “The morning breeze is calling us. Do not go back to sleep.” Dyer was talking about listening to the soul’s urge to be present to inspiration during the magical time before dawn when the rest of one’s world is still sleeping. It is now 5:00 am, and I am sleepy and resisting his advice. However, I do finally sit up and wait for the ‘deep thoughts’ to come. Luckily, I am easily side-tracked, and as I take my journal off the top of my bookshelf, my eye catches the title of a book that seems to be calling to me, “The Soul of Rumi: A New Selection of Ecstatic Poems” translated by Coleman Barks. I reach for the book and open it at random to a poem titled “Evidence.” In the last few stanzas of the poem, I find these words, “Some sleep, others lie awake. The Friend gets up in the early dawn and goes outdoors…” Interestingly, this metaphor is also expressing finding something in the pre-dawn hours. I begin to wonder if Dyer’s quote came from Rumi. He probably announced the source, but I missed that somehow.
2nd Synchronicity Journal Entry 8/22/2006: Do Not Go Back to Sleep/Ask for What You Want!
Later in the day, I opened an email from the One Consciousness website titled Sufi Wisdom and read the quote attached: “The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you; don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want; don’t do back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep” – Jalaluddin Rumi
Wow! I didn’t have to think long about how these messages were related to personal meaning in my life. I admire Rumi as a creative and prolific spiritual genius, so advice coming from his work has special significance for me. While holding down a full-time corporate marketing job, I have not had enough time to pay attention to my own creative projects. Being a morning person and often too tired at night from working full-time to think creatively once I get home, I realize that the best time I have to work on my personal projects is in the early hours of each day. Putting the advice from these meaningful coincidences into practical use, I will work on making it a habit to wake without an alarm each morning, reciting words of encouragement “Do not go back to sleep!” to myself until I am fully present and ready to greet whatever inspiration offers itself up in the predawn hours. (End of 2006 journal entries)
Interestingly, I am now retired, can sleep in as late as I want, but have been waking at 5 am for several mornings in a row (we’re back in 2016 if I lost you), the perfect time (I am reminded above) to work on my book when our busy multigenerational household is at rest and our place is quiet for a change. As mentioned in the journal entry, I am a morning person; that is when inspiration in my writing comes most easily to me. I know this, but our Berkeley house is chilly at that early hour, so I have been burrowing more deeply under the covers and going right back to sleep. Now, the warning “Do not go back to sleep!” reverberates once again in my thoughts and makes getting up and listening at the door where “the two worlds touch” more attractive even than a cozy bed.
And yes, “The Soul of Rumi” was the book Ed had alluded to and the one I now felt compelled to revisit after three meaningful coincidences – my friend’s mention, my daughter’s question, and my 2006 journal entry – so I opened it at random to see what treasure awaited me in its pages this time around. (According to Jung, three is the magic number of the same synchronicity showing up in a cluster of different events to alert one to something important from the unconscious that is ready to come fully into consciousness.)
Be careful all you radical materialists out there! The passage on page 230 of “The Soul of Rumi” that I opened to might make you, for good and all, a believer in the strange workings of a spirit-filled and conscious universe:
“Now I lay me down to stay
awake. Pray the Lord my soul
to take into your wakefulness,
So that I can get this one bit
of wisdom clear: grace comes to
forgive and then forgive again.”
So, there you have it, a synchronicity cluster spanning across 10 years of time with meaningful coincidences reminding me over and over to stay awake, pay attention, and honor those liminal times and spaces where two worlds touch. And all this because of an intuition to share a video with my friend who loves Rumi. His happiness would have been reward enough, but I am grateful for what joyful meaning has been added to my own life in excess of that.
It thrills me the way that this loving and generous world shares meaningful messages freely—pure grace, if you will—for our personal edification and growth; our only requirement being that we pay attention and listen at the threshold between the worlds of mind and matter.