The following poem is one of my favourites. I recall my first time reading this poem, finding it, of all places, in a washroom at Banyen Books and Sound in Vancouver. I was reminded of it this morning, having just watched a short video by the actor Will Smith, who waxes about the importance of self discipline in order to achieve 'success' (however one may define this for themselves).
The grit, beyond the cheese, in Will Smith's diatribe on self discipline is that he equates this resourceful behaviour with self-love. I really appreciated this framing of what some may find unpleasant, the tapas, the heat of disciplining one's behaviour towards health, and often away from hedonism, or id-focused living where we allow our wants to supersede our needs. Instead of focusing on the slog-thoughts of trudging through one's plan, an attitudinal reframing of this work as investing in one's own growth through the self loving acts feels way more hopeful and helpful to me.
This brings me to a few of my own favoured practices for elevation and self growth: Meditation, Music and Movement (and reading Rumi's ecstatic works). Rather than include Will Smith's video (which you can Google is you wish!), I offer a video of music that supports the ascendency of Rumi's poem, and promotes meditation and easy movement. It may even support chanting along, creating an internal vibration that is soothing to the nervous system.
My invitation is to play the video and read the poem. Pause. Give yourself some time to absorb the offering. Weigh what it means, if anything, for you. Allow and accept these gifts, releasing what does not serve, and integrating what does.
Keep Knocking... and the Joy inside will eventually open a window.
THE SUNRISE RUBY
In the early morning hour,
just before dawn, lover and beloved wake
and take a drink of water.
She asks, "Do you love me or yourself more?
Really, tell the absolute truth."
He says, "There is nothing left of me.
I'm like a ruby held up to the sunrise.
Is it still a stone, or a world
made of redness? It has no resistance
This is how Hallaj said, I am God,
and told the truth!
The ruby and the sunrise are one.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.
Completely become hearing and ear,
and wear this sun-ruby as an earring.
Work. Keep digging your well.
Don't think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who's there.
Coleman Barks, Tr., The Essential Rumi (San Fransico: Harper Collins, 1995)