The Water We Seek

Not long ago I found one of poem by Rumi which I found to be inspiring and insightful.  It’s called The Water We Seek

The eye or the spirit that focuses on the transient
falls on its face wherever it goes.
Someone who focuses on the distance,
without knowledge, may see far,
but just as we do in a dream.

Asleep on the bank of a river, lips parched,
you dream you are running toward water.
In the distance you see the water of your desire
and, caught by your seeing, you run toward it.

In the dream you boast,
“I am the one whose heart can see through the veils.”
Yet every step carries you further away
toward the perilous mirage.

From the moment you dreamed you set out
you created the distance
from that which had been near to you.
Many set out on a journey
that leads them farther away from their goal.

The intuitive claims of the sleeper are a fantasy.
You, too, are sleepy; But for God’s sake,
if you must sleep, sleep on the Way of God,
and maybe some other seeker on the Way
will awaken you from your fantasies and slumber.

No matter how subtle the sleeper’s thought becomes,
his dreams will not guide him Home.
Whether the sleeper’s thought is twofold or threefold,
it is error multiplying error.

While he dreams of running through the wilderness,

the waves are lapping so near.

While he dreams of the pangs of thirst,

the water is nearer than his jugular vein.

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5 thoughts on “The Water We Seek

  1. This is very beautiful, thank you.

    I was reflecting recently how wherever our dreams, desires, confused thoughts want to lead us, it is always a dead end. We follow them (in the normal course of life) until the desire is satisfied, until pain has left us, until we have some temporary relief from our sufferings, but for what? Only for new ones to take their place.

    Faith and courage to transcend our dreams!

  2. Very insightful poem. It is interesting that in great religions and Traditions there is an emphasis that this “other seeker who is on the Way” can help us awaken from the dream and progress. It could be our soul but it could also be this other being, a Spiritual Teacher or what people call a Master who can help us…

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