What a great thread, George! I discovered Rumi a few years ago after reading and loving this quote: "Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." That seemed so relevant to a society where there's a lot of black and white thinking, as we have today. There's a fairly recent PBS documentary on Rumi, narrated by Richard Gere, that's fascinating, if you happen to run across it. Besides, I couldn't help but love a tradition that involved a lot of whirling! : )
I posted a couple of his poems in the poetry thread, and if you'll all pardon me, I'm going to repost this one, because I think even the non-poetry fans around here will be able to see a Shakedown Street in this one:
There is a Community
There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street
and being the noise.
Drink all your passion,
and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes
to see with the other eye.
Just some background and a couple of links, fyi: "Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet, an Islamic dervish and a Sufi mystic. He is regarded as one of the greatest spiritual masters and poetic intellects. Born in 1207 AD, he belonged to a family of learned theologians. He made use of everyday life's circumstances to describe the spiritual world. Rumi's poems have acquired immense popularity, especially among the Persian speakers of Afghanistan, Iran and Tajikistan. Numerous poems written by the great poet have been translated to different languages."