Meditations on Rumi Elsewhere




Rumi poems – a gateway to higher knowledge

“My soul is from elsewhere, I am sure of that, and I intend to end up there.” Rumi

As a young boy, probably up to the age of five, I always got up in the morning with an unshakable conviction that I had accidentally woken up in the wrong life. Earth life felt strange and unfamiliar to me and totally different to the other places I felt I knew and remembered so vividly. I was shaken by the fact that my ‘real’ place of origin didn’t seem to be part of this world, and I had become separated from it by an impenetrable barrier – but this seemed to be of no concern to anybody else that was living around me. I hoped that the whole weird experience would turn out to be nothing more than a dream, and that one day I would wake up in the world to which I initially belonged, a place I could call home.

At that time, and for many years to come, I was left in a state of confusion, overshadowed by an unbearable longing to find an answer. It became the driving force in my unwavering quest to find a way or method that would lead to my awakening.

Little did I know at that age how many deaths had to be died, and how much digging and weeding had to be done, before the actual work that my soul longed for could begin and flourish. Though I was unaware of it, I had subconsciously connected with a profound knowing beyond my understanding, and it kept me focused on my objective, with a strong drive to ultimately wake up from this state of ‘sleep’.

I now know that higher knowledge constantly surrounds us. Whether we are receptive to it or not, its influences touch upon our everyday lives. This knowledge is not found in our conceptual mind and intellect, but is mainly revealed through the fine arts and sciences of this world, hidden within architecture, philosophy, literature, as well as nature, religion and poetry.


These more abstract ideas and universal teachings that lie beyond our rational thinking are directed towards our heart and aim to awaken our finer emotions that connect us with the transformative force of meaning.

Poetry is one such powerful influence and can point us towards something eternal, inducing in us a state of ‘self-remembering’. In my own quest, life has taught me in its own unique way to read between the lines of Rumi’s poetry and access the timeless knowledge of transformation that is inconspicuously contained within it. If we truly want to absorb these great ideas, and be nourished by the deeper meaning of Rumi’s poetry, we have to keep the door to our hearts wide open.

Today, my childhood direct and undiluted take on things puts a big smile on my face. However, it surprises me how alive, exciting and unwavering my continuous bond with ‘elsewhere’ still feels, in spite of all the challenges in the past. But hey, never take anything for granted, and always remember the ‘work’ never ends.

The more we mature, the more we acquire, and most of what we acquire along the way only adds to the padding that separates us from what we are in essence. Usually, not very far into our life only our personality keeps growing, whilst our essence (together with everything that has been given to it and is part of our birthright) becomes dormant. This is how the initial undivided nature of our ‘Self’ gradually scatters and splits into a divided Self full of contradictions and frictions. Some fragments of our divided Self might gather and form a particular preference or interest, whilst other fragments pull us towards a different kind of interest altogether. Those accumulations of fragments can multiply in vast numbers, depending on the intensity of external influences and impressions that act upon us. In time, the external physical world is perceived by us from a more or less chaotic place of internal disorder that forms part of our psychological and mental makeup.

The result is that we rarely see or perceive the outer world for what it is, that is from an objective state of mind, and when it comes to our inner reality we have simply fallen asleep to whatever animates this physical and psychological body.

Let us look at the words of Rumi’s poem more closely.

‘My soul is from elsewhere…’ This simple and profound statement in Rumi’s teachings implies that we are not what we believe ourselves to be, and that we are comprised of something that is distinct from this body. It tells me that I am not ‘one’, and simultaneously points to another possibility of existence that lies beyond my ordinary perception, possibly another modality by which my very existence expresses itself without the requirement of a body/mind/thought unit.

It implies a journey or quest based on asking profoundly different questions, fuelled by a powerful source of inspiration that has left an imprint within the very depth of our being. Something is given or told that leads to a manifestation of sufficient substance or gravitas to override the scattered nature of the Self.

‘I am sure of that…’ reverberates from a place of knowing. The initial inspiration has shifted from knowledge to experience, and the underlying elements of belief and conviction have grown into a depth of knowing that requires no defence. The search itself has come to an end, yet the effort to prevent this new state of knowing from being enveloped by the veil of forgetfulness is far from over.

‘I intend to end up there…’ indicates that a strong ‘want’ has been established that is void of illusion. It acknowledges that the actual ‘knowing’ of how to wake up is very fragile and can be overpowered by a sleep-producing state at any time. Only conscious or inspirational effort will sustain this evolving connection until intent to ‘end up there’ becomes all-encompassing. There are many layers of profound meaning in this particular line, which in actual fact is a step-by-step instruction that explains very clearly how to manifest a real ‘want’ in one’s life.

‘My soul is from elsewhere…’ clearly describes a very significant moment most of us will arrive at in our lifetime. It points towards a situation in which we realise that we are not fulfilling our life’s purpose, creating within us a need to follow our real ‘calling’. This is usually accompanied by a profound sense that the life we have lived, as well as most of our ‘doings’, are leading to a dead end, and does not serve us well any more. All of a sudden we feel like a stranger to what we have established along the way, as well as the way of life we have lived. We really start getting a glimpse of our calling ‘from elsewhere’, which is still partly disguised by the unknown, yet feels encouraging enough to question the way we have lived. That glimpse, or ‘a-ha moment’, combined with a window of time that is somehow full of unsettling unpredictability, is strong enough to take us to the final conclusion that the only way out is change.

‘I am sure of that…’ points to the process of enquiry and exploration we need to undertake to get closer to the realisation of our actual vocation. We have to experiment and gather many facts by digging through the shadows of the unknown to be able to get closer to a clear picture and understanding of our new incentive and objective. This delicate process will gradually lead to actual knowing of our calling to its fullest extent.

‘I intend to end up there…’ shows that one has gathered enough knowledge, understanding and skill, as well as an unwavering determination, to face all the different distractions and opposing forces one is bound to meet along the road. The journey towards our goal is based on the creation of a strong want that is fuelled by the force of meaning, which ultimately will materialise in the objective of the initial intent.

Well, dear reader, I don’t know about your incentive, but I for one intend to end up ‘elsewhere’. After all, I owe it to the little boy who knew of it. For anyone who wants to come along, just know that the road to elsewhere is pretty wide, and is in actual fact still surprisingly empty.

Alex’s latest meditation classes are available here

Alexander Filmer-Lorch
Author of ‘Inside Meditation’ – in search of the unchanging nature within’

Copyright © June 2013 Alexander Filmer-Lorch – all rights reserved




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