To Rumi, the purpose of life is the desire to join the source (whole) through the pathway of love (Mazehab Ishq).
His prime message is the God within, and the self(I) is a part of the whole(source) with all its elements.
I have lost myself in God, and now God is mine.
Don’t look for Him in every direction, for he is in my soul.
Knowing the God within is tied to the understanding of self, As Rumi believed one cannot understand God if he does not understand himself. We need to understand and control our intrinsic quality such as desire and attachment to materialism which prevents us to know the self.
To understand the true nature of the self, we need to understand the relationship between the part and the whole.
In Sufism, every part is the whole. Rumi said, “You are not just a drop of the ocean, you are the ocean in a drop”. Rumi reminds us that we are a part of the whole, and our soul is not separate from the source. Once the body has separated from the soul, the soul then becomes a part of the whole with its own distinctive identity. Rumi says that for spiritual growth, we do not need anything from outside, All we need, we have within us.
Before the physical existence of man, all souls(parts) were united, and they were contained in Universal intelligence( whole, Source). Humans existed in the state of spiritual or consciousness before being placed in a physical body.
Rumi frequently depicts this paradoxical tension existing between the individual notion of self and the Self of God throughout the Masnavi, epic Persian book of poetry. He said, “You cannot love God without loving yourself.”
Rumi like countless other Sufis believed that knowledge of God is intimately tied in with knowledge of the self. Therefore, when considering a term like “self” in Rumi’s Sufi tradition, what we are often referring to is something quite specific but simultaneously, complex, multifaceted, and elusive. Rumi’s notion of (self) is understood to other non-physical entities that are complex dimensions of the “self “.
Rumi said that there is an inherent sadness in the spirit of everyone. This sadness is caused by our separation from the source. We are deeply unhappy about being separated from the source. We cannot reach true happiness if we cannot connect with the source ( whole, Universal intelligence).
One of the core philosophies of Rumi or Sufism is the desire to return to the source. This separation of loneliness creates fear, anxiety, and insecurity. The true sense of happiness and wisdom is in joining with the source.
For this reason, Rumi started the Masnavi with the Reed poem which is the cry of separation. We are not secure and safe when we are separated from the source like a drop of water separated from the ocean, soon it evaporates and annihilated if it does not return to the safety of the Ocean.
So, If the purpose of our life is to return to the source, then what prevents us to return to the source?
Rumi believed that a sense of false identity is the barrier preventing us to join the source.
Attachment is the main cause of false Identity: Attachments to wealth, fame, beauty, and physical appearance. This attachment to materialism makes us selfish.
Selfishness (Ego) and love both grow in the heart. When we fill the heart with selfishness, there is no more room for love to grow inside our heart and as result, there is not enough fuel to take us to the path of unification, Mezhab Ishq (Religious of love). According to Rumi and Sufism, this is the path that takes us to the source.
Just starting on this path is the first step to returning to the source. It helps you to get rid of the fear of separation or loneliness as you know you are going on the Mazehab Ishq pathway. Most of the sense of anxiety and insecurity of separation disappear once you started the journey on the Ishq road toward unification with the source.
This Ishq road to unification is long and treacherous, it is like a stair to the roof (source).
The higher you go, the closer you become to the source. Unification with the source does not mean to be on the top of the roof. You get rid of the fear of separation just by getting on the first step, which is the door to unification, you can see and feel the source energy; you are in the company of the beoved in the same room.
That happiness, wisdom, and security that we are looking for, is accessible to you when you are at the first step, Rumi said, “as you take the first step, the way appears.”
We are awaking or Enlightened on this very first step.
As we stated earlier, a Lack of understanding of our true self results in selfishness (Ego) which prevents us to reach the beloved. The source has a different meaning to different people based on their upbringing and religious belief: Universal intelligence, consciousness, spirit, the whole, creator of the universe, beloved or God. You can call it anything you want, the concept is the same.
We are separated from the source, and we want to return to the beloved through Mazehab Ishq(Religion of Love). But Rumi emphasized that without a clear understanding of self or I, a lover cannot unite with the beloved because of ego.
We are conditioned to identify the self by comparing ourselves to others like I am richer, I have a better job, I have a better home, I am more attractive. This sense of comparing I (self) to others creates a false identity that results in selfishness, which is a barrier to join the source.
So according to Rumi, we need to know who we are to unite with beloved. We need to have a clear picture of that (I) or (Self). Knowing yourself is knowing God.
Rumi says that Self or (I ) has four main components.
Let us examine each part closely.
Most of the time soul and spirit are used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Spirit is a part of universal intelligence(Source) that becomes a part of self with the first breath. It is a part of the whole(Universal Intelligence) that contains all elements of the whole.
This separated part of Universal intelligence becomes the main element of self. This part is infinite and does not change.
As the body disappears, the spirit rejoins the source which is unique to that self (you). If this part (spirit) is put into another body, it becomes the same self ( you) minus feeling, thought, desire, and Free well. This part of self also can be named based on our beliefs and upbringing. There are many names to this part of the self: Consciousness, True self, Divinity within, innate intelligence.
Rumi said, “My spirit is from elsewhere. I am sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”
Neuroscientists believe that the mind or the soul is a physical activity of the brain. So to the scientist, the Soul or mind is a manifestation of brain activity. But so far they have not presented any convincing scientific evidence to prove their theory. They have not identified any part of the brain that contains emotion or feeling, and they have not associated emotion and feeling with the firing of any neuron in the brain.
But Sufi and Rumi believe that we are all parts of a whole, which has some help from the quantum field theory.
For centuries, scientists believed that electrons and protons are the building block of the universe, but with the emerging of quantum physic, that idea is no longer valid.
The universe is made of a continuous liquid-like substance called a field. There are a total of 17 fields that cover the entire universe in layers. They interact with each other through vibration.
The field formed in a fraction of a second after the big bangs and existed before matter. Some scientists go as far as believing that these fields created the big bang and therefore created the universe.
These layers of fields are continuous, and matter(electron, proton, Quarks) Exist only as lumps or quanta of energy in these wave-like layers. These fields are called electromagnetic fields, electron fields, and so on.
My electron connected with your electron through this field and we are connected the same way with electrons in the Universe. So we are parts of these fields and have the whole elements of the fields within us.
Could these wave-like fields be the (source) that Rumi and Sufi refer to? Could these fields be the universal consciousness?
We know that these fields are fundamental, non-physical, and existed before the matter. This is how most philosophers defined the Universal consciousness.
In quantum physic, matter exists in both particles and energy forms, but when it is observed, it exists only in particles. (Double helix experiment)
In theory, the observer(consciousness) turned these lump of energy into matter(electron).
Considering the facts, theories, correlation, and definition, it is as good as many other hypotheses and believes about the Universal consciousness.
My intention is not to explain the Rumi or Sufi philosophy of life, with scientific theories. But I presented these recent scientific findings to provoke our thoughts and the hope that someday we have a better understanding of the connection between the part and the whole that most can agree to.
There is another part of the soul, Rumi called, Nafs (Carnal self). This is the part of the soul that can incite evil. Free will exist in this part of the soul. As we mentioned Free will is not a part of the spirit because the spirit does not go through changes.
The body is that part of self that contains the spirit. Rumi and Sufism believe that spirit separated from the source (Universal intelligence) and got into the body.
Rumi talks about the heart as the center of our soul. This nonphysical heart(Electromagnetic field of the heart) is where our feeling of love and ego exists.
Rumi does not talk about the heart as a biological pump. It is a field or metaphor for love and compassion.
Ishq or love is the essence of Rumi poetry. We cannot understand Rumi poetry without understanding what love is to Rumi: Love is the unity with beloved. Love is the foundation of Rumi’s believe and work. To Rumi Love, Is the only pathway to connect to the source, and our purpose in life is this unity with the beloved (source).
Rumi also believed that love contains the force that sustains the entire universe. “the wheel of heaven is turned by the wave of love.”
The heart is the spiritual axis through which the reunion with the beloved can be attained. The heart is the center where the journey starts to reunite with the beloved. To make that journey toward the beloved, the heart must be full of fuel and energy which is love. Rumi believed that the Heart has intuitive knowledge(called heart intelligence) where much of our decision in life take place.
Ironically, Rumi knew about heart intelligence seven Centuries ago. In 1991, Dr. Armour, discovered that the heart has its brain or nervous system which composed of 40000 neurons.
It decides with the brain through the autonomic nervous system. But sometimes it decides without the input of the brain. The intuition comes from the heart’s brain.
If the heart is pure and not occupied with ego and jealousy, then love can nurture and grow here that can help (self) gets to experience the unity of divine. Rumi says the heart contains the light of God’s love. The heart is attached to the divinity within through love.
The Heart electromagnetic field is thousands of times bigger than the brain electromagnetic field.
This is the area that can accumulate dust(ego and Jealousy.) The mirror (Heart) cannot reflect if it is covered with dust. Scientists can measure heart electromagnetic heart field six feet away from the body.
Was Rumi talking about this illusionary field(heart electromagnetic field) seven-century ago?
One can assume that Rumi was talking about this field when he talks about the heart where love and ego can grow.
To go back to the source, we need to remove the barrier- false identity. We need to know who we are before we can start on the journey to unification with the source. We know attachment to materialism is the building block of false identity. So, for us to understand our true self we need to reign selfishness and free ourselves from attachments to materialism.
The lack of understanding of our identity creates selfishness or ego that fills our heart and there is no space for over to grow. Love is the only fuel that takes us to the Pathway of Ishq to join beloved (source) and attain that happiness that we are looking for.
The first step to salvation is to identify that Self or I. Once we identify that trues self or I, then we can empty our heart from ego or selfishness to create more space for love to grow and take us to the Ishq pathway to join the beloved.
Rumi in Masnavi says, “ The root of all evil in the world is selflessness. Until we cannot control selflessness, we never join the true self to attain wisdom and happiness. ”
The road to this unification is awakening, enlightenment, or salvation where we can find happiness, and wisdom to have a life with purpose and become a kind and compassionate human being on the pathway of Mazehab Ishq.