Finding Rumi: The Future-Orientation


“How will you find Rumi?” – a question in response to my previous blog titled “In the Garden Beyond Right and Wrong” made me realize my paralysis. That blog was about my life journey from the escape to righteousness to the surrender to it, and the present stage where I insist to be as much conscious of happiness as of righteousness. This consciousness to happiness gives the feeling to be in the garden of Rumi, which he claimed to exist beyond all sense of right and wrong.

This question about finding Rumi made me think about my approach towards life. I realized the absence of dreams, hopes, and wishes in my current circumstances. In my job five years back, I was known for my endeavors. Now when I am going back to the industry after my PhD, I do not know how to respond to the job-interview questions like this one: “Where do you see yourself after 10 years”. I recall the farewell commitment I had made to a friend seven years ago; “Let us meet at Times Square after ten years and gossip for the whole evening”. I am the same warm person but without such promises. I remember the post-retirement plan I made on the first day of work; to live in hills in the company of books, sunshine, brooks, and woods. Now, I have no clue where I will end up if make old bones. Where has that future-oriented Isbah gone?

Reflecting upon this question, I have come to realize that I am rather stuck with the past and present. While I cherish my struggles, I ignore that life is the name of moving on. I ignore that life is about building blocks to form a structure. While counting each of the blocks, I overlook the structure.

One reason of this negligence is the recent disinterestedness in the worldly life. After the departure of Ali Farzan, my nine-years old only son, I do not look forward to the physical things. I manage my engagement with life but can’t really pursue worldly objectives. No self-pity expected here, but such crises have long-term impacts. Questions such as that about finding Rumi help to realize those impacts and to think of the ways to handle them.

So, thinking about the future and about Rumi! I take Rumi as a personification of wisdom, of love while being righteous, and of giving to the world while experiencing emptiness. Rumi was a man of knowledge before meeting Shams. The love of Shams filled his heart and his departure gave Rumi the quest for his search. These additions flamed the wisdom, resulting in new dimensions to spirituality. His cry of solitude, his shout-out to the beloved, and the praise of the beloved fill in the heart of the reader of his verses. What a gain from the loss!

So, the first future goal Isbah sets for herself is a contribution to the “garden beyond right and wrong”. I want to make this garden of Rumi lovelier by practicing truthfulness, warmth, and appreciation of beauty. But let me not think of becoming the same ambitious Isbah; it is not easy. Rumi questioned the probability of reaching back home when he is drunken and the company is insane;

من مست و تو دیوانه ما را کی برد خانه

And I am both insane and drunken in the love of my Shams. Let me remain in this state for a while.

Isbah Ali Farzan belongs to the field of educational assessment. She has worked for UNESCO, American Institutes for Research, Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, and The Aga Khan University-Examination Board. She is a recipient of Commonwealth Distance Learning Scholarship, Endeavour Executive Award, and the Fulbright Scholarship. These days, she is doing her PhD from The University of Memphis-USA.


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