On Gambling

To a frog that’s never left his pond the ocean seems like a gamble. Look what he’s giving up: security, mastery of his world, recognition! The ocean frog just shakes his head. “I can’t really explain what it’s like where I live, but someday I’ll take you there.”


      If you want what visible reality

can give, you’re an employee.


      If you want the unseen world,

you’re not living your truth.


      Both wishes are foolish,

but you’ll be forgiven for forgetting

that what you really want is

love’s confusing joy.


      Gamble everything for love,

if you’re a true human being.


      If not, leave

this gathering.


      Half-heartedness doesn’t reach

into majesty. You set out

to find God, but then you keep

stopping for long periods

at mean-spirited roadhouses.


      In a boat down a fast-running creek,

it feels like trees on the bank

are rushing by. What seems


      to be changing around us

is rather the speed of our craft

leaving this world.


– by Rumi, from The Essential Rumi – reissue: New Expanded Edition, translated by Coleman Barks