Google “poems” and chances are, a popular poet named Rumi will pop up. And deservedly so — Rumi poems may be hundreds of years old, but they’re just as relevant today as they were when they were first written.
Who’s Rumi, you might ask. Formally known as Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, this 13th-century Persian poet and Islamic scholar took the world by storm with his remarkable gift of writing. What he’s done with poems is essentially equivalent to what Michael Jordan has done with basketball.
So explore eight of the best Rumi poems — all handpicked for their beautiful and inspiring messages that continue to be relevant to life today.
We’ve put his poems into relevant categories for easier reading with brief descriptions of that particular aspect of life:
Short Poems About Life
Life’s full of ups and downs, but how you react to those situations is a reflection of your success and happiness. As you journey through life, reflect on these short verses by Rumi that represent:
- Feelings that occur in a moment of time
- Moments of emotions crystallized into words
- The need to say more with less
From your place in this world to the origin of your fear to rising to your greatness, find one that resonates with you.
#1: About our place in the bigger picture
It’s so easy to feel small in this world. And with 85% of Americans suffering from low self-esteem, it’s difficult to find our place in the bigger picture. Marisa Peer, author of Mindvalley’s Rapid Transformational Therapy Quest, points out, the biggest disease affecting humanity is that we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re not enough.
“On the Turn” by Rumi
I am so small I can barely be seen.
How can this great love be inside me?
Look at your eyes. They are small,
But they see enormous things.
#2: About how fear originates from our culturescape
What we fear is what we have been taught to fear. It’s society’s definition — the culturescape — of what should be feared, whether it’s people, creatures, dark spaces, innovative ideas, and even emotions itself.
“Replacing fear with courage is one of the key components of being unf*ckwithable,” says Vishen, founder of Mindvalley. So it’s time to question the origins of your fears.
“Craftsmanship and Emptiness” by Rumi
Don’t listen to them!
They seem to protect,
But they imprison.
They are your worst enemies.
They make you afraid
Of living in emptiness.
#3: About forgetting the brules and rising to your awakening
Now it’s easier to follow a common path that has a track record for “success.” Unfortunately, there are more lost souls coming and going from this path because it was actually never meant for them. Forget the brules and success stories you’ve read before you. It’s time you unapologetically rise to your awakening.
“Unfold Your Own Myth” by Rumi
But don’t be satisfied with stories,
How things have gone with others.
Unfold your own myth,
Without complicated explanation,
So everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you.
Inspirational Poems About Life
There’s importance in inspiration, even in written form. It can:
- Transform the way you perceive your capabilities
- Propel you from apathy to possibility
So take a minute to go through these poems by Rumi. Read it, dissect it, and reflect upon its message. You may just find the inspiration you were looking for.
#4: About how we are, first and foremost, human beings
So often, we’re blinded by our differences and we easily forget that we are all, first and foremost, human beings. We may not always share the same values and principles. However, the core idea we collectively fight for is to be a part of a collective, like that of our Mindvalley Members.
“Only Breath” by Rumi
Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu
Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion
or cultural system. I am not from the East
or the West, not out of the ocean or up
from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,
am not an entity in this world or in the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any
origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.
I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one and that one call to and know,
first, last, outer, inner, only that
breath breathing human being.
#5: About trials and tribulations being our greatest teachers
Pain and strife are parts of life. And from Rumi’s poems about life, we are able to discern that there is no shadow without light.
When we accept our weakness, darkness, and demons, we create a balance between it and the compassion and love we give ourselves and others. So begin by listening to the Universe, for it has much to teach you.
“Enough Words?” by Rumi
But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.
#6: About how we fear people and the things which are different from us
Fear is a reality. It can be incredibly helpful to use for our survival instinct. However, the problem lies when we fear people and things that are different from us. In fact, a 2021 survey by Pew Research Center reported 89% of non-U.S. citizens surveyed describe “racial and ethnic discrimination in the U.S. as a somewhat or very serious problem.” But what if there is more to our fears than we know?
“The Uses of Fear” by Rumi
A donkey turning a millstone is not trying
To press oil from sesame seed. He is fleeing the blow
that was just struck and hoping to avoid the next.
We look to ease our pain, and this keeps civilization
Moving along. Fear is the architect here.
Fear keeps us working near the ark.
Sometimes though, it is fear, a contracting,
That brings you into the presence.
Famous Poems About Life
Poems are beautiful because they help you:
- Understand and appreciate the world around you
- Look at things in different ways
- Stay in tune with your feelings and thoughts
And when more and more people can resonate with them, they have the power to transform lives. So go through these famous poems by Rumi. They may just teach you a thing or two about life.
#7: About love and compassion defining us as human beings
Humans share a universal power to love. Of all the poems Rumi has written, this one eloquently speaks of the magnitude of our capabilities when we are truly connected to our body, mind, and soul. It’s a love poem and a gratitude poem rolled into one.
“All Rivers at Once” by Rumi
What is the body? Endurance.
What is love? Gratitude.
What is hidden in our chests? Laughter.
What else? Compassion.
#8: About you having a purpose, so share it with the world
It’s time to take a brave step into your quest for an extraordinary life. Understandably, the first step from within is always the hardest. But taking this step is one that could be enough to create a chain reaction for every life decision you make going forward. So if you find inspiration in this poem, as Vishen did, it may just be time to leap forward into your purpose.
“When I Run After What I Think I Want” by Rumi
When I run after what I think I want,
my days are a furnace of distress and anxiety,
if I sit in my own place of patience,
what I need flows to me, and without any pain,
from this, I understand that what I want also wants me,
and is looking for me and attracting me,
there’s a great secret in this for all who can grasp it.
Recommended reading: Celebrating Women’s Voices in Verse: 7 Inspiring Female Poems
Awaken the Power of Life Within You
If you’re experiencing an endless loop of apathy and feeling stuck in life, it might be time to start looking inwards.
Respond to every call that excites your spirit.— Rumi
Your power doesn’t lie on the outside; it lies within. And when you’ve tapped into who you are and who you can be, your greatness will shine brightly for the world to see.
If you need some guidance to get there, register to Mindvalley where you’ll have access to a whole load of free resources and trainers to help you awaken the power of life within you.