Rumi’s Elemental Wisdom
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An Alternative Outlook
Some profound insight from Rumi, a 13th Century Persian poet, who offers up another perspective when appreciating our smallness. As he describes it, “you are not just a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in a drop.”
This is a pretty impressive revelation! Especially for those of us concerned with sustainability, climate change, and the dangers of an eroding environment. In this context, Rumi is spot on.
The Task Ahead
Each of these climate-related challenges are enormous! The difficulties are significant and have many layers, so it’s relatively easy to think that our individual contribution won’t amount to much. But we can’t simply give in to this.
It’s Worth Fighting For
There is so much you can do on a personal level! Don’t brush it off. Each of your actions accumulate. You might decide to donate to a cause, volunteer, vote, or ditch disposables. When contemplating the options, it’s natural that you might hesitate in the face of the immensely frightening climate crisis.
We might think that our efforts can’t possibly make that much of a difference in the big picture. That’s simply untrue. Rumi reminds us that we are, each of us, a reflection of the big picture.
A Collection of Drops
Rumi’s message is also well expressed in the book & film Cloud Atlas (excerpt above). The main characters feel compelled to act upon their actions, in the hopes of realizing the change they envision. This is captured in a brilliant line; “What is the ocean, but a multitude of drops?” It does drive the message that change is possible and worthy of your efforts and sacrifice.
The Big Picture
What I find additionally poignant about Rumi’s observation, is that it has withstood the test of time. It is in fact complimentary to our present day scientific understanding of the universe. Although Rumi wrote this centuries ago, he was nonetheless a gifted scholar. He attempted as best he could to make sense of this beautiful mixed up world and shared his revelations through his poetry.
Before space shuttles or the electron microscope, Rumi was able to make the connection that we are each a reflection of the universe. Something that has since been confirmed by physicists, astronomers (see below), and biologists. Truly an amazing recognition!