I was introduced recently to Rumi, born in 1207 in Afghanistan, by a friend of mine who, having done an Open University course in English some years ago, likes to find "new" books to test me.
Rumi's life was most interesting, but the most important thing about him was his " poetry".
Mostly, it's not poetry, strictly speaking, in the way we think of it, but it has a poetic quality and insight into life which is far beyond what one would expect of a mystic living 800 years ago.
The thing that struck me was that despite all our advances, the human spirit and condition has not changed that much. We are still beset by love and anguish. We need to be loved and to love, and if we are not, we are massively diminished.
I was talking to someone a while ago who told me he had " fallen out of love" about 10 years ago, and had lived with, as he put it, a lump of ice in his heart until recently. Outwardly, I could see no difference in him, but he assured me that inside he was a completely different person - generally more emollient and better able to cope with modern life.
As Rumi had it:
"When you see the lovers
don't pass them by,
sit with them.
The fire of Love warms the world,
but even fire dies
in the company of ashes."
Remember that next time you want to make a harsh retort to your lover.