Listen to the Reed
Listen to this reed forlorn,
Breathing, even since it was torn
From its rushy bed, a strain
Of impassioned love and pain.
The secret of my song, though near,
None can see, none can hear.
Oh, for a friend to know the sign
And mingle all his soul with mine.
It's the flame of Love that fired me,
It's the wine of Love inspired me.
Would you learn how lovers bleed,
Then listen, listen to the reed.”
Mevlana Jelalu'ddin Rumi
In the turning ceremony of the Sema, going back to the great Sufi mystic Rumi, we celebrate the path of the true seeker towards His Beloved.
The outer turning, the turn of the Mevlevis, is one of the most beautiful tools of transformation the Living School is working with on the Path of Return. We all have to turn back to our real home, which is the home of the Beloved. Separation is finally dissolved in Unity and we see that God and His Creation, even as Love, Lover and Beloved are One. This is our true birth, the first step on the Path of Return.
“It is like this”, Suleyman Dede said. “When you turn you do not turn for yourself, but for God. We turn around in the way we do so that the Light of God may descend upon the earth. As you act as a channel in the turn, the light comes through the right hand, and the left hand brings it into this world.
It is what you in the West call ‘alchemy’, because if you concentrate correctly in your prayer to God, then you make the necessary sacrifice of yourself. In this way light, which contains within itself perfect order, is able to come through onto earth. We turn for God and for the world, and it is the most beautiful thing you can imagine.
If you are quiet and in a state of prayer when you turn, offering everything o yourself to God, the, when your body is spinning, there is a completely still point in the center. In the knowledge that there is only He, you can experience the universe turning around that center. When you turn, all the stars, and the planets, and the endless universes turn around that still point. The heavens respond; and all the invisible kingdoms join in the dance. Jesus said, ‘Unless you dance you know not what cometh to pass.’ That is why we turn. But the world does not understand. They think we turn in order to go into some sort of trance. It is true that we sometimes go into that state you call ecstasy, but that is only when we know and experience at the same time. We do not turn for ourselves.”
(from "The Last Barrier" by Reshad Feild, chapter 10)