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Praying Rumi
Rumi: Die Before I Die

Praying Rumi

      Preparing for death is preparing for life, a circle of inspiration.

Instead of denying death, by letting death come in, a divine beauty

is born. Aversion is replaced by the thrill of Love. I recited these

Rumi verses to a dying friend. I want my caregivers to recite them

to me as well when I am in need of inspiration.  (Italics indicate Rumi's writings)

Rumi and My Caregivers  

            “I have seen death with his face.

            Heard death singing with his voice…

            No one ever sees that last moment…

            But if they did, they would hear

            The sea singing.”[1]


            “Our death is our wedding with eternity… 

            For he who is alive in the Light of God

            The death of this carnal soul is grace…”[2]

For my caregivers: The Singing Sea* 

Guide me to hear the singing sea.  

Encourage me to go to my wedding with eternity.  

Say to me, Joan:  (use the name of your loved one)

You are alive in the Light of God; 

You are alive to receive his marvelous light.  

Joan (Name of your loved one), 

You are alive in his marvelous light, 

A light that sings and calls you to the wedding banquet.  

Wear the finery of your heart wrapped in love; 

Be crowned with the singing sea that does not drown, but saves.  

Go into the sea of bliss, for you are alive in the Light of God.

            Note to caregivers: This last line can be a breath prayer: 

Breath in: Sea of bliss; breathe out: Light of God


Rumi when dying, recited to a friend who came praying for his recovery:

              “Why should I be unhappy…

             Because each parcel of my being is in full bloom?...

              Oh bird of my soul, fly away now,

              for I possess a hundred fortified towers.”[3]

For my caregivers: Help me Fly*

Assist me in being fortified 

with the gift of letting go 

of this body, this cage.  

Allow me a glimpse into a world 

beyond, a world where nothing is 

feared, resisted or raged against.

Every moment let me cling  

to Divine Joy, my Beloved. 

Encourage me to fly into songs

of bliss.

Rumi goes on:

              “…And as you lower me into my tomb, do not say,

             “Farewell, farewell.”

             For the tomb veils from us the union of paradise.

              My decline you have seen, now discover my soaring


              Would setting cause any harm to the sun or moon?

              To you, my death seems a setting, but really it is


               Does the tomb seem a prison to you?  It is the

                        liberation of the soul.

               Has any seed been sown in the earth that has not one

                        day flowered?

              Why doubt?  Man also is a buried seed…

               Keep your mouth closed over here, to open it over there.

                So that beyond space may thrill your song of victory.”[4]

For my caregivers: A Thrilling Victory*

Can death be thrilling?

In this body, it could be an agony.

But let’s look to the thrilling songs

Of the soul. Let’s go to a place

Where candles light up the sky

Inside my drifting thoughts

Inside a melody victorious

A freedom song received by heaven:

I am accepted, I come in radiant joy  

To a place my mind cannot conceive,

To a welcome exceeding any on earth

To the Love welcoming me home.


Remind me of this thrill   

when leave-taking becomes difficult

when I forget what my journey is for:

a victory into liberation.


Remind me to trust this passage 

Not as a dreaded disease 

but a new dawn of healing. 

See my descent and ascent: 

grace and going, grace and going, 

grace and rising, grace and shining.


Remind me, remind me, lest I fall into  

Temptation, depression and fight 

against the tide pulling me out to sea, 

into the arms of my Beloved 

Allow me to hear the whisper “let go, let go”

as I enter the thrill of singing without end 

a singing wind  

a singing spray of ocean mist 

a singing voice of my Beloved

covering me in gentleness and peace.


For My Caregivers: Hear My Confession:*

Greater than flying away into ecstasies

Greater than claiming victory  

I bow in humility.


I regret what I did that wasn’t pure and life-giving.

I didn’t love enough 

I forgave yet not enough 

Even now I am forgiving still

Even now I pray to love more.

In spite of this is The Gift

Love washing over me 

A continual embrace

Ever faithful, always with me 

Through my days and nights

Accepting me as I am

Inspiring me to love, forgive, heal. 

My beloved companion

Allows me to be without shame

In his Love without end, I thrive.

*I wrote these passages when reflecting on Rumi’s poems about dying. Quotes are taken from The Way of Passion: A Celebration of Rumi, by Andrew Harvey; Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, NY,NY 2001. 


[1] Pp 270,  [2] Pp 281-282,  [3] Pp 289,  [4] Pp 297-298

Die before I Die*

Die Before I Die[1]

            How am I living through these last days, months, years? Dying

into life and living into dying is pure mystery. In one hand, I hold the

cup of sorrow; in the other  the cup of healing. I hear this voice:  

           “I am a dancing soul moving from life to life, shore to shore.

Unstoppable, undefiled, glorious in joyful abandon.”                              

            When I am afraid, lonely or in pain, remind me that the essence of who I am is beyond this physical body and this thinking mind. Do as Rumi teaches: keep me from dwelling on what is perishable; keep me dwelling on that which is everlasting. Bodily and mental trials are but a brief moment in what is otherwise a dance of freedom. Sing to me this reminder:

          “I am a dancing spirit, I am a joyful soul.”

           Rumi shows me the way to live, to move through trials. He awakens in me: 


          Longing for the Beyond

          For a lovely bliss unfettered

          For an eternal flight of freedom

          To fly, sing and whirl.


Rumi Speaks: Come to me without a sound:


            “I’ve had enough of sleepless nights,

            Of my unspoken grief, of my tired wisdom.

            Come my treasure, my breath of life,

            Come and dress my wounds and be my cure.

            Enough of words.

            Come to me without a sound.”[2]

Dying into Wordlessness

            How and when do I prepare for death? I do it now though I may live much longer. I pray to give up my false self, beliefs that have held me in bondage; fear, anger, jealousy, mistrust, lack of forgiveness, lack of self-love.  I’ve had enough of these unspoken and spoken griefs, of these tired wasted thoughts of self righteousness, judgment, condemnation; I’ve had enough of remorse, regrets, blame and shame.


            Come my treasure, my breath of life

            Free me from this false self

            Aid me in dying into my true and lovely nature

            Make of me a treasure, a life-giving breath

            To all those around me may I sing with new life.

            Come dress my wounds, all the impediments

            Blocking who I really am and am meant to be.

            Come be my cure, be the One to give me courage

            To release these shadows 

            By the power of your Love embracing me.


Rumi Speaks Again

         “Why do you weep?

          The Source is within you…

          Behold the body, born of dust, how perfect it has


          Why should you fear its end?

          When were you ever made less by dying?...

          Plunge, plunge into the vast ocean of consciousness,

          Let the drop of water that is you become a hundred

           mighty seas…”[3]

Lift My Spirit Up

            Help me plunge into the Ocean of Love

            Plunge into childlike wonder 

            Put my hand into the hand of my beloved’s

            Sing away my fears

            Trusting the way is sure and right

            Trusting I will meet my Love at last.


Rumi Reveals Beauty

           “That which God said to the rose and    

            caused it to laugh in full-blown beauty 

            He said to my heart, 

             and made it a hundred times more beautiful.” (III, 4129) [4]


This is what I desire

           A beautiful heart. 

           Guide me to know my own heart, 

           the one without blemish, 

           the one that greets all things 

           with radiant fragrance  

           like the rose 

          You want to make of me. 

End Note:

Rumi quotations have been cited to the best of the author’s ability. If there are any changes to be made in citations, please contact the author, Joan Englander:


[1] Inspired by Rumi (Mathnawi VI: 754-758) and Hazrat Rabia Basri (r.a)   


"O Generous Ones,

Die before you die, 

even as I have died before death

and brought this reminder from Beyond.

Become the resurrection of the spirit

so you may experience the resurrection…” Rumi


“… So beautiful appeared my death – knowing Who then i would kiss, i died a thousand times before i died.” Basri


[2] Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, “Come to me without a sound.” Trans. Coleman Barks   

[3] The Way of Passion, A Celebration of Rumi, Andrew Harvey, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, NY, NY 2001

[4]The Fragrance of Faith, The Enlightened Heart of Islam, Jamal Rahman, pp 115. The Book Foundation, Bath, England, 2004

*Joan Englander ©2019

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