don’t go back to sleep

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep
You must ask for what you really want
Don’t go back to sleep
People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep


I was surprised to realize that I hadn’t posted this verse before, because it’s one of my favorites. It’s been up on my bedroom wall for so long that I just assumed it had already had its day as a quote du jour.

It’s so easy to go back to sleep…to ignore the longing for something better, something more meaningful. It’s so easy to shut out the inner voice that tells you what you already know to be true but don’t want to admit. It’s so easy to choose safety over soul.

We all struggle with our own versions of going back to sleep, and we are each the best judge of our own timing in waking up. Just as  we must wake our physical bodies each and every morning, the task of waking our spiritual selves is an ongoing task. Every day, we can choose to hit our inner snooze button or choose to wake up. Whatever we decide in any given moment, the opportunity to wake up will always be with us. We can always choose to be conscious. It’s never too late to wake up.



9 thoughts on “don’t go back to sleep

  1. This is another of my favorite Rumi poems.
    You’re right…it’s easy to go back to sleep or to stay asleep, or try and fill that longing with something material. However, once we wake up…it’s a done deal. Personally, since I woke up quite a few years ago, I’m so filled with hunger and thirst for more of the beautiful divine mystery, that it is hard to go back to sleep. Every once in a while I catch myself napping, and I notice that even when I go unconscious, I’m still conscious that I’m unconscious.

  2. Yes, once you’ve woken up, continuing to seek a deeper spiritual life almost becomes an internal imperative. I listened to a podcast interview a few days ago with Rumi scholar Fatemeh Keshavarz, and something she said during the interview fits here (I’m paraphrasing): “[not seeking to deepen the spiritual life] would be like arriving at the ocean and being satisfied with a cup of water.”

    • I don’t know exactly what Rumi intended, but I interpret the line to mean that the opportunity to wake up is open and available to us at all times, that we only have to walk through the “door” of that opportunity.

  3. Thank you. I went through the the photo, the poem and what you say about it, again. The poem compliments the photo very well and your interpretation is meaningful. I feel i can go through it a couple of times more to get something out of it. I feel mystic poets are awake to a world to which we are asleep. So they are calling out to us. “The door is round and open..,” I have to ponder over it.

    On a lighter side, my imagination took flight to some architectural masterpiece with round and wide doors! I reckon there must be some such a building in existence.

    Enjoyed reading.

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