But that is just half the story.The Gospel of Thomas has what I take to be the full text.The Kingdom of God is within youand all around you.Split a piece of wood. I am there.Lift up a stone, and you will find me there.The holiest thing then, the Kingdom, is inside,the observing consciousness, the deep core of being,and outside, the Brown Thrasher, the little girl skippingover the squares of the sidewalk, the universe itselfthat, so far as we know is unlimited.It would be best here to start singing and dancingfor the spacious joy of inside and outside.
No one can say what the inner life is, but poetry tries to, and no one can say what poetry is, but let's be bold and claim that there are two major streamings in consciousness, particularly in the ecstatic life, and in Rumi's poetry: call them fana and baqa, Arabic words that refer to the play and intersection of human with divine.Rumi's poetry occurs in that opening, a dervish doorway these energies move through in either direction. A movement out, a movement in. Fana is the streaming that moves from the human out into mystery-the annihilation, the orgasmic expansion, the dissolving swoon into the all. The gnat becomes buttermilk; a chickpea disappears into the flavor of the soup; a dead mule decays into salt flat; the infant turns to the breast. These wild and boundaryless absorptions are the images and the kind of poem Rumi is most well known for, a drunken clairvoyant tavern voice that announces, "Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.
The work of the dervish community was to open the heart, to explore the mystery of union, to fiercely search for and try to say truth, and to celebrate the glory and difficulty of being in a human incarnation. To these ends, they used silence and song, poetry, meditation, stories, discourse, and jokes. They fasted and feasted. They walked together and watched the animals. Animal behavior was a kind of scripture they studied. They cooked, and they worked in the garden. They tended orchards and vineyards.