The final chapter of Nicholas Shrady's book Sacred Roads describes his pilgrimage to the tomb of Rumi in Konya, Turkey. After recent events in Europe this inclusive poem by Rumi is particularly resonant. He strips away superficial, artificial divisions to reveal what we all are:
Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu,
Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion
or cultural system. I am not from the East
or the West, not out of the ocean or up
from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not
composed of elements at all. I do not exist,
am not an entity in this world or the next,
did not descend from Adam and Eve or any
origin story. My place is placeless, a trace
of the traceless. Neither body or soul.
I belong to the beloved, have seen the two
worlds as one and that one call to and know,
first, last, outer, inner, only that
breath breathing human beings.
Rumi also wrote this:
Cross and Christians, end to end, I examined. He was not on the Cross. I went to the Hindu temple, to the ancient pagoda. In neither was there any sign. To the heights of Herat I went, and Kandahar. I looked. He was not on height or lowland. Resolutely, I went to the top of the Mountain of Kaf. There only was the place of the Anqa bird. I went to the Kaaba. He was not there. I asked of his state from Ibn Sina: he was beyond the limits of the philosopher Avicenna . . . I looked into my own heart. In that place I saw him. He was in no other place . . .