There are many variations on this theme, such as Joseph Campbell’s famous injunction to “Follow your bliss.” Rumi’s wording has subtleties that make this one of my favorite quotes.
“Silently drawn” – Ah, silence. There is no shortage of advice out there from self-help books, tv shows, friends and family, business gurus, etc. I think all of these sources can provide sparks of insight and ideas to explore. Yet at the end of the day, we are responsible for making decisions based on our own values, on what we love.
When we become still and silent, our intuition can teach us what it knows. Our language places this inner knowing solidly in the quiet wisdom of our bodies. We say we have a gut feeling or feel something tug at our hearts. Insight arrives intact and without a surplus of words – we “just knew”, or “had a flash.” We are silently drawn to what is right for us.
“Strange pull” – Why does Rumi choose this word to describe being pulled toward what we love? I think this is his way of saying that we don’t have to have a cost-benefit analysis of all of the available options laid out in a chart to stand by a decision. We get to trust our hearts when we act, even if we can’t express our reasons in the language of hard logic or explain ourselves to someone else’s satisfaction. What we love can be wrapped up in mystery and wonder, and all that really matters is that we follow.
Because when we follow what we love, we begin living according to our most cherished values. This is my definition of integrity – when what I say I value and believe matches my actions. When we’re out of integrity, it’s pretty hard to feel happiness or satisfaction.
This is why I believe Rumi says that we will not be led astray. I don’t think he means that it will all be perfect, our problems will all be solved, and we won’t make mistakes. The goal isn’t to be free of challenges or struggles, but to act with the assurance that our aim is true when we follow what we love.