5 Ways Rumi Inspires My Art Practice (and How He Can Inspire YOU!)

I found myself about to get hypnotized in beautiful La Jolla during the year of my vision quest. Sometimes life is funny like that.

Our guide lowered the lights, lit candles, and put on gentle music. I started to relax.

You’re walking down a path, and you can choose what this path looks like. You’re calm and open and breathing gently in and out.

Peace washes over you. You come upon a clearing. Here sits one of your soulmates. Picture what they look like, and what objects are there.

So I did. And who I saw was the great poet Rumi, of 12th century Persia. He sat there, in the forest clearing, on pillows at a low table. On the table were two empty white cups.

When I came to, our guide said the empty white cups were a symbol of purity and renewal. Of starting over.

I shook off the grogginess of the sleepy room and walked outside. The sunlight soaked everything extra freshly and I laughed a little, glad to know my soulmate was such a rare gem.

Rumi is the best-selling poet today in America, though he lived hundreds of years ago. His words are just that transcendent.

He was a spiritual scholar who became suddenly enlightened upon meeting his own soulmate, Shams of Tabriz, a wandering mystic who walked the talk. Rumi then founded the mystical Sufi order and the practice of the whirling dervishes.

Whirling dervishes, photo by widiastuti/flicker
Whirling dervishes, photo by widiastuti/flicker

Rumi’s poetry echoes in my bones and keeps my heart open. Here are 5 Ways Rumi Inspires My Art Practice:

  1. “Love is not approached by thought at all.”

I used to write this on my arm before going out. I view creating as a passionate undertaking – a union with spirit 100% based in love!

And Rumi is so right – thoughts can’t approach it, and what’s more, overthinking can actually get in the way of creating. The lesson? Let go of thought and embrace the flow of love.

alex grey inspired, android jones inspired, art inspired by the poetry of rumi, erik jones inspired, feminism in modern art, juxtapoz visionary art, lsd art, meghan oona clifford art, modern celtic knot work, modern celtic knotting, new contemporary art, pop surrealism art, spirituality and art, tara mcpherson inspired, thinkspace gallery art, visionary artist painting
(detail) Star Dust in process. Click to see whole piece…

2. “Be courageous and discipline yourself. Work. Keep digging your well. Don’t think about getting off from work. Water is there somewhere. Submit to a daily practice. Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door. Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there.”

This is a call to action. No excuses – get your butt in the studio, light those candles, and start that new painting. Roll up your sleeves because there’s love to express!

alex grey inspired, android jones inspired, art inspired by the poetry of rumi, erik jones inspired, feminism in modern art, juxtapoz visionary art, lsd art, meghan oona clifford art, modern celtic knot work, modern celtic knotting, new contemporary art, pop surrealism art, spirituality and art, tara mcpherson inspired, thinkspace gallery art, visionary artist painting
In the studio working on Lumen

3. “Why not become fresh from the gentleness of the heart-spring? Why not laugh like a rose? Why not spread perfume?”

A reminder to stay light-hearted. I try to smile even when I’m not happy to trick myself into thinking I am. I’d rather live in laughter and joy, and share it through my work and my very being.

alex grey inspired, android jones inspired, art inspired by the poetry of rumi, watercolor pop art, feminism in modern art, juxtapoz visionary art, lsd art, meghan oona clifford art, modern celtic knot work, modern celtic knotting, new contemporary art, pop surrealism art, spirituality and art, thinkspace gallery art, visionary artist painting, conrad roset inspired
“Joy,” from my Sisters Collection. Click to buy.

4. “A candle is made to become entirely flame. In that annihilating moment it has no shadow.”

In creating the work, I become the work. That’s why I choose my subject matter to be moments of transcendence, joy, enlightenment, illumination… that’s what I want to become.

alex grey inspired, android jones inspired, art inspired by the poetry of rumi, erik jones inspired, feminism in modern art, juxtapoz visionary art, lsd art, meghan oona clifford art, modern celtic knot work, modern celtic knotting, new contemporary art, pop surrealism art, spirituality and art, tara mcpherson inspired, thinkspace gallery art, visionary artist painting
(detail) working on Lumen…

5. “Your spirit needs to follow the change happening in the spacious place it knows about. There, the scene is always new, a clairvoyant river of picturing, more beautiful than any on earth. This is where the Sufis wash. Purify your eyes, and see the pure world. Your life will fill with radiant forms. It’s a question of cleaning and then developing the spiritual senses.”

This river is where I wash too. To renew my vision, to see the world in it’s true form. My practice is all about cultivating these senses – to see, know, feel, and share the truth of Love. To wake myself and others up. To uplight our souls and celebrate our true essence.

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“World Wide Web,” for my Star Dust Collection.

Thanks for peeking into my heart a bit. I’d love to hear what and who inspires you! Who are YOUR timeless soulmates?

♥ ~ Meghan Oona

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