The best Rumi books

5 authors have picked their favorite books about Rumi and why they recommend each book.

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Selected Poems of Rumi

By Rumi,

Book cover of Selected Poems of Rumi

This is a book of poetry, but it speaks so deeply to the exquisite beauty, simple joy, and profound presence available at the heart of us all, if we are quiet and still enough to listen. People who are already sensitive, seem to drop into this space more fluidly than others more consumed by the outer world, because they are by nature, closer to source, and more aware of the subtle forces that run beneath the surface of all life. These ‘ecstatic’ poems always help me return home, to the space inside that reminds me what a blessing it is to have the capacity to feel so deeply.\

Excerpt; “This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes As an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep…


Who am I?

Sita is a young West-Australian author, actress, and independent filmmaker. All of her work explores the deeper mysteries of our existence and consciousness and follows characters on journeys of self-discovery, spiritual awakening, and transcendence of the dysfunctional mind. Growing up, Sita didn’t understand the hypersensitivity she felt both within her own body, and to the world around her. She thought there was something was wrong with her, because in Western culture, exposing feelings and vulnerability is generally seen as a weakness. She now writes novels about quiet, highly sensitive, introverted, observant, feminine, and intelligent women, for other teenagers who feel like she did, as a way to encourage them to see the true power within this way of being and experiencing the world.


I wrote...

Maya of the In-between: A Coming of Age Metaphysical Fantasy Adventure

By Sita Bennett,

Book cover of Maya of the In-between: A Coming of Age Metaphysical Fantasy Adventure

What is my book about?

A Metaphysical Fantasy Adventure with a slow-burn Love Story that explores two extreme versions of Earth's future through contrasting inter-dimensional worlds. One is Dystopian—in which humans ignore the repercussions of industrialization on Nature, and the other Utopian—where humans live in Harmony with Nature and each other.

As put by a reader, at its heart, “Maya of the Inbetween is about the journey of a shy girl stepping boldly into her personal power as life chaotically unfolds around her. Beyond a magical story, Maya of the Inbetween is a mystically educational book IF you read it closely with an open mind!” – Goodreads Review.

Even Now

By Jill Sabella, Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer,

Book cover of Even Now

This rare book is a collaboration between Ms. Sabella, an artist, and Rosemerry Trommer, a poet. A series of drawings, all distinct and all of three lines only, are given corresponding three-line poems, and the result is enlivening, mischievous, moving, full of insight and subtlety, and graced with declarations of love and startling bolts of beauty. It’s a short book and it’s a most excellent companion and a gentle powerhouse.

Who am I?

The first person I ever trusted in the world was a high-school English teacher, a woman named Margaret Muth. She plucked me out of a trash-can, literally and figuratively. When I was seventeen years old, she told me: “Books will teach you. They will help you. Choose books the way you choose the risks you take in life: do it patiently, thoughtfully. Then give yourself to them with a whole heart. This is how you learn.” This is one sentence, from one teacher, given to a teenager of decidedly crude and primitive material—one sentence that changed his whole life for the better. Bless her. 


I wrote...

The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace: 64 Stories

By Steven Nightingale,

Book cover of The Hot Climate of Promises and Grace: 64 Stories

What is my book about?

The book collects the stories of sixty-four women the writer has known during his idiosyncratic and exploratory life. These women are keen, strange, ardent, and their labors and playfulness in our world and in our time are a testimony of mischief, invention, laughter, and magical initiative. They are everywhere. They do everything: they are doctors, writers, burglars, investment bankers, rebels, painters, college students, bartenders, hikers, healers in the rain forest of Jamaica, securities attorneys in San Francisco….

Each has their own destined work. And they show us, each of them, the hidden reality of that work in a very few pages of revelation.

Rumi

By Jalal Al-Din Rumi,

Book cover of Rumi: Poems

I am not suggesting any particular book of the poems of this famous Persian poet and Sufi mystic. There are dozens of translations. Read any. His ecstatic poetry, as well as reflective musings all, lead to deepening love, the center and meaning of a spiritual experience.


Who am I?

What a question. I’ve been asking it all my life. Publicly, I am known for writing and workshops about the spiritual search, intuition, the still, small voice of God, angels, and miraculous time-warped synchronicities that seem directed to our benefit. I have written about my own mystical illuminations in A Book of Angels, The Ecstatic Journey, The Path of Prayer, in novels, plays, stories, and poetry. My work is translated into some 25 languages (most recently Chinese). But underneath I’m an ordinary flawed, failed human being, stumbling, searching for meaning, struggling toward God, and trying to be of some small service before I go back home.


I wrote...

The Treasure of Montségur: A Novel of the Cathars

By Sophy Burnham,

Book cover of The Treasure of Montségur: A Novel of the Cathars

What is my book about?

How do you find hope in the midst of horror? From what aquifer springs blinding faith even when faced with being burnt alive? For two centuries the medieval Church worked to exterminate the vegetarian, pacifist “heretic” followers of Christ, known as Cathars or pure ones. Women were priests. Holy script was translated so everyone could read. Finally, 230 perfecti, trapped in the fortress of Montsegur in the south of France, lowered 2 perfecti and a guide on ropes down the sheer cliff face to escape and continue the Church of Love —before they were all burnt at the stake.

My novel begins when Jeanne, their guide, having lost the two, is looking for them. The Inquisition is looking for her. Everyone is looking for the immense Cathar treasure. What was the treasure of Montségur? 

Rumi

By Jalal Al-Din Rumi,

Book cover of Rumi: The Path of Love

There can be no revolution without love. The 13th-century Persian poet, Sufi philosopher, and Muslim scholar Rumi is the best guide to put you on the road to an open heart and to keep you in constant connection with our shared humanity. He is the ultimate lover because his words lift off the page and teach you how to be vulnerable and courageous with your heart.


Who am I?

As a rebellious woman who is passionate about words and the revolutionary force of books, I know the power of stories. Stories are the seeds that give life to your purpose. Stories give you a reason to fight the good fight, care about something bigger than yourself, and want to be a part of social justice and positive change. The daily grind can kick you down, but a good story can remind you that there's still time to rise up, speak truth to power, help others less fortunate, and commit to what you value most. The books that I’m recommending are meant to be your personal guide to what really matters most in life to you.


I wrote...

Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships

By Wendy-O Matik,

Book cover of Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships

What is my book about?

Don't let the title fool you. this is a serious, thoughtful (and thought-provoking) comprehensive introduction to, and examination of, a much misunderstood and misused practice. But more than that, it is a witty, provocative, damn fine read, with as much to offer to the faithfully monogamous as to those looking for a bit more out of life, love, and relationships. Go on. Dive in. "Wendy-O tackles a touchy subject with clarity and creativity. She is wise beyond her years. This guide teaches you how you can have it all. I gave the jealousy tips to my lover immediately." - Annie Sprinkle

Rumi

By Coleman Barks,

Book cover of Rumi: The Book of Love: Poems of Ecstasy and Longing

I discovered Rumi’s work several years ago, and I like it because there is a spiritual or philosophical tone to everything he writes. When he speaks of love, it’s with a reverence or awe of the power of love. Nothing graphic, nothing explicitjust the beating heart of what love means and how it affects us emotionally. Chivalry and adoration rather than passion and breathlessness. My favourite poem in this book: “Some Kiss We Want.”


Who am I?

When writing my book, it seemed only natural for me to bring poetry into the love story I’d created. I fell in love with poetry in high school, and it has always felt like a more powerful, compact, and intense way of expressing deep emotions. And it’s so much more complex than hearts and flowers, hence my title for this list! I wanted to use a poem that summed up the intensity of a physical encounter between new lovers. And Rilke was perfect for that. The other books are favourites, books I’ve had for years, and they’ve been good background for my writing in general.


I wrote...

Finding Our Way

By Barbara L.B. Storey,

Book cover of Finding Our Way

What is my book about?

Two people stranded in the middle of nowhere for an entire weekend, with no way to call for help. How can such a thing happen in the 21st century? But it does, giving Becca and Jon the chance to let someone into their carefully guarded lives... to fall in love. As utterly different as they are, a stroke of fate takes Becca and John through the highest and lowest points of an improbable love story that neither of them could have foreseen.

Let Us Dance! The Stumble And Whirl With The Beloved

By Chelan Harkin,

Book cover of Let Us Dance! The Stumble And Whirl With The Beloved

This young woman is profoundly wise beyond her years. In a style reminiscent of the poetry of the mystics Rumi and Hafiz from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Harkin gives voice to the deep feminine as she is emerging into modern consciousness. This is poetry to touch your heart and quicken your inner feminine. Full disclosure: I was honored to write the forward to this beautifully written book.


Who am I?

I’m a clinical psychologist who has specialized in women’s issues and disordered eating for over thirty years. Born on the island of Guam, I was raised in a matriarchal and multicultural household where storytelling was a means of transmitting important concepts, traditions, and values, and was a way to experience meaningful and joyful connections with others. Because I was raised by strong women and my indigenous ancestors were Chamorro, a matrilineal culture that honored the motherline, I have always been interested in the archetypal feminine rooted in these stories, although I didn’t discover the term until I began to study psychology.


I wrote...

Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food Through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling

By Anita Johnston,

Book cover of Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationship with Food Through Myths, Metaphors, and Storytelling

What is my book about?

My book is about how the dismissal, denial, devaluation, and degradation of the feminine principle within our culture and within our psyches has contributed to the epidemic of women who struggle with negative body image and disordered eating. It uses fairytales and folktales from around the world and the archetypal feminine embedded in them to explain the deeper issues that underlie the struggle with food and body image.

The Gift

By Hafiz, Daniel Ladinsky,

Book cover of The Gift

This book is based on Middle Eastern poems from the 1300s which cuddle up close to you and turn you around, such that the world will never be the same again. You find yourself illuminated in new ways with every poem. How amazing to be so intimate with a great being from so far in the past.


Who am I?

I've always been fascinated with the idea that humans have so many layers of consciousness, and reality is multi-faceted. I've studied Zen Buddhism, yoga, and for the past 43 years, Sufism. My experience of life has developed into a journey of changing difficult situations into exhilarating discoveries, finding hidden patterns in nature that delight me and tell me I’m not alone in the universe, and helping many people transform into beings of joy and gratitude. I’m beginning to see that our transformation delights and changes the Divine; we are not a passing phenomenon but contributors to new creation on a major scale.


I wrote...

Awakening as a Human*Divine Being

By Donald E Weiner PhD, Diane Weiner MS,

Book cover of Awakening as a Human*Divine Being

What is my book about?

Our spiritual research, which included reading the books mentioned here, and our transformation through years of spiritual disciplines inspired us to find ways to put into practice many of the concepts we learned from great teachers. In Awakening as a Human*Divine Being we describe how to use this wisdom in our daily lives. The dialogue which formed the body of our book was taken from actual classes we taught during the pandemic (see YouTube link below). There are step-by-step meditations that give hints on how to reinterpret problems into opportunities for realization. You will find ways to relate ancient concepts to metaphors from science and daily experiences of life. 

The Rumi Daybook

By Kabir Helminski (editor), Camille Helminski (editor),

Book cover of The Rumi Daybook: 365 Poems and Teachings from the Beloved Sufi Master

As I approach a book, I live in a world of separation. In each of Rumi’s poems, I fall first into a well-told tale and then am whirled into a mystery where you and God, humble gnat and whole universe are reflected in each other. My heart can’t help but be remade in the process.


Who am I?

I've always been fascinated with the idea that humans have so many layers of consciousness, and reality is multi-faceted. I've studied Zen Buddhism, yoga, and for the past 43 years, Sufism. My experience of life has developed into a journey of changing difficult situations into exhilarating discoveries, finding hidden patterns in nature that delight me and tell me I’m not alone in the universe, and helping many people transform into beings of joy and gratitude. I’m beginning to see that our transformation delights and changes the Divine; we are not a passing phenomenon but contributors to new creation on a major scale.


I wrote...

Awakening as a Human*Divine Being

By Donald E Weiner PhD, Diane Weiner MS,

Book cover of Awakening as a Human*Divine Being

What is my book about?

Our spiritual research, which included reading the books mentioned here, and our transformation through years of spiritual disciplines inspired us to find ways to put into practice many of the concepts we learned from great teachers. In Awakening as a Human*Divine Being we describe how to use this wisdom in our daily lives. The dialogue which formed the body of our book was taken from actual classes we taught during the pandemic (see YouTube link below). There are step-by-step meditations that give hints on how to reinterpret problems into opportunities for realization. You will find ways to relate ancient concepts to metaphors from science and daily experiences of life. 

Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes

By Shems Friedlander,

Book cover of Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes

I am including Turkey as located in Asia Minor. As a frequent visitor to Istanbul in the past, I watched with fascination the whirling Dervishes. I know it is corrupted by tourism. The dance reflects the legacy of Rumi the 13 century Persian poet. The beauty of Rumi’s philosophy and the world of Sufism comes through as does the grace of the body.


Who am I?

As an undergraduate at the University of Leeds in the 1960s the principal influence on my life and thinking was Trevor Ling an Anglican Priest and Buddhist who eventually became a Professor of comparative religion at the University of Manchester. He was the start of my research on Islam and Asia and my peripatetic career having lived in Scotland, Germany, Holland, America, Australia and Singapore. I became a professor of the sociology of religion in the Asia Research Center at the National University of Singapore. I have published two books on Singapore, a handbook of religions in Asia, and several works on the body, medicine, ageing and human vulnerability.


I wrote...

The Body in Asia

By Bryan S. Turner (editor), Zheng Yangwen (editor),

Book cover of The Body in Asia

What is my book about?

This edited collection emerged from a conference on the body in Asia at the National University of Singapore in 2007. Some of my favourite chapters are on female dragons, fasting rituals in Java, Kokutai and the imperial body in Japan, and hook-swinging bodies in Kerala. The cover features ten beautiful round stones set in water. They have an erotic appeal, but they are after all only stones within a Buddhist imagination. They raise an obvious question that the book seeks to answer: what is a body? In the West we tend to think of religion as a collection of beliefs. In Asia we have to think of an assembly of beliefs and practices. Religion becomes embodied as a way of life.

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