Rumi says an ecstatic human being is a polished mirror that cannot help reflecting. What we love, we are. As the heart comes cleaner, we see the kingdom as it is. We become reflected light. The polishing may be related to practices, a devotion we do every day that is an emptying out. Or it may be that when we live in the soul, everything can be used for clarity. Muhammad once said, “People who insult me are only polishing the mirror.” I can’t say precisely what polishing the mirror of the heart means, but I feel it happening slowly, and it does seem to be related to discipline, by which I mean intentionally giving time to what Rumi calls the jeweled inner life, which could be just the witness watching the mind.

In another passage Rumi says the polishing is done by the intensity of our longings. It is so difficult to remember who we are and to act from there. Various remembrance habits are helpful. Zikr, five-times prayer, a walk at sunset, twenty minutes of meditation. Stonework, singing, poetry. Find practices that are specifically yours. There comes then a creativeness at the end of the polishing that Rumi calls “looking into the creek.” It’s as though seeing becomes lucid dreaming. We watch the play of soul creatures. The gates of light swing open. We look in.

-- Coleman Barks

Longing is the core of mystery.
Longing itself brings the cure.
The only rule is, Suffer the pain.

Your desire must be disciplined,
and what you want to happen’
in time, sacrificed.

-- Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks)