"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture
and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words." ~Goethe

~ also, if possible, to dwell in "a house where all's accustomed, ceremonious." ~Yeats

Thursday, July 28, 2016



Rubato: Rhythmic flexibility within a phrase or measure of music; the temporary disregarding of strict tempo to allow an expressive quickening or slackening, usually without altering the overall pace.

Rubatosis: The unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat.

A Great Yogi

In my travels I spent time with a great yogi.
Once he said to me:

“Become so still you hear the blood flowing
through your veins.”

One night as I sat in quiet,
I seemed on the verge of entering a world inside so vast
I know it is the source of
all of us.

Mirabai (1498 - 1550*)
16th - Century Indian Mystic

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky
*Differing dates
suggested by various editors.

These wise words from the poet - princess - saint Mira / Meera brought to my mind some excellent advice that I was given years ago by another wise woman, my undergraduate major professor Connie Holt Jones. I believe it must have been as we were discussing Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence that she advised us to listen to our hearts:
"He came to consciousness again, hearing an immense knocking outside. What could be happening, what was it, the great hammer-stroke resounding through the house? He did not know. And then it came to him that it was his own heart beating. But that seemed impossible, the noise was outside. No, it was inside himself, it was his own heart. And the beating was painful, so strained, surcharged." (from Women in Love, Chapter 20)
If it seems that time is rushing by too quickly, Connie said, find your heartbeat and it will slow you down. On the other hand, if time is dragging unbearably slowly, put your hand over your heart until you find the beat and you'll discover that, in fact, you are moving right along. Your heart will always provide a constant center in the midst of panic or gloom, over - excitement or tedium.

Countless times over the years, thanks to dear Professor Holt Jones, I have exercised this small discipline, which I have only recently learned is called "rubatosis: the unsettling awareness of your own heartbeat." Or to borrow from the world of music, rubato. In life as in music, flexibility will allow "quickening or slackening, usually without altering the overall pace."

"Only from the heart can you touch the sky."
Rumi (1207 - 1273)
Persian Spiritual Sage

More from Rumi

Summer Moons: June (above) and July

Summer Tunes:
1965: "Baby, baby, can't you hear my heart beat?"
1973: "When you were young and your heart was an open book . . ."

Summer Runes:
Thanks to Mimi
& Mindyana: Perfect Equanimity

Next Fortnightly Post
Sunday August 14th

Between now and then, read
my shorter, almost daily blog posts

Looking for a good book? Try
my running list of recent reading

1 comment:

  1. wise and beautiful.
    btw,the Italian phrase 'tempo rubato' literally means - stolen time.
    As to listening to one's heartbeat, I recalled a phrase (advice) to romantic girls: don't take your own heartbeat for the clatter of his horse's hoofs