June 18, 2018 2 min read

 When I first heard "The Pickaxe" circa 2004 from John Friend at an Advanced Anusara Yoga gathering,   I thought it was one of the most amazing things I had ever heard.    
It made me feel more awake.  Rumi is a 13th century Persian mystic sufi poet.   He was about experiencing the divine in this lifetime.  
Many more poems are available in the Coleman Barks "The Essential Rumi"

The Pickaxe

I was a hidden treasure, and I desired to be known.
Tear down this house.  A hundred thousand new houses can be built from the transparent yellow carnelian buried beneath it, 
and the only way to get to that is to do the work of demolishing and then digging under the foundations. 
With that value in hand all new construction will be done without effort
And anyway, sooner or later this house will fall on its own. 
The jewel treasure will be uncovered, but it won't be yours then.  The buried wealth is your pay for the doing the demolition, the pick and shovel work.
If you wait and just let it happen, you'd bite your hand and say, "I didn't do as I knew I should have."  This is a rented house.   You don't own the deed.
You have a lease, and you've set up a little shop, where you barely make a living sewing patches on torn clothing.
Yet only a few feet underneath are two veins pure red and bright gold carnelian.  Quick! Take the pickaxe and pry the foundation.   You've got to quit this seamstress work.
What does the patch-sewing mean, you ask.  Eating and drinking.   The heavy cloak of the body is always getting torn.
You patch it with food, and other restless ego-satisfactions. Rip up one board from the shop floor and look into the basement.  You'll see two glints in the dirt.  - Rumi 
"One view of identity is that its a structure made of what we identify with.  Inner work is not all ecstatic surrender.  Rumi says pray for a tough instructor.   Nothing less than the radical disassembling of what we've wanted and gotten, and what we still wish for, allows us to discover the value of true being that lies underneath. 
The pickaxe, for Rumi represents whatever does attention-work. 
To me this is our asana practice, our meditation practice.  our journaling,  our walking meditation, prayer, and therapy.
The honest and deep conversations with beloved friends and family.    Those people we love and cherish that only want us to be happy and grow spiritually.
  What are we doing to cause our own shift? 
The bright gold carnelian is treasure of your own eternal radiance. You cannot sub this work out.  
Let' get to work!