The Forty Rules Of Love

In an age where ‘holy’ men with big guns are oppressing and judging women. From Kabul to Texas, we have to let the world know that there is only one true religion – Love. The quest for truth is hard, with fictions and misinformation streaming into our eyeballs. Leading some to question our governments and even science. To them, I say don’t believe your eyes. Read The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak, and let love be your guide.

I had an online discussion yesterday with someone. We were arguing about vaccines. He said that we can’t trust anything our governments or media say. It’s all lies. He said, the only thing we can trust are our own eyes.

I ended the argument there. I have realised, that I can’t even trust my own eyes. And I didn’t want to come across as a smart alec, or just some heavily contradictory arsehole. So, I never replied.

Don’t believe your eyes

I am not talking about being blind drunk. Or psychedelic induced visual alterations. I am talking about totally natural, visual distortions.

This time last year, I was in my Mum’s garden. It was a glorious sunny day. I had just finished practicing yoga on the grass. When I was struck by the beauty of the flowers. I am 55, I need glasses to see things clearly up close now. And I wasn’t wearing my spectacles. But I was amazed that I could see every little detail of the plants and flowers up close. Crisp, sharp, perfectly focused details, which even with my glasses on, I wouldn’t have seen so clearly. I could see the fine hairs on the plants, the trichome.

I remember thinking at the time to try and ‘photograph’ this moment. And I don’t think the experience will ever leave me. Other things happened that weekend, which are equally indelible. But they are for another time.

Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you’d ever imagined. Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself


So, I thought, yeah, I can’t believe my eyes. Is my brain compensating for my poor far sightedness? Is it rendering the detail lost by my eyeballs? Is it applying an organic “Sharpen” filter? Had Bill Gates installed Photoshop in my brain? I can’t explain it. My eyesight is as poor as ever now. Whatever was working then, is not working now.

The Forty Rules of Love

Every moment is made glorious by the light of love.

Elif Shafak — The Forty Rules of Love

I was reading ‘The Forty Rules of Love‘ that weekend too. A remarkable book by British-Turkish author Elif Shafak.

It tells the story of the 13th Century Islamic scholar, known as Jalal Al-Din Rumi. Rumi, for short, or Mawlana -Our Master- if your prefer. He was regarded as a beacon to all Muslims.

In 1244, Rumi met Shams of Tabriz,  that Sufis in the centuries to follow likened to the meeting of two oceans. Shams was a wandering dervish with unconventional ways and heretical proclamations. 

You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him: in the heart of a true lover.

Shams of Tabriz

Rumi was transformed from a mainstream cleric to a committed mystic, passionate poet, advocate of love and originator of the ecstatic dance of the whirling dervishes. Daring to break free of all conventional rules. In an age of deeply-embedded bigotries and clashes, he stood for a universal spirituality.

The book is a very wise tomb. It cuts through spiritual materialism and dogma with a slice as sharp as As-Sirāt.

There is such a thing in faith as not being able to see the forest for the trees. The totality of religion is far greater and deeper than the sum of its component parts. Individual rules need to be read in the light of the whole. And the whole is concealed in the essence. Instead of searching for the essence of the Qur’an and embracing it as a whole, however, the bigots single out a specific verse or two, giving priority to the divine commands that they deem to be in tune with their fearful minds. They keep reminding everyone that on the Day of Judgment all human beings will be forced to walk the Bridge of Sirat, thinner than a hair, sharper than a razor. Unable to cross the bridge, the sinful will tumble into the pits of hell underneath, where they will suffer forever. Those who have led a virtuous life will make it to the other end of the bridge, where they will be rewarded with exotic fruits, sweet waters, and virgins. This, in a nutshell, is their notion of afterlife. So great is their obsession with horrors and rewards, flames and fruits, angels and demons, that in their itch to reach a future that will justify who they are today they forget about God! Don’t they know one of the forty rules? Hell is in the here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. Every time we hate, envy, or fight someone, we tumble straight into the fires of hell. This is what Rule Number Twenty-five is about.

Shafak, Elif. The Forty Rules of Love (p. 182). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition. 

I couldn’t stop reading the above passage. I recognised the simple truth. That Heaven and Hell are just fictions, that only obscure. To be in the moment. Is to love. That is heaven. That is paradise. That is the truth. Hell, is when you start patting yourself on the back for being ’special’, because of your meditation, yoga, puja or prayers. This again is a fiction. It leads you straight off the Bridge of Sirat. To the demons of delusions waiting for you below. To walk the razors edge is not easy. But also is incredibly simple. Anyone can do it. But we don’t. We prefer our fictions. The promise of virgins or hanging out with Jesus are especially alluring. And off we go to the depths of hell.

The past is an interpretation. The future is on illusion. The world does not move through time as if it were a straight line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead, time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.

Shams of Tabriz

My neighbour had been through hell last summer. We hadn’t seen for months. She explained to us her dreadful Covid near-death experience, and her ongoing battles. Which was why we hadn’t seen her. And her Covid story sparked my passion for vaccines.

Don’t search for heaven and hell in the future. Both are now present. Whenever we manage to love without expectations, calculations, negotiations, we are indeed in heaven. Whenever we fight, hate, we are in hell.

Shams of Tabriz

But anyway, she is a bit of a gypsy/witch and said my aura was ‘very kind’. Which is probably one of the nicest things anyone has said to me. She then told me that her angel is telling her that I should read the Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. I did. And her guardian angel, was spot on. I needed to hear this book. It is a simply profound and wise book – about love. The only true religion. And hidden in the dogma of all other religions.

A life without love is a waste. ‘Should I look for spiritual love, or material, or physical love?’, don’t ask yourself this question. Discrimination leads to discrimination. Love doesn’t need any name, category or definition. Love is a world itself. Either you are in, at the center… either you are out, yearning.

Shams of Tabriz

Beware of ‘holy men’ with big guns

In Texas and Kabul, right now, ‘holy men’ with big guns are oppressing women’s rights in the name of their fictions. Blessed are the fruit. It is God’s job to judge others. Our only purpose is to love.

The whole universe is sum up in the Human Being. Devil is not a monster waiting to trap us, He is a voice inside. Look for Your Devil in Yourself, not in the Others. Don’t forget that the one who knows his Devil, knows his God.

Shams of Tabriz

Elif Shafak reads from The 40 Rules of Love

Elif Shafak, 2013

How could I possibly make my family and friends see what I see? How could I describe the indescribable? Shams is my Sea of Mercy and Grace. He is my Sun of Truth and Faith. I call him the King of Kings of Spirit. He is my fountain of life and my tall cypress tree, majestic and evergreen. His companionship is like the fourth reading of the Qur’an—a journey that can only be experienced from within but never grasped from the outside.

Shafak, Elif. The Forty Rules of Love (p. 193). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Acts of love

Please read or listen to The Forty Rules of Love, remember to support Women for Afghan Women, and remember Vaccination is an act of love too. x

Categorized as Love

By Rich Senior

Meditator, Yogi, Tai Chi practitioner, Guitar player, Music maker, Writer and Web developer.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: