A Star Without a Name
When a baby is taken from the wet nurse, it easily forgets her and starts eating solid food. Seeds feed awhile on ground, then lift up into the sun. So you should taste the filtered light and work your way toward wisdom with no personal covering. That's how you came here, like a star without a name. Move across the night sky with those anonymous lights. (Rumi, Mathnawi III, 1284-1288)
Rumi is interesting, he writes from a time and a place that are often overlooked. He lived in the thirteenth century, a Sufi mystic. His poems have spread throughout popular culture in recent years, often lines or poems can be found on inspirational posters (here). Inspirational posters feel trite, but they also show how this man from 700 years ago can be understood and empathized with by people from different times and places.
This poem, “A Star Without a Name”, is full of analogies that trace the life of an individual. The baby moves on early in life, like the seed starting in the ground and gradually reaching towards the sun. This transitions to the light of wisdom; as understanding grows, the individual starts with “filtered light” until they can attain wisdom, without anything shielding them from the light. I find it interesting that Rumi embraces both the filtered and unfiltered light, I see it as the teaching by others and the learning by the individual without others guidance. It is how I envision the school system to be going, they try to give you the tools to learn, while they filter the light for you. Hopefully, at the end, the student is equipped to fathom the unfiltered light.
The ending is so lonely though, arriving like a star without a name, an “anonymous light”, it is a solitary adventure in the end, even if you started with companions and guides.