The Care and Feeding of Your Heart Donkey

The Care and Feeding of Your Heart Donkey

The extraordinary writing of 13th-century mystic, Rumi, always moves me–no secret to those of you who know me, but the other day I came upon one of Rumi’s poems that didn’t grab me as usual, with the exception of this one phrase Rumi used:

Your Heart Donkey!

The image of a Heart Donkey who resides in the heart makes me  laugh and weep at the same time.

Since the heart is depicted as a juicy rosy-red organ which overflows with unconditional love, it’s odd to imagine a lowly donkey plodding around in the heart and calling it home.

A stubborn beast of burden who smells like a barnyard?

We’re indoctrinated with the notion that Loving Kindness is the Way and it is the Way, but also consider this: that within your heart resides an adaptable and sure-footed animal that will carry you onward unceasingly. This donkey needs fresh water to drink, wild grasses and carrots to eat, and a warm place to bed down. But Heart Donkey needs more than that!

Five Ways to Ensure the Care & Feeding of Your Heart Donkey:

1. Trust Heart Donkey. He deserves your trust. Donkey has an innate sense of danger and stubbornly avoids situations that might  endanger you. He’ll keep you safe.

2. Respect Heart Donkey. Donkey is a symbol of your most human feelings, feelings which may seem unappealing to you at times, but all of your feelings should be embraced and respected by you, although never allowed to define who you are.

3. Praise Heart Donkey for his humble nature. Humility is an important virtue to learn, much to the chagrin of the prideful Ego which places such importance on beauty and perfection.

4. Allow Heart Donkey to teach you patience and slow steady perseverance. Relax! No hurry. Donkey knows exactly where you need to be on your path at all times. Allow yourself to be carried by him.

5. Hear Heart Donkey’s message. Heart Donkey wants you to breathe in deeply of his earthy odor as a reminder that God’s fragrance comes in a variety of scents.


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