Rumi quote love barriers

The Missing Piece to Rumi’s Quote About Finding the Barriers You’ve Built Against Love

One of my favorite wisdom bytes about love comes from the poet and mystic Rumi:

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. — Rumi

First, what does this mean?

Love isn’t something we need to seek; it’s our nature. It’s who we are. When we don’t embody love, it’s because we’ve erected something to block it.

Why We Build Barriers to Love

Second, it’s important to understand why we build barriers to love.

We do this to protect ourselves.

Love entails risk of rejection. It requires the intimacy of presence, and the willingness to be seen, which make us feel vulnerable.

So we build walls to protect ourselves, and we armor ourselves when we go out into the world.

The consequence of this protection is that we feel alone, trapped in a prison of our own making. As Tony Robbins says, “the walls that protect you imprison you.”

Love is the key that unlocks the prison door.

In the rush of our days we often forget about love. When we remember, we go out to seek it, only to find it elusive. This is where Rumi’s wisdom guides us:

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. — Rumi

Finding the Barriers … and Then What?

The natural question, once we find the barriers, is: and then what?

When we find these barriers, what do we do with them?

Do we knock them down? Crush them? Overcome them? Sweep them away?

This is our cultural conditioning when it comes to obstacles. But the energy of crushing and destroying only strengthens the division between ourselves and love.

Tara Brach teaches that the way we wake up has to be kind or we will create more separation.

So if crushing the barriers isn’t the answer, what do we do?

Apparently Rumi offered guidance on this, but it’s often missing from this oft-cited quote.

The Missing Piece

In a recent talk on Radical Love, Tara shared that this famous quote from Rumi has another piece to it.

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it, and embrace them.

Wow. This last part of the quote is essential to understanding Rumi’s teaching.

Our task isn’t merely to find the barriers. It’s to find the barriers and embrace them.

Of course.

The moment I heard this it made so much sense to me.

This concept of embracing what’s in the way also comes up in other conscious work, including work with fear, resistance, and shadow.

It’s an approach that goes against the cultural conditioning to “crush fear” and “overcome resistance,” and is antithetical to our tendency to ignore, judge, criticize, blame, or shame the barriers we erect.

Embracing the barriers isn’t easy; it’s a process that takes time and patience.

So this is our task: seek and find the barriers we have built between ourselves and love, and embrace them.

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I love this quote by Rumi and the change power of sheer Awareness – GET ENLIGHTENED TODAY

I love many quotes of Rumi’s. I love reading him. So much love and tenderness in his writing. So much imagery that serve as open and wide doorways to our heart where Truth waits for us.

One of my many favorites of Rumi’s quotes is this one (although I’ve since been reminded that this is actually from A Course in Miracles):

Your task is not to seek Love but merely to seek and find all the barriers you have built against it. 

The profoundly simple truth in this eluded me for a while. To be honest, I was reluctant to believe it thinking it was not enough to just ‘seek and find’ but to also ‘do’ something about it. That was, until I realized the power of Mindfulness Meditation and the way it works.

But before I get into that, I want to focus on his words. Notice, he doesn’t say that we should REMOVE the barriers to love but MERELY to seek and FIND them.

If you practice Mindfulness, you practice being present to whatever arises in your consciousness in a non-judgmental, story-free way. And in that sheer AWARENESS, CHANGE is spontaneous. Healing is spontaneous.

I am talking about change on all levels of our being – mental, emotional and physical. The mind (software), brain (hardware) and body (output) are in constant communication with each other. Most of that communication is non-verbal.

When you see a snake, you don’t have to think or consciously say: That is a snake. I am scared of it. I must run away. Instead, the fear response in your brain and body are immediately triggered and you act instinctively to avoid it. Your heart beats faster, your chest might start pounding or feel tight, your body momentarily freezes before it launches into escape. Meanwhile, blood flow to your abdominal organs decreases as more blood is pumped into your muscles.

When you enter a room, you don’t consciously think: I am not comfortable here. Rather, if you are attentive, you’ll notice various sensations in your body. Perhaps a heaviness in your chest or a burning in your shoulders or face or a dampness in your palms…

Where do you feel the unpleasantness of a thought, idea or memory if not in your body?

These are very real, visceral and instant changes that are happening in your body independent of the cognitive interpretations of your mind. They are instinctive and the result of information flow that is unconscious and instinctual. It is only later – seconds or minutes – that the mind catches up with what has happened in the body and constructs some subjective meaning from it, correctly or otherwise. Sometimes, that may never happen. You might never know why or even what happened beyond knowing how you felt at the time.

We are so programmed to dismiss such body reactions and instantly focus instead on constructing a story or embellishing a pre-existing one around them. We want to put an intellectual frame around a physical experience because we’ve been conditioned to give the intellect primacy. As I’ve said in another post,

We assume that our emotional pain must be handled intellectually, using our powers of reasoning to control, understand or manage it. We persist with this approach despite its abject lack of success. 

Hence the call to be present, to be here and now – to be in direct contact with what is rather than drown in subjective interpretation/story.

But what has all this got to do with Rumi’s quote?

Love is our natural, original, all-encompassing and ever creative state. You can neither add to it, take away from it or go beyond it. You can, however, engage in activities such as habitual thinking (including judging, attaching, resisting and denying) that shield you from your natural state, that give you the illusion that love is missing or being withheld from you. Love is ever present and as long as you are present, you will always be (and experience) love. 

When you give yourself permission to be present by simply noticing  you allow all those barriers against love to fall away.

The very noticing (finding) of the barriers you have against Love is the removal of those barriers. 

This is what happens in Mindfulness Meditation. You notice whatever arises in your consciousness – thoughts, images, sounds, sensations. You merely NOTICE without judging, without reacting, without getting into story. You merely NOTICE. Sooner or later, that thought dissipates, that sensation dissipates.

The barriers you have against Love always express as unpleasant, discomforting sensations. You don’t have to give them a name. You just have to notice them and in the noticing, they dissipate.

Sheer Awareness has the power to shatter all illusions – those barriers and resistances that we have built against Love. 

Of course, later on, with the support (not the dominanation) of intellectual inquiry and understanding, you can enhance your ability to be the Love that you truly are. That happens by giving yourself permission to experience whatever there is to experience – to intend and allow yourself to be unconditional, to intend and allow yourself to not demand, to intend and allow yourself to be kind, to intend and allow yourself to be open and accepting….And it is from this state of Love that you want any action to arise.

But you must understand that emotions, which are felt in our body, are our first line of defense or reaction, our primary barriers to love. It is only after the body has responded that the mind puts meaning around it. Our beliefs, judgments, demands and expectations are our secondary barriers to Love.

The primary barriers which we have against love and which are active in our body, must be met at the level of the body with AwarenessNo amount of intellectualizing is going to shatter these ‘barriers’/sensations which arise in our body (which Candice Pert, a neuroscientist,  asserts is our subconscious mind).

I do want to qualify what I’ve just said. Rather than ‘barriers’, we can look at the physiological reactions in our body as useful feedback, so that, rather than try to hurry them away, deny or suppress them, or distract ourselves from them, we simply stay with them. In that open spaciousness of witnessing, we are both allowing the energy of those emotions (emotion – energy in motion) freedom to move and holding ourselves in a state of readiness to receive whatever insight the experience has to offer us.

The philosopher, Eugene Gendlin, who practiced psychotherapy having studied with the renowned psychologist Carl Rogers, wrote about and worked extensively with body awareness or ‘focus’. Prompted by the persistent ineffectiveness of traditional psychotherapy models (especially talk therapy models), he espoused the need for attention to the body and what can be ‘felt sensed’ in the body.  He especially stressed the need to accept this without trying to impose any learned interpretive framework on it.

There is a lot more that can be said about Candace Pert and Eugene Gendlin but I would encourage you to look into their work. Meanwhile, it may seem that the simplicity of tuning into the body couldn’t possibly offer us any kind of breakthrough, insight or healing.  If so, let’s consider why we might find ourselves thinking this way:

We’ve been so programmed to ‘find and FIX’ built on the belief that we are flawed and in constant need of fixing. That is the Ego’s relentless refrain. But what we’re trying to fix are just shadows, illusions, misperceptions, when, if instead, we trained our focus on the truth, on WHAT IS without the judgment, the story, the demands, the expectations, that sheer Awareness shatters the illusions (wrong perceptions), the ‘barriers’ to love.

As we bring Mindfulness to the many events in life, we will come to see that our habitual and mostly unconscious reactions to these events are first and foremost our attempt to get rid of the discomfort/pain that we feel in our body, what Eckhart Tolle refers to as our ‘pain body’. But because we have been so strongly conditioned to give primacy to the intellect, we ignore the body while we feverishly search for meaning, defense and rationale with our thinking.

In fact, thinking gets in the way of information flow simply because thinking is filled with interpretations of past experiences while information is flowing right here and now, that is until we get in its way.

I am not saying that thinking is useless. It is extremely useful if we know how and when to use itImagination, for instance, which is an integrated mind-body experience, can be wonderfully useful as Einstein understood:

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions

and again

The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge

Einstein was said to have imagined riding on a ray of light, imagery that was instrumental in the formulation of his theories on relativity.

Thinking in the form of imagining beyond the given, beyond the obvious, beyond the dogma, beyond conventional ‘wisdom’, can be extremely beneficial because it is an integrative process involving all levels of consciousness – mind, body and what we might call ‘spirit’ or non-physical.

Thinking in an analytical and meditative way, known as ‘contemplation‘ in Western spirituality or ‘analytical meditation‘ in Buddhist practices is also extremely beneficial. It uses the reasoning faculty of the mind to meditatively/mindfully navigate a process of enquiry, attending to responses that arise intuitively, permitting questions that also arise intuitively and spontaneously rather than prescriptively.

Love is the state of being free

Thinking that engages and reinforces the ruminating mind and its habitual reactions in the body, however, is unhelpful. It simply strengthens the barriers that we have imposed on love which is really the state of being free.

In ‘seeking and finding’ the barriers to Love, by engaging in the practice of Mindfulness, of sheer Awareness, in which information can once again flow freely, the illusory barriers and resistances to Love are shattered spontaneously and effortlessly by Awareness.


(See the Call to Action before you start this)

What is something about you or your circumstances that you have been grappling with for a long time and don’t seem to be making (enough) progress in? Reflect on how you have spoken about this to others as well as the internal dialogue you engage in.


As you’re doing the reflection above, get still and let your attention go into your body. Notice sensations within. You might find more intense or obvious sensations in certain parts of your body. Simply notice. Stay with them as long as you can. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t force. Allow. Make a note of what you felt (it’s okay if you don’t have a word for it) and any insights you may have had. Repeat this at other times.


My body offers me information and activates insight and wisdom


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20 quotes from Rumi that will make you feel love

This Persian poet is less famous in our country than Nizami, Avicenna, Saadi or Khayyam, although undeservedly. Rumi Jalaladdin had a chance to become famous in various fields, he achieved success in Islamic theology, jurisprudence and Sufi mysticism. Many of his scientific works had a huge impact on the culture of the ancient Middle East due to the ability of this outstanding person to destroy established barriers, the ability to look at life from an unusual angle and have their own opinion on a variety of issues that concern humanity today.

The fate of the poet

Rumi (Mevlana) was born in the family of a well-known Persian lawyer, theologian and preacher Behaeddin in 1207. The father of the future poet had to flee from persecution for free-thinking views, from which we can conclude that the ability and desire for free thinking were inherited by his son. Nevertheless, the young man grew up inquisitive and received an excellent education, and not only in the humanities (legal and theosophical), he also studied the exact sciences.

Rumi's worldview was formed under the influence of Islamic religious doctrine, he firmly believed in the immortality of the soul, and defined atheism with the rather rude word "bestiality".

Literary heritage

After the death of his father (1231), the poet took his position as court scholar. Years of wandering, the disorder of Iranian social life and other circumstances finally made him a Sufi-pantheist, which led to a conflict with the clergy.

Rumi left not very many literary works (but not a few, more than fifty thousand couplets are included in only one of his didactic poems), and all of them, of course, deserve the reader's attention. In his poems, philosophical and ascetic ideas peacefully coexist with frank eroticism, which is also characteristic of other poets of the East. Below are 20 quotes that give some idea of ​​Rumi's work. Perhaps they will arouse interest and encourage someone to read his poems in more detail.

Poetry and prose

“You can't find your love anywhere.

She is in you all the time”

“Fly through the secret skies when clothes fly off in a moment,

First, to get away from life,

Second, to walk without smelling the earth.

This is love!”

“You don’t need to look for love,

But only to find barriers

Inside yourself that prevent it”

“And a thousand half-lovers are not worth

Only one truly loving heart”

“No matter how much we try to describe and explain love, we are ashamed of our words when we fall in love”

“Love is just a bridge between us and everything else”

“If you have not found me in yourself, you will never find me. For I have been with you from the very beginning"

"Many things can be explained in words, but they make love even more inexplicable"

"The mind is powerless to express love"

"Only with the heart can one touch the sky" love will become the beauty of your deeds"

“I am yours. Don't let me come back to you.”

“When I'm with you, I can't sleep all night.

And without you, I can't sleep either.

Thank the Lord for these two insomnias,

And the difference between them”

“I want to see you, hear your voice.

Get to know you around the corner.

Breathe in your scent,

Entering the hall you left behind.

Light gait by the sound of heels…

To know your lips, even if only a little,

When I lean in to kiss you.

I want to taste the thrill of my heart,

When you whisper to me "more!"

“From your light I will learn to love,

From your beauty, how to compose poetry.

You dance in my chest, where no one sees us,

But sometimes art is visible”

“Farewells for those who love with their eyes.

For those who love with heart and soul, there is no parting"

"Only two can't get enough -

0002 Lover of women and lover of knowledge”

“Wherever you are and whatever you do, always love!”

“Let yourself be dominated by a strange attraction

To what you truly love.

If you allow, do not get lost forever”

“There is a place between the righteous and the sinner.

I will wait for you there.”

Jalaladdin Rumi, quotes. Sayings and aphorisms of Jalaladdin Rumi.

Sayings, aphorisms and quotes of Jalaladdin Rumi.

Jalaladdin Rumi (September 30, 1207 - December 17, 1273) Persian poet

Jalaladdin Rumi - Brief Biography

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Before you train your tongue, train your heart. Because words come from the heart, exit through the tongue.

Life quotes, Heart, Language




Whoever has great love has a great test.

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Close the door of language and open the window of love.

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That plowman left his bed,
Without blowing up the fire, he hurried to the yard -
Is the cow safe, didn’t the thief get in? -
And his hand felt the lion,
He stroked the lion's back and sides.
The lion thought: “This two-legged donkey,
Looks like he considered me his cow!
Would he have dared to touch me insolently in the light of day
A gallbladder would burst - he burst
From the mere sight of mine!
You, wise one, first know the essence of things,
Do not trust a deceptive appearance.

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When the fool is taught by the wise,
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I have seen many clothes
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O friend, know how to endure suffering,
To enlighten the heart with the light of life.
To those whose soul is free from carnal bonds,
Submissive are the stars, the sun and the moon.
To the one who conquered lust in his heart,
Submissive are the clouds and circles of luminaries.
And the heat of the day will not be scorched.
The one who is proudly tempered in patience.

Valor, Moon, Wise Quotes, Patience




Your task is not to look for love, but only to look for and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

Love, Understanding




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Trouble, Motivational quotes, Happiness, Point




Every loss is gain. Every gain is a loss.

Wisdom, Loss




It is impossible to understand Love.
Unable to create Love.
It is impossible to learn Love.
You can just stop resisting Her.

Love, Impossible, Resistance




Lovers do not meet, they are in each other from the very beginning.

Love, Feelings




No matter how the drop philosophizes,
The sea will remain the sea.

Sea, Philosophy




Leave the orbit of time
and enter the orbit of love.





Without a watchful heart, you and I will hardly
achieve what we passionately dreamed of.





Close your eyes, let your heart become an eye.

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Don't you already know? The Light that illuminates the world is your own Light.

World, light





In life in half a half -star
Do not plan anything except love ...



9000 +


Silence is God's language, everything else is bad translation.

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What is beauty? Unfortunately, it's instantaneous.
Only our essence is eternal and imperishable.

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An ignorant person does not see the beauty of a rose, but clings to its thorns.

Roses, Man




In fact, my soul and your soul are one.
You appear in me, I appear in you.
We hide in each other.





Science is learned through words, art through practice, and alienation is learned through company.

Life Quotes, Company, Cognition, Practice




Love should be something that would delight us. Love can give us joy without an account. I have found a beginning in mother-love. Blessed be this mother forever!

Love, Mother




There is a voice that does not use words. Listen.





As true as the depth of the sea,
Under the foam, parables are sometimes not visible.

Depth, Truth




When you go to the garden,
Are you looking at thorns or flowers?
Spend more time with roses and jasmine.

Life, Wisdom, Roses




Barrier, Selfishness




Someone asked me what is this knowledge I am talking about and how to experience the love I am mentioning.

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