The last couple of lines in this poem are often quoted but to me the best part happens in the very beginning. Rumi casually lays out Divinity’s expectation of the human experience: “You were born with potential”
Potential for what Mevlana? Potential to be good? No, “you were born with goodness and trust.”
Potential to be great?! No, “you were born with greatness.”
Potential to have ideas and dreams?! No, “you were born with ideas and dreams.”
We are already these things. Rumi is saying we are born with the potential to use all of these inherent traits to fly into perfection.
Cultural conditioning has fooled us into thinking we have to wait for greatness to come to us, that we must work for it, or earn it through good deeds or earnest practice. We carry a subtle belief that we need permission to be exceptional — like we need a degree to teach others– or a minster’s license to preach the truth. Jesus had none of these things. Neither did Buddha or Krishna or nearly all of the Masters who have come to us over the ages.
Except for Rumi. Rumi had both the education and the spiritual authority — but it was not until he met a wandering dervish who had nothing to do with such formalities that he came to terms with the Perfect Self.
So he says do not worry about those things, use what you came here with to get by — fly on the wings of your divine potential.
“It’s like jumping off a cliff, realizing there is no parachute, then realizing there is no ground.”
That second realization, that there is no ground, is our potential.