Rule 9

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes


What is appealing about the 40 rules of love by Shams of Tabriz is that they are universal and understandable. Depending on the depth of your understanding, the forty rules could be blasphemy or your own truth, a guidance to the path of divine love.

This post was inspired by rule # 9. As I dive deeper into the wisdom of love, the more acceptance I have of the past, and less fear of what is about to come. The realization of love rose from the stabbing pain of my separation from it. 

Frantic blaze

I best fit the description of someone who is all over the place, without structure and vision, and lacking discipline. When I came to my senses, I knew I had to change tremendously whether that was something inside me, the people I surround myself with, beliefs, or my environment. Reprogramming my whole system to work the way I idealise it takes time as any transformation would.

Sometimes I wonder if that is the Sagittarius in me, “restless, adventurous.” My dominant element is fire and what does it do apart from breaking and alchemizing one form to another? Innately a seeker of freedom, it’s a challenge to keep myself grounded. Adherence to traditions and identification with my birthplace are almost trivial matters to me.

Although I have preferences, I don’t easily get homesick. I adapt to my environment or I sit in one corner, in my own little bubble just being an onlooker. If it no longer suits my taste or something quarrels inside me, consider me a bygone, leaving no imprint behind except someone’s memories of me that will inevitably be from a distant past. My element fire burns me to different molds, never the same each time.

What seems risky is enticing for me. The odder, the better. I have poor control of what fascinates me. I take the plunge without rational thinking and weighing what I would gain or lose.

In high school, I got into pageantry. I was into the glam and the number of audience and their adoration. I was also aware of the other attention I was getting from always being the new student. I could have benefitted from this but it started to become lame to me. From being active in club activities and popularity contests, I shifted to its complete opposite. I won’t say I was a complete outcast but I was definitely not in your popular circle towards the end of my high school.

I have to add that the attention I used to enjoy plummeted as I started to enjoy metal music, obviously a non-popular choice. To add to the odd things that made me odder was me getting into magic tricks until I realized I was a bad actor, skateboarding until the last thing I wanted to end up with was having broken bones.

My impulsive decision-making brought me a ticket from Metro Manila to Cebu with just 10 days time to pack my things and drop the bomb of my sudden departure to my family. At this point, my leash was already loose so nobody could have stopped me even when they tried.

My attention span dies as fast as a lightning bolt. My impulsiveness has become a liability but people still call me someone who dares. Honestly, if I dared enough, I would have jumped off a cliff to the sea but the only cliff I jumped into was an accident. Luckily enough, a huge guy was behind me and caught my right wrist before I could break my bones and be potentially crippled or permanently ceased from existence.

Then, I lost touch of myself again through studies. I want to say I am proud of myself for having to go through it again but honestly, it was too difficult. I was self-supporting so to fund my needs and school expenses, I had to work. The bad combination of financial difficulties and my short attention span have led me to a decision to take a break again from my studies.

I thought I’d compensate for the time I didn’t save up for by working long hours. But I found myself in the muddy trails during the wet season, scramming my way through the leech-infested forest. I clung to branches for my life, lifted and scrambled myself up from boulders to boulders, ran downhill as I felt the earth beneath me, trusting it would catch me when I fall. This was the first time I actually felt one with my body. It wasn’t the campsite, the peak, the quiet picturesque moments that I was coming to the mountains for. It was the adrenaline, the several slips and safe landing on earth, the shallowness of my breath in the most uncertain situations, and finally the every ascent my body could conquer that made me most alive. 

I was running through the trails and the moldy terrain as if I was catching time. Little did I know, I was actually running away from the frantic blaze I have become. 


As I was venturing to the different colors of life, not in a grand scheme, but adventurous enough to have some stories to tell over a cup of coffee with strangers on the Internet and hopefully to my future grandchildren, I was unknowingly entering the imminent phase of my own oblivion.

Related story: Dear self, I’m sorry.

My impulsiveness brought colors to my life but I got lost in it. I had to stop on my tracks. 

Suddenly, I was asking myself what my place is in here. I was trying to get to somewhere, to some state but what and where? Why do I get a feeling that all this time, I actually don’t know myself?

My sheer ignorance blamed others and then turned itself to me. It loathed what I have become. Suddenly, the mountains and the ocean where I sought refuge once could no longer serve me. Every person I confided in couldn’t fill the hole inside me. My once vibrant, fiery self started to bleak and lose its flickers. The fire that was once transforming me to different molds started extinguishing and succumbing to the void.

The lesson and the flame

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

Related story: The Journey | Wisdom

I started calling out to the universe. It was listening to my pleading. The tools to aid me started to emerge. As I was ready, my teachers in different forms held a mirror. They held it until I could finally realize the real version of me.

They keep emptying my old system, purifying my tainted heart, squeezing out every ounce of hatred and unfulfillment. My fears and hopelessness are dissolving. The fire that lost its flickers started to ignite weak but promising flames for my most real transformation.

“When the teacher appears, the student disappears.”

I thought I was the mold that keeps changing forms in the fire. I am actually the fire that emits and transforms on its own. I awakened to the truth that it wasn’t the mountains nor the seas that would bring me home. I have always been home, my own fire, my own teacher.

Number nine of the forty rules of love appeared when I was ready to receive it. It’s my essence attracting its own drug, the ecstasy of love.

My friends, may this be your guiding light until yours start to spark:

“East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.”

#9 of the 40 rules of love by Shams of Tabriz


As much as I love sharing my perspective of the world, I would also like to hear from you, dear friends! I wonder what your journey is like. Where are you at the moment?

You can leave me a private message in the contact page or leave me a comment below.

Keep your fire ablaze!

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