Rumi teaches us that our worst enemy is hiding deep within ourselves, and that enemy is our Nafs or false ego (نفس). Rumi describes our heart as a mirror. Naturally, this mirror becomes dusty, and we have to wipe it to take the dust off. In a mystical way, Rumi is effectively instructing us the way of wiping this mirror so the reflection may fall more clearly, equaling wiping our heart from the falseness and duality that are surrounding us. Therefore, Nafs or False Ego (نفس) equals any inclination which springs from disregard of love, harmony, beauty, and being unconcerned with well being of others. Rumi also teaches that in Sufism, there are four stages of self purification:
The Sufi, through these stages of purification, travels the inner way, the 'Spiritual Path'. Having traveled the path, the Sufi becomes a perfect being and arrives at the threshold of Divine Truth. In this Divine Center for higher education, there are no teachers, thus a Sufi's only guide will be the absolute Divine Love. Here, Sufi's only teacher is love, his/her books are love, and his/being is defined by love.
"Who is in the house of my heart,
I cried in the middle of the night.
Love (God) said,
"It is I, but what are all these images that fill your
I said, they are the reflection of your beautiful face.
"But what is this image full of pain?"
I said, it is me lost in the sorrows of life
and showed Love my soul full of wounds.
Love offered me one end of a thread and said:
"Take it so I can pull you back
but do not break the delicate string."
I reached towards it but Love struck my hand.
I asked, why the harshness?
"To remind you that whoever comes to Love's holy space,
proud and full of himself
will be sent away.
Look at Love with eyes of your heart.
Who gets up early
to discover the moment
Who finds us here,
circling bewildered like atoms?
Who comes to a spring thirsty,
and finds the moon reflected in it?
Who, like Jacob,
blind with grief and age
smells the shirt of his lost son
and can see again?
Who lets a bucket down and brings up
a flowing prophet?
Or like Moses,
goes for fire and finds
what burns inside the sunrise?
Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies,
and opens a door to the other world.
Solomon cuts open a fish,
and there's a gold ring.
An oyster opens his mouth
to swallow one drop
Now there's a pearl.
A Vagrant wanders empty ruins
Suddenly he's wealthy.
But don't be satisfied with poems
and stories of how things
have gone with others.
Unfold your own myth,
without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage:
Love has opened your heart
Start walking towards love.
Your legs will get heavy and tired.
Then comes a moment of
feeling the wings you've grown, lifting..."
Rumi. Translated by Coleman Barks.