This is the second poem of Rumi’s I’ve read where he uses the metaphor of heat vs cold. In “Be With Those Who Help Your Being,” he writes, “Don’t sit with indifferent people, whose breath comes cold out of their mouths.”

The heat he refers could be generated by the “fire” of one’s inner being, self realization, or deep and conscientious faith. I am curious if “cold” has a negative connotation outside of its opposition to “heat.” Are cold rivers somehow superficial or lacking true being? Does the relief of a cold drink or cooling breeze not hold value?

Or maybe the line in the other poem simply refers to how one’s breath should normally come out warm, but for those whose process of self-realization and spiritual seeking is dormant, even warm breaths turn cold.