It’s All Poetry: Lessons From the Spiritual Path

By Doug Marman

I gave the following talk at a library just north of Toronto on September 29, 2019. The talk is called: “It’s All Poetry: Lessons From the Spiritual Path.”

Since we were children, we have all been taught how to understand the world using our mind. However, the spiritual path is different; it can’t be learned this way. This talk describes how the secret of the spiritual path draws us in, little by little, until we see how poetic life really is. This is a discovery that emerges through personal experiences. No one can give this wisdom to us. It comes to those who walk the spiritual path.

The talk lasts for about one hour and ten minutes. It is followed by questions and answers that last another 40 minutes.

If you would like to read, or post questions, or join the dialogue about this video, click the READ MORE button below.

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A Night of Music and Rumi’s Poetry

By Doug Marman

The public was warmly invited to a night of hypnotic music by renowned musician Sina Bathaie, along with other musicians and readings of Rumi’s poetry. It took place at a public library in the center of Toronto, on November 30, 2019. The room was filled to the brim with visitors. About 140 lovers of Rumi and music gathered to share the evening together.

The event took place to introduction our newly published book The Hidden Teachings of Rumi. For more about the book, click here.

If you would like to see more pictures from the event, or to add some comments, or join in the dialogue, click the READ MORE button below.

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The Hidden Teachings of Rumi

By Doug Marman, Farzad Khalvati, Mitra Shafaei

The Hidden Teachings of RumiNEW BOOK!

This book reveals a secret that has been hidden for over 700 years.

Behind the poetry that Rumi created out of love for his teacher, Shams of Tabriz, is a deep spiritual teaching. Millions are drawn to the beauty of Rumi’s writings, but rarely are full poems quoted because they are so difficult to understand. They are seen by most as spontaneous expressions of love and spiritual ecstasy that seem to leap from one moment to another.

However, there is a thread that weaves these moments into whole cloth. Each poem shares a poignant lesson about a spiritual teaching that can only be seen with eyes of love.

ISBN 978-0-9793260-4-2
324 pages / $17.95

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Excerpt from: THE HIDDEN TEACHINGS OF RUMI:

INTRODUCTION

Imagine working together with others to translate some of Rumi’s poems that are not well-known in the West but are famous to Persian-speaking people. You hope to cap­ture in English the deep meaning that you sense hiding in Rumi’s poems, while staying as close as possible to the Farsi terms and phrases that Rumi uses. You wonder if it is even possible to retain Rumi’s subtleties and beauty.

You start with a poem that has often been quoted for a few lines that are truly striking in their depth of longing for love, but the rest of the verses are hard to follow. You aren’t sure the lines you like even relate to the others in a cohesive way. They might be no more than the spontaneous outpourings of an ecstatic mystic, as many believe.

However, as you start working with the poem, you notice subtle clues that suggest another level of meaning. At first, it is only one section that jumps out this way. But when you start to consider some of the less common meanings of some of the words, especially some of the “old Farsi” uses of those terms, you suddenly see a puzzle falling into place. A new image is revealed that is deeper and more moving.

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Hidden Teachings in Rumi’s Divan-e-Shams

By Doug Marman

I gave a talk at the University of Toronto on September 27 about a new book that I wrote with Farzad Khalvati and Mitra Shafaei. The new book is titled: The Hidden Teachings of Rumi. A separate post will describe the book in more detail.

We have been working on the book for the last year and a half. It offers new insights into how to understand the hidden teachings in Rumi’s deepest spiritual poetry that he dedicated to his spiritual teacher, Shams of Tabriz. You can watch the talk below. The talk lasts for about an hour, followed by about half an hour of questions and answers at the end.

The audience was made up off scholars who specialize in the study of Rumi, and a large number of students, and visitors who love Rumi’s poetry. The talk was well received, and the discussion at the end was lively.

If you would like to read or post questions, or join the dialogue about this video, click the READ MORE button below.

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The Call of the Unknown

By Doug Marman

Here is the talk that I gave in Toronto at the end of September. It is titled: The Call of the Unknown. You can see a video of this talk below.

In this talk I approach one of the most important elements that distinguishes a spiritual search from a typical search for knowledge. This is hardly ever talked about.

When we search for knowledge, we usually set out with a plan of some kind to learn about something that we already have some idea about. For example, we look for a book that can give us a better understanding of some era in history, or added insights into some field of science, or some pointers on how to find a job, how to paint, or how to raise children.

A spiritual search, however, is a search to gain something that is beyond our understanding. We don’t even know what it is that moves us or calls us to this search. We might think that we have an idea of the information that we would like to find, but the farther we follow the call of the unknown, the more it changes us. And we soon realize that we knew nothing about the real meaning of the spiritual path when we started…

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Restoring Health Through the Spiritual Flow of Life

By Mitra Shafaei,
Rehabilitation Therapist,
Registered Kinesiologist (Ont. Canada), MSc, BSc

Doug Marman’s new book, “The Spiritual Flow of Life” helped me understand how to form a constructive and inspiring relationship with our bodies.

Mitra Shafaei

We have all heard about the use of “mindfulness” and “positive thinking” as ways of relieving illness. They are now a well-known trend in the healthcare field of our times. However, it is not exactly clear why these strategies work—and more importantly how they work. And it is not always easy to educate patients—especially when they are going through the most difficult time of their lives—to use such techniques as an important element in their treatments. However, what Doug talks about in his book, “The Spiritual Flow of Life,” goes beyond mindfulness and positive thinking strategies.

To give a little bit of background, I have been working in the field of rehabilitation for over 15 years. The range of patients that I provide treatment for is quite wide; from people who suffer from chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia, to patients who are dealing with acute injuries related to motor vehicle accidents.

I always find it helpful to have my patients see themselves as one of the active participants in the circle of their healthcare providers. I encourage them to be a part of the team, instead of expecting that their cure will come to them from “outside”…

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The Spiritual Flow of Life—And the Science of Catalysts

By Doug Marman

NEW BOOK!

There’s a mystery at the heart of biology: What makes organisms alive? This book takes us on a spiritual quest to clearly understand life.

Catalysts are keys to solving this puzzle. The new insights gained are transformative. Seeing the way life works—the way if FLOWS—changes what it means to be alive.

ISBN 978-0-9793260-1-1         212 pages / $16.75

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Excerpt from THE SPIRITUAL FLOW OF LIFE:

INTRODUCTION

There is an enigma at the heart of biology. Scientists are baffled by the mystery of what it is that makes organisms alive. Even simple single-celled creatures seek food and run away from threats in self-directed ways that amaze scientists. This book takes us on a spiritual quest for a clear understanding of how life works.

Solving this puzzle offers deep insights for both physical and spiritual growth. Seeing the way life works, the way it flows, changes what it means to be alive.

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Seeing the Invisible — From Rumi’s Poetry to the Fullness of Atoms

By Doug Marman

“Whirling Dervish” by Mitra Shafaei

Last summer I was invited to speak at a talk for “Spiritual Dialogues on Rumi’s Legacy and Teachings,” in Toronto, Canada. It is part of an on-going series of public talks on Rumi and Consciousness. The group has been using my book, “It Is What It Is — The Personal Discourses of Rumi,” along with Rumi’s poetry, to explore the hidden teachings behind Rumi’s teachings. I gave the talk based on a simple lesson I’ve learned:

Something extraordinary takes place when discovering new insights into life through deep discussions with friends. Time seems to stand still as new perspectives suddenly open up before us. In such moments we sense the scope of truth so fully, as a whole, that it alters our experience, giving us the feeling we are touching life itself. This is the magic of spiritual dialogue.

A thirty minute video captures a portion of this talk. It is called, “Seeing the Invisible — From Rumi’s Poetry to the Fullness of Atoms. To see the video click the button below:

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Not Everything

By Doug Marman

Not everything can be explained with words. Not every situation can be understood. Not everyone fits into the boxes we try to put them in.

Tree Sky. Photo by Kim Lessel.

Life is a mystery. Some questions should not be answered. Some questions are for living with, like a companion. Not every picture needs words. Sometimes a kiss is just a kiss.

Not every day can be extraordinary, or extraordinary days would be ordinary. But every moment is meaningful and seeps deeper into our beingness than we realize.

Our mind desperately wants to understand, but not knowing is also a gift because it keeps us learning. Not everything has a beginning and an end. Sometimes it just is.

Where is life taking us? Ask life.

Do you know how to ask life? Do you know how to listen to life’s answers?

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Finding Spiritual Love

By Doug Marman

My wife, Karen, recently remembered a dream she had many years ago. In her dream she was at a seminar, in a roundtable discussion. Paul Twitchell was there. He started talking:

“Love connects everything,” he said. “All of life is held together by love. Every rock, every tree…everything.”

Paiting by Grev Kafi.

Paiting by Grev Kafi.

Thinking about this dream and looking across the decades since she had it, she said to me, “Listening to what Paul said was one thing, but knowing it is altogether different.”

This goes to the heart of the spiritual path: How do we know, really know, the meaning of spiritual love?

We won’t find it by reading books or listening to talks—although the stories of others can increase our hunger for it. Knowingness doesn’t come from thinking about love or trying to understand it with our mind. In fact, if we try to go after love directly, the very thing we are pursuing runs away from us.

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A Three Thousand Year Secret — Part II

By Doug Marman

In part I of this series, I wrote about the enigma at the heart of quantum physics that has baffled physicists for a hundred years. It’s a mystery that can finally be explained: Relationships are the true causes of everything we see in the world.

"Mountain Hall." Painting by Dong Yuan.

“Mountain Hall.” Painting by Dong Yuan.

The forces of physics start as relationships between particles. They produce patterns that look like external forces only when billions of particles are involved. As soon as we dive down to the level of electrons and quarks, the whole picture of cause-and-effect reactions falls apart. Instead, we find the unpredictable nature of relationships driving everything.

We find the same thing on the human level. When you look at countries with millions of people, customs change slowly. Large institutions are the same way. They often act more like lumbering, mindless machines that move at the speed of glaciers. But once we look closer, at the lives of individuals, we see creativity, learning, and the dynamism of relationships.

In part I, I wrote about how the I Ching and Lenses of Perception see the influence of relationships on the outer world—our physical universe. But before we explore the inner side of this story, there are a few things worth mentioning.

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A Three Thousand Year Secret — Part I

By Doug Marman

For over a hundred years, the bizarre mysteries of quantum mechanics have puzzled physicists. Most have given up trying to explain the strange behavior of subatomic particles. Scientists haven’t been able to find an intuitive answer. As a result, the quantum revolution is incomplete, as I said in another article, because we haven’t gained any wisdom in our lives from this great discovery.

Lenses of Perception offers a new approach. These mysteries do make sense and we can learn valuable lessons from them. We simply need to look at quantum behavior as the result of relationships. This offers us new insights into the true nature of life.

I Ching — The Book of Changes

I Ching — The Book of Changes

I’m still absorbing the meaning of it all. So, I keep running into discoveries that take me by surprise. For example, the realization just hit me that none of this is new. A deep understanding of the quantum enigma was known over three thousand years ago, under a different name.

This didn’t occur to me until after I finished Lenses of Perception. As the first copies began shipping, memories of an ancient book, the I Ching, unexpectedly came to mind. All at once I had the oddest idea: The I Ching and Lenses of Perception are both describing the same thing.

What a strange thought. Could this be right? I began flipping through pages of the I Ching — The Book of Changes. The more I read, the more I saw the connection between these two books. But, how can this be?

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