The Mystical Teachings of Jalal al-Din Rumi: An Interview with Doug Marman by Jeffrey Mishlove

By Doug Marman

This is my third interview with Jeffrey Mishlove, for his YouTube channel “Thinking Allowed.” The interview is about 46 minutes long. Jeffrey interviewed me, this time, about my books on Rumi, especially my most recent book that I wrote with the help of Farzad Khalvati and Mitra Shafaei: The Hidden Teachings of Rumi. Jeffrey said this about the interview on his YouTube page:

Doug Marman shares some insights into the life and poetry of the great Sufi master, focusing especially on the unique relationship between Rumi and his spiritual lover and mentor, Shams of Tabriz. Through careful analysis, he explicates various lines of poetry that have seemed awkward or disconnected to critics. He illuminates the unique stages of ecstasy and universal love as described in the poetry. He also shows how Rumi’s inner psychic life, and ostensible telepathic conversations, are expressed in poetry.

Feel free to post questions or comments below. Thanks for the dialogue.

The Soul’s Journey: An Interview with Doug Marman by Jeffrey Mishlove

By Doug Marman

This is my second interview with Jeffrey Mishlove, for his YouTube channel “Thinking Allowed.” The interview is about 55 minutes long. Jeffrey interviewed me about my book, The Silent Questions. Here is what Jeffrey says about the interview on his YouTube page:

Doug Marman describes his own unique path through life – starting with mystical and psychic experiences from childhood. Following his inner promptings, he dropped out of college and spent weeks alone in a tent in the woods. With only $35 in his pocket, he traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, in order to connect with the spiritual school founded by Paul Twitchell. Working in the office there, he learned much and was fired twice. His intuitive insights led to a career in high-technology and over twenty patents.

Feel free to post any questions or comments below, or just enjoy the dialogue.

The Art and Science of Soul Travel: An Interview with Doug Marman by Jeffrey Mishlove

By Doug Marman

Jeffrey Mishlove interviewed me for his YouTube channel “Thinking Allowed.” The interview is about 45 minutes long. It was a fun discussion. Here is what Jeffrey says about the interview on his YouTube page:

Doug Marman, an Eckankar practitioner, is author of The Whole Truth: The Spiritual Legacy of Paul Twitchell. Here he describes his involvement with the Eckankar religion going back nearly 50 years. He emphasizes the importance of experience, as opposed to doctrine, with regard to the nature of soul travel. He discusses contact with teachers and guides on inner planes and describes paradoxical reversals of meaning at different levels of consciousness. He also engages in a fascinating discussion concerning the “Space Intelligences” described in Mishlove’s book, The PK Man.

Feel free to post any questions or comments below, or just read the dialogue.

Weaving Shadows: Soul Traveling Through Dublin

A guest article by: Thomas Stemmer

Lying on the bed late at night
I watch the patterns of shadows weaving about the room.
Paul Twitchell — The Flute of God

Living means experimenting. There is no way around it. No way to avoid it.

Thomas Stemmer in Dublin. Photo by Olga Stemmer

So it came to my mind that it might be possible to do some experimenting around the notions of happiness and unhappiness. Most certainly, the two options are always available. However, as some kind of a third and largely unconscious option, you can be unhappy without noticing it, mainly because all the other people around you are in an even worse condition and that still puts you in a rather comfortable position.

The moment I became aware of the fact that—at least—during the last decade I had not had a single moment of overwhelming happiness, come to me during a week’s stay in Dublin, Ireland.

From the very first moment of disembarking at the airport, I was almost shocked by a sensation of brightness, rough wonder and adventure. All was light and full of tension. Did that have anything to do with Dublin? Or just with myself? Or somewhat fifty-fifty? Could this have occurred anywhere else, too? Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? Who cares to know? I certainly don’t. It was just there and it was overwhelming and it was good. After all, your state of consciousness is your state of acceptance, they say. So I stretched my inner hands out and grabbed it. It was mine. I vaguely remembered that I had undergone those ecstatic states of consciousness during my childhood when I grew up in a 16th century house, a labyrinth in style, dusty & full of stories and hidden corners. So now, it was Dublin. My Dublin now.

Had it not been Oscar Wilde, who was born in Dublin, who stated that in the end everything always comes out fine, and if it doesn’t, well, it is not yet the end? It is generally good to have some literary backup (quotes and the likes) in life. Maybe I should have another try to read Ulysses by James Joyce? Or Finnegan’s Wake? I jumped at this inner, spiritual food realizing how hungry I had been unconsciously. I think I acted wisely, since, after all, Paul Twitchell said in one of his taped lectures (I forgot which one), that if Spirit puts out something for us, we should take it and keep it to ourselves because it is ours.

Full of high-tense expectancy, I firmly grabbed the experience and held it close to myself. What would happen next?

I was soon to find out.

As the bus from the airport approached the city center, the excitement grew stronger. I could now see that Dublin was a town very much to my liking. There was a wild melancholy to it, clothed in an atmosphere that reminded me mainly of a more silent version of London, but also of the Netherlands.

The Book of Kells. Photo by Olga Stemmer.

During the next days I discovered the center, an incredibly huge and exciting book shop as well as a handful of antiquarian book shops, the Liberties quarter, Trinity College with its famous Book of Kells, old and somewhat dusty corners everywhere, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Spire, the strange and hidden back streets, the meal deals offered by supermarkets, the weaving shadows of this mysterious city.

Circular Stairs in the Old Library in Dublin, by Olga Stemmer

I spent the nights in the maze of a Victorian Age house that had been altered again and again in more that a century leaving behind a labyrinth. It was not easy to find my room. There, I read a book of Irish ghost stories every night before going to sleep filling my dreams with banshees and lepracauns: Quite amusing, yes.

Then it happened. Three or four times during my stay, at least once on Thomas Street (strangely funny, since my name in this incarnation is Thomas), I was overridden by some seconds of a sensation of pure joy. Joy I hadn’t experienced for such a long time.

When I came back from my stay in Dublin, it took me some time to develop an idea that should have been obvious, but, after all, I have always been a slow learner. Why, I asked myself, don’t I try to go to Dublin using the out-of-the body-techniques of Soul Travel taught by Paul Twitchell?

I decided this idea was just great and so I sat down to start with this journey immediately.

My plan was to imagine myself lying on my bed in the Victorian Age house, getting up and going down toward the entrance in order to step outside. Then I would follow Lord Edward Street (changing its name to Dame Street) in order to arrive at Trinity College. Turning left I would be led to O’Connell Bridge crossing the river Liffey. Then, it would only be necessary to go along O’Connell Street passing by the famous General Post Office (GPO) that – way back in 1916 – had been such a vital place for Ireland in finally becoming an independent nation in 1922, and then turning left into Parnell Street, to finally arrive at the huge bookshop.

Lord Edward Street, Dublin. Photo by Olga Stemmer.

That was my Soul Travel Map.

I thought, since I had very vivid images of Dublin in my mind, it should be easy to get into the mood fueling the experience-to-come.

It worked quite well. I felt the same excitement as in the physical Dublin where I had been a few months before. But still, I had this nagging feeling: Is it real? Or is it “just” my own imagination? On the other hand I did not consider it wise to think too much about it because it might distract the focus of my attention thus breaking the discipline involved in the act. But it came back again and again. It was nice and fulfilling but was it true?

So I just went on. Carefully I stopped to have a look at everything. The City Hall. The small street to the right leading to a place with the Molly Malone monument, always careful not to be run over by a car, a bus or by who-knows-what: The Irish drive on the left side! For a Continental European this can be pretty dangerous.

When I turned left in front of Trinity College approaching O’Connell Bridge, something started to go wrong. I could not put my finger on it, what it was, but as this bridge drew closer my vision started to get blurred. Everything went blank and I had to struggle to remain within the experience trying to regain clarity.

Then I was back again. Without taking too much notice of my surroundings I stepped on the bridge – – – and ran into a huge pot with a tree in it. I was utterly surprised, to say the least. Not only because such a stupid thing, such a freak incidence could happen to me, but also by the instant knowingness: There are no pots with trees on O’Connell Bridge! So how could I possibly stumble over one?

I looked around.

Then it dawned on me. I had not gone to O’Connell Bridge but had quickly—quickly as the wind—gone to Grattan Bridge!

Why?

I understood at once. The way over Grattan Bridge leading to Capel Street was a much better and shorter way to the bookshop in Parnell Street! I—Soul—the real ME, had quickly decided to change plans and had acted out this new option within the flick of a second. This is possible since Soul Travel is not dependent on time and space. It is just for the pure experience itself.

I had indeed soul traveled to Dublin.

Needless to say: I will try again.

The best is yet to come…

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 introduce our newly published book The Hidden Teachings of Rumi. For more about the book, click here.

The evening was MC-ed by Ali Sartipi, who introduced all of the performers and speakers.
Sina Bathaie graced the night with music on his Santur
Mrs. Lili Nabavi, reads Rumi’s poems in their original Farsi, so everyone can hear how beautiful they are as Rumi composed them. Farzad Khalvati then followed up by reading the English translations.
Reza Houshvar plays his original composition, inspired by Rumi’s poetry, on a traditional Persian instrument, the Tanbur

One visitor who came out of her interest in Rumi, wrote:

“Well the universe heard my heart’s call. In my notifications I received a suggested event called ‘A Night of Music and Rumi’s poetry’. I made up my mind to attend.

“It was a well-attended beautiful gathering of lovers. Lovers of poetry, ancient scriptures and their enlightened meanings to aid us on our journey and life purpose. Lovers of symbolism expressed through artistic drawings, paintings and photos. Lovers of enchanting music that struck our hearts’ chords and played to the depths of our soul that took us to another time and space.

I was fascinated to find another book of insightful teachings that has been translated into English from Sanskrit. The name of the book? It’s the same as the hymn that my mom plays—Sukhmani: The Secret of Inner Peace.

With all my heart, thank you to every beautiful soul that was involved in hosting and performing at this magical and uplifting event.”

Farzad Khalvati, one of the authors of The Hidden Teachings of Rumi, reads poems from the book, while his brother, Behzad, plays piano
Special thanks to all the helping hands that made A Night of Music and Rumi’s Poetry possible

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.

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 of 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.

Beauty Behind the Veil

Understanding a Deeper Meaning of Rumi’s Writings

By Doug Marman

Farzad Khalvati gave a talk at the University of Toronto, based on a topic that he, Mitra Shafaei and I have been working on together. It offers new insights into how to understand the hidden meaning in Rumi’s poetry and discourses. You can watch the talk below:

Farzad, Mitra and I have been translating Rumi’s poems using the same approach that I learned when translating Rumi’s discourses, combined with Farzad and Mitra’s deep understanding of the Farsi language.

In each poem, our approach has revealed a hidden meaning that was not seen through a traditional interpretation. Each time it has surprised us to see the meaning that emerges. After finishing more than 20 poems from Rumi’s famous Divan-i-Shams-i-Tabriz, we found three insights that have helped us with understanding Rumi’s poetry.

The most important key in understanding Rumi’s poetry is related to what I have written about in my book, Lenses of Perception. While most academic translations have focused on using a third-person lens to interpret Rumi’s poetry, the end result is that they have found it difficult to see any clear evidence of a teaching in Rumi’s writings. What we have found, on the other hand, is that the picture changes as soon as we use second-person lenses instead.

After seeing how much better second-person lenses reveal the deeper meaning in Rumi’s poetry, we’ve come to the conclusion that this is perhaps the most important element that Rumi is trying to teach: How to use second-person lenses to understand the spiritual path and spiritual experiences.

Second-person perception is what we use when we are deeply involved in personal relationships. This is how we learn to relate to another person, by seeing the YOU in them. The shared experience of a relationship is not something that belongs to us as individuals; it always exists between us and those we care about. A shared personal space opens up between us and others when we form a relationship, and this relational space between us seems to be alive with ever-changing possibilities.

From the use of this simple lens, we found three principles that have guided us in helping to reveal the hidden meaning in Rumi’s poems. These three principles keep showing up again and again in the poems we have worked on. Farzad explains these principles in the video, along with a number of examples from the poems we have recently translated.

Rumi’s teaching has often been called “the Sufi Path of Love.” This makes sense if he is teaching the importance of second-person perception, because love is the key to relationships, especially when it comes to our relationship with life itself. Love is the invisible element that draws us together with others and fills the space between us and others with meaning.

How appropriate that Rumi would use this same lens to fill his poetry with meaning. This meaning is hidden to outsiders, but it reveals itself to any who see the YOU in life.

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.

This “not knowing” turns out to be more important than we realize because the things that we think we know are generally obstacles on the spiritual path.

The true spiritual search requires a completely different approach because it is a quest for something beyond us. It is a search to find out the real meaning of the spiritual path. There is no one who can give us the answer to what this meaning is. It can only be understood through experience. It is the search itself that changes us. It is the search itself that is the path.

This talk was set up by Farzad Khalvati and Mitra Shafaei of Toronto, as part of an ongoing series called The Hidden Teachings of Rumi.

Just before the talk, Farzad came up with the idea of projecting spiritual art and photos of nature on the screen behind me when I was talking. The images change as I give my talk.

I wanted to mention this because one of the surprising outcomes, that a number of people asked about afterwards, was how well the changes of these images seem to be synchronized to my talk. Surprisingly, there is no direct connection. I could not see the images on the screen behind me or when they were changing, and the images switched by a simple timing mechanism.

Why did so many people experience a connection? I don’t know. Perhaps the images on the screen, when they changed, changed the audience, and I unconsciously sensed this and changed what I was saying. Or perhaps when we see a change in the background, it changes our perspective on what is being said at that time, and since I was talking about changes in perspective, it seemed to be connected.

Rather than trying to guess at the explanation, I just point it out so that you might enjoy the mystery of it, if you find yourself experiencing this same feeling that there is a connection.

One thing that I’ve learned is that the spiritual path seems to bring about more of these events of synchronicity as we become more deeply entangled with life at a deeper level. Explaining it in order to understand it with our mind is not nearly as important as experiencing it and how the experience of synchronicity seems to wake us up to an awe of life itself.

 

Upcoming Talk: The Call of the Unknown — A Spiritual Adventure

By Doug Marman

I’ve been invited back to Toronto, Canada, to give another talk about The Hidden Teachings of Rumi.

The talk will be held Sunday, September 30, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM, EDT, at the Aurora Public Library, just north of Toronto. I hope to see you there.

Here is a quick description of what I will be talking about:

The spiritual path is not a path where we find answers that bring an end to our questions. It is a path that leads deeper and deeper into the unknown.

As the Sufi poet, Rumi, says, we have to continually give up everything we think we know to take the next step on the spiritual path. This means, over and over again, becoming a beginner, like a child who sees life as completely new. We need to keep starting over because our experience with life changes us as we grow spiritually. We are changed so deeply that we see the world through different eyes.

We like to reassure ourselves about how much we know and how much we have learned, especially as we grow older. It gives us the feeling that we are standing on firm ground and that we know who we are. However, this won’t do us much good if we are seeking what Rumi calls the real jewel of life—the treasures hidden in the unknown. To find the wisdom of the invisible worlds within us we must let go of the firm ground beneath our feet and who we think we are. We must risk everything. This is every bit a true adventure.

You can find more information at these links:
Facebook, Meetup, The Hidden Teachings of Rumi webpage

If you are interested in a dialogue on this subject, please feel free to start the discussion below.

ADDENDUM:

You can now see a video of the talk I gave by clicking this link: https://spiritualdialogues.com/2018/11/the-call-of-the-unknown/