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.

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.

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.