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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. You can see the video below: