In this program, I focus on the best ways to understand Rumi’s poetry. One of my goals is to counter the idea of turning him into an infallible saint. Equally important, poets from distant times and unfamiliar traditions are hard to understand. I make suggestions about ways to put Rumi’s lively and effective poetry into their context to become understandable to western audiences in the 21st century.
In this program, I focus on a celebrated poem of Rumi which tries to help us make sense of the journey that is our life. The poem is filled with enchanting images and life-changing questions. Are we a rare bird sitting in the royal aviary, Jacob separated from his Joseph, or the Greek philosopher, lamp in hand, looking for a perfect being? And, what does dancing have to do with these?
In this program I speak about Rumi’s special’s attention to the concept of arriving. Like many other thinkers, Rumi is aware of our human limitations. For example, we are confined in time and space. His solution? Do not wait for the moments to happen to you; arrive in them and let the arrival transform both time and space for you, be a waterfall!
In this program, I connect a recent personal experience with the two mystical concepts of ” being trapped in oneself,” and “being free from oneself.” I’ll discuss Rumi’s comparison of these two key states of awareness, then, share another poem explaining the lover/beloved attempt to reach that freedom in a rare game of polo!
In this episode I conclude my discussion of Rumi and the concept of God focusing on our inner connection with the divine presence which he describes as “the sun,” “the truth,” and “the friend” among other things. In his view, God is not this exacting teacher or prosecutor. He/she/it is the sea to which the waves of our existence are rolling. Once there, no one can tell the wave from the sea, not even ourselves.
In this episode I speak about the concept of God in Rumi’s poetry and the various manifestations that it finds. Is God a person, an energy, a sense of joy, a pervasive light, a force of goodness? Where is he/she/it? Is he in us, is he us knocking on door to get inside a room which already belongs to us?
In this second episode of a duo focused on handling disappointment , Rumi encourages us to step back from our daily personal problems to see the bigger world. This silent world will speak if you lower your voice and listen. Think of it as a mirror. What you see in others, is a reflection of yourself. Think of it as a mountain. It echos your own voice.
This is the first of two episodes on Rumi’s approach to disappointment in life. In this program I start with his general comments on the the interrelation between hope and disappointment, the sources of the pain caused by disappointment, and the best tools to help us rise above it which he calls “your wings.” In the next program I will bring you Rumi’s more in-dept approach to causes of disappointment and ways to handle them.
With this episode, I start a discussion of Rumi and the environment. Citing his lyrics, I point to his reverence for nature as a site of the presence of the Divine. Seeking the Koranic description of God in a green tree, Rumi views our natural habitat as beautiful, lively, and closely connected with us. What we need to do is to discover it as a source of inspiration, and to preserve it for the generations who will follow.
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