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The Spiritual Practices of Rumi: Radical Techniques for Beholding the Divine [Paperback]

Will Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 13, 2007 1594772002 978-1594772009 2nd Edition, New Edition of Rumi: Gazing at the Beloved
The secret Rumi found in beholding the Divine in his sacred relationship with Shams-i-Tabriz

• Shows how, in 1244, Sufi poet and mystic Jalaluddin Rumi was first brought to a state of ecstatic union with the cosmos and all its creatures

• Reveals the radical spiritual practice Rumi formulated in his private retreat with the mendicant seeker Shams-i-Tabriz

• Uses the poetry and prose of Rumi to explain how to come face-to-face with the Divine

One of the most extraordinary events in the history of Sufism occurred in 1244 when the Sufi poet and mystic Jalaluddin Rumi met a wandering seeker named Shams-i-Tabriz. Upon meeting, the two men immediately went into private retreat together, emerging ninety days later in a transformed condition.

In The Spiritual Practices of Rumi, Will Johnson reveals the radical spiritual practice that transpired between Rumi and Shams. To put it simply, they sat and gazed into each other’s eyes. Because the eyes are portals to the soul, their sustained gazing formed the basis of a devotional practice that opened the doors to a profoundly ecstatic state of divine union. Johnson draws on the poetry and prose of Rumi to unfold his story. He also explains how one may embark on the practice of intentional gazing to experience the state of ecstatic divine union shared by Rumi and Shams so many centuries ago.

Frequently Bought Together

The Spiritual Practices of Rumi: Radical Techniques for Beholding the Divine + Rumi's Four Essential Practices: Ecstatic Body, Awakened Soul + Breathing through the Whole Body: The Buddha's Instructions on Integrating Mind, Body, and Breath
Price for all three: $37.20

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Since meditation is so often seen as a solitary practice, and since so many of our human interactions are superficial avoidance of genuine intimacy, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Because of its meditative nature, and because of its promise of opening the heart and vision to the deeper nature of all around us, it seems especially appropriate for those engaged on the Ovate and Druid paths." (Karl Schlotterbeck, Henge of Keltria, May 2008)

“In these most troubled of times, Johnson makes available for any and all the secret of beholding the divine in sacred friendship. This makes for sensitive and intriguing reading that goes right to your heart.” (José Argüelles, author of Time and the Technosphere)

“A fascinating and quite plausible account of what may have transpired between Jalaluddin Rumi and Shams-i-Tabriz behind the closed door of their retreat room. It should be read by all serious students of Rumi.” (W. M. Thackston, Jr., Professor of the Persian Language, Harvard University, translator of Rumi̵)

“Instead of recycling old information, Will Johnson brings new light to the understanding of Rumi with this book. This is how we can bring Rumi to our life rather than bury him in scholarly libraries.” (Nevit O. Ergin, translator of Rumi’s Divan-i Kebir)

From the Back Cover

RELIGION / SUFISM

“A fascinating account of what may have transpired between Jalaluddin Rumi and Shams-i Tabriz behind the closed door of their retreat room. It should be read by all serious students of Rumi.”
--W. M. Thackston Jr., professor of the Persian language, Harvard University

One of the most extraordinary events in the history of Sufism occurred in 1244 when the Sufi poet and mystic Jalaluddin Rumi met a wandering seeker named Shams-i Tabriz. Upon meeting, the two men immediately went into private retreat together, emerging ninety days later in a transformed condition.

In The Spiritual Practices of Rumi, Will Johnson reveals the radical spiritual practice that transpired between Rumi and Shams. To put it simply, they sat and gazed into each other’s eyes. Because the eyes are portals to the soul, their sustained gazing formed the basis of a devotional practice that opened the doors to a profoundly ecstatic state of divine union. Johnson draws on the poetry and prose of Rumi to unfold his story. He also explains how one may embark on the practice of intentional gazing to experience the state of ecstatic divine union shared by Rumi and Shams so many centuries ago.

WILL JOHNSON is the founder and director of the Institute for Embodiment training, which combines Western somatic psychotherapy with Eastern meditation techniques. He is the author of The Rubais of Rumi and Forbidden Rumi (with Nevit O. Ergin), The Sailfish and the Sacred Mountain, and Yoga of the Mahamudra. He lives in British Columbia.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions; 2nd Edition, New Edition of Rumi: Gazing at the Beloved edition (August 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594772002
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594772009
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wondrous adventures await the readers of this text October 25, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Oh, goodness gracious this book can open up so many doors for you that it is worth ten times what you will pay for it. I am however not speaking from experience but just what I got out of the book. I haven't found anyone to try the practice with, but just the premise gives me goosebumps and I damned well better find someone to do it with real soon or I'll jump out of my skin.

Yogi Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh gave a technique to do it alone simply by sitting in front of a mirror in the dark with a candle illuminating your face so you can see your eyes in the mirror clearly and being able to not blink for thirty to forty minutes or look away even for a second. Don't know if I'm afraid to do it by myself or if I just want to wait to have someone to share the experience that Jaladin Rumi paints such a marvelous picture of but it is always floating around in my head that this is something I just have to try. This and so many other wonderful mystic things as well, I need to get busy. Laters
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Light in Your Eyes January 20, 2009
Format:Paperback
I have read a lot of book about Rumi. This book makes some valuable additions to the literature about him. While we cannot absolutely know what transpired between Rumi and Shams, it is reasonable to imagine what the practice might have been, extrapolating from Rumi's writings. While the book's title say it addresses spiritual practices, it is fair to say that at least 90% of the book addresses only one practice: looking long and deeply into the eyes of a spiritual friend. Even if one does not have a spiritual friend to engage in this practice with, the author suggests you can use your own image in the mirror, or look long and lovingly at something in nature, like a tree.

The section of the book on stages of spiritual practice is useful. Also very useful and kindly written are the sections that address our tendency toward self castigation on the path: we are not enlightened enough, far enough along the path, find ourselves unworthy- etc. The author's heartfelt words about this reach right into the heart and comfort the weary traveler. The following Rumi poem, which I had not read before, is quoted:

You suppose that you're the trouble,
But you're really the cure.
You suppose that you're the lock in the door
But you're really the key that opens it.

It's too bad you want to be someone else.
You don't see your own face, your own beauty.
Yet, no one's face is more beautiful than yours.

I would like to hand that poem to every counseling client I see.

The chapter on sexuality, advising sacred friends who have sex with each other- on how to have sex with each other- seemed a bit out of place to me.

Overall I recommend this book highly. You can feel the author' compassionate spirit through his writing. Reading this book is like spending hours with a compassionate spiritual friend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recognizing a contemplative practice in Rumi's words September 11, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There is an ancient quandary in philosophy about how it is that we can truly know anything unless we already know it. How do we recognize something, and recognize it truly, when we first come upon it?

In this book by Will Johnson, the author briefly recounts the history of Rumi's interludes with his beloved friend Shams and then he describes the contemplative practice of gazing into the eyes of one's beloved, whether that person is a friend or lover. As he describes his own obviously deep familiarity with this contemplative technique, he draws from Rumi's poetry, highlighting when Rumi asserted the same point, or explained the same technique, or just wept in blissful joy at the results of beholding the divine in a beloved friend's eyes. The author is recognizing the presence of this practice in Rumi's life because of the author's own intimate familiarity with the technique. It's obvious that the author deeply understands both the technique itself and the greater Truth that it helps the practitioner find.

By the time I reached page 40 of this book, I was already buying more copies for my own beloved friends, so true did I find the author's words. I am writing this review as an afterthought for those of you who I haven't sent a copy of the book to!

Can we actually know, scientifically know, that Rumi and Shams spent their time alone together gazing into each other's eyes? Haha, there are bigger truths at stake here!

James Corrigan
Author of An Introduction to Awareness
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