~ Deepen your approach to spiritual companionship ~
~ Fall in love with one of the world’s greatest mystic poets. ~
~ Re-discover your spiritual curiosity and playfulness ~
Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi is revered in the Muslim world as a theologian and mystic. He is also the best-selling poet in the United States. Given that he was born more than 800 years ago, what makes Rumi such a compelling spiritual teacher in the 21st century?
The answer is simple: he’s an amazing spiritual companion.
Rumi, or Mevlana, as he is known respectfully by many Sufi faithful, is famed for erudite philosophy and theology. But when we read his poems, we feel he is walking at our side as a true friend — accepting not judging, encouraging us to “go deeper” even as he invites to embrace the earthly beauty and experiences around us. In the truest tradition of spiritual companions, he asks open-ended questions that lead us to ask penetrating questions of ourselves. He wants the best for us. But he is never afraid to tell us the truth, to challenge us to lead an authentic and transcendent life. He is tender and tenacious and always a prophet of love.
This 4-part webinar series, led by Rumi scholar, poet and podcaster, Dr. Fatemeh Keshavaraz, will introduce you to a side of this great poet and mystic that you may have never considered.
What to Expect
Webinar Participants Will:
- Learn spiritual companionship as practiced by one of the world’s great mystics, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi
- Explore why this poet/philosopher manages to be one of the deepest – and the most playful – authors you will ever read.
- Learn how he brings that sense of play into serious subjects to break down mental divisions and prejudice
- Discover the surprise and delight hidden in the most mundane experiences
- Re-discover, through Rumi’s lyric wisdom, the kind of energy and curiosity you once felt as a child
- Understand how Rumi’s poetry can help in all facets of spiritual care – by inviting us to reconsider daily life, its problems and its burdens
- Affirm your own ability as a “world-builder,” a creative force in your own life
- Be challenged to listen in a way that encourages connection, especially in these days of extraordinary isolation
You can enjoy the webinar any time you like. Each session is recorded so you can watch at your convenience.
- Session 1 – Speaking the Language of Companionship – Rumi used language to liberate and connect. In this sense, he was a true spiritual companion – using metaphor, questions and exquisite timing to support us as we create our own meaning. This session will focus on what he calls the “language of companionship” and the presence that reaches someone through the heart. We will look at what it means to companion people as they journey to discover “God buried like a ruin in the treasure of one’s being” and let it permeate all life. Led by esteemed Rumi scholar Dr. Fatemeh Keshavaraz, we will begin by learning about the mystic poet’s life and times – moving great distances, living under occupation, facing isolation and yet finding deepest spiritual and persona resonance in the interconnectedness of all beings.
- Session 2 – Listen to the Reed Flute – Rumi was a deep listener before anyone even dreamed of the term. And he listened with all his body, soul and senses. His metaphor for listening was that of a suckling baby. He said he knew what to say – and how much – by listening and observing how people were connecting as he spoke, just as a baby influences how much milk is produced – and when – by how much and how often she suckles. In this session, Fatemeh will explore how Rumi’s gift for poetry and image is directly connected to his ability to listen. (The first line of his masterpiece, the 6-volume Mesnevi, says simply: “Listen to the reed.” There are deep lessons here for all spiritual companions – indeed, all those who offer spiritual care.
- Session 3 – Contemplative Life, Community and Social Justice – In this session, Fatemeh will be joined by author Imam Jamal Rahman guide s as we learn about Rumi’s approach to contemplative living – not as a means of isolating one’s self like a monk, but as a way to create deeper and more intimate relationships – with others and with the mystery many people name Allah or God. Rumi used his playful approach and frank expression to allow us to reconsider established divisions. This is relevant for spiritual companionship because isolation is at the heart of much malaise and lack of meaning in life. Isolation from family, from neighbors, from Nature and from the truth of our own experience. Rumi invites us to re-connect in a surprising and beguiling way that never lectures and often delights.
- Session 4 – Life as Tasting – For Rumi, tasting was a metaphor for spiritual practice and experiencing wholeness. Our senses are a gateway to the mystic wisdom that can prove elusive to the intellect. No wonder Rumi encouraged dance, song and the savoring of physical experience. For him, it was a short cut to the divine, the ground of all being. This session, led by Fatemeh Keshavarz and Sufi writer Azram Rahim, MD, will use traditional reed flute music and the music of Rumi’s poetry to give us all a sense of how such “tasting” can unite the down-to-earth with what is both beyond us and within us. (Note from Dr. Keshavarz: “Mystical experience as “tasting” is broadly understood and accepted by Muslim mystics over the centuries. In this, like in many other foundational issues, Rumi is rooted deeply in the Sufi tradition as a whole. At the same time, he does introduce his own nuances — of course. In other words, he is almost never quite inventing anything. Rather, he takes these foundational concepts and helps us see them — and then see them again, differently.”
Life learning, not book learning. Experiential, contemplative, spiritual. We want to open a gateway to understanding and connection. We’d rather companion you to an insight than impress you with a list of facts. Because most of our audience are spiritual directors and companions – including chaplains, life coaches and others who offer spiritual care -, we focus on the practical and care-giving side of the equation. Of course, since we all are spiritual beings, this webinar series can benefit anyone.
Dr. Fatemeh Keshavaraz – Fatemeh was born and raised in the city of Shiraz, Iran – where people have been living for more than 4,000 years. She completed her studies in Shiraz University, and University of London. She taught at Washington University in St. Louis for over twenty years where she chaired the Dept. of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from 2004 to 2011. In 2012, Keshavarz joined the University of Maryland as Roshan Institute Chair in Persian Studies, and Director of Roshan Institute for Persian Studies. Keshavarz is author of award winning books including Reading Mystical Lyric: the Case of Jalal al-Din Rumi (USC Press,1998), Recite in the Name of the Red Rose (USC Press, 2006) and a book of literary analysis and social commentary titled Jasmine and Stars: Reading more than Lolita in Tehran (UNC Press, 2007). She has also published other books and numerous journal articles. Keshavarz is a published poet in Persian and English and an activist for peace and justice. She was invited to speak at the UN General Assembly on the significance of cultural education. Her episode of “On-Being” – The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi – brought her the Peabody Award in 2008. In the same year, she received the Herschel Walker Peace and Justice Award.
Imam Jamal Rahman is an author and a speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. A founder of the Interfaith Amigos, he has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs. Jamal is co-founder and Muslim Sufi minister at Interfaith Community Sanctuary and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He is a former co-host of Interfaith Talk Radio and travels nationally and internationally, presenting at retreats and workshops. His books include: “Getting to the Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening, Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi & an Imam,” “Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith,” “Out of Darkness Into Light: Spiritual Guidance in the Quran with Reflections from Jewish and Christian Sources,” “The Fragrance of Faith: The Enlightened Heart of Islam,” “Spiritual Gems of Islam: Insights and Practices from the Quran, Hadith, Rumi and Muslim Teaching Stories to Enlighten the Heart and Mind” and “Sacred Laughter of the Sufis: Awakening the Soul with the Mulla’s Comic Teaching Stories and Other Islamic Wisdom.”
Azra Rahim, MD is a workshop presenter at the SDI Conference in Santa Fe, April 23-26,Â 2021. Her workshop is entitled, Seeking Feminine Wisdom from our Muslim mothers: poetry, writing and whirling as spiritual practice. Azra has a BSc in Molecular Biology and is a medical doctor. She describes herself this way: Muslim Sufi. Spiritual Quester. Truth seeker. Globe trotter. Lover of food, flowers and all things green. Indiscriminate dispenser of hugs. Kisser of all things beautiful. More background: “I was born in India, raised in Iraq and immigrated to the United States with my family. Ethnically, I am part Afghani and Indian. Culturally, I am Indian with a love of Hindu mythology. I am a born Muslim Sufi. My parents went on a Sufi pilgrimage in lieu of a honeymoon after their arranged marriage. Growing up, I was steeped in a love of not only Islam but the Saints and Prophets, especially the Women.”
Who We Are
SDI is an educational nonprofit, serving 7,000 members in 42 countries around the world. We are committed to supporting and growing access to spiritual companionship and the deep listening, open questions and compassion our healing modality offers.
Each session runs about 75 minutes. CEU credits are available for all those who participate. (See below)
Who may join the webinar?
Everyone is invited to participate in SDI Webinars.
Are CEUs available?
SDI will provide a certificate of completion for self-reporting to agencies. More information can be found here: continuing education units (CEUs).
Scholarships are available for those facing financial hardship. Please apply here.