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Andrew Harvey

Level I

What You’ll Explore in These 8 Weeks

    Each week's class will include:
  • Sacred remembrance practices (singing and movement)
  • Guided heart-centered meditations and movements
  • Sacred reading practices, journaling, and offerings
  • Introducing the week’s theme (selected poems and discourses)
  • Exploring the spiritual and cultural context and idioms in Rumi's work
  • Embodiment practices to turn Rumi's sacred poetry and teachings into portals for spiritual awakening and transformation
    Each week, students will be provided with the following material:
  • Handouts that include the selected poetry (in Farsi and English), deepening practices, chants, contemplations, resources, and more.
  • An audio recording of the guided meditation and chant. 

Week 1

In the Name of Love
Thus we begin

Love (‘ishq) is the central theme of all Rumi’s works. So, we begin with the name of Love. Love, not as a mere sentimentality, but rather the invisible energy and intelligence that creates and maintains the world. Rumi echoes the spiritual and mystically vibrant Islam which adamantly insists that there's a path to God and that path is radical love, extreme love; a love that would come and burn inside of you everything that is other than God. Every dis-ease is cured by its opposite, except Love. Love is a dis-ease that has no end, for the path has no end... the Beloved has no end.


Yet, as Rumi points out, again and again, how Love cannot be expressed through words. It must be experienced to be understood. Knowingly, Rumi uses words (fingers)to point to the moon (Love).


“No matter what I say to explain and elucidate Love, shame overcomes me when I come to Love itself.”

~ Rumi (Masnavi I, 112)



This week, you will:


  • Learn about the age of Rumi: the cultural and religious context

  • Begin to understand the many metaphors of Love

  • Learn about the Religion of Love and God as Beyond Love

  • Learn meditations to invoke Love from the Heart

  • Begin to build an altar to the aspiration of your Heart

  • Practice contemplative reading of Rumi's mystical poetry as a spiritual practice

Week 2

The Fire of Longing

The heart’s response to the Call

Love has no beginning and no end. Love is Fire. And this Fire shows up in us as a longing. It longs to burn everything in us that is limited. Our Hearts’ longing shows up in different ways trying to get our attention when we are not connected or grounded in our Beings. This longing shows up as sadness, confusion, deep dissatisfaction, and intense burning. We need this longing's guiding light along this path. It is this fire that brings about liberation through the art of alchemy.


"Your calling my name is My reply.
Your longing for Me is My message to you.
All your attempts to reach Me
Are in reality My attempts to reach you.
Your fear and love are a noose to catch Me.
In the silence surrounding every call of “God”
Waits a thousand replies of “Here I AM.”

~ Rumi (Masnavi III, 195-97)



This week, you will:


  • Begin to learn about Rumi's Masnavi (magnum opus) the "Qur'an in Persian"

  • Learn the "The Song of the Reed" (the exordium) from Rumi's Masnavi

  • Identify the source and signs of longing in your own life

  • Explore the connection between personal longing and Divine longing

  • Learn about Separation and Suffering in the context of Rumi's teachings

  • Learn how to heed this longing's calling

Week 3

stringing the beads with constant re-orientation

Remembering that which should not be forgotten is a golden key on the path. Remembrance acts as an anchor from which we explore and expand our hearts while always staying in touch with the Source. Remembrance is one of the wings of the Bird on this journey of Homecoming. Remembrance also begets non-attachment, for we are constantly reminded of what really needs our attention.


Repentance (towbeh) in essence is the constant returning to the Source and has nothing to do with the Western conventional meaning of shame. Once we forget, we simply come back. This coming back is a sort of homecoming. The finger-pointing back to the Source. Rumi offers many practices for this returning.


"There is one thing in the world that should not be forgotten. You may forget everything except that one thing, without there being any cause for concern, If you remember everything else but forge that one thing, you will have accomplished nothing."

~ Rumi (Fihi-Ma-Fihi - Discourse #4)


This week, you will:


  • Learn Rumi's Discourse #4 from his book, Fihi-Ma-Fihi (the collection of Rumi's lectures, discourses, conversations, and comments on various and sundry topics)

  • Explore ways one can cultivate remembrance through contemplative and spiritual practices (The discipline of the way)

  • Inventory both the obvious and the most subtle ways in which you ignore your Heart's callings when life gets busy and how to find ways to surrender this impulse

  • Write a letter to your heart from your longing's perspective

Week 4

Inner Meaning
Seeing unity beyond multiplicity

Rumi reminds us that, “Things become clear through their opposites.” Each individual of a pair of opposites makes the existence of the other individual possible; day and night, happiness and sadness, spirit and body, separation and union, and so forth. It’s through such contrasts that we learn to go beyond dichotomy and duality and see the underlying union in everything, which is the One Being that alone has no opposites.


Paradox is part of this path. It's perceived with the mind that exists in the realm of duality. The teachings are all descriptive, not prescriptive. They are simply pointers along this pathless path.


“People look at secondary causes and think that they are the origin of everything that happens. But it has been revealed to the saints that secondary causes are no more than a veil”

~ Rumi (Fihi-Ma-Fihi - Discourse #15)


In this week, you will:


  • Discern between Form and Meaning, Reason and Spirit, Universal Intellect and Partial Intellect, Existence and Nonexistence, and Intellect and Love in Rumi's works

  • Explore the illusion of dichotomy and duality

  • Explore the non-dual teachings in Rumi's work

  • Discern between inherited knowledge and experienced wisdom in our lives

  • Learn about the period of Rumi’s preparation: his early teachers and influences

Week 5

The Art of Discernment
An intelligent path

Rumi continues to remind us of how the spiritual quest is filled with dangers and how the art of discernment is a necessary tool on this path. By accessing the innate wisdom of our hearts, we can learn to discern between right and wrong, truth and error, the absolute and the relative, and so on during this very short and precious life. Rumi speaks of this art and the importance of a Guide again and again in his works.

“Not  every cane is sugar-filled; not every low precedes a high; not every eye can truly see; not every ocean has its pearls.”


~ Rumi (Divan Shams, 563)

"Make only drunks and lovers your companions; don't tie your heartstrings to unworthy folk. Each faction tries to make you follow it: the crows to ruins, the parrots to sugar."

~ Rumi (Divan Shams R693)

This week, you will:

  • Learn about Shams of Tabriz (Rumi's muse) whose divine encounter with Rumi forever changed the once-famous scholar into the mystic poet we know now

  • Learn the "Story of the Grocer and the Parrot" in Rumi's Masnavi

  • Explore the art of discernment on the spiritual path and its importance

  • Learn about the discriminative wisdom

  • Learn somatic practices for being in touch with your intuition

Week 6

One Path, Many Facets

An intelligent path

There are as many paths as there are humans to the summit, but only one mountain. Rumi models for us how going deep into one tradition cultivates strong roots from which love and appreciation for all creeds sprout effortlessly. It's the love that is found at the root level and it's there that like the aspen tree communities that the interconnectedness of all religious and spiritual traditions are seen, appreciated, and above all tasted.


God speaking to Moses:

"I have given each one (person) his/her own special ways
And his/her unique expressions when he/she prays;
And I pay no attention to their speech,
But their intentions and the heights they reach -
The religion of Love is apart from all religions:
For lovers (the only) religion and creed
is - God."

~ Rumi (Masnavi II, 1757-73)

This week, you will:

  • Explore Rumi's constructive ecumenical attitude toward various creeds.

  • Learn the "Moses and the Shepard" story in the Rumi's Masnavi

  • Learn about inter-spirituality

Week 7

Raw, Cooked, Burned

The Certainty (yaghin) of spiritual experience and gnosis corresponds to Rumi's epitome of his own spiritual journey.


We start our spiritual journeys as novices on the shore. We dabble in books, concepts, maps, and anything we can take a hold on. In religious terms, this is the (Shariat) stage: the depth of the Sacred Law. It begins with many suppositions (zann). Then comes a time that our longing won't allow us to stay on the shore any longer. It desires to enter the water of experience and swim towards the goal, the subject of our love. This is the (Tarighat) stage: The Path. Here through experiences and shedding of false identities and attachments we enter the stage of knowledge ('elm) and are cooked by the experiences. Ultimately, through annihilation, we are burned and from our ashes arise true Certainty ('ayn al-yaghin) that brings about the (Haghighat) stage: Truth, the goal.


"By words you know for sure that fire exists?
Don'talight at a certain stage - seek fire!
The cooked, alone, knows Certainty itself
if certainty you want, jump in the fire.”

~ Rumi (Masnavi II: 860-61)


This week, you will:


  • Learn "The Qazvin Softie who Wanted a Tattoo" in Rumi's Masnavi

  • Identify the three stages of the spiritual journey in your own life

  • Create a timeline of your spiritual journey to this moment

Week 8

Die Before You Die

Rumi reminds us that as lovers we must die to self before we can shine with the divine light. Through practices that help us first embody and then transcend the small self, these veils of self are lifted, until the divine light of the soul shines through; when burnished of all its rust, the mirror of the soul perfectly reflects the attributes of God.


"Die before you die" means to “die” to your ego, “die” to your selfishness, “die” to the illusion that we are a perfectly self-sufficient bubble cut off and isolated, cut off from humanity, cut off from love, cut off from nature as God’s masterpiece, cut off from God.


“Die before you die” means this:  live the way that you would if you had two hours to live. ~ Omid Safi


"Die, die
into this love, die;
once you die into this love
you can receive
the spirit
in full.
Die, die
and don't fear this death -
for you shall rise from this soil
dancing in joy..."

~ Rumi (Divan Shams, 636)


In this week, you will:


  • Learn about Rumi's last days and the last poem he uttered the evening he passed on

  • Learn "The Escape of the Merchant's Parrot" in Rumi's Masnavi

  • Explore the theme of "Die before you die" in both Rumi's poetry and in our own lives

  • Learn about the meaning of annihilation, naughting the self, poverty, and selflessness in Rumi's work

  • Identify the traits and conditionings that no longer serve us

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