Soul Sessions by CreativeMind

Sufi Mysticism | Spiritual Influences in Coaching Part 3

March 09, 2021 Debra Berndt Maldonado and Robert Maldonado PhD Life Coach Training and Personal Transformation Experts Season 3 Episode 53
Soul Sessions by CreativeMind
Sufi Mysticism | Spiritual Influences in Coaching Part 3
Show Notes Transcript
This episode is a continuation of the series we are doing on Spiritual Influences in Coaching. In this episode we will share:

  • What is Sufism? The mystical poetry of Rumi.
  • Rumi’s approach to piety and spirituality; he discovered that beyond the safe, dry and socially approved forms of obedience and renunciation there is a meta-spirituality of love, which consists in joyously and creatively celebrating our relationship with God.
  • How has it has influenced coaching? Rumi is America’s best read poet.
Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.

Sufi Mysticism


Debra Maldonado, Robert Maldonado

Robert Maldonado  00:00

Welcome back to the podcast. Today we're talking about Sufi mysticism. And of course, we cannot mention Sufi mysticism without talking about Rumi, everyone's favorite poet. And it's a continuing series we're doing on spiritual influences on coaching. And in particular our coaching model.

Debra Maldonado  00:26

Yes. And Rumi, we hear, like Deepak Chopra has talked about, made it popular. He's kind of timeless, his poems, I remember, when I was single, I bought a book of Rumi poems. And I was like “Oh, I want someone to speak to me like this." And then I realized that he was talking about God, he was talking about the divine. And I really love that idea. So I'm going to start off today with a Rumi poem called “Open Window”. And I'm gonna have to put my reading glasses on because it's in tiny print. So here we go. How would it be, if you appeared in this open window, it would be as though my hands and feet were suddenly untied. And life was pouring back in. I would say I have not smiled or laughed since you left. Wine has no effect. And you would tease such melancholy it may be catching. Then I would wrap my shroud around and offer my neck to your blade. Cure this headache permanently. You are the sole light in my eyes, words drift out of the air. Let the musicians play now. The stringed instruments, the tambourine and the drum. Since no reed flute is here today. It's one of those poems. It's not like “Oh, I get it” right away. It pulls at you in different ways. Just the words and shocking with the blade. He has this— It's not this happy, positive. There's a turmoil or hunger in his poetry, for lost love, that we all can relate to as we're in romantic love. It seems that heartbreak of wanting the divine to come back.

Robert Maldonado  02:33

I mean, just to kind of put it in context — all mysticism is essentially that direct experience of the Divine. And we know that it's an ordeal from the individual ego perspective. Getting to that point, getting to that rapturous moment of ecstasy, it's not easy, it requires sacrifice, it requires us to really surrender. And that surrender, from the ego’s perspective, feels dangerous, it feels like a blade through the throat. We're in danger here. Just like true love. It feels like a death or that you're risking heartbreak.

Debra Maldonado  03:28

It's almost like that romantic love has that power to buoy you up to like these heights, that ecstasy and also pull you down to almost that feeling of destruction and heartbreak, and that's really not only romantic love, but that's what life is about. We have all these incredible joys and capabilities of having these profound experiences of being alive, but it also comes with heartbreak and pain when someone we love leaves or dies or we have a dream that dies. And just life is that duality of the pulling of those two pulls. And so he beautifully talks about this idea, but mostly really it's that we're seeking the divine and then when we're feeling those heights of ecstasy, we're really connected to that divine in us.

Robert Maldonado  04:26

It is a path to God, no doubt. But let's back up a little bit. So we're talking about Jalal ad-Din Rumi, or better known as Rumi in the US. He's a Persian poet. He was born in 1207 in what is now Afghanistan. And just to give you a sense of what a different time it was, the family was fleeing Genghis Khan at that time who was raiding that area, and they moved to what is now Turkey. And he pretty much lived the rest of his life in Turkey.

Debra Maldonado  05:07

Is that why they think he's Turkish?

Robert Maldonado  05:10

Probably but that area was part of the Persian Empire at that time. So that's why he's considered a Persian poet. Anyway, he's not only a poet and a musician and a dancer but he was also a Sufi scholar. And Sufism was a lot older of course, he didn't invent Sufism. But he came out of that tradition. There was already a rich tradition of poetry, of music, of art being a way to worship and devote yourself to God.

Debra Maldonado  05:54

And then what did he bring to Sufism?

Robert Maldonado  05:58

I think he brought a particular genius for poetry. And that crystalline, mystical vision that just inspired people, he founded his own school, and the Whirling Dervishes, that's where they come from. It was his idea of movement as a way of worshipping God. And a lot of his poetry would come actually while he was in that ecstatic state, whirling around, and he would recite some of these verses.

Debra Maldonado  06:41

Yeah, it's almost like a lot of other practices of chanting and saying prayer, and this would be a dance. And I think it moves the creative flow and connection, almost like you leave your body when you're dancing. Even though it's a bodily movement. There's something about letting your body dance, it's a dance with the divine. There's some kind of connection to you, your ego mind leaves, you're kind of open to this movement. It's beautiful.

Robert Maldonado  07:14

Yeah, I think it was a Nietzsche or Rocha, one of those guys said “I could never worship a God who didn't dance.” There is that joyfulness of intoxication with the divine that Rumi is talking about. That is very different than the concept of the West that we have in Catholicism or some of the more Protestant traditions, which is very somber.

Debra Maldonado  07:49

We didn’t do a lot of dancing in church, right? Only standing up, sitting down, standing up, kneeling, standing up, sitting down.

Robert Maldonado  07:56

Yeah, but you see the dance in more traditional cultures, also aboriginal cultures, Native American cultures where dance was a big part of it. And repetitive dance especially creates that trance state, it generates a trance state.

Debra Maldonado  08:18

Some people that do Jungian work, do the dance too. They do that movement in processing the unconscious.

Robert Maldonado  08:30

So you know more about the trance state than I do. How would you describe that state?

Debra Maldonado  08:37

Well, a lot of people think it's like empty of thought. But actually, it's more hyper aware, you're more present than ever. If you notice that, that's why mindfulness is so popular because we need something, because our mind is all over the place. It's very untamed. And so when you go into a trance state, it's almost like that place right before you go to sleep. You're in that hypnagogic state and it's very focused, and your mind is one-pointed. And it feels so good too, that's why meditation is so wonderful for that, but you get into that place where you're really focused. And then in that focus, it doesn't mean it's boring, it can actually be inviting a part of your unconscious in having dialogue with aspects of your archetypes in your unconscious or your shadow, working with your feeling in your body and just being in that presence. So it's definitely not “I'm knocked out”. Or kind of zombie. It's a very hyper aware state. And it's optimal for— if you notice too, like when we're in dreams. That REM state is very close to it. You are very aware of the dream at that moment, you're not all over the place, dreaming of five different things at once. It's very focused. And that's why I think, when any kind of spiritual practices, prayer brings us to that trance state, brings us to this presence in the moment because that's where everything is — and the ego loves to do the opposite, distract the mind and scatter it all over the place. And we really can't do anything. It's not very productive, just scattered and stressed. And the world is so busy right now that we tend to— almost like the modern person has so much going on in their mind that they don't know how to be in that moment.

Robert Maldonado  10:45

I mean, I love Rumi's work because it really introduced a lot of people to another aspect of Islam and the beauty of it, and the mystical aspects of that. And you see how powerful it is that we're still talking about him 800 years later, and it's still as fresh. You read his stuff, and people are still translating it or kind of trying to translate the truer meaning of it. Because I think the original or some of the early translations were done more in the sense of “Oh, this is poetry about love, about romantic love.” And there's certainly that element. But if you read it from the mystical aspect, it makes more sense. And so he introduced and kept alive this wonderful mystic tradition of poetry, of dance, of music, and art as being a way to worship and to express the divine. I've always seen that art has a spiritual quality to it, right? All these art forms.

Debra Maldonado  12:02

If you think about it, if your mind is busy, you really can't be creative with art. I've had a lot of my clients that take dance training, dance lessons, and they notice that when their mind is hyper worried about “Am I doing the steps?”, they're not as flowy. But then when they empty their mind and just be there in the moment, they can really start to get in sync, you just have to learn the steps and then you flow. And it's that with everything, if you learn to be in that flow of that centeredness, it's more creative and more comes to you, more insight, more access to their deeper self.

Robert Maldonado  12:51

So going back to the world that Rumi inhabited, we know there was a connection to Eastern philosophy, to some of the Upanishads and Vedic philosophies. And so in the Vedas, or in the Upanishads you see that understanding. It says “The truth is always one, but the wise call it by many names.” And so here you see one of the different expressions of his way towards God. It is essentially seeking the same mystical truth but it's a different path. It's a path of music, poetry, of passion, and working with the very powerful emotions of compassion and love. But it leads to that same place that the yogi is seeking, that enlightenment, that transcendence. There is a tradition in the Upanishads that's called “bhakti yoga” which is very much related to this.

Debra Maldonado  14:01

Well, even Catholicism, if you think about our Christianity, is that devotional role, like kind of Jesus? Like people love Jesus the same way they would love God, you know, that he's representative. So this is like a love affair with Jesus. Like “I love him.” He's almost like a romantic experience, not sexual, romantic, like adoring and caring, just like we would a partner, you know, or a parent. So you're saying that the real work is the heart?

Robert Maldonado  14:36

Yes. So we talk about Rumi's work in some of the themes that emerged from his work, and then we can discuss it a little bit. So one of the first ones that we see is that the real work, meaning the real spiritual work, is through the heart, through passion, through emotion, through creativity. Here's a little quote from his work. It says: “My heart has become capable of every form. I follow the religion of love. Whatever way love’s camels take, that is my religion and faith.” And actually, this is by a woman named Ibn Arabi. So you see that Rumi's emerging from this tradition of poetry expressing the love for the divine, the search for the divine through poetry, through this kind of metaphor of love.

Debra Maldonado  15:48

You know, when I was single, looking for love, I wrote a lot of poems, like “Please, come to me", and when I read Rumi, I was like “Oh, this feels similar.” This is like this kind of relationship. And ultimately, what I realized is that I was looking for the divine. And then when I found the divine, then I was able to find a relationship, you. But it's almost like you have to define that divine in you first. So you're not replacing this person and projecting that onto that person. And that weight of a burden you're putting on another person “You're going to be the divine answer to me”, you have to find it within yourself. So I love the poetry because it did get me to explore my own emotions around what I was feeling and that yearning. And we do as human beings yearn for the divine. And so it's very similar that kind of romantic angst, is that we have the ego has a yearning for.

Robert Maldonado  16:52

I mean, my sense is that the romantic love that's in-born in us is really a calling towards transcendence. It's like an earthly model of what the soul is seeking. It's seeking union with the divine. And we experience it with each other as “I have this yearning to merge with this person, to become one.” The urge to merge. But when we experience that, in a sense we're experiencing the divine, that feels divine, it feels like I'm outside myself, I'm transcending my ego, my limited self. And I feel connected to this person in a spiritual way. And so a lot of us don't take advantage of that, because we think “Well, it's about that person, that person is my soulmate”, right? Or they're giving me that experience through their presence. But that can't be, it's arising from within us.

Debra Maldonado  18:09

I always say “Let me pour love into you, like soup”, it's not like they're pouring, like I'm sending you love, no, it's arising from within you. That's I think one of the biggest misunderstandings about the divine in love is that we have to understand the idea of the philosophy of oneness, that everything we have and everything we experience is within us. And there's not an object out there, you can send positive or negative vibes out and they're going to pull it like that, attract the right person or attract the right things. It's already within you, and you're having the experience of yourself in the world. And so, if you have an experience of separation from the divine, and feeling like it's not in you, you're going to feel that other person is everything to you, and you're going to fall apart if they leave, or you're going to put, like I said, that burden of responsibility “You're going to take care of me and you're going to love me forever.” And that, I think, is what causes a lot of those relationship issues. I think that's why Rumi, if we understand his poetry, we start to see that we're really seeking it, it invites us to examine what is this romantic feeling, I'm feeling this passion, this bhakti yoga, this devotional type of feeling. And then we can have that higher experience with another person, but we need to develop it within ourselves first.

Robert Maldonado  19:38

So here's another one. “Dying before you die”, he says, “In the existence of your love, I have become non-existent, this non-existence linked to you is better than all existence.” So you see this transcendence of the ego?

Debra Maldonado  20:01

Yes, die, the ego, after the ego.

Robert Maldonado  20:04

Yes, obviously it's a symbolic death, not the physical death. But we see this in romantic love too, right, this feeling of “I would be willing to die for this person”.

Debra Maldonado  20:20

You give up your own ego for that person.

Robert Maldonado  20:22

Yes, you're putting them ahead of you. And that itself is a spiritual practice that you're able to transcend yourself, your ego self.

Debra Maldonado  20:33

But to kind of counter that idea, is that it appears as though you're giving up for someone else. But it's not a higher love. It's more of I'm giving up my own needs and desires but there is a hook to it. Like, if you stay with me, you know. So it's not that you're really giving up yourself in a true way. Because you're still attached to that person loving you back. If you haven't done your inner work.

Robert Maldonado  21:11

Well, I mean, yes, but the ideal of love would be that if you really love this person, and they desire something else or someone else, that you would be willing to say “Well, if that makes them happy, then that's what I desire for them.”

Debra Maldonado  21:28

It's like letting go of someone who wants to be with someone else, you love them enough to let them go. I asked you once a couple years ago, I said “How come we want to help make each other happy all the time? We're always willing to take care of each other”, I said, “What is that about us?" And you said “Oh, that's love.” It's that kind of being willing to make sure the other person is happy. But that would be only if it's mutual. Like you don't want to be just giving up like a doormat for the other person. I guess that's what I was saying is that some people feel like they have to give up themselves in order to win someone's love.

Robert Maldonado  22:11

Yeah, I mean, it's not completely unconditional. But it's getting there. And so I think it serves as a prompt, like a staging for us to move in that direction of the Divine.

Debra Maldonado  22:29

The next one?

Robert Maldonado  22:31

So the next one says, “Surrender to Love.” “Looking at my life, I see that only love has been my soul's companion. From deep inside, my soul cries out ‘Do not wait, surrender for the sake of love.’”

Debra Maldonado  22:54


Robert Maldonado  22:56

And surrender, of course, again means surrendering of our ego self, our attachment to our selfishness, our limited self for the sake of love.

Debra Maldonado  23:14

And even attached to security, like I'm gonna guard my heart, I'm going to be careful. You know, the fear that we have around just opening up to our deeper self, some people, I mean, in relationships, yes, but also it with God. I think there's people that are afraid to trust the divine, they're like “I can do it myself. I know how to do it, I don't trust that God's going to take care of me.” But the divine is going to follow through or the universe is gonna follow through, I gotta, you know, control everything. And so I think a lot of people don't understand that it's actually scarier to have the ego in charge than letting over to the divine. So that surrender to love is like you're surrendering.

Robert Maldonado  24:03

Yeah, I mean, I had a lot of problems with surrender. Of course, I still do. I get to some extent it is a process and a practice, I would say. But it is a very difficult thing for us humans to surrender the will. Because that's really what we're doing. That sense of the I, the ego that we have. Like you say it wants to control, it wants to stay in charge somehow. And the approach to the divine, it means that there's a higher will. Now whether that will is coming from within or without, that’s a different matter. It may be a question for religion, but for the mystic, the will is arising from within, but it says divine will, not the limited ego’s will. And that divine will often lead you into spaces and places that you're not comfortable.

Debra Maldonado  25:12

The ego will resist it. And that's what resistance is. And so the surrender is about being aware of the resistance and kind of taking your foot off the brake. And a lot of times, I think things that happen in our life, we judge as bad. And in those moments, we want to fix it right away, or we want to avoid it from happening again. And it's in that surrender, that if the worst happens, the divine has my back, I mean, I'm gonna be carried and protected. And I can't die, I can't really die in a true sense, I can't be broken. And that kind of understanding of let go. And you don't know what you're going to learn because you went through this tough time, what you can gain from it. And so if you avoid the tough parts of life, you end up being very limited in what you can do because those tough times stretch you and bring you to higher awareness, but we have to trust that something that looks bad to the divine, the divine may be thinking this is your path.

Robert Maldonado  26:25

Rumi has this beautiful poem called The Guesthouse where he says “Whatever emotion shows up, invite them in, they’re guest, and we don't want to leave anybody out.” It’s such a great idea. You want to take the next one?

Debra Maldonado  26:46

The Divine Name. Lovers find secret places inside this violent world, where they make transactions with beauty. Rumi. Is it the speaking of the Divine, a practice that brings us? Well, what happens is, I guess, the divine is this unlimited self. And then when we put it in named form, it becomes into the waking world, like symbols and words. 

Robert Maldonado  27:19

That's right. It's a way of invoking the divine. It is a way because we know the word is very powerful. Just like in one of the testaments, I think the New Testament of John, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.” And I think the words in the Greek is “logos”, meaning this logos is this knowledge, this knowing of the Divine, when you invoke it through the speaking of it, very much like the Om, you're bringing it into presence, you're creating this space where it becomes real, it becomes your realization.

Debra Maldonado  28:08

And so would that be why people have rituals with the words and they say prayers, and they speak? Like you said, the Om practice, and then there's Sanskrit that people speak out?

Robert Maldonado  28:25


Debra Maldonado  28:26

And they write it down actually, writing down.

Robert Maldonado  28:29

Yes, and poetry itself. Poetry, one of the best definitions I've heard is that it's a way of saying what cannot be said. And that is the divine, right? You can't explain what is awareness, what is consciousness. Because it's not an object. It is the experiencer. And therefore when we look for an object, we can't find it. You know, in the West, we're so conditioned to think if we're going to figure out consciousness, let's look for an object. Let's look to see what part of the brain is creating consciousness. And you'll never find it that way because it's not an object. It is the one that is looking for the object. The awareness itself.

Debra Maldonado  29:22

So the next one, working with dreams. Do you want me to read that one? Another Rumi poem, we're getting a lot of Rumi today. “This place is a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn, and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief.” Rumi. Oh, I love that. And we have, even in Eastern philosophy, the idea of Maya, this kind of movement, this stance of life is illusory. It's an apparent reality. And it's like a dream. And in Jungian psychology we talk about the dream life, the dream world is basically identical. And I guess they talk about the Eastern philosophy to add to the waking world. So we are living a dream. It's all happening within our own mind. It's not as solid as we think it is. And even the grief in our life. We grieve because we think we're the ego. And we crave God because we think we're the ego. But God is in love is always here and present. And the ego covers the reality and makes it into something else that's distorted from the truth.

Robert Maldonado  30:39

Yeah, that's another universal for all mystical traditions is that they see the separation, the ignorance, that darkness as illusory. It's not so much about good and evil, or good and bad. It's simply we're either in ignorance, meaning not understanding that we are dreaming or that this life is dreamlike. Or we wake up to the reality, to the deeper truth of it. And we have a direct experience of it. And that's the mystic’s message always that there's a direct way to experience this, to know this for yourself, to realize it. In other words, to wake up.

Debra Maldonado  31:30

And then you can enjoy it while you're here versus after you die. It's like, when we wake up from a dream at night, and we think we're so scared. And then we wake up and we say “Oh, that was just a dream.” I would guess that's what happens when we leave this body. We go “Oh, wow. All the things!” Like you had worked in the hospital in your early career, you said a lot of people have all those deathbed regrets of how I would have done more, and it's almost like you get that “Why does it have to wait until you don't have time anymore to really be bold in your life and take chances.”

Robert Maldonado  32:11

Yes, and unfortunately, it's not a good way to wait until the last few weeks or months of your life, and then try to do this kind of work. It's much better to enter the process early on or in your mid life.

Debra Maldonado  32:30

I think that's why I like the coaching model. Because it really gets people out of that digging up the past and all that ego judgment of right and wrong, and good and bad, and pain and suffering and all that. And we get to a higher understanding of what our human experience is, potential and not that there's things that didn't happen, but the quality of them aren't as solid and harmful as ego says they are.

Robert Maldonado  32:56

Yes, that's right. Because if you think about memories of what happened to us in the past, they're essentially recorded from the ego perspective, from that sense of I. And again, if we ask what is the I, it is illusory, because it is a function of the mind that creates that sense of I. But it doesn't really exist. It's simply like a reference point that the mind uses. And so when people hold on to “this happened to me, or somebody hurt me or somebody did me wrong”, they're reinforcing that ego, that false sense of I.

Debra Maldonado  33:39

And therapy is really designed to build up the ego. So there is a place for that to build up. But I think that most people have a strong ego and that what they really want to do is they don't need to build up their ego anymore. They need to transcend it. And so that's what coaching is about. So that's the difference between the coaching model and being able to look at this world in the delusion, in a more positive, not positive, more way of possibility and expansive way.

Robert Maldonado  34:13

So the next one is—

Debra Maldonado  34:14

Well, this is my favorite one!

Robert Maldonado  34:16

Become drunk on love. And Rumi says “Lovers drink wine all day and night and tear the veils of the mind. When drunk with love’s wine, body, heart and soul become one.”

Debra Maldonado  34:39

He's not talking about wine, is he? I guess they drank wine back then, a lot of wine. But it's, I guess, that altered state. He's talking about where you feel this passion and relaxation. And although a lot of people say when people are drunk, they're more their real self, and their true self comes out. Their ego is not regulating their behavior and it's like more open, like a truth. But I think it's more that kind of drunk, not the wine drunk, but just that feeling of not having the ego run everything, that kind of relaxed openness, that kind of feeling of less defensive, that everything starts to become one. Because when the ego is awake and hyper alert, it separates everything and is defending and not allowing, regulating the emotions and regulating creativity and logic and trying to organize. And then when we relax the mind, it can open up to our soul and our heart.

Robert Maldonado  35:51

Yeah, I think you're the one that told me when we were first talking about how Alcoholics Anonymous had begun with a Jungian idea — or influenced by Jung, that alcoholics often are very spiritual people, and that they're seeking that transcendence through the substance.

Debra Maldonado  36:12

They can't, they want to escape the mind, and they don't know how to do it. And it's even like, I've seen people, they know this life isn't enough. And the same thing with depression, people that are just dissatisfied, it's actually a gift to feel this yearning and this incompletion and dissatisfaction except they're using maybe wine or depression to deal with it. But it is a calling, it's a nudge from our deeper self, it's almost like a knowing that we know that there's more, and that's why when young Bob Smith actually, the AA founder, went to Jung and Jung taught him about a spiritual solution to every problem, and helped him find that replacing that human angst with a divine solution. And that's, I think, what this quote is from Rumi is saying, that kind of opening up to that yearning. Oh, this one is for Deborah, honoring the Divine Feminine wisdom. Another quote from Rumi, another poem. “Woman is the radiance of God. She is not your beloved. She is the creator. You could say she is not created.” Rumi.

Robert Maldonado  37:44

Very profound. And you see this in mysticism as well, in a lot of mystical traditions, even Lao-Tze talks about the feminine spirit of the valley. He says a stick to that spirit, to that wisdom. It is the yielding force, it is like water, instead of the active force of spirit. And if you think the Spirit is the Father, then the material existence is the mother in essence.

Debra Maldonado  38:25

Like the world and matter. And she's the creator of the world.

Robert Maldonado  38:30

Yes. And I think what we often miss, people that are seeking spiritual transcendence, that this physical reality is the divine itself.

Debra Maldonado  38:44

It's not like a place you want to escape from, like “I'm gonna do my work and be a good person, and then one day I get to go to heaven.”

Robert Maldonado  38:51

That's right. And that gives it then a very different meaning. Because now being in the world is your spiritual path to bringing music, bringing dance, bringing poetry into this physical existence or apparently physical existence.

Debra Maldonado  39:11

So art is beautiful. Speaking, expression. Everything is divine. And I also think that a lot of people think this idea that divine is all good, and it’s positive. And when we think of it, the divine can be destructive as well, because sometimes we have to destroy to create, so it's that balance of the Creator that also can be destructive. As, as we know, Mother Nature is with hurricanes, and even the body, you know, ages. And so there's this kind of rhythm of life and if we look at the seasons and everything, that feminine material expression, it's like we are living in God, we are living in the divine, and we need to honor the earth. I mean, there's so much happening right now with climate change, and we need to honor this beautiful spirit, everything so divine and animals and creatures and people. We're all part of that expression.

Robert Maldonado  40:19

Definitely in the West, which is really the predominant paradigm now, the material world was reduced to this dead matter. You know, rocks aren't alive, they're just these clumps of atoms, and therefore, everything kind of was reduced to its economic basis. You know, how can we use that, it’s raw material, that kind of approach. So it's no wonder that we've abused the planet, the physical manifestation—

Debra Maldonado  40:53

We do that to our bodies! I mean, how much do you think about putting wine in your body? Or bad food. You look at the US, and 60 or 70, 60% of people are morbidly obese, I mean, what is going on, we're abusing our bodies, we've lost that sacred experience even of eating. When I was little, you know, very Catholic family, we would have grace before each meal. And we lost that ritual of honoring the earth. And I think a lot of people that love to farm or like to put their hands in the dirt, you know, could plant in their garden. It's that process, that’s why it feels so good, because we're really connecting. Even food, for me, since COVID hit, being able to make meals has been like moving the matter, the alchemy in the kitchen. I do miss going out to dinner. But that idea, everything's divine. And so to bring that into your life is really beautiful. And that feminine and honoring yourself as a woman, for me personally is too, because I grew up in a very patriarchal family, that it would be beautiful to know the power of a woman, power of feminine.

Robert Maldonado  42:17

Yeah, that would be one of my arguments for keeping the mystical traditions up front. I mean, we're not denying the usefulness of science, but we need the mystical understanding so that we have a relationship with the material world in a more divine way, in a more mystical way than just seeing it is dead matter and as raw material, because if we just approach it rationally that, okay, we can't destroy the earth because we won't be able to survive, it doesn't have enough power for us. We have to understand that if I hurt a tree, if I pollute a river, if I do anything to the world, I'm essentially doing it to myself and to the divine, to the divine expression of things.

Debra Maldonado  43:18

Well, I used to kill spiders because I hated them. And now, since I've met you, saving them is kind of interesting. They scare me. And there's this little tiny thing, but I found something about just kind of taking it and putting it outside is like loving it versus “Oh, you scare me. I got to, you know, crush you.” This little, tiny, helpless little thing. And so honoring all life is beautiful.

Robert Maldonado  43:44

Yes. And then finally, enter in to an intoxicated devotion of the Divine. Back to the Bhakti idea.

Debra Maldonado  44:00

It's like a passion, like you've even let it yourself. Lose yourself in that passion. Well, that's where art comes from, we just kind of lose sense of time. And we're just so in love of what we do that we kind of forget ourselves in a way and we become intoxicated with it. Is that what you're?

Robert Maldonado  44:21

Well, let's see what he says.

Debra Maldonado  44:23

Let’s see what he says.

Robert Maldonado  44:25

Drunk with the ecstasy of love, I can no longer tell the difference between drunkard and drink, between lover and beloved.

Debra Maldonado  44:41

So the difference between— like God isn't separate, you're experiencing God as God, you’re divine.

Robert Maldonado  44:49

Yes. And that is the mystic’s gift to humanity. It's a way of understanding what is the nature of our mind, of our soul, of our consciousness. That awareness itself is the divine expressing itself in the world through human form.

Debra Maldonado  45:14

To be one with the divine, that's the ultimate goal. But it's so hard because we have an ego that separates everything.

Robert Maldonado  45:22

And the idea that we can devote time and energy and focus to dance, to music, to art, to love, even romantic love, and even drinking wine together and sharing that feeling, that warm feeling that it gives us of being connected to the vines and the grapes.

Debra Maldonado  45:55

That is why I think the church drinks the wine, they have the wine ritual.

Robert Maldonado  45:58

Yeah, that all those activities can be a form of devotion.

Debra Maldonado  46:03

You notice they give you the wine right before they asked for the donation. So you're like “Okay!” I’m kidding. Yes, but anyway, I love this idea of the devotion to the divine. And a lot of the people we work with are entrepreneurs, and they're coaches, and they're trying to build a business, and they have dreams and passions that they want to share. And we have to be drunk with that passion, we have to be one that the divine in us wishes to express itself through us. That falling in love, that kind of drunk with love, with our passions, and to live fully. And it feels reckless in a way from the ego’s perspective to take the guardrails off and go and fail and explore the ups and downs of starting something, creating something. But that's the beauty of life, and to be one with the divine as you do that. It's almost like your duty. You have to.

Robert Maldonado 47:08

Yeah, can I ask you to read one more?

Debra Maldonado  47:11

Sure. Do you want me to read that first one?

Robert Maldonado  47:13

Yeah, I love that one.

Debra Maldonado  47:15

Okay, well, I wonder why. It's called “Undressing”, Rob. My reading glasses on, tiny print. Okay, one more.

Robert Maldonado  47:23

You gotta have a hobby.

Debra Maldonado  47:27

Learn the alchemy. True human beings know, the moment you accept what troubles you've been given, the door will open. Welcome difficulty as a familiar comrade. Joke with torment brought by the friend. Sorrows are the rags of old clothes and jackets to serve to cover, then are taken off. That undressing and the naked body underneath is the sweetness that comes after grief. Oh, I’ve got goosebumps from that one.

Robert Maldonado  48:06

And there you see the power of poetry, again, that it's saying the things that we can't say in prose, that we can't explain. But we see in through just the images that these words create that there's something deeper, right, like an intuitive experience of truth, of reality.

Debra Maldonado  48:30

Yeah, that's kind of like individuation as well. We're undressing ourselves where we're taking off the persona, this hard shell, kind of barrier that keeps us from really, truly going deeper within ourselves and connecting in the world, inner and outer. And it opens everything up to that rawness. And naked in a way is that intimacy we have with our deeper self that makes us connect with other people in a deeper way and less defensive way and more open.

Robert Maldonado  49:02

Yeah, the images I get also is that the identity that we have with our bodies and our egos or our persona are just the clothing basically, the rags that we put on, and that we think this is who I am, but as we're able to discard them, take them off, that nakedness, that vulnerability that's there, that is the beautiful part of our human nature. And we discover that through this process of surrendering.

Debra Maldonado  49:41

I love that when he says the sorrows are the rags of old clothes and jackets that serve to cover, it's like the sorrow was covering up our true nature. It's like old stuff, old past stuff, old understanding of who we are. And if we truly know our true nature, the divine can never be harmed, can never be hurt. Nothing can ever be lost. It's all one. We're all one with everything, so we can't lose anything. It's like there's nothing to lose. It's like you're playing a game you can't lose if you are coming from that divine place. It’s just an experience. So I wanted to give a shout out to this book that I'm reading from, the Rumi Big Red Book, some of the poems came from here. Did other ones too come from this or some other sources? But this is a nice book. It's very thick. You just open it up and have wonderful luxury. Coleman Barks.

Robert Maldonado  50:46

Yeah, he's a well known Rumi scholar. He's on YouTube if you want to look him up. He reads some of Rumi's work very nicely with music.

Debra Maldonado  50:58

So I wanted to give him a shout out for writing this beautiful translation of his work.

Robert Maldonado  51:05

And I recently saw some videos of Rumi interpreters who read and chant his work in Persian. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. So you can look them up on YouTube.

Debra Maldonado  51:25

So hope you got your fill of Rumi today and Sufism. And we're going to continue our series next week. I can't remember what topic it is. But it's going to be about spirituality. We have some other programs. We're going to talk about yoga. And then I think we're doing one on zen, and so lots of different spiritual disciplines and how they impact personal development and coaching. And we thank you for joining us and hope you enjoyed today. And please don't forget to subscribe. There's a button on the lower right hand side that if you hover over it, it's our little logo, which is actually the Om sign. If you click on it, it says subscribe. We'd love for you to subscribe to our channel. And meet us here each week for another episode of Soul Sessions with Creative Mind.

Robert Maldonado  52:17

Stay well.

Debra Maldonado  52:18

So take care and we will see you soon.

Robert Maldonado  52:23