Rumi: Gazing at the Beloved: The Radical Practice of Beholding the Divine

Excerpts & Samples

By Will Johnson

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Will Johnson

Will Johnson
Will Johnson is the founder and director of the Institute for Embodiment Training, which combines Western somatic psychotherapy with Eastern meditation practices. He is the author of Yoga of the Mahamudra; the award-winning Rumi: Gazing at the Beloved, The Forbidden Rumi, and The Sailfish  More...



Reveals the esoteric techniques of achieving divine Union based on the practices of the Sufi poet Rumi and his mysterious spiritual companion Shams-i-Tabriz.

• Reveals the actual practices that transformed Rumi from a conventional Islamic scholar into the mystical poet who originated the dance of the whirling dervish.

• Demonstrates how anyone can achieve similar states of ecstatic divine Union through the simple practice of intentional gazing.

• Interweaves the poetry and writings of Rumi to document this radical practice.

One of the most extraordinary events in the history of Sufism occurred in 1244, when the Sufi poet, mystic, and originator of the dance of the whirling dervish, Jallaludin Rumi, met a wandering seeker named Shams-i-Tabriz. Upon meeting, the two men immediately went into private retreat together and emerged 90 days later in a transformed condition. While the relationship between Rumi and Shams is highly revered within the Sufi tradition, the exact nature of what transpired between them has remained a mystery for the past 750 years. 

Rumi: Gazing at the Beloved reveals for the first time the actual esoteric practice that Rumi and Shams were engaged in behind the closed doors of their retreat room. Using the poetry and words of Rumi to document this radical practice step-by-step, Will Johnson resolves this long-standing spiritual mystery by conducting an extensive search through Rumi's life to uncover the mystical secrets of divine Union in sacred friendship and intimate partnering. In doing so, he presents a practice that anyone can engage in to attain the same ecstatic state of divine Union experienced by Rumi and Shams so many centuries ago. 

“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 Jallaludin 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 Rumi’s discourses, Signs of the Unseen

“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

"For seekers who wish to push the boundaries and explore the deepest, perhaps the most challenging of of pathways. I highly recommend this book."

Lesley Crossingham, New Dawn, July-Aug 2007