Fariba Enteshari, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership & Change
This research examined how Rumi’s poetry impacts the lives of individuals who study his teachings, written 800 years ago in his masterpiece, Mathnawi. After teaching Rumi for the last 15 years, I was aware of positive changes in my students’ lives but wanted a more in-depth understanding of what drew the students to Rumi’s poetry and the impact of studying the poetry on the students’ lives. Fourteen experienced students, and 14 students who were new to the study of Rumi participated. I used a grounded analytical approach to analyze the new students’ reflections written during a study workshop as well as in-depth interviews with all students.
The findings show that students drawn to study Rumi’s poetry were searching for more meaning and understanding of themselves and their lives. As they engaged with the core concepts of Rumi’s poetry, they felt validated and comforted by the affirmation they received. Students were able to reconcile their religious beliefs as they incorporated Rumi’s teachings into their lives. They also felt moved and enriched by the beauty of the language and imagery of the poetry. Students were able to understand themselves and others better and find a deeper meaning in their lives. Students need continuity in practicing what they learned to stay in touch with the wisdom that they gained during the lectures.
Key Words: Wisdom Studies, Sufism, Persian Poetry, Jala Al Din Rumi, Rumi’s teachings, Rumi’s poetry, Islamic Iranian Mysticism, Transformational Learning