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Rumi Returning Presentations
Gamble Everything for Love


Cynthia Lukas
reciting Rumi


In Person Presentations with Producer-Writer-Narrator Cynthia Lukas and the screening of the documentary about the beloved Sufi mystic, “RUMI RETURNING:  The Triumph of Divine Passion”
As seen on PBS

“Gamble everything for love
If you’re a true human being.
If not, leave this gathering.”

Does an 800 year old mystic hold the secret to world peace?

In "RUMI RETURNING" Producers Cynthia Lukas and Kell Kearns say "Yes!" Long revered in the East, Rumi is now just as beloved in the West. Even after 9/11, this Muslim Sufi remains the best-selling poet in the U. S. Rumi's voice crosses borders and boundaries to reach into our universal Heart. As the premier translator into English, Coleman Barks, says at the outset of "RUMI RETURNING": "He is the only planetary poet we have."

"RUMI RETURNING" shows the unique, unitive vision he offers our planet in all of its expansive,
ecstatic truth and beauty. It celebrates his life as a triumph over separation and longing, illusion and limitation, grief and despair. His journey to wisdom, love and joy becomes our own. Cynthia's programs and workshop inspire audiences to, in Rumi's incomparable words, "gamble everything for love."

Contact Cynthia to arrange a presentation on "RUMI RETURNING."

Here are what a few have said about Cynthia’s presentations:

"Rumi Returning is a beautiful interfaith film that creatively places Rumi and his work in both a spiritual as well as a historical context. Having Cynthia introduce the film and answer questions as well as share intriguing behind-the-scenes information took it over the top."
     --Rev. Brendalyn Batchelor, Unity of Santa Fe

"Cynthia Lukas brings a special kind of light to a rich mystical history that fuels our hearts and minds in a way that it brings Life back into the world. My vision for her and Kell Kearns is that their movies are played in all local theaters, which would absolutely transform our planet."
     --Rev. Frankie Timmers, Center for Spiritual Living, Morristown, New Jersey

"Rumi Returning" is much more than a documentary--it is an absorbing experience of mini-pilgrimage into the mystical tradition immortalized by Rumi who inspired the birth of the whirling dervishes. Cynthia's giftedness is multifaceted; her contribution to our "Let's Talk About It: Love and Forgiveness"community discussions was both insightful and gracious!"
     --Anthony G. Franchina, Project Scholar, “Let’s Talk About It:  Love and Forgiveness” series,
     co-sponsored by the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute


Three Rivers Public Library, Michigan

With a Master’s in Communications and more than 25 years as a college educator and public lecturer, Cynthia has given scores of “RUMI RETURNING” presentations to churches and spiritual centers, interfaith gatherings, festivals, conferences, universities and libraries. These include the National Cathedral (Washington, D. C.), UNESCO Universal Forum of Cultures (Monterrey, Mexico), National Museum (Prague), World Peace Festival (Berlin), Middle East Studies Association Conference (Montreal), and film festivals, such as the Santa Fe Film Festival and AWAKEN! Spiritual Film Festival.  She has shared "RUMI RETURNING" with scores of Centers for Spiritual Living and Unity churches to include New Vision CSL, New Dawn CSL, CSL Morristown and Unity of Columbia (Missouri).  She has presented it to audiences at the University of California-Irvine, Wesleyan University, University of Arizona, Georgetown University and Las Vegas-West Charleston Library, as well as many other schools and libraries.

Here are the titles of her workshops (taken from lines of Rumi’s poems read in “RUMI RETURNING”).  Each centers around Love:

“GAMBLE EVERYTHING FOR LOVE”:  Rumi says in order to be “true human beings,” we must live our lives centered on Love.  Just as the Whirling Dervishes he inspired circle around their center in perfect concentration and balance, we reach purpose and joy when we center our lives on Love and the service of all humanity.  To “gamble everything for love” means to be willing to take the exquisite risk to enter into this service, however challenging it might appear.  Such service transforms us into seeing the Love we truly are.  As the Course in Miracles says, “God is but Love, and therefore so am I.”

“LOVERS ARE IN EACH OTHER ALL ALONG”:  We are born to be Lovers.  That is our destiny, our goal here on earth.  Rumi says that during our lives each of us searches for the true Love, the divine Love that is mirrored in the human Love we will experience with our heart friends and family in our daily lives.  He experienced this perfect reflection of Love with his teacher and friend, Shams.  But such human Love is still only a pale imitation of the Love we will experience when we exult in sacred communion with our Beloved.  In poem after poem, Rumi describes this ecstatic Love, and yet often admits, silence is the best description. 

“LISTEN TO THE REED AND THE TALE IT TELLS”:  Rumi’s first poem about the flute being cut from the reed bed and singing of separation is his quintessential expression of the “cosmic homelessness” he felt and his longing to be united with his Beloved.  The day he died (Dec. 17) is celebrated every year in Konya, Turkey, where he lived most of his life.  It is known as his wedding day (Sheb-I Arus), for he said it was then he said he would be conjoined with his Beloved.  Muhammad said, “Die before you die,” and Sufis take this very seriously.  The Sufi Rumi teaches us through his poetry and whirling dance that we are meant to “die before we die,” or experience the self-annihilation (fana) that allows us to disappear in union with the Divine here on earth long before we shake off our physical bodies.  Cynthia compares this Sufi goal of ego-annihilation and marriage with the Beloved with other mystical traditions:  Christianity, Judaism, Taoism, etc.   

“I AM INTOXICATED WITH LOVE’S CUP”:  Rumi’s life is not anything if it is not an expression of ecstasy.  We believe this to be one of the key reasons why Rumi is so popular now and why “RUMI RETURNING” has been so embraced:  He provides us with a blueprint for unmitigated joy, the joy that is too often lacking or limited in contemporary religious rituals and practices.  Learning from his father about the absolute appreciation of sensual life here on earth and from his teacher Shams about the merging of the Self with the Other to attain transcendence, Rumi’s way is living Life to the fullest by cultivating humility and embodying unmitigated Love.  His way is the way of tasting the eternal daily. 

    Cynthia and Dr. Rahimieh
Cynthia with Dr. Nasrin Rahimieh,
Professor of Comparative Literature
and Chair and Director of the Center for Persian
Studies and Culture at UC-Irvine after the “Rumi Returning” presentation

“THE WHOLE WORLD WILL TURN GREEN WITH OUR LOVE”:  Rumi believed that the Love he co-created with his teacher and friend Shams, the love he experienced with the Divine,  would multiply exponentially. . .and that one day the whole world would “turn green” with that love.  We believe that is happening now, as modern audiences listen and take to heart the message of this 800 year old mystic.  Through compassion and sharing with our brothers and sisters, that is, through the miracle of Love, our love too can multiply like loaves and fishes.  Our love has the power to create even more miracles and ripple throughout the Universe with a transformative effect throughout time.

 “I AM NEITHER CHRISTIAN NOR JEW NOR MUSLIM. . .FOR I BELONG TO THE SOUL OF THE BELOVED”:  Rumi is an important voice today for interfaith harmony, especially among the three Abrahamic religions.  As a mystic, he transcended to a world where religious designations were in the end meaningless and all paths were both expected and respected in Love.  We believe this is another key reason why Rumi is being embraced at this very moment by both East and West.  At a time when we see conflict and violence perpetuated around the world in the name of religion, his voice has emerged when we need him the most to speak about interspiritual dialogue and cooperation.  His is the voice of universal mysticism that is emerging to transform our world. 

Contact Cynthia for workshop descriptions.

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(From “RUMI RETURNING,” copyright Heaven on Earth Creations, 2007)