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“The Curve of the World” visits Waldorf

Andy Douglas performs one of the songs from his cd for Waldorf's World Religions class

Andy Douglas performs one of the songs from his CD for Waldorf’s World Religions class

By: Audrey Sparks Standing in front of the class in khaki pants, a black striped sweater with a grey collared shirt and shoes similar to hiking boots, Andy Douglas was not what most would have expected to see when they were told that a man, who used to be a monk, was coming to speak to the World Religions class at Waldorf. But that’s what Douglas once was. After living in places like India, Thailand, Korea, Japan and the Philippines; Douglas was forced to relocate back to the United States when his health began to fail. “Returning to the US after seven years of living abroad was a challenging thing,” Douglas said. “I saw my home country through new eyes, its materialism and consumerism were pretty striking, and it took me time to find my feet again, after living in often much poorer conditions.” Douglas currently makes his home in Iowa City. He pursues a writing career but his love of his spiritual practice as a Yogi has not diminished. Part of that love includes music. “Music as a spiritual practice plays an important role in my life,” Douglas said. He finds that music helps to create a strong connection between himself and his spiritual beliefs. Douglas took the time to share some of the music he plays with, professor of religion, Joy Heebink’s World Religions class. The music had a soothing rhythmic feeling that seemed to create happiness. Even though the words were in another language, you could sense the meaning. Douglas hoped to convey a broader idea to the class beyond just his previous and current spiritual practices. He wanted to teach the class about the depth of yoga extending past a basic physical activity. “There are many ways to live an ethical, spiritual life, many paths to God. It’s important to explore and follow your own heart, to strive to live the most authentic, dynamic, service-oriented life you can,” Douglas said. “Yoga is not simply a set of physical exercises, but a comprehensive way of life which sees all things as sacred.” Tim Bascom, Waldorf Director of Creative Writing and Assistant Professor of English, has a long-term friendship with Douglas. Friends since 2001, Bascom and Douglas first met at the University of Iowa while they were working on their MLF degrees. Bascom helped in the editing process of Douglas’ book, The Curve of the World. “I got to read chapters of Andy’s book in workshop classes and also in our travel writing group when it was his turn for feedback,” Bascom said. The two have maintained their friendship throughout the years and were part of the founding members of the travel-writing group that continues to meet once a month since their days in college together. “I have a lot of respect for Andy as a spiritual seeker who was not afraid to travel into new terrain, both literally and figuratively,” Bascom said. “Andy went all the way around the world to find more fulfillment and today he is still walking the path that he chose, meditating up to an hour a day, trying to live a life that doesn’t harm the earth or others, even singing in a prison choir as a way to be actively engaged with those in need.” Douglas continues to maintain many of the practices he participated in as a monk such as fasting. As Bascom said he still meditates twice a day as well. “When I get the chance I join with others in collective meditation, what we call “dharmacakra” (the circle of dharma), and it’s a good thing,” Douglas said. Another interest is devotional poetry, which serves as a means of direction for his love of God. If you would like to learn more about Douglas and his fascinating journey you can purchase a copy of his book, “The Curve of the World”, or you can also visit his website, On his website you will find additional works, a complete bio and his personal blog.