Sufi masters often say that the secrets of the Path are handed heart-to-heart, like seeds, for you to grow in your flesh garden.
In the past Winter Intensive, I said — though perhaps not as loudly as I felt — that a teaching which is not handed heart-to-heart has no Reality, it won’t contain the experience of spiritual lineage transmission. Sufis are big on experience. So, first of all, this is truth, not a bid for control or a slash of stinginess or cloud of mystique. And second, it underlines the respect with which true matters — like one’s life, one’s opportunity — are best approached. We can always approach ourselves with contempt and derision, and many of us do, but a healthier, more fruitful attitude is respect and appreciation. Read more
Observing is a good way to learn. Listening with stitched lips, wakeful eyes, and quivering ears brings magic into your life.” —Fatima Mernissi, Moroccan feminist scholar, Dreams of Trespass
Leading and Following—powerful, powerful, powerful—is fundamental to Dancemeditation training. It quiets the monkey mind. It teaches us how to hear the Divine. Big claim, but true. Read more
“What happens in that passage between the subsiding of the movement and the beginning of deep rest?” That is the study question I asked my NYC Dervish Dancemeditation group in last week’s session. The perfume of a meditation period—from The Rosebush story—is most palpable in the stillness and inner gaze during the Deepening Phase that follows the active Effort Phase. (Three Phases of Deepening: Effort, Expansion, Deepening)
Here are a Sri Prem Baba’s thoughts, that are may be relevant: “Perhaps one of the main challenges for the spiritual seeker is the impulse to keep doing things. The ego always wants to do something, but there comes a time when there is nothing else that can be done. One simply needs to stop and quiet down, which will enhance one’s perception of the truth.” Read more
The most Rapid Method of spiritual development? Keep reading. Here it is.
My teacher called his Sufi training method Shattari—the Rapid Method. It was a wild ride! This is the spiritual lineage of Dervish Dancemeditation. Embodied spiritual development moves us quickly and fully through the stations of spiritual path. This is because it is embodied, and body truth is not the same as mind truth. Bodies are complex, ahead of any game the mind can devise. The body’s doorways to the mystical center are infinite, swift and full. Read more
Alia Thabit and I recorded a recent conversation about Daily Practice and Dancemeditation Path. Here is an excerpt from our extended conversation. Read more
There are only two directions in life: Soul Killing life and Soul Developing. Each is a choice. Each takes a long time. One is mostly passive while the other requires effort. Though Soul Killing is smooth slide into Lethe, it is littered with clues. You get heavier and heavier. Poison seeps into your pores, drips liquid lead into your tender lung sacks, hardening and stilling their swell. You hardly breathe. You can barely move in your flesh tomb. So you grind to a halt. Or run maniacally away from yourself. Busy busy. Your heart slams and rattles ever more weakly against the dungeon wall of you. Your body is one tremendous clue: if you hate it, if you feel numb to it, if you barely know you have it, and if you even exist thinking of your body as “it”, you are in Soul Killing.
Soul Developing is a conscious act every step of the way. Read more
One must have enough to engage in Path. What is the right amount?
I have always felt that choosing simplicity—which is not quite the same as poverty but similar—was less of a strain on the ecosystem. Have what is essential. Don’t indulge. Animals get this equation right. Humans have to work at it. Buddhists, Sufis, Yogis, and pretty much all Paths, know about appetites and the need for simplicity. Read more
We are born to die.
The usual verbiage is that we are born to live and die, as if existence is an arc, but as far as the body is concerned, living and dying are integral. Like a snake we continually slough off skin, layer over bone, rip connective tissue and re-solder it. Living, at the biological level, involves constant dying. Life and death are not just cyclical but simultaneous. Life and death are one. And the same. Our culture gives us so little affection for small, daily deaths. Read more
It is a quiet thing, learning from wilderness, becoming less tame, and less inclined to tame every little moment and every little action, to let time roam freely in me, my hair to tangle, my ears to grow as big as jackrabbit ears. ‘Wild’, as I am coming to know it, is learning a different way of being, and discovering, once the old veneer of self has chipped off, the original wood of self, Read more
Mid-September. The cold front arrived as promised with a heavy blanket of cloud and sharp rainy winds out of the northwest. I curled under cozy covers all night, intermittently sleeping soundly, but often awake, eyes closed, listening to the wind and rain, safe and warm. Snug in a storm.This is one of the keenest pleasures I’ve ever known. Read more