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
Posts tagged ‘Sufi’
We are born to die.
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
Work Weekend in August
A fantastic work team—Krys Statho, Ric Miccio, Iscah Paquin, Nathalie Molina, and Karleen Koen—came up the weekend following Summer Movement Monastery to help. Ravenrock is a construction site—messy. The Work Team was fabulously high spirited, hard-working, appreciative, and game. They hauled rocks, mixed and poured papercrete, shoveled colleeche into ruts in the access road—all heavy, dusty jobs but these are the basics at this point. Read more
It is so easy to squander peace, crush it beneath habituated frenzy. Sufi Master Adnan Sarhan often said, “If you are in a state of peace, stay there.” A good reminder. This year, after the Summer Movement Monastery, I am content. I could make a list of reasons why but I know that these happenstances are simply concurrent with a more fundamental experience of self. In Sufi, we talk about maqams—stations. There aren’t many of these but each one is a pole around which the seeker turns, looking, feeling, sorting the unreal self from the Real. Read more
Here is a basic Sufi adage: The best way of knowledge is through experience. Just to be clear: ‘experience’ means doing an action rather than reading or talking about it. Experiential knowledge involves all our senses. It is three dimensional and multi-sensorial. It’s not that thought isn’t valuable, but thinking about an action must not be mistaken for doing an action, and information about a matter must never be mistaken for experiential knowledge of the matter. As well, there is the obvious reductionist fact that thought is body. Our marvelous, lovely thinking is the result of our nervous systems swilling endogenous or exogenous chemicals. Even fantasies of disembodiment—resurrection of the body in heaven, out-of-body travel, etc.—are created by the body. Read more
Can’t Find the Grand Canyon
We engage in practices to open ourselves and to learn what it means to be present in this Moment, rather than caught in an old personal story. Last night at 2am unable to sleep, I slid into chanting thinking that I should be asleep and that chanting would calm me, but the chant felt dense, lumpy. A Being-ness had come over me and chanting felt like floating up from a depth. Then I realized I was awake because I was in the Moment. Read more
I want to write about Mary Manly (Schneiderman), a tall, pale blonde beauty who died of cancer this past week. I met Mary at Sufi Camp many years ago, did workshops at her Tribeca loft with Adnan in the 70s when life was slower and cheaper, affording Seekers the time to gather in ease and in strong numbers, dancing and chanting for days on end. Mary’s loft was funky. She ran a heavy duty extension cord from the floor above in and out through the street-side windows to power a boom box. The floor, made of worn pine boards, slanted toward the stairwell. Mary knit gorgeous, arty sweaters of silvery, heavy yarns and fantastical colors. Read more
The dervish’s turban has four wraps.
The first is renunciation of this world.
The second is renunciation of the Other World.
The third is renunciation of the self.
The fourth is renunciation of renunciation.
Not a lot of words here, but an elegant, succinct map for a pursuit which could occupy the better part of a lifetime to undertake and understand. Read more
When we cultivate our spiritual life, our daily life increasingly becomes the face of the Divine.
This came to me as we chanted Ya Muhyi (The Enlivener) in the recent Baton Rouge weekend workshop. I saw daily life as surface, like the earth’s crust, floating above a timeless unitive Communion. We have families and jobs, responsibilities and identities. This is our surface. If, inside, a spark flutters then flames into a blaze of spiritual life, we find, Read more