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
Posts tagged ‘Sufi’
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
A Dancemeditation session is a process of spiraling inward toward the center of the self, then coming out again, but I am not so fond of the clinical feeling of that descriptor. A Dancemeditation session is a work of art. It has light and shadow, shape and beauty, texture and time. It is creative. Ineffable spiritual awakening quivers in this vessel. Read more
Shafi means “To Cure, to Heal.” (Click here for a full description of the practice.) Below are two practitioner accounts of working this practice into a busy life.
Dee Powers, ITCert*
I silently chanted Shafi surrounded by white lights & my favorite animal friends. I was very quiet & very still for what seemed a very long time. Even though I could hear my grandson playing loudly in another part of the house, I was able to be in that beautiful & graceful place. Read more
I have difficulty finding a kind way of being disciplined. For many recent years in my Dancemeditation work, I've been adjusting harsh, punitive disciplinarian-ness of my professional dance years. I seek strength and clarity which require the cultivation of will, but that will mustn't be a willfulness reeking of domination (which, oddly, might be a form of greed, yes? Want. want, want, my way, my way, my way, etc.)...
Dancemeditators worked together as a practice community in our individual locations with Shafi Chant. Shafi means “To Cure, to Heal.” ..."I love this practice because it challenges me more than anything else I can think of but also supports the process at the same time. My thoughts and writing felt therapeutic and not like spiraling downward...."