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Posts tagged ‘Sufi’

Quivers in this Vessel

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

Dancemeditators Do Shafi Chant: Part 3

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

Seeking Strength and Clarity

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.)...

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Dancemeditators Do Shafi Chant: Part 2

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...."

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Nafs and Resistance to Personal Practice

There is a big idea is Sufism known as Nafs. Resistance to practice is entwined there. Nafs, in brief, are self-destruction. More gently put, they are the aspects of self that undermine core soul hungers of Self. They can show up as fear, doubt, or lack of self respect. Read more


“There is a sickness worse than the risk of death and that’s forgetting what should never be forgotten…” –Mary Oliver

I am working with a new chanting. New to me. Otherwise, old as time. Its not important that anyone know what the word is. It’s a Sufi chant. Sufi chanting is called zhikr — remembrance.

My new chant surprises me because the part that is meaning — its literal translation — doesn’t touch the fullness of the experience. This chant must be right for me since, as I do it, I cross a threshold into the place I never want to forget, a place where I feel completely human yet safe and real. Most ordinary days, human-ness is a long string of vigilance and fear. I’m familiar with all that, inured to it.  I seek the place where, like my time as an infant, I was held by my mother or father and they were vigilant for me. I was safe in their arms. They watched out for the wolf and bear, the snake and illness. Those killers. ‘Being held’ is a sweet flavor of giving up into the Moment. Yet the Moment requires surrender, letting yourself be held.

On the surface, the Moment could be any sort of temperature or condition; it could be painful, or it could be luscious. That, however, is just its surface. There is the inside of the Moment. The inside of the Moment is far more than being held and carried. It has a secret wisdom. (Not so secret if you get there but untouchable to most who stand on the outside of the glass window in life.) The importance of spiritual seeking is to find and touch, every day and in as many moments as possible, the inside of the Moment — not forgetting what should never be forgotten.

The inside of the Moment is a lamp in the dark, a vista that is boundless, is newness, is inspired existence, is non-separateness, is freedom, is spaciousness. It is soft like rabbit fur, and a perfect embrace. It is communion, knowing, contentment, and the end of bottomless want. It is the end of fear.

Comfort in Practice

My night reading of Koran verses was surprisingly refreshing. I used to find them judgmental—all that ‘do the right thing or be in hell’—but with a new perusing and the leavening of age and experience, that they are right.  They just are. The question is understanding what the ‘right thing’ is. Each sura drops a tiny clue in its bed of poetry to what a right thing is. Read more

Summer Mysticsim: Water, the Divine Guidance

In this picture a Teacher gives a water blessing to a Seeker.

A teacher begins as a person outside the self. In Sufi, the Teacher moves from intuition and is guided. Over time, the Teacher forges an internal guidance in the Seeker. We all strive to internalize Trust in Divine Guidance, Trust in Intuition.

That is the meaning of water—Intuition and Divine Guidance.

Summer Mysticism: Three Ways of Doing This

In retreat trainings, relief is always there. For everyone. Improved health is always there, spiritual growth is always there. For everyone. Beyond this basic healing, there is a range of benefit for participants and this has to do with individual propensity and intention. I see three general types show up at retreats—Passengers, Voyeurs, and Seekers. Passengers need contact with those embraced by Path, and will find healing. Voyeurs show up for drama, highs, or escapes; that can only go on for a short while before the process burns them out. There is a lot of ego there, and a tough road ahead.

Seekers find their hearts opening to the Path—that great gift feeling of ‘coming home’. These people are fortunate. They have inner certitude about their experience. Soon, however, they need to choose to gratefully, responsibly cultivate evolution. What does this look like? Arrive with good intention, participate with respect and fullness, then take care of yourself after trainings. Personal practice gives the transforming self time and sanctuary.
In striving for this, we grow to understand the embrace of Path.

Summer Myticism: Sufi Transmission

Making the choice to remove the personal practice requirement prompted me to ask myself about my role as the Teacher of this work. If I’m not a spiritual mom or a police-person, who am I? My role is to cultivate and grow the transmission of Path I received from my Teacher, then transmit and ‘open’ the students working with me. The student’s role is to receive and cultivate the Path I transmit to her.

What is transmission in our Sufi Way? Transmission is like an infusion of electricity into one’s circuits. In Sufi, during training periods the Teacher prepares students for this infusion, modulates the energy as it pours out and through, then closes and soothes afterward. We all transform during this process. After training periods, the student must care for the lights ignited within. She must care for her emerging self. Personal practice fans the spark or flame the Teacher has ignited.