So maybe an interesting place to begin would be with the subject of “shar’iah,” which is understood and misunderstood in so many ways. From the point of view of a spiritual seeker and from the point of view of a spiritual community what should we understand about the term “shar’iah”? What can it contribute to our spiritual journey and our spiritual life and what are the elements that are worth mentioning concerning establishing the optimal conditions for human dignity in this life, and for our souls in everyday life?
By Kabir Helminski One of the earliest teachings on Sufism that I received more than thirty years ago was about "polishing the mirrror of the heart." The understanding of this idea continues to unfold with new and deeper implications. We continually polish the mirror of the heart in order that the heart might reflect the [...]
A Talk given at the UNESCO International Rumi Symposium, Istanbul O you who study the world, you’re just a hired worker. And you who desire paradise, you’re far from the Truth. And you who are satisfied with the two world, but unaware Because you have not tasted the happiness of His sorrow, You’re simply excused [...]
The recognition is beginning to dawn that we are on the threshold (there's that word again) of a major change in human life. It's even being talked about on the evening news. Thirty years ago we might have thought that this change would come about through a revolution in consciousness. People would begin to wake up! To some extent we have woken up. At the beginning of this millenium we -- and I mean the population of this whole world -- are more conscious of and sensitive to issues of gender, race, human rights, and ecology. At the same time, we seem to have created a frantic pace of life for ourselves and sometimes it seems that the developed world has slipped into the trance of materialism. The purpose of life is to have fun, right?
Veterans of the Psychedelic Revolution of the 1960's might recall with pathos the battles waged against the conventional consciousness of the day. The enemy, as they saw it, was the self-righteous state of mind which believed it had a monopoly on reality and which at the same time had a shadow side of cruelty and insanity. Tens of millions of volunteers opened up their synapses, let the uncensored truth into consciousness, and saw for themselves that most of modern life looked patently insane when seen against the backdrop of nature and eternity. For all its misguided power, they saw conventional consciousness as naively ridiculous. And they considered altering one's state of consciousness as a way of cleansing the unrealities of social conditioning. Such an approach was not only revolutionary, it may have been an evolutionary necessity. Perhaps it allowed enough people to see the disastrous fate society was hurtling toward and to begin to change that direction.
More and more of the world is calling for Sufism without even knowing it. Sufism is a complete spiritual practice and way of life. It is not merely technique, but a fabric of knowledge, values, relationships. Moreover, it is not a mass-produced fabric, but one that must be woven together with the help of people who have mastered the weaving themselves.
At a time when humanity is reaching a point of cultural convergence, ecological crisis, and rapid social change, we wish to promote the truth of Divine love and knowledge through direct, personal experience. In order to accomplish this purpose the times we live call us to express and share the essential principles of spiritual development, to recognize and develop a true partnership of man and woman, to recognize the unity and interdependence of all human beings and all life, and to aid in the practical realization of living in harmony with our fellow beings and the natural world. Another way to state our objective is that we wish to develop a contemporary expression of the classical Sufi Path, establish a workable format in which individuals and groups can mature within this tradition and experience the joys of Sufism, and, finally, to make a tangible contribution to our culture through service, art, music, and literature.
The hatred, fear, and violence that we see manifesting in the world will cause us to ask many questions. What meaning shall we read in these events? What are the root causes of evil? What should our response be? Where shall we turn to find answers and guidance? Anyone who takes Islam seriously can expect to be stigmatized in the eyes of many in the prevailing society. The current situation presents us with a challenge.