Engaging the market place with a Sufi perspective.

Discovering the Elemental Self

Discovering the Elemental self by Wajid – Ibn ‘Arabi advises the seeker, “Do not hope to recognize yourself through other than yourself, for there is no other” In ancient alchemy The Elemental Self was regarded as the main source of study. Comprised of the five elements , earth, water, fire, air and ether, also called akasha in India. According to Wikipedia, the elemental system used in medieval alchemy was developed primarily by the Persian alchemist Jābir ibn Hayyān

Everyday Life As Spiritual Practice

Often we think “Oh, I’d love to give more to my practices, but I just don’t have the time. Maybe someday, once ___ (fill in the blank) happens…” It is certainly the case that more and more demands are being placed on our limited time, and that our tendency is to let the important things take a back seat to that which is more pressing. Since there seems to be no respite from the pressing things and there’s always something in the way when ____ comes, the dedicated spiritual aspirant must be increasingly creative in finding ways to do spiritual practice “in life” and not waste valuable time. Without daily spiritual practice to stay “tuned up,” we lose the momentum we get from retreats and workshops, we are more subject to mental fog, upsets, and crappy moods, and our progress on the path is in general very slow. This is actually unnecessary. There is really quite a lot we can do to engage the basic principles of spiritual-practice-in-life. In this article, we will look at the habits and attitudes that can make daily life one’s spiritual practice, to be “in the world but not of the world.” There are many devices and little rituals that we can fold into our day that can help us greatly. These are not “shoulds,” not something with which to further beat ourselves up for not having done them. These techniques, when engaged in a spirit of experiment and inquiry, can bring awareness and aliveness to even the most mundane activities. There are some things which also have an effect at a subtle-energy level and help us to keep ourselves tuned up and also plug energy leaks. Don’t try to remember or do all the hints and techniques in this article all at once; take one at …


Another zinger from Jeff Brown… Shame comes at us from many different directions — families of origin, the guilt-tripping religious world, the competitive marketplace, the collective consciousness itself. I know of very few people who move through the world with a healthy sense of self, with a real appreciation for their divinity and inherent magnificence. And the spiritual bypass movement just makes things worse for those who are seeking answers, bashing the ego in its entirety, repressing the shadow in the name of a version of enlightenment that is more self-avoidant than expansive, and even characterizing the body as spiritually sub-standard, as though the divine made a mistake putting us in human form. This cycle is often perpetuated by the artificial-forgiveness community, who diminish those who dare to work on their unresolved feelings by telling them that their feelings are an illusion, their experiences are mischaracterized, their stories tiresome. Just jump out of your process and forgive your wrongdoers — put their process ahead of even your own. Levels and levels of madness, that leave spiritual seekers entirely confused about the value of healing the “pain body” and elevating the self-concept. Let’s get this straight — Shame is not an illusion. Self-loathing is not an illusion. Our stories are not illusions. Abuse and neglect are not illusions. And the need to heal our hearts and elevate our self-concepts is essential to healthy functioning. Pretending things aren’t real doesn’t make them go away. Facing them does. I believe that the stories are illusions, from the perspective of that of us which is self-subsisting — but the wounding certainly is not illusory, and everyone’s wounding deserves to be respected and held in compassion, even while we confront and deconstruct the community collusion to avoid getting real about its power.

“The Adab of Group Zikr” — a talk by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

Beloved ones of God, dear friends, Welcome to this gathering of samā and Zikr. I am very happy to share a weekend together with you to explore the nuances of the sacred practice of Zikr-Allāh, the remembrance of God. Zikr-Allāh is the very core of the sufi path. Exploring the nuances of this sacred practice is very meaningful. There is a recommended adab, a manner, in which this sacred practice is best approached and engaged, and I would like to mention a few important points. Come early to the Zikr circle so that you do not find yourself interrupting. Come as the circle is being formed. Find yourself a place in the circle. If more people are coming, be ready to move back and incorporate more people into the Zikr circle. Open the circle, so that everyone can be included. If you come late, one must not interrupt the Zikr that is in progress. But you can silently come and sit just behind the circle. If you have a tasbih or prayer beads, this is for your own practice, in your personal Zikr practice. But if you are in a circle of Zikr you need not (and ought not) count the tasbih. Only the Zikr leader, the shaikh, the “Zakir” will do this. He or she is the one who will count, so you need not count. Keep your glance oriented to the Zikr leader. It is very important to be attentive to the Zikr leader — this is something that I find is very often lacking in group Zikrs. People often “space out” and get into their own state instead of partaking of the unity in and of the group. Zikr is not only vocalizing, invoking, singing or saying the words. It is as much about listening as about vocalizing — and very often this …

The Five Aspects of Prayer and the Five Elements

Five aspects of prayer are described by the Sufi teacher Hazrat Inayat Khan. I have found a correspondence between these and the Five Elements to which we attune through the Purification Breaths. The best time for the breath practice is first thing in the morning, outside or in front of an open window. Practise it standing, or if necessary sitting with your back straight. Once you are familiar with the breaths, it is better to keep the eyes open, but at first you can close your eyes. Earth Purification Breath The first element is Earth, and the first aspect of prayer is gratitude. The earth breath is inhaling and exhaling through the nose. To attune to one’s relationship with the earth one needs to awaken to one’s subtle energetic body. In the same way that the physical body is continuously nourished by digesting and metabolizing the physical substance of the planet, on a subtle level our magnetic field is nourished by the magnetism of the planet. It is useful to first locate the rhythm of your heart. Then see if you can find the echo of the heartbeat in your hands, feet and head. Scientists used to speak of the heart as the pump of the circulatory system, but now it is understood that the heart itself is pumped by the collective action of the entire circulatory system. So you can’t think of your heart as being limited to your chest. In fact, if you feel the pulsation of circulation in your hands, fingertips, feet and head, you may feel that there is no definite boundary. When you eyes are closed, your hands don’t feel as if they are made up of five fingers, but rather you feel the vibration that pulses through the hands, expanding in all directions and forming a field that emanates …

The Gift of the Formless

As in many Sufi writings, the article below contains ideas that flow from the heart rather than the mind. This essay can be read as a guided meditation; we invite you to allow yourself to be drawn gently on a journey of expanded consciousness. When we observe ourselves critically, we sometimes discover that our lives are permeated by an unsuspected element of fear — the fear of death. We have tried to take the emotional edge off this fear by calling it an instinct for survival, which is just a more acceptable way to say, “We are scared, and willing to do anything to avoid this feeling.” Our fear of death is uncomfortable, and we do what we can to avoid it, because we are basically creatures of comfort. We are unsettled by the thought of death partly because we know nothing about what happens after death. We know what death looks like from the side of the living, but once the threshold has been crossed, it becomes the unknown, and most of us do not like the unknown – nothing is more frightening. It is so scary that we spend an enormous amount of energy avoiding even the thought of it, and we have created all kinds of social manners to circle the subject. Religion has attempted to ease our fear by suggesting a landscape of continuity — of life beyond death. Unfortunately, the average person cannot verify it, and to make things worse it has been embellished to a point of incredibility, becoming more folklore than a useful tool to appease our fears. Yet there are some dedicated intuitive individuals who have crossed the threshold into the holographic, non-linear unknown, and have attempted to offer guidance, to offer maps and directions on how to work on our self-imposed limitations and fear. One …

The Next Step

From a friend’s Facebook post: How can you be ready for the next level of growth? You simply cannot….because like any growth it’s new & you cannot be fully ready for whats new! We can’t know what we don’t know — and the real knowledge does not come from books or stuff we hear at workshops, but from the kind of direct experience that changes our felt-sense of identity and reality. Like you can’t “not see” the vase between the profiles or the profiles framing the vase once you see them, the real knowledge is something you can’t not-know about yourself after it finally graces you — and grace is gratuitous, so you can’t engineer or cause this awakening, no matter how profound the affirmations on your fridge door. So we absolutely must learn to sail the boat of our awakening by doing the practices and practicing the attitudes of the awakened ones… we have to hoist the sail or nothing happens, but the currents are what they are and the wind is going to be what it’s going to be, and we can’t control those things, we can only surrender to them.

The Domain of Love Harmony and Beauty.

Outside the framework of our rational consciousness exist a dimension the Sufis call the heart of knowing.  We will explore the means by which we can access  this evolutionary inheritance, of an intelligent universe.

The Temple of Light, Love.

This process of learning for the most part starts from the lower, outer mode of consciousness, in the same manner that we attend different degree of schooling, each time relying on the previous learning to move on to the next, until through persistence we reach the top levels of education.

© Copyright 2014 Sufi Order Inayati — Seattle