Making this my day of seeking spiritual beauty and soul searching. I am hypnotized by the beauty of Sufi poetry, that so speaks to the heart. Also, I have added for eye-candy purposes only, amazing images of Mosques in Iran, most of which are centuries old. I cannot think of a better offering than stunning architecture and the beauty of these priceless Mosque’ ceilings. ~Eve
“I have loved in life and I have been loved. I have drunk the bowl of poison from the hands of love as nectar, and have been raised above life’s joy and sorrow. My heart, aflame in love, set afire every heart that came in touch with it. My heart has been rent and joined again; My heart has been broken and again made whole; My heart has been wounded and healed again; A thousand deaths my heart has died, and thanks be to love, it lives yet. I went through hell and saw there love’s raging fire, and I entered heaven illumined with the light of love.
… I wept in love and made all weep with me; I mourned in love and pierced the hearts of men; And when my fiery glance fell on the rocks, the rocks burst forth as volcanoes. The whole world sank in the flood caused by my one tear; With my deep sigh the earth trembled, and when I cried aloud the name of my beloved, I shook the throne of God in heaven. I bowed my head low in humility, and on my knees I begged of love, “Disclose to me, I pray thee, O love, thy secret.” She took me gently by my arms and lifted me above the earth, and spoke softly in my ear, “My dear one, thou thyself art love, art lover, and thyself art the beloved whom thou hast adored.” ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan,The Dance of the Soul
Julie Redstone said , “It is part of embodied life to focus on the level of the mind and on the level of the emotions as a way of identifying the self. Such identification has come about over a very long period of time and its presence signals the ascendance of the ego-self within time and space and the relative diminishing of the conscious awareness of one’s inner being — one’s transcendent, immortal, soul-self. That this shift took place is not a mistake. It is not an error in judgment. It is the consequence of souls being drawn into the sphere of duality which the physical realm represented, and it was by choice that souls arrived there. ”
THE HUMAN SOUL: A SUFI WAY
“It is the Soul, the feminine principle between Body and Spirit, which undertakes the Quest and is transformed from its physical and sensible function to its psychic function and thence to its spiritual function. As the Soul approaches the second transformation, from sensible to spiritual, it becomes what the Sufi calls the spiritual Heart, the instrument of intuition. It is the Heart which finally unites with the Spirit. It is annihilated and experiences a spiritual death. It is then reborn with the Spirit and attains subsistence: it knows that it exists through the Absolute and was never really separated from it.
The Soul has its origin in the spiritual world. When it is attached to the Body, it descends from the world of Light to this world of darkness, dark because of its distance from the Source. If the Body with its desires proves the stronger, the soul becomes heavier, more materially orientated, dense and opaque. The veils multiply. If, however, this Soul becomes aware of its captivity and conscious of its imprisonment within the six directions of the body and the four primary elements of earth, air, water and fire, then and only then can the journey of the feminine principle begin.
Having fallen into the world against its will, it finds itself a stranger, an exile from the world of Light. The Soul must raise itself to the level where it feels its chains and bonds are intolerable, and then, with the aid of its spiritual faculties, which only now realise the bondage, free itself and return whence it came. Thus, the moment of consciousness is awareness of the exile, the moment when the Soul realises the illusion of this life and yearns to return to its Origin where it was one with the light of Unity. Only then does the Mystic’s Soul discover where it is, where it came from and where it is to go.
The human form contains the possibility of uniting the opposites within by means of Consciousness. The Soul, the feminine principle of the reflective moon within, is united with the Spirit or Intellect, the masculine principle of the sun within. Then the ‘desire’, which sought knowledge, becomes known. Then one has realised the Tradition of the Prophet, ‘One who knows Self, knows Lord.’ The Way of Sufism is to become aware of the possibilities which exist within the human form, to conceive them, and then through special practises to actualize them. Ibn Arabi says: ‘Remove from your thought the exterior of words; seek the interior until you understand.’
The Soul consists of a threefold hierarchial structure: sensory, psychic and spiritual. The Soul in its sensory and psychic form is the Soul existent with the human form. We can, through structural analogy, relate the human form or microcosm to the circle, where the circumference is the physical, the radii are the sensory-psychic area, and the centre is the spiritual. The space between the centre and the circumference is the place to which the Soul descends at conception.
Having come from the non-physical world, it must first of all become less subtle and more concrete. In this process, it becomes the Vegetative Soul, allowing the form within the womb to have the same function of feeding and growth that plants have: the ability to transform foreign substances into its own form.
As the form grows in the womb, it develops the Animal Soul, in which it acquires the ability of motion. At birth, the Animal Soul is completed, as the form exhibits various desires. However, not until adolescence does the soul pass from the potential Consciousness to being able to actualize Consciousness with the appearance of the Rational Soul. The Quest may begin now. The ability to transform Self has come into existence.
The first stage of the journey is to retrace one’s steps, to return to one’s Primordial Nature, to become a form without desires. That is, one actively denies self-desires, and exists with the faculties of feeding, growth, motion and the ability to transform foreign substances into one’s own form. It is a return to complete potentiality before any masks were assumed. To be awakened is to cross the bridge to one’s Primordial Nature and then enter through the gateway.”
SUFI: EXPRESSIONS OF THE MYSTIC QUEST by Laleh Bakhtiar (ISBN 050081015X)
Our thoughts are powerful, and just like the Tibetan Master Djwhal Khul said and I quote here: “The average man is often the victim of his own thought forms. He constructs them, but is neither strong enough to send them out to do their work, nor wise enough to dissipate them when required. This has brought about the thick swirling fog of half-formed, semi-vitalized forms in which eighty five percent of the human race is surrounded.”
There is an ancient image of the heart and its function that likens it to the way a sound arises from an underground cave. To an older way of thinking, thought begins below in our hearts. Then ascends to our brains, where it brings insight and intelligence to our awareness. Silence is a requirement. When our thoughts has collected sufficiently, they are ready to be carried outward, in words. Only then do our voices call to express what needs saying as it was meant. Then, we speak truly. Our words are heartfelt. All is well, we hope.
That The Heart No Longer Moves – Sufi Tale
Long ago, in Andalusia, a Sufi merchant awaited the arrival of his shipment of goods. A messenger came running to inform him of a great mishap – the boat had sunk, carrying the livelihoods of many to the bottom of the ocean. Upon receiving the news, the merchant paused, cast his eyes downward, and softly said, “Praise be to God – AlhamduliLah.”
Some weeks later, the messenger joyfully appear at the merchant’s door.
“O Merchant,” he cried out. “Your goods arrived safely and are at this very moment being unloaded on the dock. The ship did not sink after all!”
At this the merchant again lowered his gaze and murmured, “All praise is due to God.” The messenger inquired, “What is this pausing and lowering of your gaze?” The merchant replied, “In both cases, I was checking to make sure my heart didn’t move.”
-Retold by Gray Henry
To end on a wise quotation from the Peaceful Warrior.
“You haven’t yet opened your heart fully, to life, to each moment. The peaceful warrior’s way is not about invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability–to the world, to life, and to the Presence you felt. All along I’ve shown you by example that a warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is a warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts, it gives life, not death.” – Dan Millman
This is a delightful book full of spiritual insights into how to live life. Each new chapter begins with the letter b and the story falls into five parts. Part one is Earth; the things that are solid, absorbed and still. Part two is Water; the things that are fluid, changing and unpredictable. Part three is Wind; the things that shift, evolve and challenge. Part four is Fire; the things that damage, devastate and destroy and finally the culmination of both stories are within part five, the Void; the things that are present through their absence.
“How can I love well? With The Forty Rules of Love, you can pour out your heart, break out of your stuck places, mysteriously fall in love, and find the deep joy of freedom.”
— Jack Kornfield, author of The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology
Rule 10: “East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.”
From The Forty Rules of Love
Rule 20: We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No hearts beat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is an amount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.
Rule 21: When a true lover of God goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his chamber of prayer, but when a wine bibber goes into the same chamber, it becomes his tavern. In everything we do, it is our hearts that make the difference, not our outer appearance. Sufis do not judge other people on how they look or who they are. When a Sufi stares at someone, he keeps both eyes closed instead opens a third eye – the eye that sees the inner realm.
Rule 22: Life is a temporary loan and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human beings either become infatuated with the toy or disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they will destroy your inner balance. Sufis do not go to extremes. A Sufi always remains mild and moderate.
Rule 25: Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Qur’an on a different level of tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insight. The first level is the outer meaning and it is the one that the majority of the people are content with. Next is the Batin – the inner level. Third, there is the inner of the inner. And the fourth level is so deep it cannot be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribable.
Rule 26: The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back – not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouths do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone smile.
Rule 27: Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbours ill thoughts about you, saying similarly bad things about him will only make matters worse. You will be locked in a vicious circle of malevolent energy. Instead for forty days and nights say and think nice things about that person. Everything will be different at the end of 40 days, because you will be different inside.
Rule 29: Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been strictly predetermined. Therefore, to leave everything to the fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. The music of the universe is all pervading and it is composed on 40 different levels. Your destiny is the level where you play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well to play is entirely in your hands.
Rule 30: The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a sing bad word about any of his critics. A Sufi never apportions blame. How can there be opponents or rivals or even “others” when there is no “self” in the first place? How can there be anyone to blame when there is only One?
Mystic, philosopher, poet, sage, Muhammed Ibn ‘Arabi is one of the world’s great spiritual teachers. Ibn ‘Arabi was born in Murcia, Al-Andalus, in 1165 and his writings had an immense impact throughout the Islamic world and beyond. The universal ideas underlying his thought are of immediate relevance today.
Ibn Arabi speaks of “seeing with the eyes of the heart”, this is when each and every atom of creation are said to reveal their secrets, their spendour, not just their emptiness but their fullness (Sat Chit Ananda). how many of us see this way all the time, without projection, are prepared to dissolve into such “purity” of seeing”. rare is this natural born mystic. ‘quality’ of seeing appears to gain clarity, Direct perfect Seeing is revealed to many through Grace, yet how often does one appear to rebound into a murkier way of perception and left with the idiom to “polish the mirror further” (“if thine eye be single, thy whole body (world) shall be full of light”). there is more to the illusion of just sitting in the “now” in its semi illumined mediocrity, enlightened consciousness is the travail of the Soul.
Irina Tweedie, a Russian Lady, decided sometime way back in the early 1960′s to study yoga with a Naqshbandi Sufi teacher. (He was actually Hindu but took up Sufism and studied for many years under a Sufi Master, until his enlightenment.)
Irina Tweedie’s books “Daughter of Fire” and “Chasm of Fire,” tell clearly the story of a Woman’s experience of liberation through the teachings of a Sufi Master. The books are written in the form of a diary. Her dear teacher had told her to keep a diary on their first meeting. He also told her she would one day write a book that would help enlighten seekers on the spiritual path. During her training, guruji, did not give her any specific spiritual practices. Her teachings consisted largely of her sitting in his courtyard or house, observing his interaction with other disciples and family, with occasional terse conversations with him. She was at one time thrown out of the house and had to return to England with no money. Also at one time she contemplated suicide but her guruji said, “I have not brought you this far to let you do that!” She was never treated as special on the contrary, she was often treated harshly. Her guriji did not treat anyone more speical than others. Yet, he gave each what they asked for and in most cases, they were not after things of a spiritual nature.
The result was one of intense stress, the cultural differences, the heat,smells, physical illnesses, and her own emotional deprivation seemed to cause a progressive emptying of her personality. Her ‘guruji’. who felt she had travelled so far for truth, gave her the highest possible teaching because she proved to be ready. Her teacher described his method of instruction in the following way:
“..we do not teach but quicken. I am stronger than you so your currents adjust themselves to mine.” Thus causing, the stronger magnetic field to affect, quicken and weaken.”
This combination of suffering so that she would lose herself in every way, and her guruji’s continued presence and influence resulted in a very different type of spiritual experience. Her guru was not in anyway famous outside his own region of India. He was a married man with a family. Yet, his teaching was not only masterful but also thorough and majestic. The book Irina Tweedie eventually wrote, some eleven years after his death, is now considered a spiritual classic, along with those books written by Sri Yogananda. I thoroughly recommend ‘Daughter of Fire’ to seekers of all traditions.
The Talk begins: (in her own words.)
The subject for tonight is, I think, rather interesting, it deals with the powers latent in man. There are two great powers which we can achieve or which are rather our Divine heritage. It is the Divine power from God and it is the Power of Yoga. Yoga is really union. The Sanskrit word Yoga means Union, union with God. How the yogic or Divine powers is acquired, there are slight differences and slight difference in working.
The divine power is given. It is a state of grace. It is given only when the person has surrendered to the light within, which is One with God. Because we in the Theosophy, we believe that the soul of man is one ray of infinite truth. Or God. I use the word God deliberately because it is short and everyone knows what I mean. The word truth or infinite light is not always familiar to people. It is all the same thing. It is all light. It is all God within and without. Like fish in water, we are in him and he is in our form. Now the divine power is given when the human being is completely surrendered to his maker. The yogic power is acquired, by the yogi or aspirant, through concentration, meditation and stilling of the mind. It is a very, very difficult process.
My dear teacher, who was a very, very great yogi of India…. I have just returned from India…. He died on the 21st of July. He left his physical body. I had to go to the Himalayan Mountains to recuperate in solitude. It was a shock, a great shock to us disciples.
My dear teacher worked with both the divine and the yogic powers. You see the working of the divine power and yogic power are a little bit different. For divine power you need faith. For yogic power you don’t need faith. And you don’t need faith for magic. But magic is a very low subject. I won’t touch that subject tonight, I am only going to speak about the yogic and divine powers.
I always remember the words of Christ when St. Peter wanted to walk on water, when he suddenly lost faith and became afraid and began to sink. Christ pulled him up and asked him where was his faith.
If you have no faith, the divine power will not work with you. In other words, if you come to a great yogi for a healing or anything. If you do not believe in him, the power will not work.
People came to my teacher for healings and others for help with the process in the law court. They want to win the case. People come to the yogi for all sorts of things and if, like my teacher, the yogi is great, if he is one with God, he will know which human being can be helped and which cannot. You see, we in the Theosophy believe in the laws of karma. Karma is the law of cause and effect. If I did evil, then evil will come to me. If I did something which is considered good, then something good will come to me too. If the human being is sick and has great troubles and cannot be helped, this is something the person themselves have created. The yogi cannot help you. He will not hurt your feelings. He will not say I cannot help you. We disciples, we noticed one day, that our teacher use to sometimes say, “I can only pray.” This is a refusal.
Yet, if a person of faith came to him, and said, “my child is dying of smallpox or cholera” which happens often. People just die away. They cannot be helped with these cases. They die. My teacher would look at the child and say ’go home’ and give him a glass of water. The father would say, “but he cannot keep the water down”. My teacher would say “he can take the water and he will be fine. Just go home and let him sleep for twenty four hours and he will be fine“. The next day the child would be well.
I saw in my teacher’s house, a servant falling ill with smallpox. One day I arrived in his garden. There was no one there. This was very unusual. Someone came to me and said, “Mrs. Tweedie, our servant is ill with smallpox. You may be a afraid to stay.” I was not afraid as I had been vaccinated against smallpox for my journey to India. I stayed in the garden. After sometime, my dear teacher came out, he was a very old man, with a snowy white beard. He was all dressed in white. He said, “Mrs. Tweedie, you may like to leave because our servant is ill.” I said, “No I want to stay, I have had a vaccination“. He said, “our servant has smallpox.” I said, “would it not be better to send her to the hospital.” He replied, “Oh no she will be alright. I gave her a glass of water. And tomorrow she will be well.” Now this was a little bit too much for me quite frankly. Coming from the West, I had faith in my dear teacher but this was a little bit too much. I said nothing because I could not believe it, The next day the servant was washing dishes and she was full of smallpox marks. I asked, “For goodness sake is she not contagious!” My teacher said, “Oh no, I gave her a glass of water and that was that.”
I have seen the case of a mad dog who had bitten six people. Five of those died. The one who got the glass of water from guruji was alright. We called him guruji because that is the term used in India. The word ‘guru’ is teacher. The ‘ji’ is used as a term of endearment. It is like saying Sir guru….It is a Sanskrit word. Guru means the light and the dark…. Gu – ru. He gave her a glass of water and she was alright. Like Christ he did this work.
Here in the west, I have not seen anyone cast out spirits. I have been told that some priest do it. The R.C. church has priest trained to do this work. I have never seen it. I have seen my teacher cast out an evil spirit from a boy. It was a horrific sight. The boy was rolling on the floor, foaming at the mouth. He looked like he was suffering from an epileptic fit. My teacher said it is not a fit but a spirit. He then ordered the spirit to go out. It is was a terrific sight. My teacher was all dressed in white and very majestic. He pointed with his finger to the outline of the boy and drew an invisible line around him. The boy was lying on the floor, foaming and shouting. My teacher was saying very sternly to the spirit. “Go out or I will burn thee and all thy family”. Now, I did not know he was talking to the spirit. I thought he was speaking to the boy, and in my ignorance, I thought was a terrible way to talk to this boy when he is in this condition, then suddenly the boy became sort of blackish in his face, or blue rather and stopped shouting and was completely calm. I said to myself, the boy has died, guruji has killed him! But after a few minutes, the boy sat up, with a perfectly normal expression on his face. He folded his hands in India salute and said, “thank you.” It was so beautiful to see the boy well. He rose and left with his father. He was from one of the local villages and he went home. I turned to my guruji and said, “well I never saw anything like this in the West.” He said, “Oh! this is nothing. When you stay with me you will see many such cases and much more of this sort of thing, It is nothing. It is the grace of God. We are given that. But we don’t care for these powers, we are not after these things.”
“We Yogis can do anything but we cannot heal everyone.”
In the afternoon, when in his garden, I asked him what he meant by the words,“I will burn thee and all thy relations“. He said, “Well those evil spirits are part of evolution, just as we are part of evolution. There are human beings, there are evil spirits, there are angels, there are all sorts of things. There are birds, and animals. These spirits are of a group soul. They are never alone. They are like a whole family. So when one is killed the others die too. I have no rights to kill a spirit. When an evil spirit enters a human being then I have a duty to help the human being because he is one of my own kind. So I cast out the spirit. But if the spirit disobeys me and comes again, I have the right to kill it. Although I will not kill it without warning. I have to give it a warning. But if the spirit is disobedient then I have the right to kill it. I first have to give the evil spirit a warning and I give it three times. But with me it never happens! I give the warning once, it is enough. When a saint has great powers, the spirits dare not return“. Actually the young man and his father never returned.
This is the end of part one of the lengthy talk given by Ms. Irina Tweedie on her return from India sometime in the late 1960’s. I will be translating more of the speech in the next few days and will post it when it is ready.
“From heart to heart the secret of divine love is silently told. Words, so easily bring confusion and misunderstanding, belong to duality and are easily caught in the complexities of the mind. The light within the heart communicates directly from essence to essence. Silently, hiddenly, His lovers work in the world, sweeping away thedust of forgetfulness, thedarkness of disbelief. Sufis are traditionally known as ‘sweepers,’because they clean the hearts of people. In the words of Shabistari,“If there were no sweepers in the world, the world would be buried in dust”.
about Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee:Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee was born in London in the year 1953. He began following the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Sufi path at the age of 19, after meeting Irina Tweedie, author of Daughter of Fire: A Diary of a Spiritual Training with a Sufi Master. He became Irina Tweedie’s successor and a teacher in the Naqshbandiyya Sufi Order. In 1991 he moved to Ca. and founded The Golden Sufi Center to help make available the teachings of this Sufi Lineage.