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Reimagining the Arts in a Material(ist) World

Christopher Bamford
February 7, 2012

Do we live actually in a dualistic world, a world of matter and spirit, mind and body? To treat matter as separate already makes it so. Matter, as we know it, is the matter of materialism (egotism, dualism). Yet it really didn’t come into being until Descartes divided the world into res cogitans and res extensa, thinking things—minds—thought of as spiritual, and extended things—bodies—thought of as mechanical.

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Vanishing Valentines for You

Introducing Floetry
February 6, 2012

Seven Pillars' Vanishing Art Festival last August experienced some unexpected weather issues, particularly with Hurricane Irene. Consequently, we never developed an envisioned (non) manifesto on art and wisdom. We have our chance now, through Floetry. We invite you to create a poetic (non) manifesto with us.

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Vanishing Art: Water Element

Consecrating the Pond at the Abode of the Message
February 5, 2012

Each day during Seven Pillars’ Vanishing Art event in late August 2011 a “poetic action” was planned related to one of the elements, Earth, Water, Fire and Air. Nature, in the form of Hurricane Irene, as well as other unforeseen factors, intervened, leaving the poetic action for Water undone.

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Seven Pillars Year-End Review 2011

December 1, 2011

All along the primary question we’ve been asked is “What are the seven pillars?” During the spring of 2010, with this question vivid in our consciousness, the seven pillars revealed themselves in a dream and a new vision for Seven Pillars was born.

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The Practice of Presence, Part One

Lee Irwin
October 11, 2011

The practice of presence is no easy task and, spiritually, it is perhaps the most elusive of all practices. Imagine for a moment being fully present to yourself and to your situation. That is, imagine being fully aware of all that passes through and within you and also simultaneously aware of all that impacts you from the surrounding environment—people, places, atmosphere, sensory sensations, integrated with inner thoughts, feelings, memories, and bodily reactions.

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Dispelling Ignorance and Developing Harmony

Sister Joan Kirby
October 10, 2011

What ignorance are we addressing here? I am considering ignorance here from the point of view of a westerner. We live in the global village, we share the same roof, we are interdependent and co-responsible for care of the Earth. And yet, we still think of ourselves, and our religion, as separate, distinct, and unique.

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Reflections on the Life of a Mystic

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
October 9, 2011

When I first met my teacher, Irina Tweedie, I sat in her small room, looked into her blue eyes and I knew that she knew. From that moment, without knowing why, more than anything, I wanted what she had. Much later I understood this as the knowledge that can only come from direct inner experience, which for the Sufi is imaged as Khidr. Khidr is the most important Sufi figure, the archetype of direct revelation.

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The Odor of the Gods

Christopher Bamford
July 19, 2011

Smell is the oldest, most magical sense.
In 'In Search of Past Time,' Proust tells how, returning home for a visit one cold winter’s day, his mother offered him a cup of lime blossom tea with some plump little cakes, called “madeleines,” molded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell. At first, he declined, but then, for no particular reason, he accepted. As the lime-tea-soaked crumbs touched his palate, a strange emotion overcame him. The world stopped, and an exquisite, transcendent pleasure, like the effect of love, filling him with joy, suffused his senses.

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The Wall

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
June 14, 2011

In deep meditation I come to a wall. I know this wall. I have seen it many times before in meditation and waking visions. It is a high brick wall. I know what is on the other side of the wall: a world of light. But there is no way through; there is no doorway, no ladder, no break in the wall. When I come to the wall I walk along it, and then I have to turn away, back to the narrow streets of this world.

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The Iron Rules, Numbers Nine and Ten

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
June 14, 2011

My Conscientious Self: Seek not profit by putting someone in straits.
My Conscientious Self: Harm no one for your own benefit.


Though we live in a world that habitually conflates them, money and happiness are two different things. Money is an object—a useful object often, but still only an object. Happiness is a state of being.

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From Shamanism to Religion

William Irwin Thompson
June 14, 2011

When I was living in Toronto in the late sixties and early seventies, I had the good fortune to go to the University of Toronto’s Coach House where Marshall McLuhan performed for one evening a week. I say “performed” because McLuhan was a brilliant aphorist and artistic master of what he called “probes”—a kind of blast-off into outer space that most academics could not manage, and one that gave us a new look back at life on Earth.

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A Physics of Peace

Victor Mansfield
April 7, 2011

Middle Way Buddhism describes a dynamic synergy between its primary pillars of thought: emptiness and compassion. When we understand and experience our deepest, fundamental nature as empty and as interdependent intersections in this vast web of the universe, a natural tendency for compassionate action arises.

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Confluence: An Interview with Dr. Ashok Gangadean

Gary Null
April 7, 2011

I want to introduce my guest, Dr. Gangadean, who is Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. His lifelong study and passion has been to clarify the common ground at the heart of human reason and to promote a deeper dialogue to bring forth a more integral and holistic global consciousness to remedy the apocalyptic fervor associated with our fragmented world.

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The Broken Chain

Ralph Abraham

April 7, 2011

With the advent of modern science, the spiritual side of the pre-modern paradigm was cast aside. The cosmology of the great chain of being, our heritage of 5000 years from the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, was broken. The main advantage of the great chain is its vision of the interconnection of all things in the universe, and the intelligence manifest in the evolution and animation of all beings on the great stage of life.

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Report on Sufi-Yogi Dialogue

Kavita Byrd, Global Peace Initiative of Women
April 7, 2011

On Feb. 7, 2011, the fourth in a series of Sufi-Yogi Dialogues organized by the Global Peace Initiative of Women was held at the burial shrine, or dargah, of Hazrat Inayat Khan in New Delhi, India. The gathering, entitled “A Sufi-Yogi Dialogue: The Nature of Oneness,” brought together fifteen leaders from the Sufi and Yogi traditions to deepen exploration of the nature of ultimate reality as represented by these two ancient traditions, and its relevance in meeting the critical global challenges facing us all today.

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Compass of Truth

Dara Shikuh (1615-1659)
February 24, 2011

The execution of the Mughal crown prince Dara Shikuh by order of his brother Aurangzib was a crime that sent ripples down through the ages. A religious pluralist with a deep commitment to mystical hermeneutics, Dara Shikuh had the makings of a brilliant ‘philosopher king.’ His religious, cultural, and political outlook was profoundly imbued with the legacy of his great-grandfather Akbar, who elevated the Mughal Empire to the status of a premodern superpower by uniting Hindus and Muslims under the principle of sulh-i kull, ‘universal peace.’ As heir apparent, Dara Shikuh awaited the day when he would mount the Peacock Throne and revive Akbar’s syncretic vision.

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Magical Mindscapes

Paul Devereux
February 24, 2011

Sacred geography is where land and mind meet. Ancient and traditional peoples have found many different ways to invest their home territories with mythological or spiritual meaning. Such geographies could be small and intimate or cover large tracts of ground; they could be natural or constructed, or a combination of both. 

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Trust in Life

Henry Corbin
February 24, 2011

If you had written a large opus about Sufism, its teachings, practices and history, and asked me to write an introduction, I would have shrunk back from such a task. But you intended to write a little book that should primarily be a testimony of your personal experience of Sufism, and a guide for those who feel drawn to follow the instructions of your meditations. For these pages you asked for my presence. How could I have denied my presence as a friend?

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Seeing Things

Patrick Harpur
February 24, 2011

As we know from parables and fairy-tales, whatever is least regarded often turns out to be the most important thing. In the quest for reality, whether that of monotheistic religions or atheistic science, one of the main casualties has been those entities or principles which the Greeks called daimons. This is the more surprising because there is no culture which does not, or has not at one time, recognized and revered daimons; and I would like to suggest that by ignoring, even reviling, them we violate reality and deprive ourselves of its fullness.

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The Endless Flow of Life

Patrick Levy
January 26, 2011

It is told that Tupala was a great king who was devoted to his subjects, generous towards the brahmins, gentle with children, respectful of wise men and wisdom, and who followed the rules of good governance. On one hunting night, leaving his retinue far behind, he ventured far and deep into the forest and lost his way.

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The Etherealization of Capitalism

William Irwin Thompson
January 26, 2011

Cross-cultural trade is as old as the hills. In Neolithic Chatalhoyuk in ancient Anatolia, we find cowrie shells from Jericho, and in Jericho we find obsidian from Anatolia. A by-product of such trade in objects is an exchange of words, ideas, animals, even humans, both male and female. Human intelligence grows as the gene pool grows larger, as the complex system of human culture moves from band to tribe to clan to town to city.

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The Islamic Notion of Beauty

William C. Chittick, Ph.D.
January 26, 2011

Anyone with the vaguest knowledge of Islamic culture knows that it has produced extraordinary works of art and architecture—Persian miniatures, the Taj Mahal, the Alhambra. Few are aware, however, that this rich artistic heritage is firmly rooted in a worldview that highlights love and beauty.

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2012: A Prophecy and a Prayer

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
January 26, 2011

Are we facing a global catastrophe or a golden age, or both? As 2012 comes closer with its Mayan prophecies of the end of time, we are being forced to face the realities of an ecological disaster on a global level. What does this mean to us now, in this present moment?

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Living Relatedness: An EcoCentric Worldview

Gary Null
January 26, 2011

Today we are going to continue our Remarkable Minds series with a spiritual ecologist, an earth pilgrim, a vegetarian who led a civil disobedience movement in efforts to restore humanity’s sense of community. He is Satish Kumar and he is one of the few individuals who fully embraces the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, to promote a spirituality opposed to war and ecological destruction.

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On Prophecy and Time

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, David Spangler, and William Irwin Thompson
December 16, 2010

A myth like the Apocalypse is a horizon and not a location, so if you run toward it, it moves away. In the same way, the blue of the sky is not a thing, but a relationship between two energy streams, solar and earthly atmospheric.

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The Iron Rules, Number Eight

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
December 16, 2010

The next Iron Rule is: My conscientious self, render your services faithfully to all who require them. This saying epitomizes the spirit of chivalry that defines the Knight of Light.  Let me begin by sharing with you a wonderful passage from Creating the Person by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan that elucidates this Iron Rule.

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Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience

Gary Null
December 16, 2010

We have this notion today, that is supported by the media, that we should place our faith in the brightest and most experienced people who are running the show of finance and politics. These people are educated and knowledgeable, yes, but are they leaders with wisdom?

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The Mystery of Trees

Gary Null
October 4, 2010

In this recent interview, Gary Null and Diana Beresford-Kroeger discuss the biological wonders and medicinal properties of trees; the destruction of our forest, and the threats to human and other life due to their demise; and ways to introduce trees back into our lives.

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Spiritual Maturity and Service

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
October 4, 2010

At the beginning of the path the Beloved looks into our heart and ignites the fire of longing, the pain of separation that draws the lover back to God. Through this longing we are taken into the mystery of mystical love, the way God reveals divine presence within the heart. We are taken by love to love.

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Sarmad, the Cheerful, Naked Martyr

Sharif Graham
October 1, 2010

While reading about Dara Shikoh, I saw several references to a strange figure called Sarmad who had been befriended and introduced into the court by the prince. Sarmad was an Armenian Jew from Iran who had converted to Islam, was an excellent poet, and always went around stark naked. I was intrigued by this odd dervish.

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On Prophecy and Time

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, David Spangler, and William Irwin Thompson
October 1, 2010

As I begin these movements that are like the movements of ch'i in Chi Gung, I envision "God the Father" above and outside the physical body, the Divine Mother or Holy Spirit over the brain in the sahasrara or crown chakra, and the indwelling Cosmic Christ within the third eye or ajna chakra.

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On Prophecy and Time

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, David Spangler, and William Irwin Thompson
August 12, 2010

I have been thinking lately about planetary culture and an earlier age of esoteric syncretism in the Convivencia in medieval Spain. I would say that the Sufis—and not the Italians!—actually brought us the Renaissance.

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One Word, a Small Stone, and an Empty Book

Max Strom
August 12, 2010

Once a seeker traveled to see a renowned Sage who dwelled in the forest and asked for a teaching. “Will you teach me the secret of a meaningful life?” The Sage studied the man and finally said a simple word, “Gratitude.” Then he gave the seeker a small, plain stone.

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Creating the Universe Anew

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
June 18, 2010

Nature mystic Richard Jefferies speaks about how one night he felt himself as wandering amongst the stars.

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Fostering Wisdom in the New Global Culture

Shams Kairys
July 8, 2010

Over the Memorial Day weekend, 38 visionaries, teachers, artists and change agents of many faiths and professions came together for a special gathering at the Abode of the Message in upstate New York.

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Approaching Seven Pillars, House of Wisdom

Christopher Bamford
July 8, 2010

I have been asked to say something about my experience of Seven Pillars. For me, Seven Pillars has been, and I am sure will continue to be, a learning experience.

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Returning the Soul to Poetry

Jennifer Ferraro
June 18, 2010

In a techno-consumer culture enraptured with externals and superficiality, the tendency toward poetry can represent a struggle to value, protect and embody those qualities that are most hidden in oneself, the qualities of the soul.

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The Golden Elixir

Lee Irwin
June 18, 2010

There is a creative tension, one we all face, in reconciling the teachings and traditions of the past with the tremendous global changes of the present. Our current era is one of dynamic change, fraught with all the eddies and currents of conflicting interests and aspirations, stirred by the plasmic energies of technology, and heated by increasing sensitivities of personhood—in gender, age, ethnicity, community, language, ideology, and local, layered identities no longer confined to simple bodily perceptions.

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A Great Urgency

Chief Arvol Looking Horse
June 2, 2010

Time has come to speak to the hearts of our Nations and their Leaders. I ask you this from the bottom of my heart, to come together from the Spirit of your Nations in prayer.

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Art and the Restoration of a Unified Field of Knowledge

Michael Green
April 27, 2010

We are curious creatures. As long as we have inhabited this world we have sought to understand it and to understand ourselves.

To do this we have developed many strategies, which could be generally categorized as either the Way of Science or the Way of Religion.

To these, the compelling power of beauty – the Way of Art – should be added.

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Field Notes One: An Overview

David Spangler
April 27, 2010

For some of my readers, the non-physical worlds and the beings who come from them to work with us will be as familiar as your everyday surroundings and friends. But for others, perhaps most, this will be fairly new territory. So what do I mean when I talk about the non-physical realms? Who are the beings who inhabit them?

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Spiritual Chivalry Anthology

April 27, 2010

The anthology, Spiritual Chivalry: A Code for Our Time, will introduce the chivalric path and the personal qualities, or virtues, that make a Chivalric code of honorable behavior relevant to present day challenges and possibilities. All are invited to submit essays/articles on chivalry and chivalric codes, demonstrating how their core values address contemporary issues. Deadlines are May 1 and August 1, 2010.

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The Green Man

H. Talat Halman, Ph.D.
March 23, 2010

Almost every single medieval church has tucked away somewhere—or fully displayed—an image of a face popularly known as “the Green Man.”[2] His face is covered with foliage, often oak leaves. Many eighteenth-century gravestones in the Scottish Lowlands also bear his image.[3] What does he symbolize? John Matthews describes him as “the spirit of nature . . . an ancient symbol of nature and fertility.” Matthews finds the Green Man in the Norse World Tree, Yggdrasil, and the figures of Attis, Adonis, Tammuz, Odin, Osiris, the King of the Wood, the May King, the Harvest King, the Green Giant and Tolkien’s Treebeard.

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Report on the Sufi-Yogi Dialogue

Dena Merriam
March 23, 2010

From January 27th to 31st, 2010, Hindu and Muslim religious leaders from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan met to explore forming a spiritual alliance to ease tensions, counter extremism, and set a new tone for the region. Gathering thirty-five leaders from various traditions, the Sufi-Yogi Dialogue took place in a place famous for spiritual seers and sages, Rishikesh, on the banks of the sacred Ganges River in India.

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Noctilucae

Lafcadio Hearn
March 23, 2010

From the book Shadowings by Lafcadio Hearn, published in 1900.

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Wisdom vs. Knowledge

February 4, 2010

On Wednesday, October 21, 2009, a group of Seven Pillars Guiding Voices met for one hour via conference call to discuss the topic:

What differentiates wisdom from other forms of knowledge?

 

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Thoughts on Mysticism and the Voice

Bisan Toron
February 4, 2010

I often wonder at the range of emotion engendered by our relationship with our voice, from giddy delight to deep shame. Or interestingly, there might be a neutral attitude toward one’s voice, or even a total removal from knowing it at all, so that one never takes the time to consciously feel its nuances, leaving that to the experts and approaching it only as a means to an end: communication, usually of a verbal kind. Perhaps something in us understands the power of our voice to bear witness, to answer the call, and perhaps most shattering of all, to call forth.

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What Happens When the Ice Melts

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
February 4, 2010

While in deep meditation I am drawn into awareness. Rather than dissolving deeper into the emptiness of inner silence I am asked to listen for a sound, the specific sound of ice cracking. But I can hear nothing, no sound of ice cracking.

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Wisdom and the Way of Self-Awakening

Lee Irwin
February 4, 2010

The topic of Wisdom is a deep and difficult subject because, as a limited human being, the scope and depth of Wisdom exceeds my grasp. I cannot start from a position of authority because Wisdom, whom I will personify as feminine, knowing she is so much more, cannot be contained by the authority of any personality or subjective state. For me, Wisdom is a Mystery inseparable from the sacred ground of Being from which we all come and in which we live and breathe and co-exist.

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Avatar and the Vocabulary of Evildoers

Josh Schrei
January 14, 2010

While critics have unanimously agreed that the visual spectacle that is James Cameron's Avatar is beyond compare, there has been less enthusiasm for the plot line, which has been called out as flat and unoriginal.

 

 

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Meditation on Christ

Richard Grossinger
January 14, 2010

The intelligence of the universe towers above this world, unscrolling a pale blue creation. By Gnostic lore we dwell several octaves below Christ, several more below Divine Intelligence.

 

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Conversations with Remarkable Minds: Dr. Piero Ferrucci

Gary Null
January 14, 2010

Today we’re going to continue our Conversations With Remarkable Minds series with Dr. Piero Ferrucci, a psychologist and philosopher who today is one of Europe’s leading intellectuals in spiritual psychology. We’re going to talk about beauty and the soul, and the role of beauty in intelligence, health, creativity, social action and spiritual awakening.

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The Iron Rules, Number Seven

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
January 14, 2010

My conscientious self, do not spare yourself in the work you must accomplish.

I can imagine this might not be what you want to hear. None of us wants to work ourself into the ground. But before recoiling, consider closely the implications of the words. What one must not spare oneself in is specifically the work you must accomplish.

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An Ecology of Consciousness

William Irwin Thompson, David Spangler, and Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
November 10, 2009

During the month of October 2009 William Irwin Thompson, via email, proposed the question: "My use of the word "daimon" comes out of its use in the Western esoteric tradition in Plato and Yeats. I understand it to mean the part of the soul that is too vast to squeeze into a human body in the process of incarnation, and so it is experienced as an accompanying spirit, or spiritual guide. I have read that the Persians call this 'daena.' Is this true?" Pir Zia Inayat-Khan and David Spangler responded to this initial question, and a full on dialogue ensued, completely taking place in cyberspace. The conversation is shared here, in close to its original form.

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Evolutionary Panentheism for the Planetary Era

Sean Kelly
November 10, 2009

Though it began some five centuries ago with the so-called discovery of the New World and the first circumnavigation of the globe, the reality of the Planetary Era has, in our own times, finally entered the sphere of collective consciousness as a result of the growing threat of climate change, ecological devastation, and the mass extinction of species.  If the world’s religious or spiritual traditions are to serve in the transition toward a life-sustaining society, they will need, as they come into greater dialogue with one another, to seek out those elements that affirm the sacredness of the earth and cosmos and point to the indissoluble, if still complex, unity of the cosmos, the human and the divine.

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The Iron Rules, Number Six

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
November 10, 2009

An amusing story is told in Turkey about a gathering of Sufis. At this gathering someone asked three shaykhs—the heads of three orders—a question: “What do you do when you see a vice in someone.” The first shaykh answered, “I admonish the person.” The second shaykh answered, “I try to cover it up so that no one will see it.” Finally the third shaykh, the most enlightened, answered, “Vice? What vice?”

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Bayt al-Hikma (House of Wisdom)

October 29, 2009

This fall Seven Pillars launches a new speakers series, Bayt al-Hikma (House of Wisdom), at the Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, New York.

Two initial talks are set with the first on The Writing Craft and Conscious Evolution, with visiting guests Richard Grossinger and Lindy Hough, on Sunday, November 1, and then The Spiritual Dimensions of War, Wounding and Healing with Dr. Edward Tick on Sunday, December 13.

 

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The Promise of Judaism: Raw Transcript

October 29, 2009

On Monday, October 12, 2009, Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Maggid Yitzhak Buxbaum, Rabbi Yaakov Kellman, Rabbi David Ingber, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan and Deborah Rabia Povich met at the Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, New York for a full day of private dialogue on Judaism’s contribution to the world today, with a public dialogue offered that evening. We have chosen to post the raw transcript from the public dialogue, for you.

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A Fearless Woman

Rabia Povich
October 15, 2009

I first met Sakena Yacoobi at a gathering hosted by the Global Peace Initiative of Women in Aspen Colorado in 2008. Both of us knew few people in attendance, so we had dinner together as we discovered each other and shared interests. I was struck by Sakena's quiet yet confident manner, her modesty despite significant achievements as I learned more about her life and work at presentations over the next few days.

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Pilgrimage to the House of Wisdom

Janet Piedilato
October 15, 2009

The idea of a pilgrimage immediately conjures up visions: a long awaited one-time visit, a special crossing taken to a holy site, a journey to Lourdes, to the Kaaba, to the Wailing Wall, or to Chalice Well. Each visit could, to a great extent, be described within the boundaries of a specific history, philosophy or religious tradition.

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Conversations with Remarkable Minds: Jane Goodall

Gary Null
October 15, 2009

This interview with Jane Goodall was conducted by Dr. Gary Null, noted talk radio host, in September 2009 as one of his Conversations with Remarkable Minds.

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Reclaiming the Feminine Mystery of Creation

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
October 15, 2009

The feminine is the matrix of creation. This truth is something profound and elemental, and every woman knows it in the cells of her body, in her instinctual depths. Out of the substance of her very being life comes forth.

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Why Hatha Yoga Is The Friend of the Mystic

Max Strom
August 14, 2009

Sufism, Buddhism and Yoga are three great rivers that carry many people toward the light. Yoga in particular is surging across the globe. A February 2005 Harris poll commissioned by Yoga Journal, the leading American Yoga magazine, found that 7.5 percent of U.S. adults, or 16.5 million people, now practice Hatha Yoga.

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The Iron Rules, Number Five

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
August 13, 2009

I have two small children and I take great delight in watching them grow and change. In children one can see the simplest impulses of the human personality before it has been socially conditioned. For example, when two children are playing together with an assortment of toys, a toy will often lie utterly neglected until one child happens to takes it up, at which point the other child will develop a sudden interest in it, and demand it as his own. As long as it lay on the floor there was no special attraction, but when another grasps it, it acquires urgent importance.

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Spiritual Ecology

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
August 13, 2009

Finally we are waking up to our ecological imbalance, to the realities of global warming and its catastrophic consequences. It is also beginning to dawn upon us that these environmental changes are accelerating, that time is running out more quickly than we may realize.

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The Iron Rules, Number Four

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
July 1, 2009

If we are to live by the Golden Rule we must consider ourselves in the same light. Reversing one’s gaze, one might notice that there are ways in which one’s own ego has a jarring effect upon others. We might find that we have a tendency, in the intoxication of the moment, to lose ourselves in our own interests to such an extent that we have little regard for the concerns of those around us. We are so caught up in our life that we forget that our personal drama is ours alone, that it is only we who are riveted by the angle of vision that is uniquely ours.

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Traveling Dream Pathways Within and Between Landscapes of the Soul

Barbara Tedlock
July 1, 2009

Traveling dream pathways provides a valuable source of information about, and an empathetic understanding of, spiritual phenomena. Such phenomena occupy a paradoxical space located neither within our bodies or minds, nor outside in the natural world. Rather they exist in a sacred space located between the tangible and the intangible, the visible and the invisible, the audible and the inaudible.

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Accessing the Imaginal Realm to Heal our Planet

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi with Raqib Ickovits
July 1, 2009

Our planet is in grave danger. Pollution, war, and the plundering of natural resources afflict her. Warring cosmologies and the resultant policies produce inflammations, which are inimical to planetary health; and we, who are the cells of the global brain, are challenged to go deeply into the planet’s hidden operating files to untangle the messed up connections. What are these hidden operating files? They are the underlying rules of operation — like the hidden operating files that establish the way the computer starts up. Similarly, the Earth’s hidden operating files put in place all the functions necessary for it to operate healthily.

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View From The Center

Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams
with Ashok Gangadean
June 30, 2009

In this interview moderated by Ashok Gangadean, Professor of Philosophy at Haverford College, professors Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams delve deeply into their shared concerns about the future of humanity and the Earth, and explore the interface between cosmology and culture ushering in a new cosmological consciousness.

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Translating the Invocation Toward the One

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Netanel Miles-Yepez
June 10, 2009

Years ago, when I first began saying the Toward the One prayer of the Sufi Master Hazrat Inayat Khan, I found that I was often unable to get beyond the opening words. For even as I was speaking, I would be lifted “Toward the One” to regions of “Love, Harmony, and Beauty” where my feet no longer touched the ground of materiality, but instead were grounded in “The Only Being.”

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The Chivalrous Path

David Spangler
June 10, 2009

My first steps in taking a chivalrous path is to re-imagine chivalry, freeing it from a glossy glamour of gallantry, heraldry and privilege by drawing on the virtues central to traditional knighthood and finding their personal and universal applications. In this sense, chivalry is not a code to which to aspire but a description of our innate capacities, an expression of qualities intrinsic to being human. If I understand this, then acting chivalrously means paying attention to and expressing those qualities and virtues, all of which I can find within myself already if I choose to look.

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Akbar’s Dream

Abi-Ru Shirzan
June 9, 2009

Like many who preceded and many more who followed him, Alfred Lord Tennyson lauded the conquest of India, only to be by degrees conquered by the conquered. Born in 1809, Tennyson was one of the brightest stars in a constellation of early Victorian poets, many of whom were unabashedly influenced by the Orientalism later decried by Edward Said.

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To See With Eyes of the Soul

Heather Siddiqi Ferraro
May 5, 2009

When inspired words are used in the service of an eye that sees deeply, they  have the magical power to awaken latent forces, as well as human hearts. The tradition of the seer-poet has been largely lost in modern Western culture. It is startling to come across someone who has that long-forgotten gift, like a messenger from another time. Such a one was the late John O’Donohue (1956-2008).

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Prolégomènes à une prophétologie

Jean-Yves Leloup
May 1, 2009

Editor's Note: This article can be found in English, in two parts, Part 1 and Part 2.

Aujourd’hui, ceux qui se disent « prophètes » inspirés, habités par l’Esprit ou des esprits, ou encore mus par des « énergies » ou des « forces » qui les transcendent, ne manquent pas. Ces « esprits » qui leur parlent et les enseignent leur demandent parfois d’enseigner eux aussi, d’écrire, de parler, de guérir…

D’où vient cette inspiration créatrice ? Qui sont ces « esprits » ? esprits de défunts ? St Esprit, anges ? Dieu Lui-même ? Il faudrait en même temps se demander qui sont ces personnes qui parlent et qui transmettent ces paroles. Quelle est leur histoire ? Leur mémoire ? Dans quel état est leur esprit à eux ?

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Walking In Paradise, or Towards It

John Michell
May 1, 2009

The reason we have long legs is that we are walking creatures. Alternatively, we are walking creatures because we have long legs. As usual with questions of origins, up comes the chicken-and-egg paradox. All we know for certain is that human beings are adapted for walking, and that, presumably, is what we are supposed to do.

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The Iron Rules, Number Three

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
April 30, 2009

The third rule is: My conscientious self, do not take advantage of a person’s ignorance. 

Each rule begins with the words, “My conscientious self.” This means that the rule is a soliloquy, a conversation with oneself. It is not imposed by an external authority.

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The Ancient Secrets of Love

Omid Safi
April 22, 2009

Farid al-Din ‘Attar stands at a pivotal moment in the history of Sufism. Today when we think of the Persian Sufi tradition as articulated by figures like Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi (d. 1273) and Hafez (d. 742/1390), it is through the prism of a synthesis of love-based Sufism and the Persian poetic tradition. More than any other figure, it was ‘Attar who served to fully merge these two traditions.

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The Seven Degrees of Prophecy

Lee Irwin
April 22, 2009

Prophecy is not only a revelatory ground of great traditions, but also a modality of the sacred human opening to deep intuitions leading to new visions and creative life. In a more modest context, prophecy and revelation are fundamental to life lived with respect, kindness, and joy, as a mode of honoring "all our relations." As we grow into maturity and wisdom, guided by Sophia and held within the living field of the generative soul, we deepen the flow of shared knowledge. This sharing is a communion within sacred ground.

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The Animated World

Gyrus
April 21, 2009

Like many others, I was switched on to Patrick Harpur’s writings in the ’90s through reading the subtly mind-blowing survey of Forteana and folklore, Daimonic Reality. Avoiding jargon, writing with vivid immediacy, he manages to bring immensely slippery concepts from the hidden traditions of Western religion—alchemy, Neoplatonism, Hermeticism—to bear on the wondrous oddities, such as UFOs and crop circles, of the modern world. It’s hard to recommend a better guide to the significance of the field.

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Wisdom House Architectonics Retrospective

April 1, 2009

One year later, after Seven Pillars’ official Inauguration last August 2008, we gathered again, 80 of us in a more interior and connected space, for deeper inquiry into what it means to build a house with no walls.

What does it mean to build a house with no walls? As individuals, what are the barriers that prevent us from a fuller participation in the flow of life?  As a group of seekers, how can we shape meaning and articulate purpose without drawing lines of exclusion?  As a global community, what is our collective wisdom in the post-industrial age?

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The Iron Rules, Number Two

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
March 30, 2009

The second rule is: Speak not against others in their absence. This is a saying that, like all wise words, has several levels of meaning. On the most literal level it means: do not speak unkindly about people who are not present in the conversation. At a deeper level, one could say that to speak against someone in his or her absence means to speak judgmentally of someone to whom you are not present.

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The Garden of Mysticism, Part II

Lee Irwin
March 30, 2009

When we consider the diversity of spiritual paths, we can delineate three domains of mystical perception which each contribute to the fullness of the sacred human. These domains cut across multiple spiritual traditions and are not reducible to any particular path. The first domain is incarnational, i.e the sensory mysticism of direct bodily perception. Every organ of the body is a perceptual basis for mystical intuition, a possible point in a curve whose range can extend into the subtle, interpenetrating Presence of Spirit. Touch, taste, sound, sight, smell and all the many other senses can be a base for direct mystical perception.

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Reflections on Prophetology: The Origins of Inspiration, Part II

Jean-Yves Leloup
March 30, 2009

Let us take it as given, then, that sacred texts have their stories. Let us further accept as true that each prophet and each writer connected with those texts have individual stories. These various stories influence the character of the messages presented. Furthermore, if the messages are, as the conveyors of those messages claim, “inspired,” then the source of that inspiration must be considered. And if these messages are, metaphorically, seeds, we should likewise take into account the metaphorical soil in which they germinate—the mind of the reader or listener.

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The Iron Rules, Number One

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
March 5, 2009

Continuing our examination of various moral codes, Seven Pillars is pleased to present Pir Zia Inayat-Khan’s talks on the Iron and Copper rules of Hazrat Inayat Khan as an ongoing series. While this material originates from a Sufi context, it can be helpful to anyone who is looking for practical guidance on applying chivalric principles to the conundrums of everyday life. A new rule will be posted monthly until the series is complete.

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A Forward-Looking World Culture

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
March 4, 2009

“Where am I in my journey on the spiritual path? Where have I been? Where am I now? And in which direction am I going?” These seem to me such vital questions. And the question itself is more important, perhaps, than any answer. To keep the question alive, to keep inquiring, to keep looking, witnessing, experiencing, this is crucial for all of us; not to fall asleep on the journey, but rather, as Christ said on the eve of the crucifixion, “Stay awake!”

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The Garden Of Mysticism, Part I

Lee Irwin
March 1, 2009

The garden of mystical teachings has many flowers, each unique in beauty and each offering a nuance and variation on the possibilities of the mystical life. The flower that attracts, the specific form, delicacy, and brilliance of a particular blossom, indicates a path whose attributes are shared by other members of that species.

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Reflections on Prophetology: The Origins of Inspiration, Part I

Jean-Yves Leloup
February 26, 2009

Even today, we do not lack for “prophets.” There are those who are inspired, “Spirit-filled,” driven by transcendent “energies” or “forces.” Modern prophets call themselves “vehicles” or “channels” or simply say that they are “inspired.” Often, they assert that they are taught by an entity or entities who then require them to teach, or to write, or to heal. Many questions arise about these prophets. Are the spirits they claim to hear the spirits of the dead? Are they angels? Does the Holy Spirit speak to them, or do they hear the “voice” of God Himself?

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The Karma of Nations

Nambaryn Enkhbayar
February 17, 2009

Buddhism explains that everything has been created by a cause or is the result of causation. In other words, there was and/or still remains a cause behind everything and every phenomenon witnessed in the world. One can say, in a very general way then, that in its search to understand the nature of every phenomenon or a complex of phenomena, Buddhist philosophy seeks the cause or a complex of causes lying behind a phenomenon or phenomena. We can draw a parallel between Buddhist philosophy and economics here in that economics should generally be a science to discover the reason or a complex of causes behind every economic and social phenomenon.

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Sacred Earth: A Global Cosmology for our Time III

Thomas Berry interviewed by Ashok Gangadean
January 28, 2009

Part 3: Institutions, Planetary Rights, Mystical Economics

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Sacred Earth: A Global Cosmology for Our Time II

Thomas Berry interviewed by Ashok Gangadean
January 7, 2009

Part 2: Wonder, Interconnectivity, A New Universe Story

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“The Knight of Faith”: Imam Husayn’s Chivalry at Karbala

H. Talat Halman
January 7, 2009

Among the most extraordinary examples of heroic chivalry not only in Islamic history, but possibly any history, is the martyrdom of the third Shi'a Imam Husayn. On the day of 'Ashura, October 10, 680, on the plains of Karbala near the Euphrates river, Imam Husayn, the Prophet Muhammad's second grandson, was mercilessly slaughtered. As warriors on both sides closed in, Imam Husayn and his party found themselves grossly outnumbered. This gruesome, bloody and tragic event, along with its ceremonies of commemoration, is "the beating heart of Shi'a devotion." Shi'a Muslims regularly evoke the centrality of Imam Husayn's martyrdom in the proverb, "Every day is 'Ashura; every place is Karbala."

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The End of the Age of Religion and the Birth of Symbiotic Consciousness

William Irwin Thompson
December 17, 2008

Through my collaboration with the chaos mathematician Ralph Abraham in designing an evolution of consciousness curriculum for the Ross School in East Hampton, New York, I began to understand that the shift from the linear causation of Galilean dynamics in the early modern era to the complex dynamical systems of our era also expressed a shift from linear modernist ideologies and religions to planetary ecologies of consciousness in which diversity was affirmed...

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Sacred Earth: A Global Cosmology for our Time I

Thomas Berry interviewed by Ashok Gangadean
December 17, 2008

This discussion with the cultural historian Thomas Berry about his cosmological and geologian worldview with philosophy professor Ashok Gangadean was originally published in a slightly longer form in Elixir: A Journal of Consciousness and Conscience no. 2 (Spring 2007).

For background on Thomas Berry and his contribution to a New Story about the cosmos, see Mary Evelyn Tucker’s "Thomas Berry, A Profile"

Ashok Gangadean is a professor of philosophy at Haverford College.

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Sufi Dreamwork

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
October 30, 2008

There are many paths in which the dream is regarded as important. Some paths emphasize the practice of studying one’s dreams more intensely. The Naqshbandi Sufi path is among these, and Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee speaks eloquently of some of the benefits that may derive from this type of study.

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A Vision of Holarchy

David Spangler
October 30, 2008

By the time my first child, John-Michael, was born in 1983, I had already been a spiritual teacher for nearly twenty years. A major perennial topic in my lectures and workshops was love, and I felt I reasonably understood what love was about. But the first time I held my son in my arms, I realized how incomplete my knowledge was. I knew immediately that this new person was going to teach me things about love that I had never known before. And he has, along with another son and two daughters who came to join him as my teachers over the years....

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The Mystical Heart of Abraham

Christopher Bamford
October 19, 2008

Inspired by a miniature painted a millennium ago, noted spiritual writer Christopher Bamford reflects on the venerable tradition of Abraham as patriarch and suggests that the heart of this father of three great monotheistic religions embodies  “feminine” traits such as unselfish love, forbearance, hospitality, and, above all, receptivity to the Divine.

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Shooting Arrows Blindfolded: A Modern Knight Describes His Training

Satya Inayat Khan
October 17, 2008

Seven Pillars Review interviews Felix Idris Baritsch, who as a young man completed intensive chivalry training, about his experiences.

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Chivalry of the Night and Day

Mahmoud Shelton
October 17, 2008

A Christian eyewitness to the rise of Islam characterized the Muslims in a significant way: “They are cavaliers in the day and monks in the night.” Knights belong to the day because it reveals the field of action, and the apparent distinctions between opponents as well as between the lover and beloved; it is the domain of movement, and so of love in the sense of Dante: “Love which moves the sun and the other stars.” Monks belong to the night because it has the quality of stillness; it allows contemplation and knowledge of hidden things, and is the domain of union. While there are no monks in Islam, there is Sufism, which preserves esoteric knowledge and the methods for its realization....

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A New Story for Children

Jennifer Morgan
October 1, 2008

Thomas Berry, in his landmark essay “The New Story: Comments on the Origin, Identification and Transmission of Values” (Teilhard Studies no. 1, 1978), was among the first to express what many already knew but didn’t dare say—that the Western creation story no longer serves as a reliable rudder. Based on information people had thousands of years ago, it's no longer adequate for today and a new story based on up-to-date information and knowledge inside a larger context, according to Berry, hasn’t yet come into a form that's compelling enough to guide people as to how to live....

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Meditation

A.E. / George Russell (1867-1935)
October 1, 2008

A.E.'s The Candle of Vision is an eloquent poetic prose description of the author's personal experiences, his reveries and inner openings. A.E. uses a form of writing that directly reflects the quality of his inner mystical experience. His emphasis is on the imagination as reality and on the critical importance of the development of concentration. This piece was first published in 1928. We have chosen to maintain A.E.’s spelling and word usage although they may cause the reader to occasionally pause.

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