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The Seven Pillars: Journey Toward Wisdom

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Music and meditations to take you on the Seven Pillars Journey

 
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Tag: Our+Sacred+Heritage

Becoming What You Gaze Upon

I have heard the phrase said in spiritual circles, “God is not our parents.” This I have understood as meaning that the full,  nothing-withheld devotion and trust we give to our parents when we are born not only gives to them the power of God (when in reality they are “only human”), but also sees in them the God they cannot at that time see, or remember, in themselves. And also that God is much, much more than this.

Supplication


“As a form of prayer, supplication involves sifting through variegated impulses to find our true desires. The intensity of focused feeling that is the mark of meaningful prayer endows desire with a powerful magnetism. Thoughts take wing and fly toward their destination. The desires that are discovered, articulated and empowered in prayer become extensions of God’s own desire. When we bear our heart in supplication, we know that we are heard, and that a response will reach us—though it may not be the response we expect.” – from “The Prayers of Hazrat Inayat Khan” by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan. Within this offering, you will find a prayer of supplication created by Pir Zia Inayat-Khan.

For the Love of All Created by Thee

Within, you will find a short video from Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee telling the story of a miraculous gift of a prayer found in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Bowl of Soul

For years I have been inspired by images of the body as a vessel, an earthenware pot filled with varying qualities, elements, and energies,  the bowl of soul. It is an image with echoes from many ancient cultures.  Soetsu Yanagi, who pioneered a movement to appreciate the crafts of everyday life in twentieth-century Japan, emphasized the beauty of the natural, genuine, and simple.

Sacred Ecstasy

I could hear the seagulls’ calls and smell the salty air of the Sea of Marmara from the small café by the grand Blue Mosque of Istanbul. An old man pushed a cart loaded with freshly baked round bread covered with sesame seeds. I felt at home. It was a beautiful warm day in early June 2011, and I was getting ready to start a Peace Mission tour of Turkey.

My Sacred Garden

I am sitting here waiting for the words for this blog to appear. A quote from Neruda is the first sign of what is to come as it brings to my awareness the ones who watch over me. No longer are they unknown to me, for I have been learning how to allow them to guide me on this journey through life. These knowers of Truth—the prophets, prophetesses, saints, and mystics of all traditions, whose words appear in the scriptures and texts that make up our sacred heritage—have become the gardeners of my soul.

Initiatory Rites

Standing there on that hillside, I knew this could not be a burial site but was probably an ancient place of initiation. The ‘feel’ was of life, not death. As I come from a culture that does not prepare its young for enlightened adulthood with initiation rituals, I wondered if perhaps I’d been called to Brittany to do my own version. Otherwise how explain the undeniable pull that had brought me across a continent and an ocean to climb this particular hill to this ancient pile of stones?

Heaven Is Not a Zip Code

What if we have gotten Heaven all wrong? Many Christians, Muslims, and some Buddhists imagine a heavenly place as an eternal reward for the faithful. While this ‘place’ is often described as a garden of serenity and tranquility, we often see many faithful arguing about who can and cannot have access to this place in ways that are in no way serene and tranquil. Not only do we argue about the place, we also argue about who can get in, and who is locked out. What if we have it all wrong?

Bless This Food

Food blessings provide a window to the profound spirituality that we all share and that connects us to all humankind, nature, and the infinite. Saying a blessing before a meal can bring us closer to our brothers and sisters, parents and friends. Asking a friend to choose and recite a food blessing is a wonderful way to welcome that person into your family setting. The occasional gathering for prayer, no matter how brief, keeps the heart and mind in touch with the most fundamental of joys: belonging.

One Path, Many Paths

Seven Pillars’ founder and board member, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, recently sent a letter to Adam Bucko and Zachary Markwith, two individuals with “a deep sense of the sacred, but…quite different approaches to religion and tradition,” inviting them to participate in a dialogue about the relationship between religion and spirituality. Pir Zia was inspired to send the invitation after reading the recently published manifesto, “New Monasticism,” written by Rory McEntee and Adam Bucko. Both Adam and Zachary embraced the opportunity to discuss this question and the first installment of their correspondence is published herein.

Our Sacred Heritage

Contemplating the rich record of the human encounter with the divine.

The Ancient Secrets of Love

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.

The Seven Degrees of Prophecy

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.

The Mystical Heart of Abraham

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.

Chivalry of the Night and Day

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....

The Jesus Sutras: An Ancient Message for a Post-Modernist Future

For over 30 years I have been profoundly interested in the faiths, cultures, history and philosophies of ancient China. Most especially, I have been intrigued by that strange phenomenon, ancient Christianity in China. When I mention this deep interest, the most common response is a puzzled look and the question “What ancient Christianity?” Chinese Christianity dates from early in the Seventh Century, but it has been a closely kept secret, both for China and for Christianity. The tradition, as it developed, drew upon not only Christian imagery and philosophy, but also the wisdom of Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. The texts that survive are few, but fascinating.  My colleagues and I, in recent years, entered, through them, the conceptual world of these early Chinese Christians. Most marvelous of all, hidden in plain sight in China’s heart, we discovered the earliest monastery—adorned with the earliest Christian artwork—that still survives.... 

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