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The Seven Pillars: Journey Toward Wisdom

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Seven Pillars

Tag: Sufism

Spiritual Principles in Action

I grew up in an England still dreary in the post-war years. Rationing only ended the year I was born. In my childhood there was religion but no spirituality. I went to church every Sunday, sang hymns and recited prayers. But nowhere was there the suggestion of spiritual states of consciousness. Spiritual bookstores did not exist. Christian mystical writings were present but just as historical texts rather than experiences to be lived. It was a grey world aspiring to middle-class materialism—a TV, a washing machine, even a car! Then in the mid- to late-sixties, another color entered the spectrum.

The Source of Beauty

Long ago, in a forgotten sultanate of the east, there was a group of young men who used to hang out in the “suq,” the open market near the gates of the palace. These were young men who hadn’t yet found their way—some of them not even sure that they wanted to find a way—so they hung out in the “suq,” gambling and joking with each other, and when necessary, getting an odd job to earn enough to buy a little food and gamble with later that night. One day, as they were sitting near the gates of the palace, a little bored with the usual fare and with each other, one of them who was most bored noticed a sedan chair—the kind used for carrying the women of the court through the marketplace—approaching the gates.

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.

Hungry Ghosts

For thousands of years the purpose of different civilizations was to look after the Sacred Substance of Creation through rituals, ceremonies, prayer,  and sacred music—so that the souls of people could be nurtured, they could have a meaningful life and their souls could evolve. If this Sacred Substance becomes lost the soul will no longer find nourishment here. The worst-case scenario is the whole planet becomes a Hungry Ghost.  

Goethe in Marienbad

Appropriately, if only by name, the legendary Bohemian Spa of Marienbad is a place of alchemical associations, harking back as it does to the legendary alchemist Maria the Jewess, “divine Maria” or Maria Prophetissa, the supposed sister of Moses, who was the inventor, among other alchemical apparatuses, of the celebrated balneum Mariae or the bain Marie:  the double boiler.

Reflections on the Life of a Mystic

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.

The Wall

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.

Report on Sufi-Yogi Dialogue

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.

Compass of Truth

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.

Trust in Life

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?

The Islamic Notion of Beauty

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.

The School of Love

The essence of Sufism is the creed of the heart, or the "School of Love"  ( mazhab-i 'ishq).  The cornerstone of this school is the insight that the Universe is a phenomenon of love, the ripest fruit of which is the human heart.  In this talk, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan will explore the individual and collective implications of the spiritual cultivation of the heart.

The Iron Rules, Number One

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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