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The Seven Pillars: Journey Toward Wisdom

A multimedia e-book exploration of the Seven Pillars process



CD: The Seven Pillars Soundscape


Music and meditations to take you on the Seven Pillars Journey

 
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Tag: The+Great+Mystery

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.

Spiritual Inquiry, Part Two

In my first reflections on this subject,  I explored the aspects of spiritual inquiry that are most immediately of concern, primarily in our relationship with others in the context of our developing global world. Now I want to explore those aspects of inquiry that are perhaps less obvious but equally important. In our encounters with others, we discover our differences and learn to negotiate those differences in mutually respectful ways. However,  self-inquiry requires us to turn inward toward unexplored depths where certainty is less clear, and at times, painfully absent. There is a very profound reason for this absence, which will be revealed if we are courageous enough to fully acknowledge our own lack of insight or understanding, and to recognize our own limits.

The Gift of the Call

The call comes gradually, or so it seems. We must be called over and over until we hear its whisperings. Then we begin to notice, we begin to respond. Unconsciously, hesitantly, we start to listen. Incrementally,  our response deepens. Finally, we realize that call and caller are one in life lived in obedience to the gift of the call; that we ourselves are the call. We come to recognize that we were called from the beginning, “from the foundation of the world,” as St. Paul says. Yet, looking back, we cannot remember a “first” call.

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.

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.

What Happens When You Fall?

To live in the Great Mystery is for me the greatest adventure of my life. When we were developing “The Seven Pillars” e-book,  we came up with a series of questions as an entryway into each pillar,  and the one for this pillar that was burnt on my heart and mind is: “If the greatest mystery is love, how can I experience all its expressions as love?”

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.

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?

An Exclusive Seven Pillars Interview with Robin Becker

Recently, Seven Pillars’ Laurie Lane-Zucker and Corin Girard sat down with dancer and choreographer Robin Becker to discuss her original production, “Into Sunlight.” In the interview, Robin spoke of what inspired her to create this poignant work, the “chaos theory” behind her artistic process, the company’s upcoming New York City performances and the creation of an eagerly anticipated documentary film based on the production.

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.

My God Lives on the Street

It’s nighttime. I am walking outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal,  that depressing brick behemoth on 42nd Street and 8th Avenue that is the main hub for buses arriving to and departing from New York City. I am looking for homeless kids, trying to spot new arrivals who might still be hanging out, unsure of where to go.  I want to reach them to offer help before they disappear into the Manhattan sinkhole. But I am not the only one looking for them.

The Odor of the Gods

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.

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.

The Mystery of Trees

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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