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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

 
Seven Pillars

Tag: love

Excerpts from “BOY: A Woman Listening to Men and Boys”

Everywhere I go now, I see men differently. I have loved and appreciated and felt exasperated by men in many ways —father, brothers,  relatives, playmates, friends, lovers, mentors, colleagues, husband,  ex-husband, son, long-term partners. I know the goodness of men. And yet, after more than a half century of living with them, I realize I am still mystified by much of their behavior.

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 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?”

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?

Spiritual Inquiry

One challenge in spiritual development is finding a path, a dedicated way through a thicket of possibilities in a social context of pluralism and remarkable diversity. Such a path is a combination of beliefs,  practices, and personal relationships that lead to a meaningful way of life, one that fully supports one’s deepest values and desires.

Song of Creation

The drive to express ourselves, to create in the world, is an innate need like beauty, love, and the search for truth. It seems almost biological, like the need for food and water. In the Nazi concentration camps of World War II, deprived of nearly every- thing, many prisoners composed songs, wrote poetry, and even found ways to paint. A concentration camp survivor himself, Victor Frankl suggested that these were meaning-making activities but ones that were not so much consciously planned as spontaneous outpourings from that deep current, that creative impulse.

Creativity and Love

What is the relationship between love and creativity? Why is creativity important in our relationships with others? How is love a source of inspiration for creative action? In my view, each person is a creative center…whose health and well-being depends upon meaningful relationships with others. Further, our health as individuals depends upon our abilities to relate to others in a context of wholeness, a wholeness that includes our living relationship to nature and other beings, be they humans, animals, plants, angels or spirits.

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.

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.

Reflections on the NYC Peacewalk

On a misty Sunday afternoon, Central Park became a temple of Peace for the many hundreds who joined or observed the NY Silent Peacewalk in support of peace in the Middle East. There were intermittent soft showers, the smell of autumn leaves, lovers holding hands, homeless people on park benches, and beside them a stream of nearby traffic and taxis. In the midst of it all we walked as peacewalkers carrying a palpable, reverent, dignified and joyful silence.

Saracen Chivalry

From the Introduction to Saracen Chivalry: Creed matters, but deeds matter more. In the annals of valor, courtesy and courtly love, Christians and Moslems figure as friends as often as foes. Harun ar-Rashid and Charlemagne might have been pillars of competing faiths, but it pleased the Caliph to send the Emperor the gift of a white elephant.

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.

Reimagining the Arts in a Material(ist) World

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.

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.

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