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The Seven Pillars: Journey Toward Wisdom

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Seven Pillars

Tag: love

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Cosmology of Love

Please join us for a weekend of exploring love as a force and presence in the universe. We will explore the boundary between self and other, enter the flow of divine compassion, and reveal the sacred presence within our loving relationships, all as we seek to deepen our understanding of the ultimate goal: A Cosmology of Love. The weekend will be a combination of interactive presentation and small group work led by the program's presenters. There will be morning dreamsharing, music, and heartful dialogue throughout the weekend, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday and ends at noon on Sunday, at the Abode of the Message in New Lebanon, New York. Photo: David Spangler

A Vision of Holarchy

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....

The Mystery of Love

One evening in Bombay, during a gathering of disciples, someone asked, “All the religions of the world agree that unless man recognizes his own self, he is incapable of any kind of ascent. What is meant by recognition here? Is it the recognition of man’s own being or the being of the cosmos?” Others asked similar things. Responding to the questions put forth, Pir O Murshid ‘Aziz Miyan Sahib, the revered, said that he would provide a condensed exposition. The discourse continued deep into the night. The gathering was large, with every faith, creed and denomination represented. The audience listened with heightened interest and some even penned down the oration. All that was recorded has been divided into six parts and printed. This is an abridgement of the first part.

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