This is the first what I hope to be many posts on the topic of Sufi Devotion.
My encounter with Sufism was as a result of personal study of Persian Mystics that I undertook in 2009, as part of my trainings with the Clairvision School (1). I had expected to learn something about the topic but did not expect the Sufi knowledge and practices to become an important and perhaps even integral part of my own spiritual development. It was interesting to watch my fellow students reactions to my Sufi experiences. They were mostly confused, as I am sure many people are who might come across something about Sufism.
The Sufi path is an exceptional one and anyone who embarks on a spiritual journey of Devotion can learn important things from it.
This week I attended an exceptional symposium of Sufi scholars, sheikhs and psychoanalysts. The topic of the symposium was “An Ancient Psychology for a Modern Era: The Journey of he ego-self to the Spiritual Self.
The opening speaker of the Sufi symposium, Dr Alan Godlas (2), gave an inspiring talk on the Sufi Psycho-Spiritual Transformation. Dr Godlas, founded Sufis without Borders. He reminded us that the “Arabic word “islam” literally means surrender, implying surrender to God. And a Muslim, literally, is one who is surrendering to God”.
Godlas went on to beautifully describe an important reason why I am drawn to learn from Sufism. He said that “The religions of the world are a rich source of knowledge for understanding how we can change”. (3) For me there is no integrity in the spiritual journey without change.
At the end of an inspiring day of talks, he took us to Zikr (Remembrance of God). It was magnificent. Zikr is an islamic devotional act, typically involving the repitition of the names of God, supplications or formulas taken from hadith texts and verses of the Qur’an. The practice is an ancient space, an opening to surrender, and aspiration to let go and receive from all that is God.
After the symposium, I was feeling wonderfully elevated and went searching for a video that might pass a similar space for people to experience Zikr.
To my surprise and wonder I found a video of the Zikr from the Jerrahi Sufi Order, Karagumruk Tekkesi in Istanbul. I attended their Zikr and much more, in May 2010. The room shown in this video is the same one where I participated from the balcony above with the women. Then later, after the sacred meal which I had with the women, I was permitted to sit in the small lower balcony area you see in this video to watch the master take the whirling dervishes through their practices. It was an incredible gift. Here is the Jerrahi Order Zikr.