Sufism: an inquiry - Vol16.2

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an inquiry

Vol 16 No 2

On Stillness & the Heart of Listening Nina Simons Science & the Aligned Heart Dr. Rollin McCraty Spiritual Principles, Practices, Sufi History and Poetry The Mystery of Eternity is wrapped within You a seed of virtue, compassion, knowledge and balance International Association of Sufism Publication


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

Steve Uzzell

photography Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


30 years of service toward cultivating peace and understanding in the world Since its founding in 1983, the International Association of Sufism has been proud to be a home for Sufis, spiritual seekers, and people of all kinds devoted to uplifting the quality of humanity around the globe. Over the last three decades, the IAS has been blessed with phenomenal growth and has worked hard to be a leader in a wide range of areas. Among the longest running of its traditions of service is our journal, Sufism, An Inquiry, which we first published in 1987. Since that time, Sufism, An Inquiry has been a living reflection of the dynamic energy and growing global community of Sufis and searchers who are deeply engaged in the work of the IAS. Over 60 volumes, the pages of Sufism, An Inquiry have championed women’s rights and the work of the Sufi Women Organization; published scientific inquiries ranging from the physiology of heart math to the latest findings of astronomers; shared new translations of classic works of Sufi literature previously unavailable in English; offered works by leading psychologists on human development and the spiritual path, reported on human rights and other diplomatic movements ranging from the work of the United Nations to interfaith organizations such as the United Religions Initiative; explored the cultural gifts of world religions diversely embodied around the planet; and provided insight into a wide variety of effective practices for spiritual development. As a whole, the tradition at Sufism, An Inquiry of featuring the work of great teachers, scholars and scientists from a wide variety of global perspectives, historical contexts and fields of specialization runs deep and strong throughout our journal’s history and shall continue to grow far into the future. Since the time the IAS first began publishing Sufism, An Inquiry, the world has also gone through an amazing transformation full of new opportunities and new challenges. One notable dimension in which the world has changed completely is the world of media under the influence of the internet and high technology. Just as the IAS has been at the forefront of leadership efforts for peace, human rights and equality, religious freedom and international cooperation, critical to meeting the opportunities and challenges of our changing world, today the IAS is proud to announce that it is relaunching Sufism, An Inquiry in a new online, digital format that will make it more dynamic and more accessible than ever to a worldwide population. We look forward to developing video content, mp3 audio files, social interactivity, links to websites with related content, and a beautiful full-color layout. At the same time, we plan to offer the journal, not just online, but in print, in downloadable pdf format, and in other formats readable on e-readers. To all our readers who have added so much to our community over these many years, we wish to extend our great appreciation for making us part of your life and we extend to you and to all our enthusiastic invitation to journey with us into this new and exciting period of growth for our journal. We hope you will enjoy this, our inaugural issue in our new online, digital format! Let us know what you think in an email to:

Peace to you and yours,

Sufism, An Inquiry Editorial Staff, The International Association of Sufism 3

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

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Publisher: International Association of Sufism, a nonprofit corporation. Editor-in-Chief: Seyyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D. Executive Editor: Nahid Angha, Ph.D. Journal Board: Hamid Edson, Ali Haji, Halima Haymaker, Munir Hedges, Elizabeth Miller, Safa Ali Newman, Hamed Ross, Taher Roybal. Photography:

Susan W. Lambert

Steve Uzzell

Inside Cover Photo: Steve Uzzell Cover Art: “Introducing Nasruddin” The various articles in SUFISM: an inquiry represent the individual views of their authors. SUFISM: an inquiry does not imply any gender bias by the use of feminine or masculine terms, nouns and/or pronouns. SUFISM: an inquiry is a quarterly journal (ISSN: 0898-3380) published by the International Association of Sufism. Address all correspondence regarding editorials and advertising to: SUFISM, P.O. Box 2382, San Rafael, California 94912 Phone: (415) 472-6959 Fax: (415) 472-6221 email All material Copyright © 2013 by International Association of Sufism. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication (including art) may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The publication is published by the International Association of Sufism, a California nonprofit corporation. The publication of any article, essay, story, or other material herein constitutes neither an endorsement of, agreement with, or validation of the contents of the author’s views expressed therein. Although the Publisher has made all reasonable efforts in its editing of such material to verify its accuracy, the Publisher takes no responsibility for any innacurate or tortious statement by the author set forth therein.


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feature section with Rollin McCraty, PhD

25. The Pursuit of Knowledge:

Hadiths from the Prophet Mohammad Introduced by Safa Ali Michael Newman

31. Knowledge and Balance in Dr. Nahid Angha masterfully produces an English translation of Abdu’llah Ansari’s The One Hundred Fields or Sad Maydan, as it is known in Persian. The book includes an introduction with biographical information on Ansari, the 11th century Persian Sufi mystic, theologian, philosopher, and poet, in the context of the Persian literary and spiritual renaissance. In Sad Madyan, Ansari details for the reader the “One Hundred Fields” or stations of the spiritual path that the “wayfarer” experiences on his or her journey towards God. Angha provides extensive footnotes that reveal to the reader Ansari’s Quaranic references, note nuances contained within the author’s farsi word choice, and indicate where variations exist between the several published versions of the work. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in Persian literature and poetry, mystical traditions, and the journey towards the self. - Ashley Werner, JD

the Heart of the Universe Excerpt from A Meditation (Payam-e-Del) by Hazrat Moulana Shah Maghsoud

33. The Aligned Heart:

A Science of Love and Wisdom with Rollin McCraty, PhD Executive Vice President and Director of Research at the Institute of HeartMath

Introduced by Elizabeth Miller

49. Divine Love and Wisdom

Excerpt from The 2013 Songs of the Soul Poetry and Sacred Music Festival by Shah Nazar Seyyed Ali Kianfar, PhD

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editors’ desk

11. A Letter from the Desk of the Editor

Shah Nazar Seyyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D.

15. Principles of Sufism:

The Pursuit of Happiness and Peace Nahid Angha, Ph.D.

21. Essential Practices: On Beauty Nahid Angha, Ph.D.

23. Selected Teachings

Hazrat Moulana Shah Maghsoud

93. 99 Most Beautiful Names: Ar-Rahim

Shah Nazar Seyyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D.


27. The Birth of Stars

Wendy Campbell

77. Soul Book

Dedan Gills

81. Genesis

John Mizelle

history and inquiry

61. Forty Days: The Alchemy of Tranquility Arife Hammerle, PhD

85. The Rightful Servant of Allah:


from the life of Ibrahim Adham Safa Ali Michael Newman

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women and faith

65. Silence, Stillness & the Listening Heart

Nina Simons with Elizabeth Miller


80. Notable Happenings Munir Hedges

90. United Nations Report

Arife Hammerle, Ph.D.

literature review

83. Make a Journey to Heaven:

A Complete collection of prayers of Rumi Amineh Pryor, Ph.D.

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


Shah Nazar Seyyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D., the Editor in Chief of the journal, is

the Co-Director of the International Association of Sufism. He is an acclaimed Sufi Master with students around the world, an international lecturer and the author of numerous books including An Introduction to Religion.


In the Universe, the history of the journey from eternity to eternity, the destiny and the mystery of each being, is wrapped within the being itself. The 20th century scientist, Albert Einstein, said that even the simplest things we observe in nature contain a mystery, and the discovery of this mystery is the goal of science. According to Einstein, the scientific goal of discovering the mystery of a being is in fact the pursuit of the cause of the being’s physical existence. A scientist tries to discover and understand the relationship between the unseen mysterious cause and a visible being. The scientist undertakes his or her research according to the rules of science and should read the appropriate answer within the chart of scientific discovery. In the field of science, discoveries made at any time and in any nation serve as the foundation for future discoveries anywhere in the world. As a result, science has been extremely successful in offering a great service for human life, as well as in expanding the field of human knowledge and understanding. Above all, science’s most important contribution to humanity is through its identification of the great

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potential of the human being within the chart of the Universe as one who can be the observer and witness of the majesty of the Universe. The human being can express acknowledgement and appreciation of this great gift which we have been granted. At the same time we cannot ignore or underestimate the fear and anxiety generated by the dark side of scientific advances in technology, which unfortunately have been used to threaten and harm the existence, security, civilization and dignity of human life. The most technologically advanced countries dedicate vast portions of their wealth to the production of weapons whose sole purpose is political assassination or mass murder. The ability to wage war is a major business, and businessmen – urged on by governments (and vice versa) - can hire science to serve their devilish intentions. Countries without advanced technology cannot remain in peace and contentment by following their traditional ways or hide themselves from the sharp eyes of the dealers of war. No matter how a deer tries to hide in the jungle, a tiger will find its prey.

Letter from the Editor Like science, religion has a major presence in human civilization. The religions practiced by the majority of the Earth’s population were introduced to humanity over the centuries by certain noble, chosen individuals. The last such individual lived fourteen centuries ago and his revelations established Islam, the third and final religion of monotheism, centered on the belief in one God as a symbol of Oneness. In Islam, all the founders of monotheism are called messengers of God and their books are honored for including the Divine Messages. Before the establishment of the three branches of monotheism, other religions existed whose founders, though not called the messengers of God, were nevertheless messengers of Truth or Absolute Reality. These founders have left books, which consist of their discoveries and systems of practice for their followers. Beyond all historical or philosophical differences of the world’s major religions, these religions share a common focus in their methods of practice on the hidden dimension of the human being, which they name as the essence, soul, spirit, life energy or inner self. This is understood to be the locus of the totality of human identity, and uncovering that essence is the realization of ultimate reality and knowledge for the human being. To discover the hidden dimension of his being, the human focuses on his conduct, morality and ethical qualities as a heritage wrapped within his nature. Man has a share of divine qualities and can achieve them by righteous practice through which the lower qualities are

converted into the highest qualities. Because man is a fallen being whose pure essence has mixed with clay, man must purify his being and return to his origin, which is pure. Just as the smallest particle that Einstein observed, the human is a being who has a mystery within. As with science, we cannot ignore and underestimate our fear and anxiety about the dark side of religion. Throughout the centuries, nations around the world have experienced crimes of all kinds committed under the name of religion. Though these crimes vary in degree and magnitude, they have occurred in all nations without exception. Over and over, the people of the nation of one religion seek to destroy those of another. Physical destruction, murder, rape, torture, burning, and plunder of the wealth of the nations have registered in the history of religion. Yet religion is the system that offers to the human being all the divine qualities of love, compassion, peace and caring. What is the cause of deviation in both systems -- science and religion - as two strong pillars that on one hand hold the hope and trust of the human family, but on the other hand create disappointment and fear within the soul of humanity? If we investigate this question from our experience, we will find that when things go wrong, one essential and necessary component is missing from their practice and that is Virtue. Virtue arises from the horizon of balance and justice. Justice is the standard for integrity, validity, impartiality, and righteousness. The absence of Virtue is the cause of deviation and its horrible consequences. Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2



Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

Justice is a universal rule that holds the whole Universe, every system within the Universe and every part of each system, in balance and harmony. Justice is the foundation for the survival of everything from a single cell to the Whole. When a virus infects one cell of our body, this unfortunate association and combination harms the entire body by disrupting the functioning of the system of the body - a system that has been set wisely by the universal intelligence and justice. Indeed, the infected body will react to eliminate the virus, strive to survive, and bring the body back into a state of balance and harmony. When society is overwhelmed by greed for luxury and by the unfair distribution of wealth, that society is off balance. It is a system running without virtue and it offers no ready ground for justice. In this case, greed will register in the practice of both science and religion. That is the illness of our time in every part of the world. To heal this serious illness is the duty of those rich in spirit with the wealth of virtue, which indeed is most powerful.

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Crouched like a cat in the stillness of the heart... every cell waiting, waiting...


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

... meditation is just the beginning ...

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


Principles of Sufism

Nahid Angha, Ph.D. The pursuit of happiness and peace is a universal quest. We have been seeking “happiness” throughout the duration of our history; we analyze and describe what constitutes happiness and peace through philosophy, science, psychology and religion. Motivational talks have mesmerized us; selfhealing practices have opened doors of

The Pursuit of Happiness and Peace The Mirror of your own Heart possibilities; and soul-searching reflections have helped us to overcome what is undesirable. Yet, in the world governed by technology, where “feeling better” is sought in consumption of more goods, and richness is defined in the language of material possession, somehow we are not happier, more at peace, or less lonely than past generations. Technology has helped us connect to the world, and advancements in science and medicine have given us unprecedented possibilities; yet, such globalization, somehow, has not offered us leisure time, hope for the health and survival of our communities, our cultures, our traditions and our planet. The face of technology is becoming more familiar than recognizing the face of our human neighbor. Somehow, the great gift of the universe within is overshadowed by the world of material accumulation; somehow the


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an Inner Journey to Eternity

fortune of discovering the richness of being was sacrificed at the footstep of globalization, eliminating the individual self, individual values, hope for humanity. And through all these conditions, the puzzle of what road leads to the station of happiness has remained unanswered. Each era has its own attributes and characteristics, each era has its own possibilities and potentialities, and in this new era of possibilities we find ourselves at the cross road of decision making, anew. Our intellectual understanding of the material world is advancing rapidly, and the voice of the heart’s longing is softening. Technology has opened the door of global promise; yet, at the same time, it has managed to undermine the importance of the individual self, human uniqueness and individuation. This technology has succeeded in overlooking the value of human heart, compassion, dignity, and the honoring of life both in human and in nature. However, the spiritual traditions of the world have not lost hope in human beings, and they remind us, again and again, of the importance of understanding and honoring the universe within the human heart. This universe opens the door of understanding free from the dimensions of time or place, gender or race, cultures or traditions, and all that is fleeting in human life. Self- awareness becomes an invaluable vehicle leading not only toward global peace but also toward human happiness. Real happiness finds its root in knowledge, awareness, stability, compassion, virtue, ethics, morality, confidence, and above all valuing human life more than the consumption or accumulation of material goods. Transformation has to begin from one’s self; it is not only the globe that decides the destination and fate of human kind; it is also the individual who has the ability to decide the destiny of the globe. It is at this point of understanding Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


that we may need to remind ourselves of the importance of individual and not overlook the individual’s potentiality for leading toward the survival of humankind as well as the planet. It is important for us to remember that for the individual to lead towards global or individual peace and happiness, the individual has to find peace and happiness within his or her own being first. And, so the journey towards selfawareness becomes an essential embarking point in human life, a journey that begins from limitation and steps towards liberation. The foundation of such awareness and knowledge is the human self. It is such awareness that promises freedom and liberates us from the unknown dictates of technology and the unpredictable destiny of globalization. The journey of self-awareness will necessarily require individual and global responsibility, perhaps a good starting point towards peace and happiness. A journey towards knowledge, just like any journey, begins at a station and continues towards a destination. It requires a goal, a map, a guide, a direction. Each successive station becomes a locus of new learning, an experience of its own--yet all stations relate to one another as distinct stages of the journey. Ordinarily, when we undertake a journey, we check all the requirements for a successful journey. We should not give lesser importance to an inner journey, the journey of the heart leading towards knowledge. In the journey of the heart, the goal for a Sufi is to attain the knowledge of self, as a doorway towards understanding the Divine, the Ultimate Reality. Such a journey is not a philosophical description, a theory or ideology we 17

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hope to achieve. It is an individual journey, focused around the individual and actualizing the potentiality of the human self. The journey of self-awareness transforms our limitations to possibilities, our self-absorbed goals to the pursuit for humanity’s wellbeing. This journey leads us to discover the wealth and richness of being, entrusted to the human heart, and it frees us from the blind paths to unknown destinations. Such journey helps us to search within rather than without, helps us to become rather than be consumed, values our individual being rather than letting the individual Being be suffocated under globalization and gradually disappear at the dictates of technology. A journey towards understanding such Reality involves actual steps on the road; one must learn the rules, honor its disciplines, and practice according to the instruction and teaching of a teacher. The teaching of such teacher is founded upon the eternal rules and laws of Being; these laws are not man-made laws and are not bound to the limitations of the human mind, the changing moods of emotions, human likes or dislikes, preferences, and prejudices, and other qualities which describe an ordinary human. In science, for instance, the pursuit is to understand the laws of nature, thus achieving a greater freedom and reaching a universe of possibilities; just so the force of limitation decreases and humankind achieves a greater freedom when applying the laws into ones life. Science and religion may use different terms to express the same discovery. We should not be surprised if they both arrive at the same meaning and thus the same destination: understanding the Ultimate Self through successive stages of

understanding the limited self. The final point may very well be the discovery of the Reality within and without and its Unity. We are, for example, capable of observing and hoping to understand the laws within galaxies, each containing millions of planets and stars, even with our very introductory and primitive equipment of the present time. This is a good indication that an individual human is capable of understanding such immensity. And this study of the universe provides a good indication that there is intellect within all parts of the universe, great and small, living in harmony. The wisdom that connects the wheels of Being together also dictates Unity. I, the limited self, become a galaxy of my own, connected to the greater universe and thus capable of understanding such universal reality. It is this discovery that sets a human being free from confinements of materialism, free from the dictates of technology, progress that has ultimately overlooked human uniqueness. Sometimes when we experience breath-taking beauty, our heart may find peace or a reason to contemplate and relate to the Reality, the Divine. The search for such Reality has never stopped in the life story of civilizations--indeed, it seems that the search for the Divine Reality is an essential part of the human being. The dust of time, and the failures of technology, may cover its surface, but the search to understand the Divine does not disappear despite the most concerted social efforts to exterminate it from society.

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Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

To depart from the station of not knowing is freedom, and taking the journey towards the destination of understanding and knowledge is indeed peaceful and promising. Arriving at the city of Reality is to complete a spiritual journey in the framework of Sufism, and to discover one’s self, anew, is perhaps the greatest discovery of all. True understanding is acknowledging that the human individual is indeed significant in this design of Being. And, perhaps the greatest happiness is to know that we are not irrelevant particles in the whirlpool of the universe.

Seyedeh Nahid Angha, Ph.D. Executive Editor of the journal, is Co-Director of the International Association of Sufism and founder of the International Sufi Women’s Organization. She is an acclaimed Sufi Master and spiritual leader from an ancient Sufi lineage, an active leader in the interfaith community worldwide and the first Muslim woman initiated in the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame.

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by Nahid Angha, Ph.D.

In the world of nature, the forms and images of beauty surround us. We experience beauty in the delicate petals of flowers, we see it in the distant passing of clouds and we hear it in the songs of birds. Likewise, in the work of humans we see beauty in the brushstrokes of a painter, in the notes of a composer, in the graceful steps of a dancer and in the words of a poet. Behind both the natural and human manifestations of beauty lies the same essence that expresses our being, while transcending both the human individual and the particular in nature in the multiplicity of its expressions. As observers, we who experience these images and expressions of beauty must also possess the essence of beauty within ourselves for only through inner essence of beauty is it possible to recognize the beautiful.


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In truth, beauty is born with us. We have been created in the figure and form of beauty. We possess the essence of beauty just as the flower possesses its essence, revealed in its brilliant blossoms and their intoxicating fragrance. Such beauty is taken and nourished even from the heart of dust. You may not perceive the beauty in dust that nourishes the flower but it is there and recognized by the roots of the flower that nourish it and transfer it to the seed of the plant. The essence of beauty is imparted into the images of beauty, just as invisible sound waves travel into space in accordance with the laws of physics so that any susceptible receiver, according to the level of its capacity, can receive. The essence of beauty is crystallized and expressed in figures and forms and colors and melodies that are suited to the perceptive sense and understanding of humanity.

Essential Practices along the Spiritual Path

We take part in this awesome cycle of experiencing. As individuals, we select and experience beauty separately. Together, we all become active participants in the eternal world of beauty. The essence of beauty permeates the domain of creation and finds its home within the heart of the observer and within the heart of that which is observed. No individual person can perceive and experience meaning within a surface manifestation unless the meaning has been experienced within the depths of being.

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Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

selected teachings Hazrat Moulana Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha

Silence covered the universe, and the whole of being was motionless. The dimensions of time and space collapsed. In that moment of timelessness and infinity, there was no sign of any boundary, so that even myself, as a limited body, did not exist. The illumination of being covered all with its light. In that depth of existence, light within light, the psalm of an intoxicating melody was beyond the limitations of nature. It seemed as if there were an infinite boundless heart announcing its living: There is nothing but I, I am all that there is, la ellaha ella Allah. I do not know how long it took before I gradually returned from this eternal journey to my nature but as I turned back, and was returning closer to the surface of nature, I could perceive that every being was connected to the eternity with an illuminated magnetic thread, and that everything was participating in that rapturous song of la ellaha ella Allah, there is nothing but Allah, the God, the Being, the Existence. As the thirteenth century Sufi poet Hafiz wrote: All of these reflections Make but one image, The reflection of the Wine Bearer In the Cup of Wine.

from: Moulana Shah Maghsoud, Psalms of Gods, trans. by Nahid Angha, pgs xxv-xxvi. Nahid Angha, PhD is the sole authorized translator, writer and authenticator of her Father’s teaching and writings. She, alone, has full ownership and authority so granted by the appointment and permission of Hazrat Moulana Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha.

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Hadiths of the Prophet Mohammad

Religion without a foundation of knowledge cannot be practiced or understood. Otherwise, then religion or any spiritual practice or teaching becomes illusion or guess work. It becomes “blind faith.” Certainly, this cannot be the way to practice religion. Only the pursuit of knowledge can lead the human being to an understanding of the Divine. In Sufism, knowledge is essential and is at its core. To a Sufi, knowledge is like a buried treasure to be discovered. Sufi teacher and co-Director of the International Association of Sufism, Nahid Angha, Ph.D., writes: The Sufi is that individual who finds the gem of the knowledge in the depth of her being, and seeks to know it through annihilation into it. The Hadith record and express the Prophet’s guidance and teachings on the subject of knowledge: quoted translations by Nahid Angha, Ph.D. selections and introduction by Safa Ali Michael Newman


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A prayer: Oh Allah, bring usefulness to whatever I have learned, and teach me whatever is useful, and add to my knowledge. Be observant of the wisdom of the knowledgeable: he sees all through the illuminated light of the Divine.

The most eager among you is the searcher for knowledge.

The learned are the heirs to the knowledge of the prophets: and so whoever seeks for knowledge will inherit a great share of the prophets’ legacy. Knowledge that will not bring benefits is like a treasure that you do not use or spend.

The first stage of worship is silence.

Tr. Nahid Angha, Ph.D., Deliverance, Words from the Prophet Mohammad. International Association of Sufism, 1995, pp. 15, 19, 28 33, 35, and 38.

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The Birth of Stars In this ancient magic realm In this cosmic now We are each a soul capsule Encasing something precious, something primordial At this beautiful forefront That we each recognize You gathered me to yourself like a sun taking a planet into its embrace My center is molten I’m facing you with wonder in this spinning dance Attuning myself to your generous brilliant warmth My chemistry adjusts and I burst into new being My surface transforms - a tingling photosynthesis resonant with your unique light And in those moments when I turn to contemplate infinite mystery I feel you there behind me Catching my hands in this breath-taking, joyful, rapturous whirl Anchoring me with the gravity of your love And when I’m spun to face you every time again I feel the wind-brushed, sun-filtered dancing shadows taking on a sentience of their own Everything is possible, everything’s enchanted My core is ignited, my soul’s heart is yours

Wendy Campbell is a doctoral student in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness (PCC) program at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Wendy’s work is an exploration of the role of pattern recognition in participatory consciousness and evolutionary panpsychism. In the tradition of poet-scientists, such as Goethe and C.G. Jung, Wendy engages the intuition, creative imagination and direct perception, as well as the analytical capacities of the intellectual mind in her studies and writing. She is a member of the poetry slam collective Avay-i-Janaan.


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

URI (United Religions Initiative) is a global grassroots interfaith network that cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the world.

Visit for more information


du intro

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2



Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


excerpts from:

A MEDITATION: PAYAM-E-DEL Moulana Shah Maghsoud Translated by Nahid Angha, Ph.D.

In my solitude pure melodies of truth echo tenderly and compose the enchanting song of everlasting love seeking reunion with Him the Essence of all Beauties. The conquest of the heart is based on a perfect equilibrium and harmony between soul and the rules of existence. If six conditions become united with six practices in you, the sign of leadership will become manifest in you. The first six conditions are: concentration of thoughts, consciousness, endurance & patience to become united with reality, keeping promises & being steadfast, finding reliance in belief, and becoming clear-sighted. These six conditions must accompany six practices of the soul’s purification: meditation in solitude, endeavor in the discovery of truth, concentration of the outer forces, and of the inner forces, consistency in the spiritual journey, and the attainment of tranquility. If the heart of a salek rises with these twelve principles, his “nafs” will become free from impurity.


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Rejoice from the divine soul when it commands your hearts, and look deeply into the dreams of truthfulness that are the signs of guidance, and seek the signs of heart to open the gates of heaven. Do all of this until the time arrives that your heart shall rise in the Name of God and find the fortune of justice. Do not approach, all scattered and doubtful, the people of God, but learn from them the breaking of the unknown idol of the self and so pass through the gate of change into new birth. Experience the blessing of the people of God in the center of your heart, and become familiar with the truth of life which is your passage. A truthful salek deeply watches and fully knows the path he follows. Her concentration and silence within, and her gentleness and virtue in the world, are all based on the principles of knowledge and wisdom.

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Spirituality and Science

The Aligned Heart:

A Science of Love and Wisdom Far more than a simple pump, the human heart emits pulsing waves of energy encoded with information that literally gives shape to the activity of all bodily functions, and coordinates and synchronizes the body as a whole.1 What’s more, these waves can also be detected outside the human body, experienced between people, and shown to correlate with rhythms in the natural world. While much attention is focused on the functioning of the brain, and its impact on how we experience and come to know ourselves and the world around us, emerging research offers insights that encourage us to reorient the landscape of our questions to include the heart. Research in the new discipline of neurocardiology shows that the heart is a sensory organ and sophisticated center for receiving and processing, as well as sending, information. By current measure, the heart has a magnetic component about 5000 times that of the brain, which permeates


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every cell in the body.2 The nature and scope of this magnetic field is just beginning to be understood by science, and, as Dr. McCraty describes below, has far-reaching implications for how we understand communication, health, energy, and the relationship between human beings and the larger universe. One of the epicenters of this research is the Institute of HeartMath in Boulder Creek, California, an internationally recognized nonprofit research and education center, where innovative science is offering another way into living in greater Love and Wisdom. Over the decades since its founder, Doc Childre, and Dr. McCraty began the Institute, researchers at HeartMath have asked new questions about the capacities of the human being. They have developed systematic protocols and technologies with which to conduct rigorous studies of the heart’s rhythmic field, as well as tools for maintaining an optimal state throughout the day, for use by

“It is the journey into the space of the heart... in which we are offered an opportunity to see ourselves reflected.”


Rollin McCraty, PhD a scientist’s journey into the heart

Dr. Rollin McCraty, Executive Vice President and Director of Research, has been with the Institute of HeartMath since its inception in 1991 and worked with founder Doc Childre to formulate the organization’s research goals and create its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. McCraty is a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress, an Adjunct Professor at Claremont University, and holds memberships with the International Neurocardiology Network, American Autonomic Society, Pavlovian Society and Association for Applied Psychophysiology. He is an internationally recognized authority on heart-rate variability, heartrhythm coherence and the effects of positive and negative emotions on human physiology. Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2 34

physicians, therapists, students, teachers, parents, grandparents, business leaders, corporate teams and seekers of all faiths. Earlier studies out of HeartMath showed that the heart is influencing brain processes that control the autonomic nervous system, cognitive function and emotions, and found “remarkable evidence that the heart’s electromagnetic field can transmit information between people,” even at a distance.3 Using techniques developed at HeartMath, scientists have been able to measure an exchange of heart energy between individuals up to five feet apart, and have found that one person’s brain waves can actually synchronize to another person’s heart signal. Now new research is expanding this science of resonance even further to include “data suggesting that the heart’s field is directly involved in intuitive perception, through its coupling to an energetic information field outside the bounds of space and time,”4 and can even alter our genetics. HeartMath scientists introduced the term physiological coherence, to indicate a state in which physiological, cognitive and emotional systems are in harmony – a state that can be measured objectively through distinct changes in the rhythm of heart activity.5 photo © Institute of HeartMath


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The Electromagnetic Field of the Heart photo Š Institute of HeartMath

They are, and have been, at the forefront of research suggesting that maintaining a coherent state, beginning with a coherent heart rhythm, not only has a positive impact on physical and emotional health, but also impacts how we learn, and how we connect to our inner being and the environment around us. As Dr. McCraty explains in the conversation that follows, these studies offer intimations of what is possible when we learn to listen to the movements of our own system, beginning with our heart, and to cultivate coherence. In ef-

fect, these scientific insights can help us to align even more fully with our highest potential as human beings, and, coupled with the teachings of wisdom traditions, can deepen our capacity to tap into a source of Love and Wisdom not available through the normal operations of the thinking mind, or reaches of our basic senses. In addition to sharing new scientific insights, in this article Dr. McCraty also shares insights from his own life, providing an opportunity to appreciate the process of transformation by which he arrived at this work. It is a journey into

the space of the heart, and one in which we are offered an opportunity to see ourselves reflected. Rather than espousing dogma, Dr. McCraty invites each of us to become a scientist of our own experience, and to use each moment of our lives to further open the doorway to self-exploration and the cultivation of our own consciousness. His story and research offer a perspective on life that can inspire us with a warmth and vitality that technology and science often casts shadows over, and that emphasizes anew the realm of the heart. continued on next page

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“When I talk about the intelligence of the heart, I don’t mean it as a metaphor.”

Sufism, An Inquiry recently spent an afternoon with Dr. McCraty, sitting amidst Boulder Creek’s rolling hills and gentle breezes at the beautiful HeartMath Institute. The comments that follow are excerpted from conversation had that day, and in addition to scientific research and personal narrative, are organized to provide further insight into the relationship between the physical and spiritual heart. With Dr. McCraty’s permission, highlights from previous scientific articles are also included to provide complement and further illumination of the conversation featured here. 37

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Rollin McCraty The Bridge The energetic system, which is a significant part of what we study at HeartMath, is now commonly accepted and understood to be very real. From my perspective, there is no question that we have an energetic system that includes and transcends the physical, and that the heart is the master player in that system. It is the bridge between the physical and spiritual dimensions. When I talk about the intelligence of the heart, I don’t mean it as a metaphor. Said very simply, as we see it at HeartMath, there really is another dimension of existence available to human beings that is part of our undivided wholeness. At times, this is called spirit or soul, or higher self. Here at the Institute, we often call it “The Large.” The heart plays a leading role in connecting us with this dimension of existence. Through research, we are able to see that as human beings become more coherent, to use the scientific term, which refers to a measureable state related to heart-rate variability, it inphoto © Institute of HeartMath

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“At this point in human history, it really is about a shift from the head to the heart. “... so that the mind becomes a servant of something higher.”


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creases coupling to that part of the self that has access to our larger capacities. As we become more connected to our heart’s intuitive Intelligence, we start making better choices, and we become kinder and more compassionate, appreciative, cooperative and collaborative. At this point in human history, it really is about a shift from the head to the heart. What’s needed now is a more conscious integration of the heart and brain, so that the mind becomes a servant of something higher – it is the mind that is the big winner when you do that. Intuition is the term I most often choose to use to describe the flow of information down from our higher dimensional self via the energetic systems. At HeartMath, we are working to explore on a scientific level how this shift from head to heart affects us, looking not only at positive changes in physiology, but also changes on the level of gene expression and improvements in relationships that can promote healthy people, and a healthy global society and planet. Finding Flow The goal of HeartMath is to provide simple, practical tools and technologies photo © Institute of HeartMath

that can help people to live more from their heart’s intuitive guidance. It’s really all about the inner technology; and we’ve designed tools and techniques that help people to connect more fully with their inner resources. In so doing, they start to develop capacities they didn’t know they had access to, and start to see solutions to problems that were not available before. HeartMath’s tools and techniques are meant to be accessible broadly. Our work is science-based and seeks to cut through to the core of what’s needed to help people navigate shifts toward greater awareness and conscious living. Where a lot of traditional academics miss the elegance of HeartMath is in the simplicity of what we offer, which is really a key aspect of its effectiveness. All of the work is based on the principle that as you increase your connection with higher capacities, what we call the flow of intuition, that strengthened connection is what expands consciousness. The Eye of the Needle From my perspective, and I don’t mind saying this on the record, there are a lot of great systems of spiritual practice out there, and my

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colleagues and I respect them all, but I believe that we all have to navigate our way through the eye of the needle, to expand into our next level of human consciousness and awareness, and the way of passage is through the heart. The more one understands this, the more effective various practices we undertake in our spiritual development become; at least that’s been my experience. I’m really talking about a shift into greater heartfulness. Yes, we can become more mindful and aware of our thoughts and feelings, and that’s important and a step, but to really achieve the kind of compassion and other qualities so many people are seeking to cultivate through various approaches, we have to look at the role of the heart. Wonders of the Heart, by Imam al-Ghazali describes “heart intelligence,” which is the same term we use at HeartMath. It’s the earliest reference I’ve found in literature to the literal term “heart intelligence,” and is an amazing description of what I’m discussing. Passing through the eye of the needle is really about entering into a different relationship with our higher self, or one’s soul. If I’m using 41

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more energetic language, one way I might talk about it is as a shift from 3rd dimensional mind-awareness to the higher 4th dimension. Before I discovered the heart techniques, and took them seriously, I was kind of stuck in what I call mid-4th, and in a loop that didn’t quite go where I’m talking about in terms of shifting my consciousness and allowing me to access

new parts of myself. In my experience, you have to learn to phase out of 3D to be able to phase into 4D... again, I’m not talking metaphorically; this is real for me. I’m referring here to frequencies, to real dimensions of intelligence, and to a shift in consciousness that’s impossible to explain conceptually without an experience of it. When I talk about different dimensions of reality, I’m talking about what vibration or frequency you operate at, so it’s more vertical: you shift from 3D to 4D as you become more connected

with your own higher dimensional awareness, which is all about love and connection, and is where the self expresses not at the expense of the whole, but for the benefit of the whole. As consciousness shifts toward the higher dimension, we start to make different choices about how we live with each other on the planet Earth, and tend to act more lovingly, and with greater wisdom. Walking the Path I was always one of those kids who was just drawn to things like electricity and magnetism. In high school, I read a lot of books on these subjects, and would skip class to explore and build transmitters, but I found that I could never get a satisfactory answer to things like what magnetism really is when from an academic level. Even now, we have great mathematical descriptions of how things behave, but we don’t yet understand specifically the source of these behaviors. In my own life, the hunger for this knowledge led me to study some of the more esoteric writings on topics related to energy and magnetism, as well to learn different techniques of mediation and spiritual practice.

Know that the wonders of the heart are outside the realm of things perceived through the senses, for the heart is also beyond sense perception.

- Al-Ghazali, Wonders of the Heart Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


photo Š Institute of HeartMath

Doc Childre, founder of HeartMath, is a global authority on reducing stress, building resilience and optimizing personal effectiveness. He is chairman of the Institute of HeartMath Scientific Advisory Board and HeartMath LLC, chairman and co-CEO of Quantum Intech Inc., and a consultant to business leaders, scientists, educators and the entertainment industry. He has authored dozens of books, and created the award-winning emWave速 heart-rhythm coherence feedback technologies. His work has been featured in scientific journals, as well as television and radio programs, and print publications including The Washington Post, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, and many more.


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Early on in my adult life, I spent time working for Motorola as a communications engineer, and started working with a group here in California doing radionics research, still pursuing the same questions about energy and electromagnetics. I got involved in the first company to introduce spirulina, a blue-green algae with incredible nutritional value, to the West. We did a project in Palm Springs are that proved you could go out into the middle of a des-

lever, and that none of the other stuff will truly be resolved until changes occur at that level. That’s still true. We could solve world hunger right now, and everyone on the planet could have food and clean water for ten percent of the world’s military budget – that’s a consciousness problem. Somewhat disillusioned, at that point, I said heck with it for a while, I’m going to make money again. I started a company that went from a

Doc Childre introduced me to the heart in completely new ways – to the heart as a literal access point to our deeper inner voice and wisdom. In meditation courses and so on, I had learned about the heart chakra, but previous to meeting Doc, I had only looked at the heart as a metaphor. That’s where my meditation practices were stuck. Don’t get me wrong, my meditation experiences were helpful, and created movement in a positive direction, but they did

Many contemporary scientists believe that the underlying state of our physiological processes determines the quality and stability of the feelings and emotions we experience…our research has found that it is the pattern of the heart’s rhythm that is primarily reflective of the emotional state. - McCraty and Childre, Altern. Ther. Health Med. 2010 16:4 ert and create a spirulina farm that could feed the world’s populations quite easily. It was through this experience that I realized that it wasn’t the technology that was missing, it was consciousness, and that until human consciousness shifted, we weren’t really going to get any closer to solutions to poverty, world hunger, clean water, or any of the issues impacting us on a global scale. It’s a pretty eye-opening realization to understand that human consciousness is the

garage to a very successful company in just a few years. Quickly, though, I realized that another sports car in the driveway wasn’t going to do anything for me on a deeper level. It was at that point in my life that I met Doc Childre through some mutual friends. We were both out on the East Coast in the North Carolina area around the same time, and I visited him there on some other business. I figured I’d spend an hour with him; three days later I came home.

not lead to the dimensional shift that I discovered when I took the heart-based practice more seriously. It was still the mind running the show, so to speak. Doc introduced me to something different, and started a whole new adventure in my life. I started practicing some of the more heart-based techniques I learned with Doc in my company where I was managing employees, and soon my own heart intelligence, if you will, let me know that there was more to

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Women and Faith

The Building Bridges of Understanding Series, an educational program of the International Association of Sufism and Dominican University of California, in cooperation with Marin faith communities, continues to grow its scope and reach, and to provide opportunities for learning and dialogue. The upcoming 2013-2014 program will focus on Women and Faith.


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life than making a lot of money. At that point, I sold the company and helped found HeartMath with Doc. Even 30 years ago, before the Institute had its name, Doc was able to lay out the vision and mission, the work, and the shifts and stressors that would emerge as the consciousness shift took place on the planet. HeartMath was created to help people navigate the shift toward more heart-based living with ease, and to help create what we call global coherence. Doc is the most consistently caring human being I’ve ever met, and his unwavering care about humanity is the foundation of our work. Access Higher Information To date, the research about the heart having access to information from a higher dimension is well described in a number of scientific articles, which detail very rigorous electrophysiological experiments. The essence of one of the rigorous studies that we’ve done investigated the proposition that the human body receives and processes information about a future event before that event actually happens, and offers compelling evidence that the

heart’s energetic field is the first thing to detect this stimuli. While the study’s results show that both the heart and brain receive and respond to pre-stimulus information about future events, the data indicates that the heart receives intuitive information first, and then sends different patterns of afferent signals to the brain. The research also indicates that we are more “tuned in” to stimuli (future event) that is emotionally important to us – someone or something we care about. As we talk about what’s happening between the heart and the brain, I find it useful to clarify that in our work, we have identified three types of intuition, and that practicing being in a more coherent or aligned state facilitates all three. The first type is usually called implicit knowledge, which is where we learn something and forget we learned it, or didn’t know we learned it. Say we are faced with a new problem and we do not have a solution to it. After we ponder it some, maybe a day or two later, usually at a time when we’re not thinking about it, like in the car driving or in the shower, the solution

suddenly pops into our consciousness, and we have an insight or intuition. Expert knowledge is also in this category, which is why the vast majority of academic writings on intuition are limited to discussing implicit processes. The second category of intuition is what we call energetic sensitivity, meaning our nervous system’s ability to detect real signals in the environment – one person’s brain waves can actually synchronize to another person’s heartbeat. It also covers an important aspect of empathy, and when you are able to feel someone staring at you without looking with your eyes. Lastly, the third type, which is what we were talking about in the experiments I’m referencing, is non-local intuition. Non-local is the type of intuition that you cannot explain through implicit processes or energetic sensitivities – the mother who knows her child is in distress non-locally, two bedrooms down, or on the other side of the planet. It’s really interesting that when we ask about people’s personal experience with this type of intuition in our law enforce-

Wonders of the Heart Wonders of the Heart is the twenty first book of the third quarter of Abu Hamid alGhazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Revivification of the Sciences of Religion). Al-Ghazali was a Muslim theologian, jurist, philosopher and mystic born in 1058 A.D. in Khorasan, Iran. He wrote the Ihya upon returning home after more than ten years of seclusion and meditation in search of truth. The book is widely regarded as one of the great works of Muslim spirituality, and seeks to create a balance between religion and reason. In Wonders of the Heart, al-Ghazali speaks of human beings’ capacity for “the highest of all kinds of knowledge,” the seat of which is the heart. Described as the center for both psychic and physical actions, the heart is said to contain threads that bind thought to act, and human to the Divine.

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ment and military trainings, the participants become very engaged. Guys who are usually close-lipped tend to open up to talk about this and about how it has saved their lives, or helped them save a life. The way I worded this when we first published it was to say that the heart appears to have access to information that is not bound by the limits of time and space. This was perfectly acceptable language in science, proven by quantum physics experiments. In more recent publications, we are calling it nonlocal Intuition. What I really meant by saying a field of information not bound by time and space is our individual capacity to connect with our deeper inner voice – our intuition, which I am suggesting happens via our energetic heart, spiritual heart. In terms of our experimental work, it’s the best I know of documenting an aspect of heart intelligence. Sufis have been right all along – the heart is fundamental. Rhythmic Wisdom The heart generates by far the largest rhythmic magnetic field in the body. With today’s equipment, we can measure about three feet from the


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body. The field goes further, of course, but this is what we are able to measure with the equipment we have currently. When you do analysis of the magnetic field, you see that it contains information on one’s emotional state, which is encoded in the signals, and has a mathematical link back to the rhythmic beating pattern of the heart. Human beings are like radio stations, to use a literal metaphor, and it turns out that our nervous systems are exquisitely tuned in to other biologically generated magnetic fields. That’s why people say things like “you can feel the vibes,” or you walk into a room and you can “feel the tension, and cut it with a knife.” We are sensitive to biological fields that are be-

ing created in and around us – that’s what the science is clearly indicating. If we begin to talk about how we measure this energetic connection between people, for example, say we had our bodies wired up right now, we could see that especially if we’re in a coherent state, it allows a new level of energetic sensitivity to emerge out of that stability. We could see the brain waves in one of us begin to synchronize with the other person’s heartbeat. This kind of data is an entryway into talking about interconnectivity. For example, it allows a conversation to open up say with a physician where I can say, “let’s look at how your state affects your patient.” Similarly, we’ve trained a

© @lovebeatsdivine

Of the many new scientific perspectives that emerged from the 20th century, one of the most profound is that the universe is wholly and enduringly interconnected and coherent…Coherence implies order, structure, harmony and alignment within and amongst systems – whether in atoms, organisms, social groups, planets, or galaxies. - McCraty and Childre, Altern. Ther. Health Med. 2010 16:4

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Divine Love and W In the words of a Sufi Master

As new science begins to reorient our gaze even more fully toward the interior life of the human being, and our capacity to perceive through our own inner awareness, we can look also to those who have cultivated an established way of knowing beyond the senses. In their words, it is possible to hear the potential each of us has for an internal science that can be just as precise and exact as that conducted through measurement and experimental methods. In the following excerpt, taken from a talk at the 2013 Songs of the Soul Poetry and Sacred Music Festival, Sufi Master Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar offers insights that can help us arrive at a deeper expression of Love and Wisdom, from within our own hearts. He invites us to experience life not as an intellectual matter, but rather as an inner knowing. When we turn our eye to what is beautiful and look out with reverence, we can sense the rhythms of life pulsing through us, and hear the language of the heart – a language that is the melody of the Divine universe. When we look inside of our system, every part of our system has the same center. All these magnetic centers are working together and are in charge for communication, for living, for continuation. If you try very, very hard with very strong logic, you cannot divide the universe; it’s just wasting time. All is united; all is divine; not differences. The only point in this moment which is necessary for us to remember, and to appreciate, is that we can stand, we can sit, we can walk, we can remember all these beauties, all this majesty. We cannot underestimate this power which has been granted to human being as a gift. That’s the recommendation of the Holy Prophet: ‘Think deeply about the creation of the skies, earth, everything.’ 49

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Actually, when we look carefully, we don’t have enough time, we don’t have enough time to think about all this majesty. So what we can do? How we can save our time, and find and enjoy the majesty? Instead of being distracted, be focused. Meditate. Return. For study, for education, we don’t need any book. We have it. Everything is available. Look at nature: It’s all pages of the whole book, and each page of the book is a book also. It’s amazing majesty – that’s why we expect a Sufi [to be] astonished. So, in this case, we find a new definition for thinking. Is thinking really the activity of the mind? Thinking is the result of the pure mirror. That means remove all the dots from the

face of your heart – that’s thinking, and you will find it. When the heart becomes pure, and purely reflects the majesty, that is Wisdom. So Wisdom and Love cannot be separated; they walk hand in hand. In the Hadiths, a question from the Prophet rises in his being: ‘Who are you God?’ I think the very right and fair question is, before we ask ‘Who are you God?’ we ask, ‘Who I am?’ That makes sense if I ask who I am first, because at the end, it’s who I am who wants to know God… Another Hadith: “I was a hidden treasure. I love to be known. Then I create the creation and I can be known.” That’s the movement of Love. The movement of Love is to be known. When

Wisdom I ask myself who I am, answer is you are a product of Love. You are. You are a product of Love. The movement of Love, the energy of Love holds all together. All your cells working not only holding you together, but holding you within the whole universe, not as a pending being, but as communication with the whole universe… In every direction we look, we find reason for appreciation. Appreciation is the expression of Love, and to know, to learn how to be appreciative is the Way of Wisdom. The heat of fire is valuable, but when it is confined with fireplace. When you feel the energy of love, don’t be distracted. Wisdom will grow, rise, and mature, from within Love. And for love to arrive at the full extent of knowledge, is truly the way of Wisdom. Love has to be contained within Wisdom to remain valuable and precious…. In making a fruit preserve, to make sure that flavor, the essence, and taste of the fruit is protected during the process, we have to keep the extract within a jar and tighten very tight to protect it from any outside effect during a certain time. Time is important. It takes a certain time to

develop that. In Sufi terminology, it is Forty Days, and you will follow this time in monotheism, beginning at the time of Noah. For forty days and nights, he closed the doors and window to the ark. That’s the time which you receive the energy of Love, so you have to hold it within the heart and let that become reached, and get into ecstasy. If we do not follow the wisdom of process, which is to keep that energy within your heart, for a certain time until you know that is the time you can open the door, like Noah did after Forty days. When he had tightened all the windows and doors of the arc and was sitting in the darkness, how did he know when it’s the time to open the door? Because the light rises from within the darkness. Wisdom and Love – two mysterious terms in human vocabulary, simply used In daily life. We may come across them accidently, and how we locate them is most complicated to define…. How Love can purify itself from all paradox, and from such puzzlement, when Love and Wisdom return to their own home.

lot of teachers in HeartMath techniques. One of the comments I hear a lot is, “Wow, when I shift my state, my classroom changes.” Once they learn and practice being more coherent, it can have a palatable, noticeable effect on their students. Then we can go a band wider, which you cannot explain now through conventional physics, where it becomes more non-local connections. It’s notable that first there is an electrical signal in a forming fetus, even before there is a detectable physical heart. This signal is present when the cells first start dividing, about three and a half days after cells start to form. What’s fascinating is that if that signal does not emerge, if it does not turn on so to speak, then there’s no morphogenetic information to guide those cells to become the human being they are going to become. Twin studies have shown that if this signal is not detected, it can result in a situation where you get a non-living clump of cells and jumble of limbs that never receive the necessary guidance in what to become. So that’s pretty good evidence that the heart is critical for the information from the higher dimension that provides the Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


morphogenetic blueprint that becomes the human being. Daily Practice Just like there’s brain neuroplasiticty and you develop new neural pathways as you learn new things, there’s also a sort of plasticity at the energetic level. There is a rewiring and establishment of new energetic structures that

moment practice in the midst of daily life. For example, say you get into a traffic jam, or whatever causes an emotional reaction, there is great power in beginning to work with that. You can train yourself to notice even the seemingly smaller reactions, judgments of others, feelings of separation and so on, and by practicing accessing the

and emotions back into balance and alignment. Usually the emotions that disturb our systems are stirred up by the mind – the irritations, the impatience, the anxiety, and the discontent, that’s all the mind wanting its way. When we practice bringing the emotional system into neutral by tuning in to the heart, it can, in turn, bring the mind into

find your seed, said the sky to the tree © @lovebeatsdivine

occurs as we practice aligning with our larger self. It’s not that people just suddenly get connected (although we can have brief moments of experiencing a deeper connection), it takes intention, practice and repetition to anchor in a new level of consciousness. From my perspective, one of the biggest things that can help expand somebody’s consciousness is moment by 51

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heart’s intelligence, you can shift these perceptions back into alignment with our higher perceptions. Sometimes, it really takes an intentional attitude to do this – you have to say to yourself, “No, not this time.” As you do this, you are rewiring not only neural circuits in your brain but energetic circuits. It’s really the heart’s intuitive intelligence that has the power to bring the mind

a more neutral and aligned perception. When the emotional system is aligned with the heart, compassion, love, and the higher emotions can flow from the larger self, and over time this becomes more easily accessible as we practice and establish a new baseline that is more consistently aligned with our higher intelligence. One of our current goals at HeartMath is to document

The Intuitive Heart* Among HeartMath’s most popular research is a series of studies evaluating how we receive and process information. Participants in these experiments were shown a series of photographs chosen at random by a computer on a screen in front of them. Some of the pictures were pleasant (flowers, children playing), while others were emotionally unsettling (a snake, a car crash). Before being shown any images, participants were connected to sensors to record their brain wave activity, heart activity, and heart-brain interactions. In surprising results, it was the heart that responded first, and even before the photograph was visible on screen. The heart responded faster to coming images than the brain, and the type of signal sent from the heart to the brain matched the emotional content of the picture. The flow of information went from heart to brain, and then participants became consciously aware of the experience. According to researchers, the implications are that the heart, and then brain, have access to a field of information not bound by time and space, and that the energetic system of the heart is first to receive this information.

Physiological Coherence and Regenerative Processes** Evidence from experiments conducted by HeartMath researchers and colleagues suggests that the heart plays a particularly important role in emotional experience. Based on findings, HeartMath scientists introduced the term physiological coherence to describe a number of related physiological phenomena associated with more ordered and harmonious interactions among the body’s systems. In particular, they have found that “coherence tends to emerge with the activation of heartfelt, positive emotions such as appreciation, compassion, care, and love,” which “suggests that such feelings increase the coherence and harmony in our energetic systems which are the primary drivers of our physiological coherence.” There is compelling evidence that “increased coherence and alignment in turn facilitate the body’s natural regenerative processes.” Based on evidence, HeartMath tools and technologies use coherence-building approaches. Some demonstrated benefits of physiological coherence: • Increased efficiency in fluid exchange, filtration, absorption between capillaries/tissues • Increased ability of the cardiovascular system to adapt to circulatory demands • Increased temporal synchronization of cells throughout the body • Greater system-wide energy efficiency • Improvements in cognitive performance and mental clarity • Increased emotional stability and wellbeing • Significant blood pressure reduction in individuals with hypertension • Improved functional capacity and reduced depression in congestive heart failure patients • Improved psychological health and quality of life in patients with diabetes • Improvements in asthma

*See McCraty, R. & Childre, D. (2010) “Coherence: bridging personal, social, and global health.” Alter Ther Health Med 16(4): 10-24. See also McCraty, R. (2003) The energetic heart: Bioelectromagnetic interactions within and between people. Boulder Creek, CA: Institute of HeartMath. **See “See McCraty, R., Atkinson, M., & Bradley, R.T. (2004a). “Electrophysiological evidence of intuition: Part 1. The surprising role of the heart.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10(1), 133-143. Also see “Electrophysiological evidence of intuition: Part 2. A system-wide process? Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 10 (2), 325-336.

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It is the heart that shapes the human being in the image of God. The potential of the heart is the potential of the seed that creates the whole tree. - Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar, Seasons of the Soul


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Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2




The 24Th AnnuAl


N at i o N a l


Bioneers ConferenCe oCtoBer 18–20, 2013 san rafael, Ca

What to ExpEct • A network of innovation experts and emergent leaders who are Turning Vision Into Action now The Inquiry of Gaia ©Jo Whaley

• A forum of discussion, education and collaborative action for achieving sustainability and equality • Inspiration to play a meaningful role in promoting resilient communities and the health and wellness of all living things

Who Should attEnd • Community Activists & Organizers • Environmentalists • Social Justice Advocates

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins Danny Glover

Nalini Nadkarni

• Business & Civic Leaders • Educators • Students

Darren Doherty

Dekila Chungyalpa

Billy Parish

Join the Movement for Social, Cultural, and Environmental Healing! 55

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• Any and all aspiring change-makers and global citizens who want to ensure a sustainable and just future for all

that as we become more aligned, our bodies actually undergo epigenetic changes. When I speak of epigenetics, I am talking about opening new expressions to DNA, and when that happens, then our baseline really is truly established. The field of epigenetics is no longer fringe science; foundational findings about the changes in genetic expression have been proven without a doubt through rigorous studies and

pressed and what’s not. A good example is from cases of childhood trauma, wherein kids who’ve experienced trauma early on have epigenetic changes that result in reduced immunity and increased inflammation, which lead to a host of other health conditions later in life. What we believe is that it can work the other way too – that as we become more centered in the heart, loving and aligned, it also

ed about, and to live in balance. It helps align us with our larger self, and we can begin to flow through life’s challenges with more ease and grace. All of the knowledge we seek is already present at that higher dimension, and it’s a question of our alignment, and this unfolds over time and with practice. A Global Symphony These days, even though we’re still doing clinical

Most people know what it feels like to be in harmonious state, the place where our hearts, minds and bodies are united in a feeling of wholeness. This state is often referred to as ‘the zone,’ ‘flow,’ ‘oneness, etc.’…this state is directly associated with increased intuition and improved health and cognitive functioning. - McCraty and Childre, Altern. Ther. Health Med. 2010 16:4 understanding how DNA works. “Epi” means above the gene, or outside the gene, so with regard to epigenetics, what’s becoming clear is that a lot of the ideas we’ve had about genetics thus far are not accurate. What we are learning is that rather than a static absolute genetic predisposition that you are born with, influences outside the gene have profound effects on controlling what’s ex-

leads to epigenetic changes, and opens other parts of the DNA. All of this is speaking to what I believe is possible as we practice shifting into what we call a “State of Ease,” which is an actual inner frequency that is aligned with our heart’s intuition. This state is not just an experience of calm, although inner calm is part of it, rather it’s what helps us to get through the eye of the needle that I talk-

work and basic psychophysiology research, we’re most interested in interconnectivity. The Global Coherence Initiative (GCI) is taking that out of the living room, or classroom, into a larger level. We’re putting specialized magnetometers around the planet that are designed to measure the resonances in the Earth’s magnetic fields, and looking at how these fields are interacting with humanity.

For more information on HeartMath see: For more information on GCI see: Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


Of the Earth’s resonances, there are different types our monitoring sites are designed to measure. For one, you have the geomagnetic field that surrounds and protects the Earth, preventing it from becoming like Mars. If you think of those field lines as tightly stretched guitar strings, as they interact with the solar wind, they vibrate and it makes resonant notes. Depending upon how much pressure there is on the magnetic field from the solar wind on the daytime side of the Earth, the resonant frequencies can be different. As it turns out, one of the fundamental frequencies of these field line resonances is the same as the human coherent heart rhythm – 0.1 Hertz – and they tend to overlap the human cardiovascular system frequencies. In essence, the Earth is vibrating at the same frequencies as our heart rhythms do. You’ve also got the Schumann resonances,

which are the globally propagating standing magnetic waves that are always there. These magnetic waves are created in the cavity between the ionosphere and the Earth. The Schumann resonances – there are eight of them – all overlap human brain frequencies. So the Earth is singing away, in a manner of speaking, at the same frequencies that our hearts and brains operate. And as we know from the physics of resonance that when different systems operate at the same frequencies energy and information can be transferred between them. We are now completing a large-scale study with women in Saudi Arabia who recorded their heart rate variability (HRV), 24 hours a day over a five-month period. Heart rate variability is the natural beat to beat changes in our heart rate and reflects the changes in the activity of our autonomic nervous system. We are comparing the

activity in their HRV to solar and geomagnetic changes. We expected to see correlations, but not at the level we are seeing. We are finding that we are more connected with the Earth than we originally suspected. We found in an earlier study that when the Earth’s field is incoherent, humanity in general tends to be quicker to get irritated, frustrated, or become anxious, and mentally fogged. In this new research, we are finding something further, something that as far as I know, no one has reported before, and this is that there are some positive correlations as well. In other words, when certain solar and geomagnetic measures change in a particular direction, our physiological measures, and mental and emotional states, improve. This is a really exciting time in science. One thing we can all do each day is to ask ourselves: “What are we feeding the

1. McCraty, R., Bradley, R.T., Tomasino, D. “The Resonant Heart,” Shift Magazine (December 2004-February 2005), 15. 2. Ibid, 16. 3. Ibid, 17. 4. Ibid. 5. See McCraty, R., Atkinson, M., Tomasino, D., & Bradley R.T. (2009). “The coherent heart: Heart-brain interactions, psychophysiological coherence, and the emergence of system-wide order.” Integral Review 5(2), 2009: 10-114. 6. See McCraty, R., Atkinson, M., & Bradley, R.T. (2004a). “Electrophysiological evidence of intuition: Part 1. The surprising role of the heart.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 10(1), 133-143. Also see “Electrophysiological evidence of intuition: Part 2. A system-wide process? Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 10 (2), 325-336. 7. McCraty, R. & Chidre D. (2010), “Coherence: bridging personal, social and global health.” Altern. Ther. Health Med.16(4), 10-24.


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In essence, the Earth is vibrating at the same frequencies as our heart rhythms do.

... the Earth is singing away, in a manner of speaking, at the same frequencies that our hearts and brains operate. And as we know from the physics of resonance that when different systems operate at the same frequencies energy and information can be transferred between them.

“What are you feeding the field today?” Please understand that all of the energy we put out into the world counts. We all feed the global field equally, and I encourage everyone to ask themselves, how much of the time are we aligned with our higher perceptions, or, in our language, with the heart? If you review the day or the week, what ratio of the time were you truly being more compassionate, caring etc., and uplifting the field environment, vs. feeling impatient, judgmental, and so on? Keep in mind that as we practice staying more aligned, we are not only helping ourselves, but are also affecting the global community.

how many bars do you got? © @lovebeatsdivine

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Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


Each star that we see in the sky has an internal or core energy source that started at the beginning of time. The star exists for as long as that energy burns in its center. The human being can learn from this example. Each of us has a source of energy, that we call life, within us. We take in nutrients and balance our intake and outflow of energy, our heart ... beats, and we are alive. In the 40 Days practices we human beings learn to manage our energy so that we are focused, concentrated, and our connection to life is understood before we lose our body, just as at some point in time each star will lose its concentration and return to stardust.

40 Days Program – The Alchemy of Tranquility®

“This technique is not about making a journey in the desert of the mind. It is to go one step above the mind – to lift up to another level. The 40 Days practice is intended to shift from the level of distraction and to free ourselves from attachments of images created by the mind. The result of correct practice should be to become more peaceful and alert.” - Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

The Alchemy of Tranquility in 40 Days

Across cultures and fields of study, human being seeks knowledge. More specifically, there is a longing in the heart of some people in which a quest may arise to know more about the self. For some people, constant access to information, facts and data still leaves them unfulfilled and a question rises within them: Is this information all there is to know? Many people who have had experiences and successes of various kinds now ask, How can I know more about myself and experience deep wisdom and tranquility? With clear intention and wise guidance, transformation is possible in 40 days, as has been discovered in many traditions and spiritual paths. Even though this message of 40 Days has been repeated over and over, generation after generation in the hu-

man family in all traditions, the true practice and the secret of the practice remained unopened. At this time, if we come with longing and clear intention, we have the opportunity to access the secret mystery of 40 days. This unique program is based on the ancient recognition that psychology, physiology and spiritual experience are interrelated and interconnected dimensions of the whole self. Practices are undertaken in daily life, over a series of 40 daylong increments, under the guidance of a facilitator. Shah Nazar Ali Kianfar, has trained a group of seasoned therapists, educators, musicians, and martial artists who hold advanced degrees in their individual fields, and who bring experience and spiritual awareness, to facilitate the 40 Days program. Workshops and retreats are a place

to learn how to practice for selfknowledge. Practices are offered that integrate ancient spiritual wisdom, modern psychology, established forms of movement, and science, including biology and cosmology. The sign or confirmation that the practices are being done correctly include the experience of peace of mind. As participants progress step-bystep through the practices, they report that they are able to transform from being agitated, moody, emotional, confused about life purpose, and distracted by the constant changeability of the mind, toward experiencing happiness, tranquility, harmony, stability, self-confidence and love. This transformation is the Alchemy of Tranquility.

His Holiness, Shah Nazar Ali Kianfar, a world-renowned Sufi Master and teacher of spiritual practice for over thirty years developed the 40 Days Program, and continues to guide its public offering. Dr. Kianfar provides spiritual wisdom and deep knowledge of the psychology of the human being in ways that provide participants with the opportunity to gain full awareness of themselves, and to learn to act in ways that reduce conflict and foster love and wisdom. It is the first time that this highly spiritual practice of purification has been combined with psychological training. Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2



Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

The Alchemy of Tranquility in 40 Days Beginning

September 20-22, 2013 @ Santa Sabina Center

Dominican College, San Rafael, CA Food and lodging are provided.

within you foster the potential for

the star of wisdom

to grow The wisdom of the heart Zekr through psychology, Music martial arts, Breathing spirituality, Movement & science Presentations

To register visit Attendees may participate in ongoing facilitated practice groups that meet periodically after the retreat. The trainings, workshops, and ongoing guidance of the program are a service that Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar provides to society. The Alchemy of Tranquility速 is a registered trademark of International Association of Sufism.

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


Women and Faith


NinaSimons in conversation

We are pleased to welcome Nina Simons as guest contributor to the Women and Faith Interview Series in Sufism, An Inquiry; part of an endeavor to explore the wisdom of women working creatively at the intersection of personal, social and ecological healing. The design of the in-depth conversations arises from experiences of women living within and from the presence of their heart as they cultivate integrity and wisdom that ripples into the surrounding world. In essence, the inquiry is directed toward discovering what provides women with strength, balance and peace on their journey, and how women experience their own evolution. Nina Simons is a social entrepreneur and co-Founder and President of Bioneers, a nonprofit educational organization that highlights breakthrough solutions for healing relationships among people and planet ( Previously, Nina served as president of Seeds of Change and as director of strategic marketing for Odwalla, Inc. In addition to advancing practical social and environmental strategies, Nina has an enduring interest in the leadership of women and girls, and the reemergence of the feminine within us all, which has long been reflected in Bioneers’ conference programming and media. She is co-editor of Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart, and co-teaches Cultivating Women’s Leadership, a six-day forum for women entrepreneurs, educators, donor activists, community leaders, artists and other nonprofit practitioners. In 2002, Nina produced a retreat for diverse women leaders called UnReasonable Women for the Earth, to envision a broad progressive women’s movement with environmental restoration at its heart. The gathering served as an incubator, helping to seed the formation of CodePink: Women for Peace.


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photo of Nina Simons by Jennifer Esperanza

in conversation with Elizabeth Miller SPIRITUAL BEGINNINGS I was raised by two parents who each came from Jewish lineages. Because their parents had been immigrants, they were non-practicing Jews. I think it was more important to them to assimilate and to become successful in an American context, than to carry forward any Jewish traditions. Neither of them had any religious or spiritual affinity with Judaism, so I grew up in a largely agnostic household. There was, however, a strong sense of civic engagement and a deeply held commitment to justice throughout my upbringing. As a child, my parents took us to peace rallies and to civil rights marches. My

first spiritual recognition of a connection to something larger in the world came through my connection to nature. Though I could not have named it spiritual as a youth, I felt deeply drawn to the natural world. I grew up in the city of New York, and so the places where I communed with nature, in Central Park and the Catskill mountains, became a source of solace for me. Every time I found my life in transition or upheaval, I turned to nature for grounding and reconnecting to myself. In my twenties, I was introduced to a spiritual school called the Arica Institute created by a Bolivian mystic, Oscar Ichazo, who had traveled all over the world studying diverse

spiritual traditions. He assembled a school for consciousness based on aggregating wisdom practices that he had gathered from all directions, and central to its philosophy was the work of G. I. Gurdjieff. EMBODIED PRACTICE For me, Sufism has always had a magnetic appeal, in large part because of its heartcenteredness. I have been drawn to it because it offers an experience of celebration united with divinity, in wholeness. I also deeply respect its inclusivity, sensitivity, and respect for human dignity and for each person’s personal path. Arica practiced a form of zikr, so I had my first experi-

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


ence in my twenties of a moving meditation that was ecstatic. It was practiced in a group with music, and it was the most ecstatic experience of prayer that I had ever had, so zikr is very dear to my heart. It was the first experience I had ever had of embodied prayer. The more I learn about what changes us as human beings, the more I understand the importance of bringing consciousness, intentionality and love to the relationship we have with our physical bodies. I am increasingly recognizing the power of somatic awareness as a way to heal and transform human consciousness. Other than certain indigenous cultures, I don’t know of many spiritual paths that integrate embodiment as consistently as does Sufism. With much of mainstream culture emphasizing thought over feeling, action over stillness, concept over embodiment, I appreciate hearing from you at Sufism, An Inquiry about practicing a Sufi spiritual path as a way of providing healing medicine toward greater equilibrium. Because we are like fish who cannot see the water we swim in, transforming our cultural awareness requires a conscious effort to move out of our habituated reality and into a new dimension. STILLNESS My ongoing practice is to cultivate myself as an agent of healing and transformative change, and to shed the uncon-


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

seed stillness silence heart

photo of Nina Simons by Jennifer Esperanza scious biases that limit the expression of my heart’s love. A kindness I am currently practicing myself is to let go of impatience, attachment to outcome, and the orientation toward achieving. It helps me to recognize how onion-like we are, so that I keep peeling back layers of beliefs, habits and orientations to get closer to my own essence. One way I practice deepening my relationship with stillness is

by taking time to acknowledge the value of each thought, so that I end each sentence with a period. When I do that, I can remember to pause in savoring the nectar of the moment. I am lucky to live in a place that is rural. Living close to nature contributes greatly to my developing stillness. I live on the edge of a national forest that is very silent. It offers a perfect counterpoint to my active life.

My home has become a place of sanctuary in an environment that reminds me to value stillness on the interior as well. The longer I explore the feminine, work with women, and seek to re-orient my inner directions, the more I notice stillness as a moment-to-moment practice. For me, emptiness and reflection have become profoundly nourishing, rather than simply filling the spaces in between. In January, I participated in a winter dreaming ceremony and felt grateful for the sacred time of prolonged darkness and the invitation to become quiet and go deep inside into a receptive place. Part of this ceremony involved going for hours into a kiva in pitch-blackness with my eyes open and calming my mind to attune and receive. It was an opportunity to explore my inner world through closing off external input. There is so much for each of us to learn from practicing listening and being receptive. The deepest pulse I hear prompts me to embrace my life as a healing. When I hear you talk of stillness through Sufi practices, I hear that as being a profound form of medicine. We need to remember the qualities that restore our sense of tranquility and beauty and that help us to embrace the full spectrum of life’s processes and possibilities, especially those qualities commonly associated with the feminine.

LIFE’S EVOLUTION What I love most about Bioneers is relating to it as a living system. Even though there are structures or forms that translate from year to year, there is also a real evolution, and it changes as the world and our learning grows. An early discovery I made through Bioneers was that relationship with our selves, each other, and the earth are all octaves of the same relationship. We cannot act upon one without our actions rippling through all three. I notice that many women find value (as I used to, myself ) by serving the needs of others while chronically under-tending and undervaluing their own longings and inner voices. Increasingly I observe that the more I can hold the truth that the Divine is within

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me, the easier it is to take care of myself, and the more available I am to serve and express my love of life in all of its forms. I realized early in life that I was not an authority on any particular thing but was rather a student of what connects all of life. I have been inspired by people who were willing to be vulnerable and those who humbly offered their words and actions. I noticed that the people who embodied leadership had a quality of inner authority that did not come from a title, graduate degree, or inheritance, but rather from a connection to the sacred. Through this recognition my concept of authority began to move from something that existed outside of myself to something that emerges from within myself. What I aspire to now is to be present, receptive and com69

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

fortable with uncertainty. When my inner alignment is strong, it’s possible for me to walk through the spaces that challenge me with dignity and grace. Our culture often promotes the idea that if we polish an exterior armor, we will be tough enough to get through life and achieve a kind of recognized success that protects us from hardship. Instead, I orient towards the notion of being soft on the outside and strong on the inside that I learned through Tai Chi Chuan. It requires practice to be soft on the outside, and strong within. It may go against our cultural conditioning, but it’s become the only way I know to walk through this time of loss and damage and uncertainty and still retain my joy. A part of my own learning seems to be about marrying apparent contradictions. Balanc-

“Education is not the filling of a pail, “

but the lighting of a fire.

– William Butler Yeats

Spark your curiosity and explore our interdisciplinary programs

Adult Degree Completion Program in Humanities and Cultural Studies Master of Arts in Humanities


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


ing the twin realities that on the one hand I’m TURNING VISION

The Inquiry of Gaia ©Jo Whaley

faulty human being grappling my way to INTOthis ACTION a path that feels like it has integrity and purpose, while also living within the knowledge RNING that TURNING there is divinity that lives in my heart, and SION connects VISION me to this extraordinary, magnifiN T O cent IN TO world. If I’ve learned anything from watching CTION ACTION leaders, it seems key to me to learn to hold both of those realities at one time. I notice that if I loose sight of either one of them, it tips the scales in a way that I either become too selfcritical, or I consider myself as not bringing an important contribution to the world, or I can become inflated or insensitive. So I seek to walk with equanimity, between the two. This same notion of two-handedness has been one of my guiding principles with Bioneers – holding the challenging truths of what is ecological toxicity and loss in one hand, while offering purity of intention, vision and possibility with the other. SCIENCE AND SPIRIT In terms of the nexus of science and spirituality, I believe they are necessary partners in informing humanity’s best future. It seems to me that wedding ancient knowledge traditions with modern human ingenuity and invention – including the wisdom of nature, the feminine, and indigenous cultures – holds the greatest promise for the future of life on Earth. In practice, science is often affirming what our hearts’ wisdom, intuition and bodies’ intelligence already often know to be true. What has always been important to me about Bioneers is the experience of interconnectedPhaedra Ellis-Lamkins Danny Glover

Nalini Nadkarni

ness between both science and spirit, and the deep recognition of how different disciplines and perspectives can augment one another to provide dimensionality within a larger unifying whole. One gift of living in this time is that people are waking up and becoming more open, which asks us to develop ourselves in ways that support us in coexisting with complexity, uncertainty, discomfort, and in getting better at bridging difference. My calling is to help make our essential interconnectedness more visible, and to create opportunities to oCtoBer 18–20, 2013 model how potently we can grow each othsan Ca er. I am thankful that rafael, so many are exploring the emergent feminine within us all, and that women around the world are expanding and freeing their capacities to act more boldly on behalf of life throughto increased inner awareWhat ExpEct ness, access to education, and connection to • A network of innovation experts and each other. emergent leaders who are Turning As women, I find thatnow one of the most Vision Into Action critical things can do is to rediscover for• A we forum of discussion, education and gotten or banished partsaction of ourselves and to collaborative for achieving equality restore themsustainability within our and internal landscape so that we can address the external healing • Inspiration to play a meaningful role of in promoting the whole that’s neededresilient from communities a stable place. the health and wellness of all I’ve reached aand point in life when as I discover living things and reclaim my wholeness, I want to bathe those parts of myself that are returning in rose petals and bow to them, write poetry to honor and dance with them. In so doing, perhaps we may help each otherShould to come into our birthWho attEnd right as protectors of the sacredness of life. I • Community Activists & Organizers find that the greatest strength comes as I first • Environmentalists attend, more fully, to repairing and revitalizing • Social Justice my relationship with myAdvocates self.

The 24Th AnnuAl

N at i o N a l

Bioneers ConferenCe

• Business & Civic Leaders • Educators • Students

Darren Doherty

Dekila Chungyalpa

Billy Parish

Join the Movement for Social, Cultural, and Environmental Healing! 71

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

• Any and all aspiring change-makers and global citizens who want to ensure a sustainable and just future for all

Zekr Zekr is life saturated by the Divine; The chest containing the Eternal Names. Zekr burns down the feather of Gabriel Bringing the illumination of love to the heavens of the heart. Break the chains that trap your being, As you hear the melodies of love inspiring your heart. * Life is the interaction between the hidden and apparent influences, and the human being is constantly receiving and distributing those energies. Since the rules and laws of harmony and cooperation are among the most effective laws governing the world, the human being receives only those waves for which he has attuned his being to receive. Remembering Divinity attunes the human being with Divinity, and allows him to receive what may be called spirituality. ** *Moulana Shah Maghsoud, Maghased-ol-Ershad, Tehran: 1978. **Nahid Angha, Principles of Sufism, San Rafael: 1991.

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A FORCE SUCH AS THE WORLD HAS NEVER KNOWN: WOMEN CREATING CHANGE Edited by Sharon G. Mijares, Aliaa Rafea and Nahid Angha 978-1-77133-056-5 / 350 PAGES / JULY 2013 / $34.95

A Force Such as the World Has Never Known: Women Creating Change is a unique collection of narratives from women from all around the globe. These are stories of compassion and bravery, empowered by the vision of a better world for all life. It emphasizes the need to empower the feminine and assure gender balance and human rights for all. This accumulation of women’s stories reveals the role of women in creating needed changes in areas of health and nutrition, supporting efforts toward sustainable environments, promoting political and social rights, protecting women from the travesties of war and rape and promoting religious diversity and better conditions for all beings. A very interesting and instructive manuscript that both gives one much needed hope and reveals some of how much needs to be done before both women and men can hope to live together in equality and harmony in a world at peace.


An exciting interdisciplinary Canadian collection of of ground-breaking work brings together almost seventy articles by formative feminist writers, researchers, activists and visionaries to illuminate the profound globalizing processes of our time. Critical analyses of currentglobalization and possible alternatives are presented in the context of global feminist dialogue and activism since the 1980s. Together, the articles provide a comprehensive overview of the agenda and processes of neo-liberal globalization; women’s activist responses to the consequent environmental and social destruction; and visionary feminist alternatives and worldviews. “This collection includes the work of some of the most critical feminist leadership. The reader will find a wide selection of feminist writings spanning the historic period launched by the UN Decade for Women (1975-85) and continuing into the new Millennium where contemporary issues of Inequality, Climate Change and the Global Economic Crisis are at the centre of activism. It will be especially valuable to feminists coming into leadership today.” — PEGGY ANTROBUS, founding member and general coordinator of DAWN from 1990–1996, and author of The Global Women’s Movement: Origins, Issues and Strategies



Essential Reading for Feminists the World Over Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


Susan W Lambert photography


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


SOUL BOOK I have a recommendation for a great book I would love you to read Within its pages is everything that you will ever need. You can’t find it on Amazon or the library’s shelf It can only be read by--you--yourself. It is written across the cosmos and sparkles in the black vastness of the starlit skies Its pages even twinkle in the magic of an infant’s eyes. It is an audio book but it speaks in silence and has no words, yet it has more wisdom than that which is ever heard. It is a voice that is not a voice When it speaks it also listens, it is always your choice Its pages will come and its pages will go they are written uniquely for only you to know. It is written in every place that you may look on every face, on every flower on every page in every book. It has volumes and volumes of unwritten living and timeless lore forever expanding forever more. It flutters in the beauty of butterfly wings It whispers in the magic of sacred things. It lingers in the canopies of every tree It dances in the morning with the honeybee. It is as wise as the river that rushes home to the sea It is as clever as the storm that spirals like the blood that surges inside of me.


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

From the 2013 Songs of the Soul Sacred Poetry and Music Festival It is as intelligent as the greenness feasting on the sun that shares its bounty with everyone. It whispers and it screams from the pages of every book that was ever written or ever read: The Upanishads, The Bible, The Qur’an, The Egyptian Book of The Dead. Goethe, Alice Walker, The Mountains Of The Moon it is all one music divided into many just playing Life’s tune. All it needs is whatever it takes to help itself while helping you that is all this book really longs to do. It is always old and always new It can be found everywhere but only inside of you. You don’t even have to read it All you have to do is be it. It is more rare than diamonds and more precious than gold… Oh, did I forget to mention? The name of the book is Your Own Soul! Dedan Gills is an educator, poet, activist and pioneer of Green Recovery, a movement to address the healing of human communities and the planet through environmental stewardship, conversation, mediation efforts, the cultivation of inner Wisdom. He is co-founder of Growing a Global Heart with his wife, Belvie Rooks, and has spent the last decade facilitating workshops and inter-generational dialogues locally and internationally, spreading a message of unity, dignity, and respect for all beings. He is also a member of the poetry slam collective Avay-i-Janaan. Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


Once the heart is in perfect balance and harmony, it can help other hearts. Therefore, establish the line of communication with your teacher through the heart. The true prophet never says, Follow me. The true prophet guides you to yourself. The teacher reflects Divine light. You receive this light to see your way. Constantly focus on the mirror until the light is received. The most dangerous teachers are those who have their first spiritual experience and think this makes them a teacher, as if the first chapter were the whole book. The teacher you can trust has journeyed to the end of the road. To make someone crazy is easy. To help one person become wise is the purpose of the teacher. Remove the weeds before you plant the seed. In the past, people were closer to nature and family, they planted trees and watched them grow. They drank in the beauty of the stars. The way of the pure and simple is the way of God. Practice training for purity by having more respect for yourself. Purify yourself of whatever is not you. This is what is meant by “Whoever knows himself knows his Lord.�


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

- Shah Nazar Seyyed Ali Kianfar, PhD excerpts from Seasons of the Soul

Notable Happenings The de Young Museum of San Francisco Hosts Dr. Nahid Angha and Taneen On February 16, 2013, the de Young Museum of San Francisco hosted “Soul’s Melodies: an unfolding of poetry, music and meditation,” featuring Dr. Nahid Angha and Taneen Sufi Musical Ensemble. The event was held in the Kimball Education Gallery as a featured part of an art installation called Social Dream Lab. Songs of the Soul: Poetry and Sacred Music Festival In March 2013, the International Association of Sufism hosted the second annual Song of the Soul Poetry and Sacred Music Festival in San Rafael, California. Participants, including Sufis from many orders and seekers from diverse faith traditions and countries, came together over three days to be inspired and to continue to work toward mutual understanding and global peace through poetry, music and presentations. For more, visit: Building Bridges of Understanding Explores Ethics and Tolerance Both events in the 2012-2013 program were held at Dominican University. The first, held on September 22, 2012, focused on the theme of Enlightenment and Ethical Conduct, and featured speakers Prabha Duneja, Reverend Heng Sure, and Khodadad Pashutanizadeh, representing the faith perspectives of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism respectively. On January 12, 2013, the second event was held on the theme of Tolerance. Speakers at this event represented the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and included Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman, Reverend Charles Gibbs, and Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar. Highlights from both events available at: Visionary Marin: Dr. Angha Honored by Marin Interfaith Council On November 8th, 2012, over 200 guests gathered to honor the spiritual and social contributions of Dr. Nahid Angha. The event brought together many friends and collaborators in the interfaith community who have been influenced by Dr. Angha’s life and work, and to celebrate Dr. Angha’s dedication to humanity and her many accomplishments as an advocate for human rights. For photos and other information: Commonwealth Club Appearance On October 25, 2012, Dr. Nahid Angha gave an address at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. Dr. Angha spoke to a capacity crowd on the subject of “Sufism: The Mysticism of Islam.” Michael Pappas, Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council served as moderator. Full audio of this event is available at: Unity of Marin Features Dr. Ali Kianfar On August 19, 2012, Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali Kianfar presented a pair of talks on “The Birth of Islam” at Unity Church in Marin as a part of Unity’s Beyond World Religions: A Vision of Unity Consciousness series. Audio for this event is available at: Contemplatives in Conversation: Sufi and Christian Perspectives On February 8, 2012, the Parliament of the World Religions hosted a program with Dr. Nahid Angha joined by Daniel Wolpert, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Crookston, Minnesota. For information, see: First Muslim Non-Muslim Dialogues: held @ Dominican University During the 2012-2013 academic year, the International Association of Sufism and Dominican University hosted a new series: Muslim Non-Muslim Dialogue. The first event focused on the theme of “Narrative,” and featured Dr. Nicola Pitchford, Dean of the School of Humanities at Dominican in conversation with Aaron Hinde, an Iraq war veteran and peace activist. The second event of the series was titled “Iran Ten Years Later: A Brutal Past and Uncertain Future.” Guest speakers included, David Harris, Haider Hamza and sitarist Arjun Verma. The final program was titled “A Glance at the Past,” and featured Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, co-founder of Zaytuna Institute. Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2 80

Genesis by John Mizelle

Winning Entry of the 2013 Annual Songs of the Soul Poetry and Sacred Music Festival Contest

Between babe’s first demanding cry and body’s last surrendered sigh, pain and joy, and for the lucky, wonder. It takes so long for us to see the simple, plain discovery that God appears as light, but also thunder. Whatever form this strange life takes, the challenge is to find what makes the mountains rise and plows everything under. A host of beings fall and rise before our stunned and startled eyes. As quickly as they’re made, they’re torn asunder. Silence—the birth of every sound. Stillness—each movement finds its ground. Darkness gives shape to light, its folds make every form; the womb from which we all arise, the hive to life’s bright swarm. Before the thoughts of I arise and truth is veiled in smog of lies, the world reveals itself to be a dancer. No problem can appear, you see, until I’m sure that you’re not me. Before the question forms, we want an answer. If mind lies still for just a day, heart teaches what it means to pray. Life reveals warp and woof of its weaving. Interpenetrating forms obey no human laws or norms. We come and go, but there can be no leaving. Silence—the symphony is heard. Stillness—then wind and breath and word. Darkness erupts in light, gives all forms their release, then welcomes them all home again: Silence—Stillness—Peace.


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

John Mizelle is a prize-winning poet and fiction writer, a singer, songwriter, and recording artist, and a psychotherapist and teacher of spiritual psychology. His passion is direct experience of Self beyond the conditioned mind. He draws inspiration from the natural world, from the mystic poets of all times and places, from music, and from people. He lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California with his wife and a family of animals.

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


review Art, Poetry

& Literature

Make A Journey To Heaven:

A complete collection of prayers of Rumi in Mathnawi With an English Translation by R. A. Nicholson Rewriting of the poems in Persian by Iraj Shahbazi and Mohsen Shabani Paperback, in Farsi and English


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

Reviewed by Amineh Pryor, Ph.D. Make A Journey To Heaven brings forth the prayers of Rumi in the Mathnawi. The book may be primarily focused on a Persian audience and Farsi readership, however the prayers of Rumi, as translated in English by R. A. Nicholson are inspiring and worth reading. Sixty of the prayers are presented in English, alongside the Farsi. The introduction and other text are offered in Farsi. As an example, an excerpt from the prayer entitled, “Auspicious King”: O Almighty One, Thou art able to pardon our great sins in privacy. We have burnt ourselves from concupiscence and greed, and even this invocation we have learned from Thee. (We beseech Thee) in reference for Thy having taught (us) to invoke (Thee) and of having lighted the lamp (of invocation) amidst darkness like this. (#26) Deep longing and metaphors from nature, such as the rose and thorn and the light of the sun and the moon, are used throughout the book. Each prayer has rich language and depth that the reader can work with to understand, and there is a rhythm from beginning to end of the sixty prayers. The book reminds us of the pain of

separation, stirs a longing within, and conveys the experience of gratitude for the mercy that has been given to the human being – the mercy of existence and creation and the mercy of longing. For example, in “O Thou who givest us intimations”: O Thou who givest us intimations in weal and woe, (though) our hearts are unaware of Thy intimations, O (Lord) who daily and nightly seest us and whom we see not, (our) regarding the secondary cause (instead of the Causer) who has muffled our eyes. My eye has been chosen above (all other) eyes, so that the (Divine) Sun was beheld by me in the night (of material existence). That was (through) Thy well-known grace, O Beauteous One; and (as the proverb says), ‘The perfection of kindness consists in making it complete.’ Do not let Thy nightcompanion be banished (from Thy presence) in the daytime, do not inflect farness (separation) on the soul that has experienced nearness (union).

Absence from Thee is a grievous and tormenting death, especially the absence that comes after enjoyment of Thy favour. Do not put him that hath seen Thee in the position of one that hath not seen (Thee): sprinkle water on his verdure that has sprung up. I have not acted recklessly (heedlessly) while faring (on Thy Way): do not Thou either act recklessly (ruthlessly) in pricking (inflicting pain upon me). Oh, do not drive far from Thy face him who once beheld Thy face! To behold the face of any one but Thee is (like the torture of) an iron collar for the throat: everything except God is vain…” (excerpt #58) The book may be enjoyed and meditated upon by a broad audience including those who seek further study of the Rumi and the Mathnawi, and those who may want to deepen their own experience by reading the prayers as a reflection of their own longing and reminder of the pain of separation from the Divine.

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


The rightful servant of Allah


Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


Ibrahim Adham Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Adham was born in Balkh in Khurasan, now northwest Iran, in the ninth century. For a time, Ibrahim Adham was the governing Prince of Balk, living in a luxurious palace with soldiers who carried swords and shields made of gold. After a great revolution within him, Ibrahim Adham left his princedom, choosing the way of devotion to God and denial of worldly things. Based on his many experiences, he became a renowned and dedicated Sufi. In The Book of Sufism, A. J. Arberry related the following story, originally documented in the book Helyatollolah by Abu Nahim. This story describes the experience that led Ibrahim to abandon his wealth and power as a prince in favor of a path of devotion… One night when Ibrahim was sleeping in his luxurious palace decorated in silk, gold and gemstones, he heard footsteps on the roof. Surprised by the steps, Ibrahim asked who was there. A voice replied, “A friend.” Ibrahim asked the voice what it was doing up there, to which the voice answered, “I am looking for my camel.” Ibrahim declared, “It is strange that you are looking for a camel on the roof of my palace.” The voice said, “It is strange that you are in a palace asking for God.” This experience greatly affected Ibrahim, who could not sleep for much of the night. He understood the event as a sign from God. It bothered him that as long as he remained attached to the wealth and luxury that surrounded him, his prayers to God would be futile.

By Safa Ali Michael Newman

When he awoke the night morning, Ibrahim was still disturbed by the experience of the night. He went to the audience room of his palace and carried on with his usual schedule until a stranger pushed his way into the palace with such force that the guards were afraid to throw him out. The stranger went directly to find Ibrahim. “What are you doing here,” Ibrahim cried. The stranger told Ibrahim the palace was “not a palace but a cemetery,” and asked Ibrahim from whom he had inherited such a place. Ibrahim told the stranger that he had inherited that palace from his father and several others from his generation, all of whom had passed away. Upon hearing this, the intruder replied: “Then this palace is a cemetery! Why are you holding onto something so tightly that will not remain in your possession forever?” Then the man, known as Kezr, the hidden prophet, disappeared from sight. After the stranger left, Ibrahim could no longer stay in the palace. He knew that God was sending him signals, but he did not know what he was supposed to do. Ibrahim sent for his horse and rode out into the fields to hunt. As he approached an antelope it began to speak to him in a pleasant manner: “Wast thou created for the world, or wast though commanded to do this?” With this, Ibrahim’s search for Divinity and devotion to God began to resound deeper within him. He left his luxurious palace for good to focus on his spiritual journey. Ibrahim described: Once I looked in the mirror and saw my palace as my grave. I saw myself all alone with a long journey ahead, with no proviSufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2



Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

dence of my own. I was being judged yet could not say anything to defend myself. The world became cold and undesirable for me and I left to meet my destiny. After leaving the palace, Ibrahim found the man who had come to the palace in the middle of the desert tending a large herd of sheep. The man, it turned out, was a shepherd. Ibrahim asked if he could exchange his golden scepter and silk robe for the shepherd’s wooden staff and woolen robe. The shepherd agreed, and Ibrahim remained in the desert for twelve years. As he traveled, Ibrahim Adham met many important Sufi masters such as Imam Jaffar Sadegh, the teacher of al-Jaber who invented Algebra, Habbib Raee, a student of both Uways-e-Gharan and Salman Farsi, and Abu Hanifeh, founder of the Hanaffi sect of Islam. These experiences contributed to his becoming a well-known Sufi.

According to Ghorshiri, in his book Ghosheirieh Thesis, one day someone saw Ibrahim Adham in the desert and asked him if he knew of a place to live. Ibrahim pointed to the cemetery. The man became angry with Ibrahim and struck him on his head. Later when he reached his caravan, he told his fellow travelers about the encounter. When the travelers told the man that he had struck a king, the man felt ashamed and returned to Ibrahim to apologize. The man found Ibrahim praying to God, asking God to bless the man who had struck him. When the man told Ibrahim that he was surprised that Ibrahim was praying for him, Ibrahim replied that he was thankful that in hitting him the man had brought him closer to God and was asking the same for him. In another time, Ibrahim was traveling by ship when a great hurricane began to shake the boat in the middle of the ocean, and it was about to sink. The captain lost hope, but someone realized that Ibrahim was among the passengers. The man called upon the Divine: “Oh, Allah, how can You drown us when ‘Your Book: Ibrahim’ is among us?” Suddenly, the passengers heard a voice say, “No such accident will occur,” and to their amazement, the hurricane ceased.

Ibrahim once related another story to his students of a lesson on service he received from a conversation with a servant he once hired:

Once I hired a servant. “What should I call you?” I asked. The slave replied, “Whatever you like.” I asked him what kind of food he liked to eat, and he answered, “Whatever you feed me.” I asked what kind of clothing he wanted. He said, “Whatever you provide me with.” “What kind of service do you provide?” He said, “Any service you ask to be completed.” Becoming impatient, I asked, “Is there anything you wish me to give you?” He replied, “A servant has no desire. He listens to the command of his master.” I shivered at his reply. I told myself, “Learn from this servant.” I then asked myself, “Have I ever served Allah as this slave has served me?” I let the servant go and learned a valuable lesson.

Later in his life, someone gave Ibrahim Adham some money. Ibrahim said, “I will accept the money only on the condition that you are not poor but rich.” “Of course I am rich,” said the man. “I have five thousand gold coins.” “Do you wish to have ten thousand coins?” asked Ibrahim. “Yes, of course,” said the man. “Then you are not rich but poor since you are still in need of more,” said Ibrahim to the man, refusing his money. After his years of traveling, Ibrahim Adham settled in Mecca among many friends and followers. It is said that one day he took all of his books and writings and threw them into the ocean saying: Abstract truth is not learned through empty words. Truth must be understood and is not found in books. When the time of his death came near, Ibrahim disappeared. No one knew where he went, where he died, or where he was buried. One day, people from two cities in Iraq heard a voice saying, “The trust of the earth has passed away.” Later, people realized the voice was speaking of the passing of Ibrahim Adham. Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


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Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

Updates from the United Nations Reported by Arife Ellen Hammerle, Ph.D.

The International Association of Sufism (IAS) is a United Nations Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with the Department of Public Information. IAS continuously provides a vital contributions to support the humanitarian efforts of the United Nations. Since the new millennium, the UN has developed comprehensive Development Goals focused on the following key areas of global interest: poverty, education, gender equality, health, environmental sustainability and global partnerships. All of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are critical to support the virtue of human beings throughout our global society. IAS strives to support the work of the UN to uphold the moral excellence of all human beings and societies by enhancing public understanding of the meaning and practice of virtue. Inside this commitment, IAS continues to work tirelessly toward all UN Development Goals, with particular attention to abolishing practices and legislation that discriminate against women and girls, or perpetuate and condone violence against them.

At the recent United Nations Conference on Women and Girls, an historic code was adopted to combat violence against women and girls. The conference had been made even more poignant since the wars, gun violence in the United States and human rights atrocities have become more prominent throughout the world, with the Taliban attack on 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai for her promotion of girls’ education in Pakistan and reports of gang rapes in India, South Africa and in many countries. IAS stands with the UN supporting this code to combat violence and to support the realization of MDGs. The United States welcomed the accord. It was an important first step to ensure that women and girls “live productive and safe lives, free from the scourge of violence and abuse,� according to Senior US envoy Terri Robl.

IAS has submitted petitions and attended forums supporting non-violence, education, micro-finance enterprises for women in business and overarching endeavors to stabilize peace and eradicate poverty. Clean water, bug nets and cook stoves are basic necessities that the IAS works diligently to sponsor globally. Additionally, IAS has created a program to support ending poverty as a fundamental goal and human right, and now sponsors programs with resources for educational and financial support for those in need. We are in partnership with the UN in taking affirmative action based on a clear intention for increased primary education enrollment, reduced mortality among children and meeting the target of eradicating poverty with the support of NGOs, civil society and the private sector. The MDG and the Historic code for combating violence against women and girls are fundamental foundations for human rights for all people. IAS continues to work with other UN NGOs to cultivate positive virtues that restore peace within every human being and the global community, as the basis for positive social change.

Arife Ellen Hammerle, JD, Ph.D., LMFT, is a student of the Uwaiysi School of Sufism, as guided by Sufi Teachers Dr. Nahid Angha and Shah Nazar Seyyed Dr. Ali. Kianfar. Dr. Hammerle is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and is a psychotherapist with the Community Healing Centers, an integrative psychotherapy non-profit organization. Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2



Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2


The 99 Most Beautiful Names

prepared from the teachings of

Shah Nazar Seyyed Ali Kianfar, Ph.D. by Sarah Hastings Mullin, Ph.D. Ar-Rahim is the Name of Allah that guides us to act correctly in order to grow and nourish the greatness within our hearts. To achieve and obtain the quality of Ar-Rahim, compassion, we must first be guided by Ar-Rahman, the mercy of God. When we acknowledge no source but the One Source, no reality but the One Reality, we open the potential of the human being within the heart. Before physical life, all potential creation exists within the realm of Rahmat, or spirit/energy. When something becomes named, or is distin-

guished as a specific creation, this demonstrates its movement from the realm of unity into the realm of manyness, or Rahim. Despite existing in this new realm of multiplicity, divine energy endures manifested within each creation. The human being and all creation innately contain a seed or breath of divinity that connects him to his origin, the station of unity. In this process, the Divine grants its energy, or Rahman, to each creature according to its potential. Rahim acts as a container for Rahman since each creation needs such support

to hold and appreciate this divine spark. While the human being exists in multiplicity, he becomes able to recognize unity as contrasted from multiplicity, and this knowledge is essential for his enlightenment. In this way Ar-Rahim is described as “The preparer of our salvation” because each creation, especially the human being, must learn how to correctly use his life to connect with his inner divinity. Ar-Rahim is also named “The Compassionate” as this energy is constantly supporting every creation to follow and appreciate its correct divine course.

Sarah Hastings Mullin, Ph.D is a member of the International Association of Sufism. She recently graduated from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto. She is a psychological assistant in Berkeley, gaining hours toward licensure. She works specifically with young adults, couples and with families after divorce. Sarah also holds a second-degree black belt in Aikido. 93

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2

To The Most Gracious and the Most Merciful. To The Most Compassionate.

To the One who gave me form, gave me life, gave me breath. Who planted the Divine light of knowledge within my aching heart.

To the One who creates every particle of the universe from His intellect and beauty. Who gives a portion of love to everything He touches. To the One who breathes His knowledge into the corners of the world. It is His wisdom that spreads through the arching branches of trees that then burst with fruit from proper receiving. How do I dare speak to Your magnificence? And how do I ever thank You, as I am absolutely nothing?

As I search for You, I see only through Your Beloved eyes. As I hide from you, I still rest in Your Beloved arms. As I long for You, it is because You have opened the door for my longing As I find you, it is because You have been everywhere. Please God, grant me the devotion to remember Your trust, to follow exactly Your Divine course, to think deeply of my last days when I am still young. Please God, make me always remain in waiting. Deprive me of what keeps me from You. Turn me into the one who finds no solace in forgetting. Within the melody of Your Mercy and Grace, Please return me to the chambers of your endless love. Make me wait for You until I am no longer.

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2



Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2