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 donâ€™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 heartâ€™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.