Mystic Mantra: Rediscovering Sufism

The polished heart becomes a mirror that catches the light of truth and reflects it in one's consciousness.

These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.
Rumi, Essential Rumi

In the chaos that prevails around us the most authentic hope comes from Sufis whose poetry and philosophy combines the virtuous message of formal religion with the transcendental values of love and harmony. The foundation of Sufism is the life-determining belief in God. Sufis are touched and moved by Him, pervaded by the awareness of God. Their lives are centred entirely on God. They have unlimited faith in Him who cares for everyone.

Sufism has been concerned with building bridges, not least between communities whose contact can be of mutual benefit. Through years of effort, Sufi masters have developed a scientific approach to achieving such refinement. They discovered that in addition to the mind human beings have other centers of consciousness that serve as inner faculties for attaining knowledge. Foremost among these centers is the heart. With diligent practice, teachers of Sufism perfected techniques that activate the heart, cultivating profound intuition and realization. The polished heart becomes a mirror that catches the light of truth and reflects it in one’s consciousness. With this light dawns the understanding that beyond material phenomena, there exists a Being of which everything in the universe is a reflection. One’s own being itself reflects the higher Being.

Where is God to be found? He is to be found in the heart of man which is His shrine. But if this heart is buried, if it has lost that light, that life, that warmth what does this heart become. It becomes like a grave. In a popular English song there is a beautiful line which says, “The light of a whole life dies when love is gone.” That living life giving element in the heart is love. It gets overlaid by the dense layers of our worldly pursuit and vain ambitions. Sufism is the message of digging out that water-like life which has been buried by the impressions of this material life. There is an English phrase: a lost soul. But the soul is not lost; it is only buried. When it is dug out divine life bursts forth like a spring.

Sufis consider the spirit and body to be one whole. They believe in integration, not dichotomies. What we do in our physical lives affects our spiritually, and vice versa. We cannot look at our lives in a vacuum. Our lives are integrated with our environment, ethics, and family. A well known Sheikh Muzaffer says, “Keep your hands busy with your duties in this world, and your heart busy with God.” Our faith has to be practised daily within our corporate lives. As Sahi, an eminent Sufi mystic exhorts: “A man should be in the marketplace while still working with true reality.”

Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing has followed the Sufi path. She explained its attraction: “Sufi truth is at the core of every religion, its heart, and religions are only the outward vestments of an inner reality.”She writes further:”They will find the word mysticism has lost its bizarre associations, and that the way of the Sufi reveals itself as a sophisticated view of life, embodied in people who through the centuries have always been in advance of their time.

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