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'According to many Sufis, the essential truths of Sufism exist in all religions. The foundation for all mysticism includes the outer forms of religious practice, plus a life based on moral and ethical principles. The roots of the tree of religion are founded in religious law.... The branches of the tree are mysticism.... The fruit of the tree is the Truth, or God.'
Edited by James Fadiman and Robert Frager, this book reaches from the very beginnings of Sufi practice to the present, and pulls together materials that are luminous and spirit-provoking, from prayers that have survived a millennium to contemporary poetry. Writers such as Ibn al-Arabi, Ahmad al-Ghazzali, Hafiz, Rumi and Attar fill this book with an enchanting sense of a divine presence in the curiously distant yet all-to-present reality.
Many of the teachings of Sufi are very basic and practical, much moreso than one would think a mystical framework would be. And yet, God is practical in many ways. God particularly expects those with wisdom to impart the wisdom, and this is best done practically for many hearers. Action is the final essential component of wisdom.
The task of the Sufi is to recognise the Truth, to learn and remember it, and secondly, to help others to the Truth as well. As the task evolves, it becomes one process, which infiltrates daily life, worship, and all of existence. Nothing is apart from God. The Sufi strives to recognise this wholeness.
'Oh heart, sit with someone
who knows the heart;
God under the tree
which has fresh blossoms.'
For many of the Sufi, the path to Truth is the path of Love. 'Whatever we wish to know well, we must love.' Yet, there is resistance and fear in this love. Love can transform us, make us unrecognisable even to ourselves, and this is worrisome. Yet God will always know who we are.
Sufi literature also has a humourous aspect to it; the Hodja stories of Turkish collections is illustrated here. These are interesting, because they always illumine more upon closer examination.
'I can see in the dark,' boasted Hodja one day while sitting in a tea shop.
'If that's true,' said his friends, 'why do we sometimes see you carrying a light at night?'
'Well,' he replied, 'I only use that lamp to prevent other people from bumping into me.'
Ultimately the goal of all mystical practice, and perhaps most especially the Sufi, is the experience of knowing God. The paths to God are as numerous as the seekers, the Sufi believe, which is why the path through other religious faith is not discounted. Through prayer, remembrance and service, the Sufi comes to know God, and join with God.
One day a man asked a sheikh how to reach God. 'The ways to God,' the sheikh replied, 'are as many as there are created beings. But the shortest and easiest is to serve others, not to bother others, and to make others happy.' - Abu Sa'id
The call of God is powerful, and Sufi practice is one of the most powerful responses to this call in the world. Sufi are an impatient lot, who long to see God now. May your journey be enlightened by walking some of their paths.
This book does an excellent job of explaining the Sufi path. Prior to reading this book I knew literally nothing about the subject. Now I understand Sufism to be a deeply personal path and one that is based on love of God, a dedication to service, a search for spiritual knowledge, and uncovering one's pure self. The wisdom of Sufism is learned through art, prayer, poetry, stories, readings and rituals, all of which is guided by a Sufi teacher.
The history of Sufism is traced in this book and the beliefs and path of the faith are thoroughly explained. Discussed are: Sufism's four great books (Jesus' Gospels, the Quran, Moses' Torah and David's Psalms), the Five Pillars of Islam, the four stages of Sufi practice, transforming the self, the importance of a Sufi teacher and much more. After reading this book I feel I have a sound knowledge of the basics of this faith and an understanding of why my friend has found such peace in following it. I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to learn about Sufism or who is on a spiritual path that is open to new discoveries.
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I don't want to give too much away, but the LSD trips were extremely lucid and compelling. I think that there were many of us who had similar experiences and revelations. At a time when the CIA was trying to find a way to control the mind- their plan backfired and they ended up giving us a way to free our minds. They let the genie out of the bottle.
I particularly loved The Human-Be-In. It is written in vibrant color with many of the actual characters who were there. It all seemed very real. Fadiman was there and it showed.
The transformational scenes were captured wonderfully and magically. The writing and the story and the message lingered with me long after I had closed the last page. I will heartily recommend this to my best friends!
List price: $12.95 (that's 20% off!)