Sunday, January 2, 2011

SUFISM: WAY OF THE HEART

I love to read and I have a vast collection of books.  Not as many as mom and dad.  I have so many that I have them stashed in various spaces throughout the house.  Sometime I forget what I have and I have to dust and clean to rediscover what books and interests I have had in the past.

Yesterday we put all the Christmas decorations away and I decided to do a little dusting and discovered a book that I found fascinating many years ago.  I picked it up and began reading.  I thought that it was interesting that on my own journey to understand myself better and to grow closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ that this journey is not new and individuals since the beginning of time have been on similar journeys.  My blog:  Tender Mercies, has been focused on the various natures of the heart.  The first section of the book I picked up yesterday is called "Way of the Heart".

In case your are wondering; I have always been fascinated with Eastern Culture; religions; beliefs and practices.  The Eastern Nations are very old and their various religious sects have been around for centuries.  There is eternal truth taught within the walls of their temples.  I have a respect for these ancient cultures and I have a respect for their beliefs.

Sufism, Tao and Zen are some of the Eastern practices filled with ancient wisdom.  Sufis speak to us from the heart, Tao preaches a practical wisdom based on the laws of nature, and Zen points to the immediacy of the present moment.  I want to share with you some of what is written in this section of the book:

"Sufism is known to many as the way of the heart, the path of the beloved.  It is an inner wisdom that speaks in the language of love, and is a way of looking more deeply into ourselves through the eyes of God.

"God, say Sufis, was hidden treasure who wanted to be known, and so gave birth to the whole creation in order to be seen.  It is God within ourselves that longs to meet the world, and only we ouselves who stand in the way.

"Longing to be permanently held in the embrace of the Beloved (God), Sufis prepare by renouncing outer wealth, believing that the real treasure lies within.  The word "Sufi" literally means "wearing wool" and refers to the simple clothes worn by early ascetics.  In Islam, Sufis are those who follow the path of tasawwuf.  Tasawwuf means "abandoning the world" and the people who follow the path of tasawwuf are mystics who live in the world but are not blinded by the world.  They are on a journey to find God.

"The journey that is undertaken by Sufis is undertaken by all those who seek to know themselves.  It is a journey of self-discovery and it is universally understood that the goal of this journey cannot be reached through the intellect.  A direct, or mystical, experience is needed.

"The Greek root of the word mystical -- myein -- means "to close the eyes."  This hints to the truth that is known to mystics everywhere that to experience God, or Truth, or any real aspect of ourselves, we must close our eyes and look within.

"Looking within, Sufis search for God.  Living in the marketplace of the world, they become so impassioned with their love that the world ceases to be a distraction and they see His reflection everywhere.  They so abandon themsleves to the love of God that they become His very eyes and ears.  Through their complete surrender, Sufis become the very heartbeat of the Beloved."

I remember being taught in seminary to be in the world and not of the world.  I remember being taught to seek the Lord and to learn of him.  I remember that our goal is to become like Christ that we may see his image in our countenance.  There are accounts in the New Testament of Christ asking others to forsake their current life; wealth; lifestyle, etc. to follow Him.  We have been reminded that He is the way, the truth and the life.  Can we abandon the ways of the world to seek after him?  This is one of the great questions that has been asked for centuries.

3 comments:

shydandelion said...

It's funny you picked up that book, because I was at Barnes and Noble's and picked up "Walden" because I wanted to read about living simply, and how it affected the author, and maybe simplify my life. Not quite Eastern, but same sorta thing! As fun as our complicated lives are, there is something so wonderful about letting it all go, in a sense, and embracing what truly matters.

Rebecca said...

The book I picked up is called: "The Little Book of Eastern Wisdom". It is really short but it has some good stuff in it. I wish I could just walk away from my complicated life and live a simple truth focused life.

Trillium said...

The best quote from Walden Pond (in my opinion), is "Simplicity. Simplicity. Simplicity." Too often, however, we choose complexity, complexity, complexity because it feels important or grand to do so. Nothing is simpler than wrapping ourselves in the reality of God and our relationship to Him and to our fellow beings. True simplicity is "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God." :)