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Sufi Conference 2008,

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I would like to begin by welcoming you all and I thought I should begin this gathering with explaining a little bit about the beginning of these gatherings and and kind of include you in that purpose and really why we are here in that moment in time it began about 9 yrs ago in Sufibrook in New york in a meeting between somebody in our group and Andrew Harvey who had a suggestion that there should be a Sufi conference and he said in fact there should be one on the East coast,one on the West and one in the middle and when I heard this I think I went restless about the idea and then I was told I should not only participate but I should host it and so we started here on the west coast and we wanted to come here in Solimar but Sufism was a little bit suspect at the time and we didn't get any response from the people here they just wouldn't answer their telephone, we couldn't get through to anybody. So, as Sufis we are trained to look at the signs, so I said to the person who was helping me arrange it, to Barbara, i said, look, there is this tradition that really belongs to the land here that belongs to the spiritual dimension of the land, that you have to go somewhere and you have to sit on the land until you are invited because that really belongs to the native american tradition of the place, of the land, I said if we are really going to have a spiritual gathering we have to be welcome by the spirits of the place So, she came down here and she actually sat on the place for 3 days and then after 3 days, somebody approached her and the person who approach her happened to work here and also be a native american and really, out of that meeting, welcomed her. and that enabled this particular gathering to take place not just in the outer world, not just in the visible world, but also in the unseen world, in the world of spirits, because in this country the world of spirits is still held in the land by the native american tradition and so it was deeply important that we were welcomed and so over the years these gatherings have continued, some on the east coast some on the west coast and Pia has been very kind to participate and other presenters that you shall hear this week-end and this is in a way a accumulation of these 8 years it is as if..... something that has been given can be receive. In a way it is a moment in time. As Sufis, we are trained to learn to be very attentive to the moment and to catch the moment and so this is the share of a moment, it is in a way an 8 yrs moment because it has been present for 8 yrs ever since Barbara came and sit on the land here and maybe before that meeting in Sufibrooks. And it has to do with different threads of sufi coming together, about honoring the oneness that is the foundation of sufism the oneness of being, the oneness of life, the oneness that is within the heart. and in order to capture that moment we are actually filming that gathering, that is the purpose of filming it, is to capture that moment that also can be shared with people who weren't able to come so you will see many of these events are being filmed for that purpose so this Sufi moment, which is really what it is ; this coming together, this sharing, this being present in this circle of sufis is held, both in our hearts and through this filming to make it available to people who weren't able to come and I just described this evening : I just will give an introduction for a while and then Pia Zia is going to give use some sufi meditation together with some flute playing which is very very dear to the heart and then we will have a short playing of the Nayi flute and then into 20 mns of of silence to bring this evening to a close and this gathering to an opening. and I was saying, for me the nayi has always been infinitely precious because it has this call that for me is the essence of the sufi path, in fact my favorite definition of sufism is , as many of you know, sufism at the beginning is heartache only later it became something to talk about. and the Nayi for me capture this heartache, this incredible longing of the soul, that is really the only road back to god it is love in its purest simplest essence that stamp in the heart that really makes us a sufi. If you have that stamp of longing then you are a sufi. and, as many of you know in fact the Rumi' achmaoui begins with the cry of the reed flute listen to the reed how it tells the tale complaining of separations saying, every since I was parted from the reed bed, my lament has caused man and woman to moan it is only to a bosom torn by severance that I can enfold the pain caused by love desire. everyone who is left far from his source wishes back the time when he was united with it. so that is the imprint within the heart, it is also the cry of the reed flute. this longing, this desire to go home, this simple home sickness of the soul, and it is something so simple, it is something so primary : we are separated from god separated from his or her beloved, because for us, the whole business is a love affair heartache, your heart cries to god for some reason, you do not understand, you do not ever know why ? why somebody stamped your heart? with that most ancient, most primal of imprints that cry of the soul and in that cry of the soul, in that imprint, there is the whole journey , the whole mystery of both separation and also union. because you wouln't long for oneness with god unless you knew oneness with god you cannot long for something if you do not know it. so it is this most basic human quality we're separate from god. the lover is separate from is beloved, and also within our heart, we know the secret of un ion. and this is very very precious because we live in a world that is fractured, fragmented beyond our imaginings. we live in a world that is tethering on the edge of falling apart. as in the poem of Yates "the center cannot hold" and we know the secret of both separation and union and we come together in remembrance of it the purpose of these gatherings is just to be together for his sake for the sake of our beloved and celebrating that oneness that belongs to god the oneness of being the oneness in which everything is included. and we know it in our hearts. mostly for the mystic it is a very solitary journey and, because it is the inner journey from the alone to the alone and there is also something very precious in coming together to share that journey for a moment in time in being together with fellow wayfarers on the path rumi says somewhere "be with those who mix with god as honey blends with mild with those who says anything that comes and goes that raises and sets is not what I love. so we are together in that mystery of love, which is also a mystery of oneness. we re just together. In sufism, there is a simple secret in just being together for his sake just being present for his sake, and knowing that we are one there is a lovely story of Shamsi tabriz in which someone became a plaintiff in a case and they wanted witnessess and so the person took 10 sufis to the courtroom for witnessess and the judge said "i want another witness" and the man said "you honor you call into court 2 witnesses ! I have brought 10 ! why do you want another witness ? I have brought 10 and he said " this 10 are 1 witness if you bring a 100000 sufis, they'll all be one we are one, that is what we live that is in our heart, in our breath, in our knowing in our sharing in our being together. it;s something very simple but the world has forgotten it the world things we are separate the world is obsessed by me, mine as opposed to somebody else and we know a different truth and we live a different truth and we make a simple statement by coming here together to honor that oneness there is only one part, one love affair one cry of the heart one lover and one beloved. Yes, there is this mirage of everything fragmentes into a thousand, into a million, into a billion that is just a mirage because we know otherwise but when you go in the heart there is only one there is only you and your beloved and when you sit together in a circle of friends, there is only one there is still only one lover and one beloved there is one. that is one of the great great mystery of creation you could call it unity or multiplicity. it does not matter what you call it because we live it we are the witnessess one witness, a hundred witness, it is one witness because we are sufis and what I find so precious and what I have experienced myself in a way it is, I hadn't experienced before I need gatherings to see these different threads of love these different ancient sufi paths which have different qualities, different textures there is music, there is silence, there is dance there is dreams and they all weave the same thread of love they all weave that same thread of love and we are that thread of love being woven into the world,, being woven into creation I met my teacher when I was 19 and I just sat at her feet for many many years and I knew nothing of other paths until I came to america and then not much of other sufis paths until these gathering and I saw there are all one it is the same cry, the same heart yes, some people need to dance some people need to sit in silence it doesn't matter the beloved expresses himself in so many ways it is said there are as many paths to god as there are human beings as many as the breath as the children of men and we honor that we know it is all one nobody's path is better nobody's path is nearer because they are just aspects of love they are just ways the beloved is called back to godf in different path of love and this is the time coming together to share those. to say yes we are one i do my practice but i also honor your practice it is in a way the real adab of the sufi that deep recognition of that mystery of creation which is present in our hearts i think it is a very precious contribution one can make in a world that is fragmented, in a world that is tearing itself apart both in the inner world and in the outer world to say : there is another aspect to life there is another way to be and to share it. Not to have just as an inner idea, you see, most of us, as mystics it happens innerwordly those are experiences that take us deeper and deeper within ourselves through the veils, back to the source but from time to time, there is a need to express it outwardly to bring it from the inner to the outer, to see that reflection in the outer world/ And that is what i'd like you, if possible, to share in these next few days ,to be present, to taste these different fragrances of love :you cant taste a fragrance, that's terrible, to smell these different fragrances of love to taste this different swetnessess and to be present within it and to be together with friends you know and with friends you don't know and to eat together, and to laugh together and to walk on the seashore together it is a sufi way we don't take it too seriously because it is a love affair and like my teacher said you have to hold love with light hands and sufis like being together from time to time we like to be together and to share this oneness "companions are attentive to meeting with each others friendship is their profession all are servants of each other and all are teachers of each other all are disciples of each other because they are in essence one" i repeat that, it is so profound it is about a real sufi gathering 'companions are attentive to meeting with each other friendship is their profession all are servants of each other and all are teachers of each other all are disciples of each other because they are in essence one. when companionship appears it brings stability even when it is disturbed in all conditions it is to be chosen it is the trace of God for it is the representative of God to his creation If there was no companionship, one would not be at rest in the flow of fate and destiny and would not be literate and learn in the assemblies of intimacy they are the people of god's house among whom there is no stranger They are the people of god's house, amongst whom there is no stranger because we are people of the heart . There was a time in the middle-east when you could travel the land by going from sufi group to sufi group to Hanuka to hanuka, where you'd be welcome because you were a dervish you didn't have to belong to anything you were a wandering love of god, you were taken in it's the true meaning of hospitality because your soul was made welcome and that is something very precious . It isn't so anymore here in this part of the world but maybe, we can share it just to be together just to honor that intimacy of the heart, that companionship that is the real companionship why ? because it is the reflextion on the companionship of the soul with god that is the real addab that is the real respect we are with each other as we would be with god it is a deep knowing in the heart we are together for his sake it is a simple saying infinitely profound we are together for his sake and, we all live such busy lives and the demand of this culture, this world today grips us in every way it can much more than we know sometimes we don't even know what are our thoughts or if they are somebody elses' thoughts , like the other evening, because i was watching a presidential debate on television, i had a dream about healthcare we are so easily swallowed up by the collective thought forms and particularly in this time of anxiety, of nobody knowing what is exactly going to happen and yet, as sufis, we honor something deeper we know that we never know what is going to happen we know that disaster is always around the corner and we welcome it and there a smile somewhere there is a smile because we belong to our beloved, we don't belong be in this world as if you were a traveler, a passerby because this is not home we belong in a different way and again, I would like you, in these few days, to share that belonging like you pick up these threads of love of the different gatherings there are, the different meetings of the dance of the music, of the silence , and you sense, underneath it all, there is a deeper mystery that belongs to the soul, that belongs to your soul and also the soul of all humanity because we don't do this for ourselves . There is that lovely definition of a sufi : as a brotherhood of migrants who keep watch on the world and for the world. For some strange reasons, we are drawn into this circle of love; not for ourselves , so as much as we are making our journey, we are also making the world's journey we carry that secret for humanity which is why the sufis have been known as the people of the secret it's part of the mystery of life ibn el arabi says ' how can i know you when you are the inwardly hidden who is not known . How can i not know you when you are the outwardly manifest making yourself known to us in everything How can i not realize your unity when union is the very secret of servanthood ." He is hidden within our own hearts, unknowable, always, and for ever No one knows god but god And yet, in everything, in each other, in the flowers, in the cup, in the trees, in the sea, he reveals himself , one of the great secrets of creation our beloved speaks to us around in everything, nothing is hidden, everything, everything is revealed, if we know how to look, if we know how to love, and in this, there is oneness and we are part of it all, nothing is separate, nobody is alone, that is just an illusion, we are part of it, we are part of this extraordinary oneness , that is part of the secret of creation Mostly, we live it in a world that has forgotten it ,we live in a culture of forgetfulness, haunted by demons, but maybe, just for a few days, we can be present in a world of remembrance, in which the remembrance in each of us talks to the remembrance in our soul We can be present in a space of remembrance, not of forgetfulness , we can glimpse what really is, we can see the love within our own hearts and the love within each other , we can return to that simple core of being that is oneness, that is love. Don't try to think to much this week-end Attar when he says ;when love comes, reason disappears' reason cannot live with the folly or love" Don't try to make sense of it : you won't . I didn't know that a meeting in sufibooks , 9 years ago, would be here, Just be present with each other, with your heart, with the beloved and love? something to touch you , this is the real mystery that happens when sufis come together normally, it is just sufis coming together in their own group, in their own terikas, doing their own practice and many of you have done that for many years and this is the most precious gathering, I think, one can have and here we are just embracing a wider horizon of bringing together different terikas ,different ways of being with god, and saying it is all one So I just want you to share in that for a few days and to be present with him we love, with him to whom we belong, I just want to remind you, after Pia Zia is finished with meditation we will have some Nai music that will then take us into 20mns or so of silence within the heart there is very little to be said after what has just been said nothing really mains to be said but we can take the central truth that flown forward just now through the inspiration or our host cheick , Llewellyn, who has, over the years, so kindly hosted all of us for these very unique occasions, these gatherings, in kindred spirits. we can take in these essential truths in the mode of what is called by the sufis brakaba, and that is a word that may be translated as ;contemplation' perhaps more precisely, the word suggests 'keeping watch , watchfulness" , and one of the very early practitioners of this art, and it is an art, was a great being a great sufi, named chimbly who was absolutely enamourate of god constantly living in the vividness the urgency of his yearning for god and his unfolding discovery of the divine presence. There was times when he was committed to an asylum because he was so sane that his sanity seemed to everyone else, insane. , and he practiced the art of moracaba contemplation, keeping watch , and some people, his friends, asked him 'where did you learn that unusual technique that you have? ?', and he answered 'i learned it from a cat i learned it by watching a cat sittin in front of a mouse hole " and he said " i observed that every single hair on the body of the cat was absolutely still " and he said " and we consider ourselves a superior species and I realized i could never claim that superiority if i could not do, at least, what this cat has done. : sit in absolute stillness, in silence, serenely watching his object ". And for chimbly, the object of his contemplation was, not a mouse, but it was the One being, it was reality itself Now, it has come down to us that we may apply this technique of stillness, of awareness of the breath of interior illumination to the deep study of the Ayat of the signs of God revealed in prophetic verses and so this prophetic verses have been passed down as a series of contemplation over the generations from heart to heart as an exercise into deep awareness, exercise of god, yes but something still more significant than that awareness in additiion and that is the awareness of god's awareness of us. that is the real moracaba not contemplating god but living in the awareness of god's awareness of us through the breath, through presence through deepening our realization of the meaning of the divinely revealed words that have reached us. and so in these moments , i will recite a series of these ayat, signs of god's presence here and now, on the horizons and in ourselves and we will hear the words and the words will continue to echo within on each breath so that after you have heard the words, the words continue to sound as you draw in a breath you breath in the words and the message , the revelation of god's presence and as you exhale you are conscious of the presence, the attunement , the vibration, quality of being that flows from that remembrance. Inhaling again, the words and the message come , exhaling : expansion of the state of the awareness that is kindled in the words We are rediscovering, illuminating, revealing the one relationship that is the essential relationship , the essential relationship that is enacted in all of our encounters , in all of the circumstances of our life. Here in our moracaba, we are going back to the essential confrontation with the one who meets us in every moment, weather we are conscious or not conscious of that meeting.

Video Details

Duration: 57 minutes and 25 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 2,417
Posted by: oneness on Jan 15, 2010

The opening talk from the October 2008 Sufi Conference held on Asilomar Conference grounds. Visit and for more information.

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