Thursday, December 23, 2010

Postcard from England


1.
Come, seek, for search is the foundation of fortune:
every success depends upon focusing the heart.
Unconcerned with the business of the world,
keep saying with all your soul, "Ku, ku," like the dove.
Consider this well, o you whom worldliness veils,
God has tied "invocation" to "I will answer."
When weakness is cleared from your heart,
your prayer will reach the glorious Lord.
- Rumi on The Journey, translation by Camille and Kabir Helminski


Supplication of the ones who are on journey (musafir) is answered.
- Sacred Tradition of Islam


We are passing the long nights of winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and particularly here in England where I am traveling right now. The winter here has become quite intense (not only for me who comes from Indian Subcontinent but for the Brits as well) with lots of snow and severely negative temperature in the last few weeks, but thanks God when I arrived here in mid-December it was just the little time frame when the big freeze wasn't extreme enough to shut down the airport and public services. Not being a tourist but a traveler definitely helps, because then the focus is completely different. Instead of visiting objects and shopping malls, we then become pilgrimage of another kind.

Currently I am visiting Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire and hope to return to London again in the next few days. By God's plan, my current journey has been initiated and influenced in larger extent by those whom I know through this space and in the course of time that I am here, I am hopeful about meeting and seeing a number of seekers of truth, lovers of Sufi Path whom I have known for sometime. Among the readers and regular visitors of this space many of the seekers with whom I have been in correspondence for a number of years and months and who have become companions in the journey and friend of heart, in this trip I am looking forward to meet, sit with and if possible create collaborations with. It was really interesting to see that just before the trip, co-incident or not, I came to know and received communications from a number of seekers who are based in United Kingdom.

It often happens such in journey that there is this attraction which sufis call "jadhb" - that is triggered and by the quality of al-Jami, The Gatherer or The Uniter, people and logistics are gathered or united that fascilitate towards the attraction. Indeed all thanksgiving and praise is to the Sole Fascilitator of everything, including this outward journey which otherwise wouldn't have possible.

Human life was enriched by means of a force activated through the correct geographical relationship of sacred centers. - John Michell

Large cosmopolitan and now global city such as London which has become really a melting pot of people from every possible nations, culture, colors, races and religions of the world - its also a very interesting place when it comes to discovering modern day seekers. There are a number of active Sufi community thriving in this city and countless hidden and open Sufis who call this country home. Apart from outwardly or initiated Sufis, there are many truly enlightened souls, mystics and inwardly possessing a Sufi heart even without them being aware of it - are the kind of people I increasingly encounter in this part of the world as they can be traced now a days in many of the global cities of the west. This is not to say that such souls are not to be found in the east, but the circumstances, the unique individual journey in which they are in and the context among which such hidden and open seekers are situated here in the west, is something truly remarkable and have always excited me to discover and specially to know them on a personal level.

Often time in my conversation I have came across such diverse journeying among the western seekers that its a previledge really to even witness and participate in deep listening to their unique stories of seeking. In these true and real life stories I witness a hopeful picture of humanity where at least some portion of us are still holding seeds of desire to awaken to truth, to that which is real and are not prepared to just sleep-walk their entire life like majority of people in their mass hypnotic state.

Over the years among the bounties and gifts this blog space, writing and sharing has rewarded me with - the richest of them has been this connection, discovering and knowing individual seekers who are often hidden and at the same time are very sincere in their endeavor and their seeking of truth. It always amazes and excites me whenever I encounter such individuals and while in England this is what I look forward to the most.  This is also why the weather, the timing - everything becomes so immaterial.

The soul of each single one of us is sent, that the universe may be complete.
- The Hermetic Tradition, Plotinus, Enneads IV

Through deep listening to the individual unique story of seeking, a beautiful witnessing process occur which is very inspirational. The witnessing of their journey and even knowing about it enables to appreciate the profound wisdom that the authentic sacred traditions hold for our time and beyond; and also it helps gaze at the evolving spiritual embodiment of humanity in their beautiful and organic diversity. It enables probe us a number of important questions in which the future direction of humanity's endeavor towards seeking truth, developing relationship with the Spirit depends upon: What is the reality map that a modern person living in the west understands when it comes to faith, belief, practice and embodying all of it? Whether faith traditions are becoming irrelevant or otherwise? If irrelevant, why? Where is the right balance between ritualistic dogma and open source spirituality? How spiritual group work is happening in the west? What are the challenges that seekers in the west face when it comes to their attraction and infusing another / relatively alien faith tradition? What is it in the Islamic or Sufi Path even outside the traditional structure of Islam - that attracts westerners now a day? What is the best model for accelerated spiritual awakening of a modern human being who happen to live in this cross currents in the west?

Paths to reach God are as numerous as the breath of a human being.
- Sufi tradition

One of my presently lived journey's intention has been to meet individual seekers or appreciator or traveler of the Sufi path as well as the Mytics and the quasi Mystics here in the UK and also to visit some of the gatherings of the Sufis. So far by God's grace I was able to participate in the Mevlevi Sufi gathering where they celebrated Mevlana Rumi Festival marking the death anniversary. Also I was very fortunate to know individuals who invited and took me to Naqshbandi Zikr gathering here in London. Hopefully I wish to be at few of the other gatherings of Sufis from various lineage in the next few days or weeks, Inshallah.

Khidr Forest, somewhere in North London; courtesty R. Ma, may God be pleased with you

My deep appreciation and heart felt thanks go to those individuals, friends, fellow seekers who have been so kind and generous to me. May all your support be rewarded and be reflected in your own life with the grand generosity of the Infinintely Generous One.

God willing I will be in England, particularly in London for the next few weeks. so if you are around, feel free to send me a text message, writing about yourself to make an appointment for call / conversation. With God's permission and Opening of Unseen Doors, I will be open for individual meetings and group on subject or themes related to contemporary spirituality and its embodying in our time and in our individual or collective life. My local mobile phone through which you may reach is: (+44) 07837806877.

Much blessings.


2.
Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs,
nor bag nor bread nor money,
and do not have two tunics apiece.

Whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart.
And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city,
shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them.

- Jesus Christ, upon him be peace, instruction teaching of tawakkul (complete trust on God) to his holy companions in their outward journey, Luke 9, Matthew 10


3.
Sufi Contacts:

I have collected a number of contacts of the Sufi Circles that I have been able to gather so far and listed in the Forum. If you know any other gatherings of remembrance (zikr), khaniqa / zawiya / school of seekers, kindly update on this page, click on [Sufi Contacts in United Kingdom (London and outside)] thread and click reply to include the address / contact details. Thank you.


Rise up nimbly 
and go on with your strange journey
to the Ocean.

The stream knows it can't stay on the mountain.
Leave and don't look away from the Sun as you go,
in whose Light you're sometimes crescent, sometimes full.

- Rumi
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