RECORDING: Original You, Jan 3, 2021 

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Extended Chilla:  Inner Pilgrimage

For this Living Sufism series we would like to offer, for those of you who would like to enter into it, an extended chilla.   A chilla is, in Sufi terms, a task which takes on a spiritual light, a meaningfulness, according to the prayerful intent of the individual undertaking it.


This chilla will continue throughout the series, from this moment here, through to our June session and maybe even beyond, and it is called “Inner Pilgrimage”.   A pilgrimage is deep work. It involves body and mind and soul, journeying alone to a sacred destination. It requires determination and a stubborn persistence, often through hard terrain, enduring sore feet, cold and tired bodies.  Here, we are calling upon you to enter into it as an inner journey.  Here the challenges and the changing landscape will be within. 


Each of our six Living Sufism sessions offers us a particular lens through which we might view our inner landscape.  From today’s ‘original you’, through next month’s ‘wonder’ and then to ‘the sacred story’, towards ‘embracing paradox’, into ‘the most right thing’ and then, ‘whoosh and wish’.  All embracing and being embraced by our theme of Beloved Community.  And each month we will offer reflections for our chilla.


January reflections for Original You


Today, our journey together has begun.  And so in truth has our journey alone.  I offer three reflections for the start of an Inner Pilgrimage.  You may discover more. 


  1. We invite you to develop, plan, prepare for and engage with, an Inner Pilgrimage for yourself. It is not for us to say who, when, where; not for us to offer a starting point or a destination or a route map.  It is likely that even as you plan and prepare that you discover there are aspects that you are not certain of and other aspects, so clear to you now, may well change en route. But a pilgrimage does require planning and preparation.  What do you need to do to plan and prepare for your Inner Pilgrimage?

  2. Uncover, acknowledge and understand your beliefs and ideas and language about ‘original you’.  What veils, covers, hides, and disguises ‘original you’; what nourishes, sustains, opens and brings forth, ‘original you’?  What does your original you say about inner pilgrimage?  What does your planning and preparing for this pilgrimage tell you about original you?

  3. Create an invocation to call in your original self, as This Beloved, which you might use as spiritual practice or as an opportunity for focus or for friendship, during your pilgrimage.  The invocation might be verbal, maybe a movement, a melody - it might be a mixture.   It is at the same time both a call and response.  


We are familiar with using verbal invocations to call upon the One Being: The Beloved:

  • Beloved;   Bismillah;  Our Father, who art in heaven;  Oh Thou;  Aum; Sweet Mother; oh great spirit…

  • We might use a body movement or placement to draw the sacred closer.  Hands in prayer;  Standing tall, eyes looking ahead, knees soft, hand in blessing; or sitting still on our cushion, strong back, open heart; a mudra


We also are familiar with looking for and acknowledging the Beloved in others. My Beloved:

Oh my darling; dear friend; dear heart; and we open our arms or we wave or we smile, even on audio only, we smile, welcoming the beloved other in.


This third reflection for the start of our Inner Pilgrimage chilla invites us to recognise and acknowledge the Beloved within.    This Beloved: How do you do this?


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Beloved Community clip

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Original You introduction

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The Original You Introduction

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