Living Sufism 2022
You might think that the urgent challenges facing humanity would have united us. Yet in many ways the political and social upheavals we are in and the environmental crises we are hurtling toward seem to be dividing us further. What are we to do?
There are no easy answers, but there is an approach which may offer constructive ways forward. Inspired by Pir Elias Amidon’s essay, "Beloved Community,"* we shared that vision in 2021’s Living Sufism. In 2022 we’ll take another step, exploring the practicalities of unity, compassion and positive agency in Reaching Out ~ Reaching In.
This experiential program is led by a team of senior teachers and guides, reflecting a diversity of perspectives, yet joined in the understanding that to reach out to the world effectively we must be grounded, to the best of our ability, in love.
Some say that climate change is the greatest crisis humanity has ever faced. But what of the separation of self from the natural world, from each other and from our true selves?
How can we heal these divisions? Is love the key? Not idealized love but the fully alive connection we experience when reaching out is also reaching in.
As before, the main body of the program will be held on first Sundays, January through June, 2022 with an optional “enhancement track” on another day/evening in the month. Sunday sessions are held at noon EST on Zoom and last for about 75 minutes.
"I’d like to suggest that we might understand the notion of the Beloved Community as not only a beautiful future ideal toward which we are called,
but that it’s also a reality that’s here, now."
Pir Elias Amidon, "Beloved Community"*
Through presentations, conversations, and small group activities, each of our Sunday sessions will explore intertwining themes devoted to the illumination of various pathways into and through our divided world. They may challenge us to reach out from the depth we attain when reaching in. This is the road map:
As we embark on this living journey along Sufi trails, we will look at the challenges facing our world through the lens of curiosity: What is it in the nature of being human that has brought us to the crossroads of a divided world? And what in our nature will bring our world together again?
Feb 6 — The Mistaken Separation
All wisdom traditions tell us that it is our mistaken sense of separation from our authentic self, from each other, and from our natural world that threatens the thoughtless destruction of our home and the social fabric without which we may not survive.
Mar 6 — The Dormant Heart
Can an awakened heart be intolerant, unforgiving, unconcerned with others? The dormant heart believes that “if you win, I lose”. But when such divisions are healed we see that reaching out—listening to and supporting others—is most alive when it is simultaneously reaching in—embracing our own longing.
April 3 — The Vacant Body
Especially in the “developed” world we live more in our heads than in our bodies. To restore wholeness is to recognize that somatic awareness is not just the basis of physical well being. It is this wholeness which allows us to enter into a fully alive relationship with everyone and everything around us.
May 8 — The Unmoored Life
We may find ourselves adrift without a sense of belonging, realizing how meaningless living primarily for “me” ultimately is. But it’s never too late (or early) to take root in a reality beyond our personal wants, needs and fears; for example, in the field of interdependence we call Beloved Community
Jun 5 — And Yet…
We seem to have arrived at the end of this journey. Are we the same as when we set out? If so, will we have really lived it? The journey itself changes us and thus invites us to continue anew our quest for wholeness, compassion, and the aliveness of spirit that naturally blesses and heals the world around us.
This program is sponsored and presented by The Sufi Way
[Enhancement—an increase or improvement in quality, value, or extent]
In addition to the Sunday sessions, this year’s Living Sufism will feature an Enhancement Track for those who wish to deepen their experience of Reaching Out~Reaching In. In these monthly, small group meetings we will actively explore “Love in a Divided World” particularly in the context of action and engagement. These will be working sessions consisting of practices, activities, chilla (self or group defined tasks) and projects. Each group will be guided and facilitated on Zoom by one of our curators. They will take place on Tuesday evenings in your time zone, on: Jan 18, Feb 15, Mar 15, Apr19, May 17, Jun 14.
While the Enhancement Track is open to everyone, we ask participants to make a firm commitment to these meetings so that group energy and integrity can be maintained.
Registration for ET is now closed
Reaching Out~Reaching In is curated and facilitated be a team of senior teachers and guides.
In addition, other conversants and surprise guests will join us on most Sundays.
Some folks drill down, deep, singling out a teacher or tradition. That’s one way. You can also drill across, or up—spin or bounce or dissolve and reconstitute—root through multiple voices, vocabularies, forms—and that’s deep too. I’ve been exploring non-dualistic deeps for several decades, including Dzogchen and Mahayana Buddhist studies; Taoism and Chan; phenomenological and creative processes; mountain and movement and various off-trail attractions—and, since 2014, the Sufi Way’s heart-in-flames project of natural realization, embodied mysticism, feminine and indeed whole-earth dharma. In Zen they say: “Step by step in the dark, if your foot’s not wet, you’ve found the stone.” What I say: Splash!
Isha first met Murshid Fazal Inayat-Khan in 1972. He lived and worked with Murshid Fazal in the U.S, Europe and India. With Murshid Fazal's passing, Isha has continued his work with Murshida Sitara Brutnell and now with the current Pir of the Sufi Way, Murshid Elias Amidon.
This beautiful stream of universal Sufism, through the Sufi Way and Open Path, has been at the heart of my life since 1974, when I bought a book about the mysticism of music by Inayat Khan. Since then I have followed longings and dreams, studied and developed some skills, let go of some competencies and ideas of what should be, experienced heartaches, confusions, rage and despair - and yet here I still am, somehow smiling at the memories! It really all does pass! I have had a variety of roles through life, the ones which remain now include being an inter-faith minister and funeral celebrant, a Sound Practitioner, a Sufi Way and open Path supporter and a political activist in my town in the UK. My husband Omar and I share regular Sama (Sufi Way musical meditations) – currently streamed, we look forward to being face to face once circumstances allow. And of course, most importantly, I am a doting grandmother and I hope, a good friend and encourager.
Elmer is a teacher within the Sufi Way and has facilitated a variety of programmes related to Sufism. His relation with the Sufi Way goes back to the seventies. He has completed several trainings as a Vision Quest guide and has facilitated outdoor quests. He has done a MSC in Ecology and his professional life has been dedicated to conservation issues and international cooperation
Born into a musical family I made my body my own instrument, becoming a classical ballet dancer in 1972. This was my first 'stairway to heaven'. My second stairway was through the deep exploration of mind and consciousness through my clinical psychology and psychotherapeutic work with people that started in 1982 and continues currently. I met the Sufi Way in 2007 in Bristol and being initiated by Pir Elias Amidon in 2015 at the Universel Murad Hassil was a surrender to the call of spirit and community that had been preceded by several years of studying, dancing, centre directing and serving in a Fourth Way Gurdieff Ouspensky school in London and California. I continue to follow the mysterious call of my open path, within this precious living Sufi community, and love to pursue creative improvisational movement and voice work practices in SW England as part of this journey. I have raised my twin daughters to live from their hearts, whilst remembering to nourish their roots.
Gabriel Leslie Mezei
The tragedies of the Holocaust (described in A Tapestry of Survival) and the untimely death of my first wife led me on a spiritual journey since 1975. I was initiated into the Inayatiyya Sufi Order in 1985 and ordained a Cherag in 1995. Initiated into the Sufi Way by Puran Lucas Perez in 2015, I am appreciating its emphasis on pure awareness and creativity. I learned to play on my Ney all the Sufi Way Zikrs from Omar Inayat Khan, the carrier of his family’s centuries tradition as musicians. I learned to become a poet from our monthly Cloud Salon meetings, especially from Jeanne Rana. For several years, I had been a facilitator of the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream symposiums of the Pachamama Alliance. I have been a Professor of Computer Graphics, and a personal financial planner. At the age of 90, together with my wife Kathy, I enjoy our five children, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Puran Lucas Perez
Puran has been learning, teaching, guiding on the Sufi path in Europe and North America for almost 50 years. His focus in this continues to be the development of transformational awareness through creativity and the refinement of consciousness in everyday life. Honored by the title of Murshid in the Chisti lineage of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Puran is a direct initiate of Fazal Inayat-Khan, the founder of The Sufi Way and Hazrat Inayat’s grandson.
I studied with the Ruhaniat for over thirty years, first becoming a cheraga, or minister, while also studying the healing and ziraat rituals. (Both The Sufi Way and the Ruhaniat are Western Sufi orders which branched from the original mystic and visionary, Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan.) At the same time I became a semazen and later a sheikha in the Mevlevi Order of America, a Sufi order originating in Turkey with Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi. I was initiated as a teacher in the Ruhaniat, led many workshops, retreats, camp class series, rituals and events. I regularly led zikrs (in the Ruhaniat and Mevlevi styles) and was later initiated as sheikha in the Ruhaniat. In 2007 I directed the Ruhaniat’s NorthWest Sufi Camp where I invited Elias and Rabia to be featured teachers. There, I took initiation in the Sufi Way, after which I studied intensively with Elias for about five years until unforeseen circumstances forced a hiatus. Recently I’m happy to be able to partake again in Sufi Way/Open Path offerings while at the same time co-founding a social and environmental justice "Ray" in the Ruhaniat. I live in Portland, Oregon, in the Northwest of the United States and I love gardening, long walks, flower arranging, amateur herbalism, and pondering deep subjects.
Binah met Murshid Fazal Inayat-Khan in 1975 and was initiated into Sufism while living at Four Winds. Her intense work with Murshid Fazal right up to his passing continues undimmed, fed by the radiant stream of Living Sufism and community of friendship whose intimacy is undiluted by distance. She is forever grateful for all this, and the courage it has given her to take on challenges and journey deeply into the unknown. Binah continues to practice as a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and trainer, dividing her time mainly between Spain and the UK. In between, she writes and reads, sea swims, practices tai chi, immerses herself either in art or nature – or simply dreams, her breath mingling with the breeze that enters through the open shutters.