Experiencing Sufism

James Dillehay

The Sufi experience can be described as an evolutionary process happening within the person. It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher may physically appear and guide them in their transformation until the time when the teacher is seen everywhere.

As a result of working with a Sufi teacher, enhanced perceptions and awareness bring about deep understanding, inner contentment, healing and physical improvements, and intuitive knowing. The word "Sufi" has several meanings in its Arabic origins.

One of these is purity. The practices and techniques of the Sufis bring a state of purity to the body, thoughts, emotions, and psyche. To achieve higher states of consciousness, a Sufi teacher may use dancing, chanting, seclusion in nature, a dinner party, whirling or any number of avenues. The teacher sometimes creates a situation or environment to enhance the experience of the here and now as the fastest road to spirit is through the present moment.

One Sufi 'Master, Adnan Sarhan, has become internationally known for the "Shattari' or rapid method of spiritual development. Through the use of music, drumming, movement, breath, stillness, activity, meditation, and many other techniques, Adnan evokes deep awareness and healing on physical, mental, emotional and psychic levels within a few hours. Additional changes reported by participants include quitting smoking and alcohol effortlessly.

As self-defeating habits drop away, a feeling of purity replaces former tensions and confusion. Whatever activity the person is involved in becomes pure and in the moment. Often when a person is in the moment, the time and the surrounding space become expansive and joyful. One's thoughts become serene and content.

In The Moment

The Sufi teacher can draw upon thousands of different techniques to get the student into the moment. However, it might be more appropriate to say the real technique is the moment itself; and when you know it, when you are in it, you go beyond normal thoughts to extraordinary perceptions. From a book by Adnan, "The Enchanted Oasis of the Ringed Dove," comes the following perspective of how thoughts obscure the power of the present moment.

"Thoughts are the biggest obstacle for the worldly people. Thoughts keep them in the world and keep them at bay from knowing the reality. Thoughts keep them in sheer ignorance from knowing who they are. In this condition, the never know peace except as a word or a thought -- no more, no less.

"Time has value, importance and beauty. You only thrive in the time that is in your hand and the only time that you could hold on is the time that is in your hand. For how could you hold on to something that is not in your hand? It is the now. It is the present. The time in your hand says to you, 'I am here. I am with you. I am your contentment. I am your pleasure and joy giver. I am the life, the love. I make you tranquil and pleasant. I give you peace that is the gift of eternity. I soothe your mind. I put rhythm in your heart. And your heart beats to the moment. And the moment dances to your heart. And your heart dances with the moment. And life is a dance when you are living it.'

"You are only living when you are graced and blessed in the moment by the moment. The moment is the fountain of serenity. The moment says, 'I am a messenger to you. A messenger of eternity. I bring to you a message of eternal joy and I am joy and tranquility. I am peace and delight. I am faith and trust. I am truth and reality. I am in the moment because I am the moment. I am honor, respect and dignity. I am simple, tolerant and generous. I am the beautiful spring of essence and essence is me. I am the perfume of life and the fragrance of a smile. I am the living spark and spirit that shines in the eyes. I am the sweet taste of heaven and I am heaven in your heart. I am charm, beauty, delight, happiness, tranquility, serenity and the pleasure of life and the joy of love, peace, contentment, harmony, existence, intelligence and truth. I am in the present all the time. With you I am the moment that never fades, that never goes away.

Breathe Into It

Focusing on the breath is an excellent way to become more aware of the here and now. By putting the mind completely on one's inhaling and exhaling, one is drawn into the awareness of the present moment and the source of life. Practicing this for ten minutes everyday will bring about many positive changes including reduced tension, enhanced mental focus, and a diminishing of the normal sub-text that seems to run continuously through the mind entangled in the web of the intelligence of concerns.

The more one is in the moment, the clearer and sharper the intelligence becomes. In this state, any activity in the world can become a source of pleasure and enjoyment. When the mind is focused and tranquil, the intuition becomes more active. One hears a deep, still voice from within, the intelligence of the heart, which guides one to happiness and prosperity through spirit and understanding.

This article is excerpted with permission from the book:

Sufi, The Secret Science (out of print)
by James Dillehay. ©1995.

The above quotations from Adnan Sarhan's books are reprinted with permission from Sufi Foundation of America. For more information on the Sufi work of Adnan Sarhan or for a catalog of his books and tapes, write to: Sufi Foundation, Box 170, Torreon, NM 87061.

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About the Author

James Dillehay is the author of several books including  'Overcoming the 7 Devils That Ruin Success.' His essays and letters on the Sufi experience have appeared in publications by the Sufi Foundation and Gnosis Magazine. He has also written several books on marketing and selling crafts and also a book on epublishing. Visit his website at www.jamesdillehay.com.