THE POETRY OF SUFISM
JUNE 1, 2014
Greetings Dear Friends
Isn't it great to see the glorious green/gold of spring finally burst through? It's been great to be back in Canada and to catch up with many of you. Hoping to see more of you at the upcoming events - see below.
Jen Gillmor and I have formed a musical duo called Jennis. We're very excited about the pending release of our first CD, 'The Current'. We have two CD release parties planned - one in Toronto and one near Guelph. Please see details below.
My book, Why Is Life?, is now available as an e-book, for only about $6. see details below.
In this next series of newsletters I will feature articles based on a section of my book, Why Is Life?' entitled 'Reality According to Ancient Mysticism'. This will provide a brief overview of several of the mystical traditions, which have so much to say about the nature of our reality and our journey through life. This month we'll take an introductory look at the Poetry of Sufism.
Something I'd like to tell you about - I'm involved with a group who are building an intentional community in Guelph - a place where we can live in an environment of shared values. If you are interested in such a thing and you'd like to know more about it, please feel free to contact me.
If you'd like to access past newsletters containing articles on the Big Shift, as well as articles on the Physics of Mysticism, Magic, the Power of Mantra and other topics, please visit the 'newsletter' page of my website:
CHANT CLUB RESUMES - THE NEXT ONE WILL BE JUNE 4th.
HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
GUELPH CHANT CLUB DATE CITY VENUE
WED., june 4th, 2014 Guelph, Unitarian Church
7:45 to 9:30 pm Ontaro
The Unitarian Church is on the corner of
Harris and York Streets in Guelph.
For more detailed directions, check out guelph-unitarians.com
SUGGESTED DONATION - $15
PART 10 -
THE POETRY OF SUFISM
by Dennis Gaumond
The Islamic religion started with the prophet Mohammed, who was born in 570 AD. Like Judaism and Chritianity, it is a monotheistic religion, advocating the worship of one God called Allah. The word 'Islam' means 'surrender', referring to the idea of surrendering to the divine will, which is a mystical concept common to many traditions. Like most organized religions, however, much of Islam has come to have very little to do with the mystical path and seems more concerned with rules and regulations.
Despite this, mystical traditions have persisted. Let's now take a look at the mystical branch of Islam known as Sufism. It originated with ecstatic poets such as Rabi'a and Bayazid of Bastami, circa 874 AD. Some of these poets were also great scientists, such as Omar Khayyam. They wore plain wool garments called 'suf', from whence the name 'Sufi'. They soon came to be seen as a heretical threat and some, such as al-Hallaj, Suhrawardi and Ayn Hamadani, were put to death by Muslim authorities. Despite persecution the sect continued, culminating in the 13th century with the great poet and mystic, Rumi. The movement declined after that, but like many mystical schools, it is making a comeback in modern times.
Sufis believe that the purpose of life is to discover one's true divine nature, to unite with the whole. Like the Gnostics and other mystics, the Sufis believe that the best way to achieve such union is through direct experience of the divine, placing little value on religious ritual and dogma. To Islam the concept of 'Jihad' has come to mean 'holy war'- going to battle for some 'just and holy' cause. To Sufis, however, Jihad refers to the notion of battling one's own sense of ego and surrendering to the divine will. Suhrawardi taught that the roots of Sufism and of all mystical traditions was the wisdom that was handed down by Hermes/Thoth, the great god/magician of ancient Egypt.
In practice, the Sufis seek divine union by means of meditation, breathing techniques and various methods of entering trance. Music, drumming, chanting and dancing are important methods. Perhaps the most famous of the Sufi dancers are the Whirling Dervishes, a group of monks established by Rumi. They seek to achieve a state of ecstasy by twirling continually to the point of exhaustion.
The purpose of this series of articles on mysticism was not to teach an in-depth understanding of the various mystical traditions and religions. There are many excellent books available to anyone seeking a deeper understanding. Rather, this section was meant to show the many significant similarities among the different mystical traditions. I believe that the philosophies and insights that they provide regarding the nature of reality are profound and important. If we are to make sense of our existence, our purpose, then we need a better grasp of this thing called reality. One of the reasons compelling me to write my book was that, the more information I gathered, the more I could see the links and connections among so many bodies of knowledge. Things just began to make more and more sense. One of the more convincing examples of this are the many parallels that can be drawn between mystically derived knowledge and the explorations of modern science. We'll take a look at some of these parallels in upcoming newsletters.
Jen Gilmorr and I have a new musical project called Jennis, featuring original songs and a fresh new sound. We have two release parties planned, one in Toronto and one in Guelph. See details below.
To listen to some sample music and to download a free song, please visit our website at jennis.ca
'WHY IS LIFE?'- NOW ONLY $6
My book, Why Is Life?, has been released as an e-book, available for approximately $6 or less, from a list of online bookstores:
Apple i-Books, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony Reader Store, Koby, Copia, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, eBookPie, eSentral, Scribd and PagePusher.
The book can be purchased at any of these outlets, searching with either the title or this ISBN number: 9781483515403
OR, just click on one of these links:
New to e-books?
Click this link for a wikipedia article about e-books:
If this is the first time you've bought an e-book, you may need to download an app - the most popular ones are from Amazon and are free to download. You can read an e-book on on your computer, laptop or an e-book device like a Kindle (Amazon) or an I-Book or I-Pad (Apple). For an article comparing them, click here:
To download a Kindle app for any reading device including Apple products, click here:
ABOUT 'WHY IS LIFE'
To read a variety of reviews of this book, click here and then, once in the website, click 'reviews':