For a while I once lived in Andalucia and I used to write a regular journal on this blog that viewed life from a Sufi perspective. I’ve been back in the UK for four years now and I’m busy writing my PhD thesis on Sufism in Israel. What I miss most about Andalucia is the light and a constant feeling of the baraka of Ibn ‘Arabi wherever I went. I sometimes wonder if I was in fact living more in the 12th/13th century than in the 21st century! The inspiration to write flowed easily during my stay in the mountains and I’m now considering writing a novel based on the entries in my blog – much expanded of course – and the work of Ibn ‘Arabi. Inshallah I’ll manage to find some time to write amidst my academic writing.
The beginning of movement is stillness. The beginning of sound is silence. Within every dance of creation, the flutter of a bird’s wings, the explosion of a star, the hand that heals an injured child, is stillness at the core. Within every sound in this universe, the singing of a choir, the hammering of a nail, the cry of a gull at sea, there is silence at the centre of each utterance. The Shekinah, Sakinah, the Indwelling, God with us at the heart of all being and It’s manifestations. Ya Hayy!
I was just speaking to a friend on SU about the film Bab’Aziz and said how I feel the mystic tradition of all religions comes very close to the core reality of being. For me it is the Sufi path but I also find inspiration from the Kabbalah and Mahayyana Buddhism. Finally we are all one, diverse expressions of the One Being. I’m doing research at the moment on the connections between Sufi and Jewish mystics and the rising popularity of Sufism in Israel. I’ll be going there for a field study next year as I want to see to what extent Sufi practices transform the individuals perception of self and other to a more unified, reflective perspective and whether this can contribute to justice and peace. It is really very simple, we are all interconnected and therefore the well being of ourselves in every respect is directly connected to the well being of all those around us and the whole planet. We have to stop giving our egos the primary place in our lives and begin living from the heart, that space of the inner being where the One resides and speaks to us if we listen. The image here is of justice and peace kissing each other. in Psalm 85:11 (Tanakh translation) it says, “Faithfulness and truth meet; justice and well-being kiss”. Jean Paul Lederach uses this verse in his work on reconciliation. I like the image of justice and well-being (peace) kissing. Justice is necessary when people are suffering from the injustices done them but when well-being is an intimate associate of justice then she is accompanied by compassion and seeks a path that leads away from revenge and fear and pursues the well-being of all.
It is He who is revealed in every face, sought in every sign, gazed upon by every eye, worshipped in every object of worship, and pursued in the unseen and the visible. Not a single one of His creatures can fail to find Him in its primordial and original nature.
Ibn ‘Arabi, Fusus al-Hikam
The photo on the right is of the mosque which contains the tomb of Ibn ‘Arabi.