Once Upon a Time in Andalucia

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.

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Shekinah and Sakinah: The Indwelling

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!

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Justice and Well-Being Kiss Each Other

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.

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Unveiling the Garden of Love

Two well loved stories of love from the Sufi and the Hindu traditions where both serve as metaphors for the love of the Beloved
clipped from astore.amazon.com

Unveiling the Garden of Love: Mystical Symbolism in Layla Majnun & Gita Govinda (Perennial Philosophy)Discover the common ground shared between Islamic Sufism and Hindu Bhaktism through their literary expressions. This book examines two classic love poems-The Story of Layla Majnun (written by Nezami in the Sufi tradition) and Gita Govinda (written by Jayadeva in the Hindu tradition)-and finds common experiences of love shared between these seemingly disparate cultures.
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From the Fusus al-Hikam of Ibn ‘Arabi

La mosquée tombeau d'Ibn Arabi
Image by Ghaylam via Flickr

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.

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Found in Translation: How a Thirteenth Century Islamic Poet Conquered America By Ryan Croken

A very thoughtful assessment of Coleman Barks translations of the poetry of Rumi put in the context of the climate in the USA of propaganda and militarism against Muslim countries. (Which will hopefully change with Obama). Click the link below to read the full article.
clipped from www.religiondispatches.org

The best-selling poet in America today could never have known that someday there would be such a thing as America. Born over eight centuries ago in what is now Afghanistan, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī, a Sufi mystic, has traversed some rather astonishing cultural and temporal boundaries to become one of the most improbable leaders in American letters. A study of Rumi’s success, however, would not be complete without exploring the relationship between the poet and his most popular translator, Coleman Barks.

Poetically, this is significant. But politically, it is momentous. Although something may have been lost in his “translations,” something more priceless has been found: in this American Rumi we have acquired a dazzlingly cogent ambassador of a slandered religion and a most unlikely cultural bridge that could not have come at a better time.
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