Essence of Sufi Teachings
"Once there was a rose bush. It was carefully planted so that the roots grew deep in the soil that had long been prepared to receive it. These roots were Abraham. As the rose grew it was necessary that it be correctly pruned, otherwise it would eventually go wild and would not fulfill the intention that the gardener had for it. The stem, through the good earth, the deep roots, and the pruning, was straight and strong. That stem was Moses. One day the most perfect red rose that had
ever been seen appeared in bud. The bud was Jesus. The bud opened; that bloom was Muhammed.”
The Sheikh paused, and turned and spoke to his wife. She left the room and returned with a small glass phial. He pointed to me and she came across the room to stand in front of me. “Take it,” he said, “and tell me what it is.” I took the phial in my hand and smelled it. “It is rosewater,” I replied. “Attar of roses. It is the essence of the rose.”
The Sheikh smiled and beckoned me to come and sit in front of him. His presence was overwhelming. He took my hands in his. “Listen to me carefully and on your journey remember what I have to tell you. Now mankind needs the smell of the rose. One day it will not even need that.”
Then he bent forward and kissed my hands, raising them together to his forehead. Putting his right hand over my head, he blew out into the room: “Huuuuu.”
(from "The Last Barrier" by Reshad Feild, chapter 2)
This living school is the distillation from a long line of Sufi teachings and thus we speak of the essence of Sufi teachings. Sufism, often called the mystical branch of Islam, has always, like the mystic traditions of all the great religions, been occupied with the Unity of All Existence, far beyond religious form or belief, and is in its essence called the "path of non-existence" or "the path of return" (to the One Absolute Being by overcoming our idea of being separate). The essence of Sufism is not simply about the purpose of life and men’s eminent role and responsibility in this, it is the living unfoldment of this purpose. In the words of the prayer from the Sarmoun Brotherhood: "He, who knows and knows that he is - he is wise. Let him be followed. By his presence alone, man may be transformed".
Being in The Presence
Recording of a talk by Reshad Feild in Solothurn, April 18th, 2013.
The Three Poles
Once upon a time, many, many moons ago and indeed long after the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) came to us to “seal” the Line of the Prophets, explaining that there was no more need for further prophets (that aspect of God’s Creation Story being completed at last), there was a time in our world when it was necessary for people to look back to see and know.
Thus it came to pass that around seven hundred years ago there was a gathering of what we now call “the three Poles”. These are the Pole of Love, the Pole of Knowledge, and the Pole of Power. At that time of history they were represented - i.e. 're-presented' - by Mevlana Jelalu'ddin Rumi
, Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi
and Abdul Qadir Gilani. (...)
Now, for our time, although it is important that the names of these great masters of seven hundred years ago are both known and loved, it is what they each represent for us now that really matters as we remember that there is one Source of all life, one God, and one Creator…It is good and useful to know about them and to absorb the ancient teachings into our essence, but at every time of history new methods and new approaches to enhance spiritual growth have been found to be necessary. These are developed by conscious human beings as the result of an alchemical process of transformation throughout time.
Now we are in a vitally important stage of what was once called “the experiment of life on earth”. We have the power to destroy our planet. We have the knowledge to produce the instruments for total self-destruction; but we also have the potential for the only real power there is, and that is the knowledge of our total dependence upon the one Source of all life, the one God, Allah – or by whichever name He is to be known.
All of this potential is linked and immersed in love; love seen and known to be the first cause of the overflowing of the Divine Essence to bring life into our world, and the complete possibility of knowing ourselves, and thus the purpose of life on earth. “I was a hidden treasure and I loved to be known, so I created the world that I might be known” (hadith of the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him) (…)
Within our school there is the possibility for all three of these Poles, the Poles of Love, of Knowledge, and of Power, to be brought together into what I will now call “the Rope of God”. That rope, made up of the three strands, can be held by the hands of the seekers of tomorrow. It is our task to help make this rope real and possible to be found here on earth. It is our contribution to the understanding of unity. We are not alone in this task. There are many trees in the forest. But for this we need this living school. We need the loyalty and allegiance of the members of the school. We need the person whose task it is to see that the school fulfils its proper function and does not stand in the way of the essence. We need the knowledge of unity springing forth from the knowledge of the true self, and we need the ingredient that can bring the three Poles together, to be finally seen to be one.
Listen, O dearly beloved!
A short film by Zsuzsanna Nyul with music by the Vastearthorchestra. Text by Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi
I am the reality of the world, the centre of the circumference, I am the parts and the whole.
I am the will established between Heaven and Earth,
I have created perception in you only in order to be the object of My Perception.
If then you perceive Me, you perceive yourself. But you cannot perceive Me through yourself.
It is through My Eyes that you see Me and see yourself, through your eyes you cannot see Me.
I have called you so often and you have not heard Me. I have shown Myself to you so often and you have not seen Me. I have made Myself fragrance so often, and you have not smelled Me,
Savorous food, and you have not tasted Me. Why can you not reach Me through the object you touch
Or breathe Me through sweet perfumes? Why do you not see Me? Why do you not hear Me? Why? Why?
For you My delights surpass all other delights, and the pleasure I procure you surpasses all other pleasures. For you I am preferable to all other good things, I am Beauty, I am Grace.
Love Me, love Me alone. Love yourself in Me, in Me alone. Attach yourself to Me,
No one is more inward than I. Others love you for their own sakes,
I love you for yourself. And you, you flee from Me.
Dearly beloved! You cannot treat Me fairly, For if you approach Me, It is because I have approached you.
I am nearer to you than yourself, than your soul, than your breath.
Who among creatures would treat you as I do?
I am jealous of you, over you, I want you to belong to no other, not even to yourself.
Be Mine, be for Me as you are in Me, though you are not even aware of it.
Dearly beloved! Let us go toward Union. And if we find the road that leads to separation,
we will destroy separation. Let us go hand in hand. Let us enter the presence of Truth.
Let It be our judge And imprint Its seal upon our union.
Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi