Class Outlines

Message Class: July 2015

Racism

Ziraat Lodge

 Invocation [together]

 Introduction [zaynab]

 The Sixth Sufi Thought: There is one Brotherhood, the human brotherhood, which unites the children of earth indiscriminately in the fatherhood of God.

Focus Quotes from the Message:

There are others who have a racial ideal; they value certain qualities of their race and maintain them, and in order to maintain them they are willing to go through any sacrifice.

There are racial bonds which widen the circle of unity still more, but it has always happened that one race has looked down on the other.

To think, ‘That person is perhaps of no value; that person is of no importance,’ is unpractical, besides being unkind. As all things have their use, both flowers and thorns, both sweet and bitter, so all men are of some use; what position, what class, what race, what caste they belong to makes no difference.

At this time nation is against nation, race against race; the followers of one religion are constantly working against the followers of another religion; class works against class. Competition, hate, and prejudice prevail everywhere. What will be the outcome? What can poison produce? Not nectar, only poison.

Our movement is a movement of the members of different nations and different races united together in the ideal of wisdom. Wisdom does not belong to any particular religion or any particular race; wisdom belongs to the human race. It is a divine property, which everyone has inherited. In this realization we, in spite of different nationalities, races, beliefs, and faiths, still unite and work for humanity in the ideal of wisdom.

The Sufi, realizing this, frees himself from national, racial, and religious boundaries, uniting himself in the human brotherhood, which is devoid of the differences and distinctions of class, caste, creed, race, nation, or religion, and unites mankind in the universal brotherhood.

God is love, and He has created man out of His love. How then can He be pleased if one has hatred or prejudice against a fellowman, because one forgets that however unworthy he may seem to be, he is nevertheless the beloved one of God? He has created him in order to love him. Therefore God, the Father and Mother of all beings, is equally pleased with all His creatures.

Discussion            [Miriam Qahira]

Practice:            Ya Wasi (The All-Embracing) The Divine embraces all creation

Ya Wali (The Protecting Friend) May we protect one another as God                                     protects us

Ya Ahad (The One) We are one people in the sight of God [zaynab]

Ya Zahir (The Manifest), Ya Batin (The Hidden) That which is seen                                     outwardly as different, inwardly is united [Wadud]

Prayers:          Nayaz

Ya Salaam (Peace) Focusing on those who have been the objects of

racial  or other hatred that they find peace and with more repetitions

focusing on those who hate that they may find peace instead of hatred in

their hearts and ultimately on everyone in the world that the will for peace

among humanity may increase in the hearts of all. [Basira]

Prayer for Peace [Basira]

Reflections            [Wadud] 

Prayer Khatum [together]

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Healing E-Class #12, Series 2, A Breath of Love, Joy, Peace

Towards the One,
The Perfection of Love, Harmony and Beauty,
The Only Being,
United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master – the Spirit of Guidance

There is a need in the world today that many of us feel, to come more fully into harmony with our self, our world, and our Life. The following is a combination of two practices that the Buddhists use. We’ll adapt them to the need of today:

Turn toward the Divine/the Beloved/God/the Universe and imagine your self deeply connected to this, or let your self be held by this boundless Breath.

First Part (a gift from Shahabuddin, adapted for healing). Do this 3 times.

Take a short breath in, receiving that Divine Boundless Breath
Take a short breath out, imagining the Divine receiving this breath

Take a long breath in, letting this Boundless Healing Breath flow throughout your Being, offering healing and transformation everywhere it is needed
Take a long breath out, letting the Divine receive this breath

Second Part (a gift from the teaching of Pir Vilayat, adapted for Healing)

With the thought of a Love, contemplate the world, and let that Love flow to the 4 horizons, and letting Love flow wherever it is needed.
With the thought of Love increasing beyond measure, contemplate the Universe, and let that Love flow throughout the Universe up to its confines.

With the thought of Joy, contemplate the world, and let that Joy flow to the 4 horizons, letting Joy flow wherever it is needed.
With the thought of Joy increasing beyond measure, contemplate the Universe, and let that Joy flow throughout the Universe up to its confines.

With the thought of Peace, contemplate the world, and let that Peace flow to the 4 horizons, letting Peace flow wherever it is needed.
With the thought of Peace increasing beyond measure, let that Peace flow throughout the Universe up to its confines.

Once more Contemplate the whole world, letting anything else that is needed flow to the people, places and situations that need something else.
Once more, Contemplate the Universe, letting anything else that is needed flow throughout the Universe up to its confines.

Third Part

Notice One thing that you can change in your actions to be more in Harmony with Life. Examples:
You might decide to carefully recycle today, or you might ride your bike to work, or you might use less electricity or water. Do this today.

You might choose to be consciously kind to 3 people. Do this today.

You might decide to challenge that critical voice inside you to be kind, the next time it judges. Do this today.

Notice one thing you can do to serve the Wider World today. Examples:
You might send a contribution to a group that works to help the trees, or oceans, or homeless children, or those with long term illness and no health care.

You might pray for those in hard hit areas of the world, for food, clothing and shelter. Do this today.

You might write to your Congress men and women, letting them know you want them to vote for environmentally sound legislation. Do this today.

You might get involved in demanding all countries cease the slaughter of their people. Do this today

Amen

Fulfilling the Purpose of One’s Life, Class 6 Readings for June, 2014

The purpose of life is to become more living, to allow the soul to live more, and that is the hint given by Christ when he says, ‘Raise your light high’. This means allowing the soul to express itself. It does not matter what your life is, what your pursuit is; in order to fulfill the purpose of life you need not be in a temple or a church. Whatever your life’s pursuit — art, poetry, sculpture, music, whatever your occupation may be — you can be as spiritual as a priest or clergyman, always living a life of praise. Your work in life must be your religion; let the soul express itself in every aspect and it will surely fulfill the purpose of life. The soul’s life comes naturally if we open ourselves for the spirit to rise. Vol XIV The Smiling Forehead, Part I, Chapter XX The Dance of the Soul

The words ‘within oneself’ might confuse some people. They might think ‘within oneself’ means inside one’s body; but that is because man is ignorant of himself. Man has a very poor idea of himself, and this keeps him in ignorance of his real self. If man only knew how large, how wide, how deep, how high is his being, he would think, act, and feel differently; but with all his width, depth, and height, if man is not conscious of them he is as small as he thinks himself to be. The essence of milk is butter, the essence of the flower is honey, the essence of grapes is wine, and the essence of life is wisdom. Vol VII In an Eastern Rose Garden, Intellect and Wisdom

On coming to earth, man, who is the instrument of God, loses connection with that divine power whose instrument he is, thus keeping not only himself but even God from helping His will to be done. When man, who is born to be the instrument of God, does not perform his mission properly he naturally feels dissatisfied. It does not mean that he does not accomplish what he desires, but it is the reason why he is unhappy. … Spiritual knowledge does not lie in learning something, but in discovering something; in breaking the fetters of the false consciousness and in allowing the soul to unfold itself with light and power. What does the word ‘spiritual’ really mean? Spiritual means spirit-conscious. When a person is conscious of his body, he cannot be spiritual. It is like a king who does not know his kingship. … If man does not realize the kingdom of God within himself nor realize his spirit to be a king, he does not accomplish the purpose of life. Vol VI The Alchemy of Happiness, The Path of Attainment

Man’s greatest privilege is to become a suitable instrument of God, and until he knows this he has not realized his true purpose in life. The whole tragedy in the life of man is his ignorance of this fact. From the moment a man realizes this he lives the real life, the life of harmony between God and man. When Jesus Christ said, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God,’ this teaching was an answer to the cry of humanity: some crying, ‘I have no wealth,’ others crying, ‘I have no rest,’ others crying, ‘My situation in life is difficult,’ My friends are troubling me,’ or, ‘I want a position, wealth.’ The answer to them all is, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.’ Vol VIII The Art of Being, Chapter XL The Privilege of Being Human

Reasoning is a faculty which the mystic uses and which he may develop like any man of common sense, any practical man. The difference is only that the mystic does not stop at the first reason, but wishes to see the reason behind all reasons. Thus, in everything, whether right or wrong, the mystic seeks for the reason. The immediate answer, however, will be a reason that does not satisfy him, for he sees that behind that reason there is yet another reason. … The nature of life is such that it easily excites the mind and makes man unhappy in an instant. It makes man so confused that he does not know where to take the next step. In contrast with this, the mystic stands still and inquires of life its secret; and from every experience, from every failure or success, the mystic learns a lesson. Thus, both failure and success are profitable to him.

The ideal of a mystic is never to think of disagreeable things. What one does not want to happen, one should not think about. A mystic erases from his mind all the disagreeable things of the past. He collects and keeps his happy experiences, and out of them, he makes a paradise. Are there not many unhappy people who keep part of the past before them, causing them pain in their heart? Past is past; it is gone. There is eternity before us. Vol X Sufi Mysticism, The Nature and Work of a Mystic

If you ask someone to say where he is, he will point at his arm, his hand, his body. He knows little beyond that. There are many who if asked, ‘But where do you think you are in your body?’ will say, ‘In my brain.’ They limit themselves to that small physical region which is called body, thus making themselves much smaller than they really are. The truth is that man is one individual with two aspects, just like one line with two ends. If you look at the ends, it is two. If you look at the line, it is one. One end of the line is limited, the other end of the line is unlimited. One end is man, the other end is God. Man forgets that end, and knows only the end of which he is conscious. And it is the consciousness of limitation which makes him more limited. Otherwise he would have far greater means of approaching the Unlimited which is within himself, which is only the other end of the same line, the line which he calls, or which he considers to be, himself. And when a mystic speaks of self-knowledge this does not mean knowing how old one is or how good one is or how bad, or how right or how wrong. It means knowing the other part of one’s being, that deeper, subtler aspect. It is upon the knowledge of that being that the fulfillment of life depends. Vol II The Mysticism of Music, Part II, Chapter XI The Spiritual Significance of Sound and Color

It is said in the Gayan, ‘The present is the reflection of the past, and the future is the re- echo of the present.’ Destiny is not what is already made. Destiny is what we are making. Very often fatalists think that we are in the hands of destiny, driven in whatever direction in life destiny wills; but in point of fact we are the masters of our destiny, especially from the moment we begin to realize this fact. … destiny means the materialization of man’s own thought. Man is responsible for his success and failure, for his rise and fall. And it is man who brings these about either knowingly or unknowingly. Vol VI The Alchemy of Happiness, Man, Master of His Destiny

One thing must always be remembered and that is our trust in God. No matter what the problem, by our trust in God the problem can be solved.

There is a story of the Prophet that the Prophet and his companion Siddiq were hiding behind a rock when a troop of men were following to attack them and when the noise of the hoofs of horses came to their ears Siddiq said, ‘Hark they are coming!’ ‘Why fear?’, said the Prophet. ‘They are very near!’ ‘What matter?’ said the Prophet. Siddiq said, ‘They are many and we are only two.’ ‘No’, said the Prophet, ‘We are three: you and I and God.’ God must never be kept apart; that is our strength. In difficulties and troubles, no matter how dreadful, keep God before you and you will in the end get over the trouble. Addresses to Cherags, Faith in Ordination

Memory

The whole secret of esotericism lies in controlling the mind, and in working with it as an artist would work on a canvas producing whatever he likes. When we are able to produce on the canvas of our heart all that we wish, and to erase all we wish, then we arrive at that mastery for which our soul craves. We fulfill the purpose for which we are here. Then we become the masters of our destiny. It is difficult, but that is the object that we pursue in life. Vol II The Mysticism of Sound and Music, Cosmic Language, Memory

Character-Building

Independence is achieved by indifference. It does not mean that one should take no heed of what anyone does or says; it only means one should discriminate between important and unimportant things of everyday life; that every necessary and unnecessary thing should not demand so much of one’s attention, thought, and feeling. Political economy has become a subject of education, but spiritual economy is the main thing in religion. All one says and does and all that one thinks and feels puts a certain strain upon one’s spirit. It is wise to avoid every risk of losing one’s equilibrium. One must stand peacefully but firmly before all influences that disturb one’s life. The natural inclination is to answer in defense to every offense that comes from outside, but in that way one loses one’s equilibrium. Self-control, therefore, is the key to all success and happiness.

Besides, there are many who feel urged and obliged to say or do something because it is asked of them, and in this way they get weaker and weaker. There are others who roughly fight against it; and in this way both are in error. He who is able to keep his equilibrium without being annoyed, without being troubled about it, gains that mastery which is needed in the evolution of life. No principle must be blindly followed. Spiritual economy is not always a virtue, if it disturbs harmony, if it in any way keeps one from progress, or if it places one in a worse condition. However, it is most necessary to know the science of spiritual economy; how to guard against all influences in our everyday life which come to disturb our tranquility and the peace of our soul. Vol III The Art of Personality, Character and Personality, Character-Building

And if one goes further, there is consciousness in its aspect of pure intelligence. It is knowing and yet knowing nothing. And knowing nothing means knowing all things. Because it is the knowing of things that blunts the faculty of knowledge. In other words, when a person is looking in a mirror, his reflection covers the mirror and in that mirror nothing else can be reflected. Therefore when the consciousness is conscious of anything, it is blunted; at that moment it is blunted, or in other words it is covered by something that it is conscious of. The moment that cover is taken away, it is its own self, it is pure intelligence, it is pure spirit. In that condition its power, life, magnetism, force, its capacity, are much greater, incomparably greater than one can imagine. What it is cannot be explained except that by the help of meditation one reaches that condition. And if one goes higher still, it is not even consciousness, it is a kind of omniscient condition which is the sign of inner perfection. Vol IV Healing and the Mind World, Mental Purification, Mastery

Reaction

The whole mechanism of this world is action and reaction, in the objective world as well as in the world of men. Only, in man there is the possibility of developing that spirit which is called the spirit of mastery, and that spirit is best developed by trying to gain control over one’s reactions. Life offers us abundant occasions from morning till evening to practice this lesson. Every move, every turn we make, we are faced with something agreeable or disagreeable, harmonious or inharmonious, either a condition or a person. If we react automatically we are no better than a machine and no different from thousands and millions of people who do so. The only way to find in ourselves a trace of that divine heritage which is mastery, is by controlling our reactions against all influences. In theory it is simple and easy; in practice it is the most difficult thing there is to master. But when we think of its usefulness we shall find that there is nothing in the world that is more necessary and more important than this development. If there is any strength to be found in the world, that strength is within ourselves; and the fact that we are able to control our reactions is the proof of this. It preserves dignity, it maintains honor; it is this which sustains respect and it is this which keeps men wise; it is easy to think, but it is difficult to continue to be a thoughtful person.

Very often people have asked me if there is any practice, any study, anything which one can do in order to develop will-power; and I have answered that yes, there are many practices and many ways, but the simplest and best practice which one can follow without being taught is to have one’s reactions always in hand. Such words as ‘I cannot endure’, ‘I cannot stand’, ‘I cannot sustain’, ‘I cannot have patience’, all mean to me, ‘I am weak’. By speaking thus we only admit in other words that we are weak. And can there be anyone in the world who is a worse enemy to us than our own weakness? If the whole world were our friend, that one enemy, our weakness, would be enough to ruin our life; but once this enemy is conquered we can stand against all those who come into conflict with us.

The control of the reaction will always give a certain amount of pain, but at the same time it is by suffering that one will gain the power to rise above it. But of course if it is not

understood rightly one might endanger oneself. There is a danger in both cases; on one side there is a pit, on the other side there is water. There may be a person who by being afraid of getting hurt or oppressed by someone, is always keeping his thoughts and feelings suppressed; if he had expressed them he would have become a very bad man, but by not having been able to express them he has been ruined. Therefore one should develop one’s discrimination in order to analyze the reaction, to understand it before it is expressed. One should always ask oneself, ‘That which is in my hand now, shall I not throw it away? By throwing it away, shall I do something wrong? Where shall I throw it? Will it fall on my head? What will become of it?’ A man should know what he has in his hand. If in order to avoid breaking another person’s head he has broken his own head, he has done wrong too.

Then what should he do? He should first weigh and measure the impulses that come to him. Instead of throwing the impulse out automatically he should first weigh it, analyze it, measure it, and use it to the best advantage in life. A stone is not only used to break another person’s head or to break one’s own head, but is also used to build houses. Use everything where it will be most useful, where it will be of some advantage. All such things as passion and anger and irritation one looks upon as very bad, as evil; but if that evil were kept in hand it could be used for a good purpose, because it is a power, it is an energy. In other words evil, properly used, becomes a virtue; and virtue wrongly used becomes an evil. For instance, when a person is in a rage, or when he really feels like being angry, if he controls that thought and does not express it in words, that gives him great power. Otherwise the expression has a bad effect upon his nerves. His control of it has given him an extra strength which will remain with him. A person who has anger and control is to be preferred to the person who has got neither. Vol VI The Alchemy of Happiness, Reaction

The Path of Attainment (1)

Some people say, ‘I cannot rise above my faults.’ The only way to overcome one’s faults is by struggle, struggle in the spiritual path. Such a struggle is faced for instance by a person who during a disagreeable conversation has an inclination to retort; he does so, but at the same time the power to fight, to give back, has left him. By dispersing his force in returning insult for insult he has lost his power. By controlling this inclination his power would have been a thousandfold greater, although at the moment when something like this happens, and one humiliates oneself and crushes one’s pride and one’s self, one feels crushed both ways: by not answering and then by the crushing of one’s self. And to be able to say, ‘I have answered him back!’ gives one a certain pride, a certain satisfaction.

In order to see this question more clearly one must picture oneself as two beings, one the king and the other the servant. When one of them expresses a wish, it is the king who wishes; and the part that says, ‘I cannot’, is the servant. If the servant has his way, then the king is in the place of the servant. And the more the servant has his way, the more the servant rules and the king obeys. In this way naturally conflict arises and that reflects upon the outer life; one’s whole life becomes unlucky. One may be pious or good or religious, it makes no difference. If man does not realize the kingdom of God within

himself nor realize his spirit to be a king, he does not accomplish the purpose of life. Vol VI The Alchemy of Happiness, The Path of Attainment (1)

The practice of self-discipline no doubt will seem difficult in the beginning, but later it becomes easier and, once a person is accustomed to it, it does not take long to experience its beautiful results. It is a complaint of everyone that the person who stands by his side does not listen to him. Every soul complains, “The others do not listen to me”. One rises above this complaint, because one begins to realize that “it is myself who does not listen to me”. Then the thief is caught, one finds the mischief-maker; it was not the other person, it was the self. As one begins to get power over the self, one begins to feel a great mastery, a mastery over one’s kingdom. It is a feeling of kingship. Then, naturally, one begins to experience in life this phenomenon that little by little all things begin to be easy. Vol VIII Sufi Teachings, Health and Order of Body and Mind, Self-Discipline

Self-Control

Self-control is the most necessary thing to be learned; a person may have great spirituality, illumination and piety, but in the absence of self-control this is nothing. Self- control also is the only way of happiness and peace. Often we hear or read that persons of great repute in the world for their spirituality and mysticism do something that astonishes us very much, or make a quite childish mistake. It is want of self-control that makes them commit a mistake, against which they themselves have spoken and written many times. Vol VIII Sufi Teachings, Health and Order of Body and Mind, Self-Control

 

The Sufi Order of Rochester Center for Sufi Studies, 494 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607, the Carriage House behind the AAUW mansion (Carriage House is 492).