Be the guardian of the One at the Door of your Heart
Abdul Qadir Djilani
Sufism is the religion of the heart and a path towards Unity, building bridges uniting apparent opposites. Heart and Unity become one for those who understand that living in Unity is the same as living from the heart, the place where Heaven and Earth unite. We can address our hearts by mantras or wazifas (the 99 Beautiful Names of the One in Arabic), the breath and the attunement of a group people attuned to one and the same focus.
In 1910, the Indian musician and mystic Inayat Khan (1882 - 1927) brought Sufism to the West and there made it universal and open for all creeds and denominations. He welcomed Christians, Buddhists or Jews to become a Sufi in order to deepen their Christianity, Buddhism or Judaism. This openness is supported by the Quran and writings of famous Sufis like Ibn al-‘Arabi, Rumi or Kabir, but differs from present-day Eastern Sufism. Hence we often refer to the Message of Inayat Khan (as he used to call it) as Universal Sufism.
What is a Sufi?
Strictly speaking, all seekers after the ultimate truth are really Sufis, whether they call themself that or not. But as they seek truth according to their own particular point of view, they often find it difficult to believe that others, from their different points of view, are yet seeking the same truth, and always with success, though to a varying degree. That is in fact the point of view of the Sufi and it differs from others only in its constant endeavor to comprehend all others as within itself. It seeks to realize that all persons following their own particular line in life, nevertheless fit into the scheme of the whole and finally attain not only their own goal, but the one final goal of all.
Hence everyone can be called a Sufi either as long as they are seeking to understand life, or as soon as they are willing to believe that every other human being will also find and touch the same ideal...
All beliefs are simply degrees of clearness of vision. All are part of one ocean of truth. The more this is realized, the easier is it' to see the true relationship between all beliefs, and the wider does the vision of the one great ocean become.
Limitations and boundaries are inevitable in human life; forms and conventions are natural and necessary; but they none the less separate humanity. It is the wise who can meet one another beyond these boundaries.
Hazrat Inayat Khan: The Way of illumination (Message Volume I, p. 45)
Murshid Samuel L. Lewis (1896 - 1971) was a student of Inayat Khan. He also was a Zen Master and student of the Hindu teacher Papa Ramdas, co-founded the esoteric Christian Order of MANS and studied Kabbalah and Astrology. As such, he was an embodiment of the Unity of Religious Ideals.
Toward the end of his life, he founded the Sufi Ruhaniat International (from the Semitic word ruh for breath or soul) as an open and universal Sufi order in the tradition of his 'teacher of the heart' Inayat Khan.
He received the name for this order from his Pakistani Sufi teacher Sufi Barkat Ali. This Sufi sheikh initiated him as Murshid (senior teacher) in the Chisti Order. This Order, brought to India by Moineddin Chisti, emphasizes on music and other forms of arts and was also the main order of Hazrat Inayat Khan. SAM's contribution to this pathway to the One were the Dances of Universal Peace, a form of circle dance where the participants chant mantra and sacred phrases of all traditions, accompanied by life music. This form of Sacred Dance is now wide-spread theoughout the Western World as a way of embodied spirituality.
Murshid SAM, as his students called him, was a very practical person. In his own words:
What is needed is a method that works,
not a philosophy about a method
which can be very confusing
Pir-o-Murshid Moineddin Jablonski (1942 - 2001) was SAM's appointed successor. He enriched Sufism with his soul work (a form of inner voice dialogue) and the notion that we need to relate to our Shadow (in the Jungian sense) on our journey to the light. Before his passing he appointed Shabda Kahn as his successor.
Murshid Wali Ali Meyer was the former secretary of Murshid SAM and was appointed by him to continue and pass on the Dances after his passing. Wali Ali trained the first generation 'new' Dance teachers, amongst whom were Saadi Neil Douglas-Klotz and the late Kamae A Miller. Wali Ali works and lives in California and is recognized as one of the grandmasters of Spiritual & Astrological Walks and dharma talk.
Pir-o-Murshid Shabda Kahn was the former guitarist of Murshid SAM. He is a master of the zikr (a Sufi practice in song and dance in remembrance that only Unity exists) and was trained as a classical Indian raga singer by the late Pandit Pran Nath. Shabda works and lives in California and travels with his Sufism around the globe.
See the agenda for activities.