Sufism has roots stretching back thousands of years. While Sufism predates Islam, Sufis played a major role in its spread to India leading to a deep cross-fertilization of Eastern and Middle Eastern spiritual experience there. Sufi practices embrace many of the familiar forms such as breath, meditation, sacred dance and movement, purification, prayer, immersion in the wonder of Nature etc. What is unique and beautiful however is the way in which Sufis approach these practices through the lens of love and the transformation of the heart. Also the emphasis Sufis place on bringing the fruits and application of practice back into every aspect of life and being. Sufism does not ignore suffering, far from it, however it invokes and applies love and compassion for ALL as the balm for suffering.
Sufis approach spiritual development and the adoption of practices uniquely for each individual through the relationship with the spiritual guide. The best way to be introduced to Sufi practices is to attend some of the various Sufi events – many of these are free and newcomers are welcomed into our community at all times.
Pir Zia Inayat-Khan leading Prayer
Prayer is considered an essential Sufi practice, emphasizing the human need for expression. Prayers can be said silently or aloud, but are considered more effective when said aloud, as the sound-vibration of the prayers penetrates the energy centers of the body and reaches the inner planes of our being.
This short prayer is often said before beginning a service or ceremony. It is a way of stating our intention and calling upon the Divine to guide us.
Toward 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.
As essential as Prayer is Purification. In fact, the word Sufism (tasawwuf) means ‘purification.’ If you are new to the Sufi path, these two practices are a good place to begin. Each morning, before meditation, we recommend washing your hands and face, saying Prayers, and then doing the following breath practice as an act of purification.
It is prescribed that this cycle of breaths be done every morning, if possible outside or in front of an open window. Stand upright in a comfortable position, feet slightly apart, hands at your side, palms forward.
Earth Breath: In the nose, out the nose (5x), visualizing the color gold.
Water Breath: In the nose, out the mouth (5x), visualizing the color green.
Fire Breath: In the mouth, out the nose (5x), visualizing the color red.
Air Breath: In the mouth, out the mouth (5x), visualizing the color blue.
Ether Breath: In the nose, out the nose, very refined (5x), visualizing the color grey, or imaging transparency.
If you wish to add another dimension to the practice, you may silently say Ya Shafee (the Healer) on the in-breath, and Ya Kafee (the Remedy) on the out-breath.