Breathing practices include these among others, and through them we will learn to control emotion and reach higher states of consciousness.
• Fikr of Breath
• Prana Yama
• Kundalini Qasab
• Shughl (3 monkeys practice)
Fikr of Breath is the default practice in all sessions. When the mind is not attentive to another practice then it concentrates on breathing – just noticing the actuality of movement of air in and out. This enables the ‘gross mind’ to relax sufficiently so that the ‘subtle mind’ can perceive more refined aspects of reality.
Each of the other types of breathing practice has a specific way to train the mind to release its conditioned mode and spontaneously reach into new areas of awareness. This includes balancing male and female energies, balancing elemental life factors, expanding spiritual reach and depth, and touching transcendental states.
The ability both to hear and give voice to subtleties in the atmosphere of the moment is a mark of attainment. Much is presented to us beneath the surface of what is said, and we can delve to find the deeper truth of any situation only when we have cleared our own neurotic predispositions. In these sound practices we train the physical body and emotional/mental body into alignment so that we can both express and register authenticity of communication in normal life. The power of one’s word is developed by clearing the throat chakra, since this opens up a channel between head and heart that sponsors both Love and Truth.
WAZIFAS are the 99 Beautiful Names of God. They are archetypes, each expressing a particular attitude of consciousness. The implied understanding is that we all lack certain qualities that can be developed, that we all need rebalancing, and that we all need guidance to find our greatest potential. By repeating these mantras we interact with angelic forces and so absorb something of their wisdom and attunement.
DANCES OF UNIVERSAL PEACE are for meditation and celebration, and to express devotion. Practised in a circle with simple body movements, they include chanting mantra or sacred vernacular phrases from all spiritual traditions. Frequently they trigger emotional release. Much is gained by learning to trust the physical body to move itself rhythmically without the controlling mind’s interference.
Light practices are mostly visualisations; the pineal gland, or ‘third eye’, needs to be exercised to operate, and this is aided by such practices. When the Ajna is opened, the left brain and right brain are then able to work in tandem, which creates higher levels of intelligence and creativity. We can also learn how to project intention with the glance to achieve particular outcomes in the world, including how to avoid ‘vampirism’ and bullying imposition from others.
PRAYER This includes learning the Christian Lord’s Prayer in the Aramaic language, and the Islamic Fateha in Arabic. Training the mind to become fluent in mantric languages is very empowering. This is because the exact word formula has been repeated throughout history countless millions of times creating a resonance through the ages, which mysteriously interacts positively with our own processes of thinking to establish such faith and certainty of goodness that we lighten the situations that we encounter.
HEALING RITUALS includes breathing and chanting the wazifa concentrations Ya Shaffee Ya Khaffee in order to pulsate between self-realisation and self-annihilation. A typical ritual is carried out in a circle of people chanting, with the recipient entering the circle and carrying out a silent practice of acceptance.
WHIRLING. The dervishes shown in the picture, are practitioners of Sufism and they train for many years to perform the ceremony that includes whirling. It creates the very opposite of a trance state, and the realisation occurs that it is the world that is spinning not the dervish; also light is revealed in its true form. One day perhaps we may attempt a gentle version of this practice, but not immediately and not casually. There are safer and easier ways to achieve similar states of being.
SACRED WALKS are embodiment exercises of the archetypes. These can be the Elements, wazifas or other concentrations such as planets and other aspects of a horoscope. They teach us how to take our understandings from the mental realm into the physical. This promotes healing and self-awareness.
GUIDED JOURNEYS are used as a springboard to encourage the mind to stretch out into new territory by replacing control with trusting curiosity. Mind-stuff is free and curious by nature, so mind only needs to be released from fear for it to know whatever it seeks to know. Whatever gains are made in achieving heightened levels of consciousness can never be lost, although they can be forgotten.
ZIKR is the essence-practice within Sufism; it is the practice of remembrance and the way to achieve soul-level transformation. It typically involves repeating an Arabic phrase many thousands of times in order to lose oneself in devotion. When the false ego is burned away in this self-annihilation practice, the true Self is discovered.
ADAB is the foundation and proof of Sufism – it translates from Arabic approximately as ‘sacred respect’. It is studied in the way we interact with fellow students and the Teaching itself, and includes expressing elegance in these areas:
• Integrity with money
• Silence during the sessions
• No gossiping or reporting outside the group
• Oblique approach in communication (no aggressive challenging)
• Keeping your word
• Reflexive self-consciousness (being aware of the effect you are having)