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Sufis

So we have come to the realization, understanding, or belief (experience, intellectualization, or faith) that there are other levels of consciousness. And maybe, like all the Masters said, there is one Place, one Consciousness.

And we want to know what to do. I mean we have read the Bible, the Upanishads, and the Koran but what do we do? What is there to do? We've got to do something, right? What can we do to get to the right? What can we do to get to the State of Love, Harmony, and Beauty?

Well, for thousands of years some men have used definite, proven methods to become One. Through exercises of self-understanding, control, and discipline, level upon level of consciousness become part of personal reality. The systems teach us to be of the levels and not of them, until the center becomes the circumference and I is We.

"Truth is One; sages call it by many names." (Rig. Veda.) For as many names, there are Ways. Sufism is one Way. It draws its Spirit of Guidance from all the Masters, all the messages. Its basic tenet is that different men gave man Truth, all the same Message but with different emphasis for the people and the times at hand. There is a golden thread which runs through the words of all Teachers, and it is Sufism; it is as old as man; its history is lost in pre-history.

Some practical information. Sufism was brought to the West by Hazrat Inayat Khan during the first part of this century (so many masters came to us in the early1900's-what a release of energy!). He founded the Sufi Movement which was dedicated to the following objectives: (1) To realize and spread the knowledge of unity, the religion of love and wisdom, so that the bias of faiths and beliefs may of itself fall away, the human heart may overflow with love, and all hatred caused by distinctions and differences may be rooted out. (2) To discover the light and power latent in man, the secret of all religion, the power of mysticism, and the essence of philosophy, without interfering with custom or belief. (3) To help bring the world's two opposite poles. East and West, closer together by the interchange of thought and ideals, that the Universal Brotherhood may form of itself, and man may see with man beyond the narrow national and racial boundaries.

Individual practices include rhythmic breathing, body postures and exercises, concentrations, and meditations. Meetings happen regularly in a lot of places.

I would like to suggest for inclusion in the Catalog, The Sufis, by Sayed Idries Shah, Anchor paperback edition, January 1971 ($2.45). To the best of my knowledge this is the most complete and authoritative book in the field, and the first paperback edition in this country. It can be ordered from Doubleday.
Shah has written eleven other books which deal with various aspects of Sufism, including translations of authentic Sufi teaching material, most of which are worthy of inclusion in the Catalog, but which have not been easily available. If you can obtain them, the books I found the most useful were: The Way of the Sufi, Tales of The Dervishes, the two Mulla Nasrudin books, and Reflections.

Here is a quote from the author's preface to The Sufis, which I like to think applies to the Whole EarthCatalog:

" A Sufi school comes into being, like any other natural factor, in order to flourish and disappear, not to leave traces in mechanical ritual, or anthropologically interesting survivals. The function of a nutrient is to become transmuted, not to leave unaltered traces."
-Dean S. Nordquist