Sufism

Be Melting Snow


Totally conscious, and apropos of nothing, you come to see me.  
Is someone here?  I ask.
The moon.  The full moon is inside your house.

My friends and I go running out into the street.
I'm in here, comes a voice from the house, but we aren't listening.  
We're looking up at the sky.
My pet nightingale sobs like a drunk in the garden.
Ringdoves scatter with small cries, Where, Where.
It's midnight.  The whole neighborhood is up and out
in the street thinking, The cat burglar has come back.
The actual thief is there too, saying out loud,
Yes, the cat burglar is somewhere in this crowd.
No one pays attention.

Lo, I am with you always means that when you look for God,
God is in the look of your eyes,
in the thought of looking, nearer to you than your self,
or things that have happened to you
There's no need to go outside.  

Be melting snow.  
Wash yourself of yourself.

A white flower grows in the quietness. 
Let your tongue become that flower.  
 

– Rumi, The Essential Rumi: Translations by Coleman Barks

 

 

A Sufi Initiation


The following is a quote from The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus, by Dale Allison.  In discussing the historicity of various gospel events (here, the transfiguration), Allison draws from analogous stories in other religions.  Here he recounts the experience of his personal friend:
 

"The foregoing testimonies intrigue me all the more because I personally know a man who claims to have seen a human being transfigured into light.  This is not for me a foaftale, that is, it does not concern the proverbial friend-of-a-friend but comes to my ears from someone I know and have no reason to disbelieve (and who has refreshed my memory by kindly sharing with me his relevant journal entry).

In 1992 my friend John decided to seek initiation as a Sufi.  The process involved having an audience with a Sufi master who was then making a tour of the States.  The two men met in a small room for a short period of time.  They sat face-to-face in lotus position.  No words passed between them.  But the occasion was memorable, for John relates that, after a bit, the master began to emit a light, which became brighter and brighter until it lit up the whole room, after which the luminescence gradually faded away, and the encounter was over."


– Dale Allison, The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus


These type of "paranormal" events pop up in the mystic traditions with some regularity.  In the Hindu tradition, they are called siddhis.  What's interesting is that the mystics themselves don't attribute much importance to them.  Often they are even seen in a negative sense, a potential distraction from the real work to be done.

I don't know what to make of stories like these, but I do find them interesting to think about.  I think if I experienced something like this, I would take it as some type of confirmation that I was moving in the right direction.  

"The miraculous" is not the heart of mysticism, but it seems to be at least potentially related.