What We Offer – The Practices (Meditation)
According to the understanding of Sufis, the mind is not the only centre of consciousness in the human being. There exist other subtle centres, of which the heart is the most important. The heart is the receptacle of illumination, and it is capable of the direct perception of truth. But in order for this to happen it is necessary that the heart be awakened.
In our order we seek the help of a special kind of meditative practice known as “Muraqaba”. There is an important difference between our meditation and the meditations of other systems. We do not attempt to work through focussing the energy of the physical body at a single point as is done in other approaches. In our order the practice of meditation means to detach oneself from worldly activity, and for a period of time to turn one’s attention towards God. After the preliminary 10 lessons students may choose if they wish to continue their progress by adopting a way of life based on Islamic principles and the Sunna – which is the example set by the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). Some students may take a number of years to complete the first lessons, while others may progress more quickly, depending on their state when they come to Sufism, and on their continued dedication to the practices.
The initial practices start with meditation on the heart, when an intention (niyyat) is made and the seeker then sits calmly and quietly for around 45mins. It is not necessary to adopt special postures when sitting in our meditation, but when the person sits patiently, Divine blessings are given to the seeker. Some physical and spiritual benefits may be experienced immediately. Some seekers experience greater ease and contentment, patience and tolerance, and they may develop greater personal insight and understanding in the process of doing our practices. Weekly meetings, in which groups of students sit in meditation together, help the student to progress more quickly, because the blessings may be “shared”. Through regular practice these exercises of meditation and recitation help individuals to make a sincere and sustaining and nurturing connection to the Divine.