According to Sufi teachings, the path to experiencing the Divine Presence starts within. It is said that one who realizes oneself realizes the Lord. God is present but individuals cannot see the Almighty because curtains of ignorance veil their eyes and rust encases their hearts. The average person is ego-centred. Only after he or she has polished the heart and purified the self will the curtains lift, the rust fall away, and the eyes become able to see God.
Sufism’s goal is: “the development of certain noble qualities such as the purification of the self, purification of the heart, moral etiquette, doing what is beautiful (ihsan), nearness to God, inner knowledge (ma’rifat), annihilation in God (fana’), and subsistence in God (baqa’). In short, the true purpose of Sufism is to transform the seeker into a highly humane and moral person by building the seeker’s character through spiritual training.”
The Sufi path is a way to spiritual enlightenment. According to the Sufis, in order to reunite ourselves with God, we need to become aware of our own conditioning, to realize that we may be living our lives automatically as if in a dream. To wake from this trance-like state, we need to activate the spiritual centres of consciousness, which function as inner faculties of perception. The School of Sufi Teaching offers practices designed to ‘awaken’ these centres (or lata’if), starting with the heart, which is the most important of these centres. Through the practices, the student purifies and ‘polishes’ the heart so that it becomes a mirror that reflects the light of Truth. Gradually, this leads to expanded consciousness and the development of intuitive knowledge and spiritual insight.