Sufis believe that there are subtle centres of consciousness, which can perceive truth directly. The most important of these is the heart, which is the locus of spiritual light. To be able to perceive truth, the heart must be awakened.
In our order we do this through a special form of meditation (Muraqaba). This meditation is different from meditations of other systems. We do not concentrate on stilling the mind or focus on a single point, image or mantra. For us, meditation means that we detach ourselves from worldly activities, and for a period of time turn our attention towards God. We do this using a process called transmission (nisbat) whereby the spiritual light acquired by the Shaykh from his own teacher, and through a ‘chain of transmission’ is transmitted directly into the student’s heart.
The preliminary practices of the Naqshbandi-Mujaddedi order start with meditation on the heart. Students make an intention (niyyat) and then sit quietly for 40-45 minutes. Students do not need to adopt any special postures, but simply sit patiently awaiting the blessings of the Divine. Many students experience both mental and spiritual benefits right away. They find increased calm and contentment, more positive feelings towards others and personal insight from doing these practices. Students also sit in meditation together at weekly meetings. These help students to progress more quickly.
Students follow a set of ten preliminary lessons, working on the ten centres of consciousness. The practices can be integrated into ordinary daily life as the student continues to live and work in the world. After the initial lessons, students may choose to progress further by adopting a way of life that is based on Islamic principles and the Sunna – following the example of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). Students progress at their own pace, some taking years to complete the preliminary lessons while others may progress rapidly, depending on their initial state and the time they dedicate to the practices. Those who persevere make a genuine and sustaining connection to God.