It is a privilege to be a part of such an amazing spiritual group. I am a born Muslim, but I always struggled with the cultural pressure. Culture is far more predominant than the religion from where I come from.
In my search for truth & God, I tried everything I possibly could. From praying to covering myself, from fasting to being an obedient child to my parents, etc. While, many of those prerequisites I was doing came from a place of logic of the mind; in essence, it did not come from my heart. I then went through a stage where I had lost myself completely and felt surrounded by a lot of darkness.
The only place where I found some hope was Poetry of Bulleh Shah, Rumi (R.A), Allama Iqbal etc. & the most famous Asian Sufi music.
However, I was always confused with religion and spirituality. I thought I was spiritual but not religious.
While searching for guidance, I read a few books written by Western authors. They helped me to a certain extent, but I was not completely satisfied and I still felt a void inside me.
I developed an interest in meditation and stumbled upon the School of Sufi Teaching website. I knew nothing about Sufi practices, what a Sufi order is, etc. Nevertheless, without thinking too much, I started practicing silent meditation. I enjoyed it, and gradually I began to meditate more and more. Eventually I visited the group regularly and could notice visible changes in me.
May be the most striking transformation I could feel was when in the presence of our Shaykh. I felt true alignment for the first time. I could clearly feel ecstasy & a certain state, which was difficult to reach without his presence. By being committed to the practices, my life fully transformed.
Our meditation, amongst other practices, are extremely powerful tools for the true spiritual seeker.
I now understand that the religion is not a concept and in order to understand religion you have to open your heart & only then you can start to understand the true meaning of religion, spirituality & experience nearness of God.
I have found that place which I was always looking for outside of me. That place exists inside me, not outside. I have freed myself from many contradictions & questions of the mind. The Sufi practices have helped me connect to my soul & open my heart.
Without the practices & being part of the order, under our beloved Shaykh’s guidance, this would not have been possible. Our role model in life is our Shaykh. Just as you need a teacher & guidance in other areas of your life, you also need guidance for your spiritual journey.
To anyone who is searching for the truth, I would like to tell you that ‘loving yourself’ is the key. Accept yourself, study yourself & respect yourself. Amongst many profound sayings from the Holy Prophet (May Peace Be Upon Him), one is;
“One, who knows himself, knows his Lord”.
The four goals pursued by our Sufi order explain everything:
1- Becoming a better person (Iklaq)
2- Purification of yourself (Tazkiya al Nafs)
3- Purification of the heart
4- Nearness to God (Qurbutan Il’Allah)
In my experience, the more you dedicate time to the practices, the more you can see visible progress on all these four key aspects; and the more you can understand your purpose, find meaning & direction in your life. Is it not what everyone is looking for?