Tuesday, September 15, 2009

the center of everything

i've been drawn for a very long time to the mevlevi dervishes.
"the whirling dervishes".

the mevlevi order came into being after the poet rumi flew away.

in their whirling
"the aim is to abandon ego and personal desires,
by listening to God and the music,
thinking about God and whirling."

when something calls to me
i listen
and try to answer the call
with what is available
in me.

this call began over twenty five years ago
embedded in the work of gurdjieff and jg bennett
and hasn't diminished.

i know that despite my own work,
i've progressed far slower than
i would have were i working with a group.

abdel-moneim moawad

when the sufi poet whirled, was he looking
outward, to the mountains so solidly there
in a white-capped ring, or was he looking

to the center of everything: the seed, the egg, the idea
that was also there,
beautiful as a thumb
curved and touching the finger, tenderly,
little love-ring,

as he whirled,
oh jug of breath,
in the garden of dust?

excerpted from "where does the dance begin, where does it end?" mary oliver


Kathleen said...

This is absolutely fascinating, Stephen. I did a little Web search to learn more. It's hard to find specifics, but I think I get a sense of it. I've found myself very drawn to monasticism and fascinating by rumi the dervishes as well.

I hope you'll tell us more!

steven said...

hi kathleen, i'm glad this reached you!!! i know quite a bit more about the sufis and especially the mevlevi. i'm interested by your request to tell more and i'll see what i can do there. have a peaceful day. steven

Anonymous said...

The dervishes have been a fascinating thing for me to see. I am not able to completely understand how they do it and not faint or run into something. I like the freedom from monasticism more than I like it because I have so many things I want to learn about and do that I don't think I ever had time for it. It sure makes an interesting post.

Thanks for your visit to my Pick a Peck of Pixels blog and for your generous comment there about my illustrations.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Steven: So now you've inspired my curiousity - do you whirl? If so, do you do it with eyes shut or open? If with eyes open how do you not get dizzy and lose your balance. If with eyes shut, how do you not bang into things or put yourself in danger? (Now that I have typed this out these seem like foolish questions . . . but I know you know there are no foolish questions!)

Repeated, rhythmic movements do produce altered states of consciousness - disolving egomind e.g. the rocking you see during prayers in the middle-east.

I'll be practising my "little love-ring" later. :)

Delwyn said...

hi Steven

I haven't tried whirling - I don't think the vertigo would take it... but the best meditation classes I ever took part in were those conducted by a sufi from Indonesia

- we stood in a circle with our eyes shut and moved, swayed, swung our limbs, sang, laughed - lots of laughing...all to clear the body and mind of its little glitches and then as the noise and movement subsided we slipped into a blissful quiet state...

Why don't I do it now...I wonder...

Happy days

NanU said...

The dervishes are fascinating. I get almost there sometimes with the right music and the right frame of mind. It's a small step to god when you let yourself go so fully.

willow said...

Fascinating subject, Steven.

Bonnie, I was wondering about the dizziness, too.

Reya Mellicker said...

I had a Sufi friend in San Francisco who "turned" as her group called the twirling. She told me they looked over their left shoulder, looking for God. That's why they turn, because God is always just out of sight, but it's worth it to keep looking!

Sufism is a beautiful path. Very cool!

The Weaver of Grass said...

where indeed, steven.

steven said...

hi abe - i've looked into the monastic path following something of the idea of the desert fathers but i really believe that the most valid spiritual work is undertaken in the marketplace or "the world". many dervishes are embedded in the working world, carrying their knowledge into their daily lives. i like that. have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

hello bonnie - no, whirling's not part of my practice. there are many other features of buddhism, sufism, and christianity that are. thanks for asking!!!! steven

steven said...

hi delwyn, i think that there are features of our practice that rise up out of necessity and then diminish as their value or necessity diminishes allowing us to move on and further refine our spirits. have a lovely evening by the river. steven

steven said...

hello nanu- making yourself available through your practice opens you up to God. i'm there!! thanks for dropping by. steven

steven said...

hi willow - the work of my path has drawn a number of different people into my life. for that i'm grateful. but i;'m not where i want to be - and figure i'll never get there. because "there" is nowhere!!! have a lovely evening at the manor. steven

steven said...

hi reya, i know you know about the sufi path. my path crosses the sufi path comfortably - since my work with a gurdjieff group - i've been living that work for quite some time now. also buddhism, and gnostic christianity. they're connected in places. so here i am. grateful for life, grateful for my ability to love, grateful that i am loved. steven

steven said...

hi weaver, my own sense is that there is no beginning and no ending in the real world. have a lovely evening in the dale, steven

Meri said...

Perhaps the group experience would have moved you faster, but perhaps you're moving at exactly the right speed. Twirling or just walking upright and seeing into the heart of things.......

steven said...

hi meri - thanks so much for this. really - thanks!!! steven

Margaret Pangert said...

Hi Steven~ I've never seen a whirling dervish, but I've read about them in the books of Paul Bowles. It seems to be a very mystical exercise. I do some kundalini yoga which is based on the awakening spiral of the serpent. I love the mandala and the Mary Oliver poem you chose.

steven said...

hello margaret, i love paul bowles' writing and his translations of mohammed mrabet are amazing!!! i know about kundalini yoga - cool that you use it as part of your practice!!! have a peaceful evening. steven