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Spirituality, Sufism & Starbucks: As the World Turns

Spirituality, Sufism & Starbucks: As the World Turns -

Living through my Saturn return was like living through hell. For those who do not know anything about Saturn return I suggest starting with this site, Saturn Sisters.

Mine hit me hard, and like many born in the mid-to-late 80’s, my Saturn return was in Scorpio – which is the planet that signifies death, destruction, rebirth, darkness and magick. Saturn, the planet of maturity, orbits around the sun every 29 years. The lesson Saturn teaches is maturity. It forces you to re evaluate your life and look at what needs to be stabilized for your highest good. How did my Saturn return greet me? By a lay off from my dream career, which resulted in an unexpected move from Los Angeles to San Francisco and followed by two years of emotional, spiritual, and physical turmoil. Thanks, Saturn.

I was praying, meditating, burning sage, and drinking green tea – I couldn’t figure out why my life was now turning upside down.  Wasn’t the new age lifestyle supposed to bring me all the blessings I needed? That’s what my old ego centric self was asking during this time when I wasn’t fully immersed in a devotional practice with my soul. The methods I used were certainly helping, but I was only scratching the surface. God will continue to push you to your knees until you completely surrender to Him.

It is imperative that when we are pushed to our knees, we acknowledge that we are then in the perfect position to pray.Click To Tweet

Since I was still developing my spirituality with one foot in the metaphysical world and the other in the Mosque, I thought I had the necessary tools to navigate the sudden life altering tests. After all, I did die and come back to life, so I could get through anything.

Could I have been anymore wrong? I fell into a dark place, fast. Instead of relying on searching internally for the answers I sought spiritual council.

…I couldn’t figure out why my life was now turning upside down.

The few Imams I went to refused to talk to me one on one unless I wore the headscarf. That just wasn’t going to happen. I ended up finding a spiritual teacher in the Bay Area who is a Taoist priest. I was probably one of his most stubborn students. I complied with as much of his teachings  and exercised as I could but still struggled with accepting the overall message of Divine Unity.

I was so conditioned to be weary of any kind of spirituality outside of Islam that everything else seemed highly questionable. Despite the fact that I had gone through so much growth, I still could not recognize the concept that God’s universal life force flows through everything regardless of dogma or religiosities.

For example, the teacher gave us an assignment to open up our chakras. It was a combination of meditation and physical prayer that included walking in a circle while chanting. I told him, Islam already has a practice of movement to open and align the charkas, and it’s called salat (prayer). The teacher, being ever so patient with my closed mindedness, simply said, “Both practices cultivate energy with the same goal, to align you with the Divine. To awaken and recharge your vibration.”

Huh?

I continued, “No, God told us to pray because we are here to serve and obey Him.”

At that time, to me, religion was associated with what I call, an ordained mood – with rules and structure that come directly from God and therefore must be obeyed. As I was still open to exploring different paths of spirituality, I remained cemented in my belief that while it was OK for me to inspect diverse mystical practices, I had to separate that from Islam.

“OK, think of it this way. Does God really need your prayer? No. He is already the Creator of everything. He is already whole and complete. So why would He need YOUR prayer?” My teacher said.

I was dumbfounded and growing more frustrated by the second because I didn’t know how to respond. He continued as I stared back, expressionless, “You pray for your own improvement. You pray, whether by the exercise I provide or by the Islamic prayer, to realign yourself with God, who you are already apart of. God is already within you.”

“OK, right. But, I can do that by Islamic prayer,” I replied.

“God created everything.” And with that, the teacher walked away and left me to meddle in my own rigidness. I carried his words with me and mulled over it for days. I lived in a beautiful neighborhood on the water and frequently sat in the library’s courtyard to meditate. There is something magical about being in nature to practice mindfulness. Over the coming days, I was giving myself a headache from all the philosophical internal conversations I was having, to try and prove my teacher wrong. Again with my intransigent attitude!

And then a light bulb finally went off.

God created everything – this much I already knew. So if this is a foundational truth then why are we quick to separate spirituality and various schools of spirituality from the one main source (God)? Why do we instantly categorize metaphysics as the “work of the devil”? Why do we place strict parameters on what it means to be spiritual or religious? Why do we allow division in spiritual attitudes?

I believe this happens because we have not allowed ourselves to experience the love of God outside of what has been prescribed by outdated practices – turned into canon by fallible men – and we have stopped our spiritual growth. We have allowed ourselves to believe that there is only one path and anything else is blasphemous. This is also why we have so called “fundamentalist radicals” causing destruction and terror on the communities that they deem sinful or unholy. Therefore, to associate God with social constructs that come from an outdated stage of human development, only makes cultural advancement impossible.

This was the breakthrough I needed to fully delve into mysticism. I was living in an illusion that I created (cue Matrix soundtrack). I used this revelation as justification to continue the Taoism class, which led to a class on magick, and eventually guided me to learning about Sufism. Because I always need to be careful with how I discuss this (and because the Internet is a cruel mean place) I will state very plainly that I am not a witch. I do not practice witchcraft. Magick and magic are two completely different beasts. There will be more on this and the rituals I’ve witnessed as we go on in the series.

I certainly can’t wait to share next week’s installment to you as we take a dip into the scandalous lives of “spiritualists gone wrong”.

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Spirituality, Sufism & Starbucks: As the World Turns -

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