TRUCKEE, Calif. — When people contemplate Sufism they often think of whirling dervishes in white robes or the poet Rumi, but few really know what Sufism is all about. Mirabai Stemple shares her Sufi experience.
Stemple started practicing Sufism when she had her children and found a deep sense of appreciation that Sufism celebrated and honored all faiths. One of the first Sufis whom Stemple met was a practicing Catholic nun, and she “quickly learned that this was not a religion at all, but rather a path of the heart that honors and embraces the truth in all religions.” This idea deeply resonated with Stemple and she began studying and practicing Sufism.
Unlike many religions, Sufis don't get “hung up on dogma.” They don't have a holy book such as the Bible, but instead their manuscript is Nature itself. Sufis seek to move beyond separation among ideology and beliefs and instead seek “to raise us above the distinctions and differences which divide, and bring us to the peace of thy Divine Spirit.” Sufis believe we don't have to wait to experience the peace of Divine Spirit once we have died, but instead Sufis “seek to see God now, in all humankind and to join in that sweet union with the Divine in every breath.”
Lastly, Sufis seek this union with God through a variety of spiritual practices. Stemple used her own spiritual practice as a way of “polishing the heart so that I may more clearly reflect the Light of the Divine in all that I see.” She shared a story about a man who asked his teacher to take him as a student on the Sufi Path and the teacher's response was “first go forth and fall in love, for only then can one begin to attune to this Path of the Heart.” Sufism is not a religion, but is instead a path of the heart.
To learn more about Sufism and the ideas expressed in this article, For Goodness Sake will host Murshida Rabia Ana Perez-Chisti, Ph.D., an ordained minister, senior teacher, National Representative of the Sufi Movement International, and a Professor at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology for a series of presentations the weekend of April 8-10. There's also an introductory movie on April 1 at 7 p.m. All the events are free and will be held at For Goodness Sake, 10157 Donner Pass Road in Downtown Truckee. Donations are welcome. Call 530-550-8981 or visit www.goodnesssake.org for more information.
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