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Zikr

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Jun. 7th, 2013 | 02:32 pm

I went to the local zikr again last night.

This time, instead of beginning directly with a longer zikr, the facilitator made some general statements about Sufism while some Mevlevi music played in the background.

I'm familiar with the sort of New-Age-ified quasi-traditionalist discourse that is typical in such cases. Questions of chronology and of cultural transmission are never established in any specific way, and are blended together in simplified, mythologized versions. Yes, Rumi lived in the 13th century (according to the Western calendar) and, yes, he effectively originated some of the practices of the Mevlevi dervishes, but most of the Mevlevi music that survives is from the 18th and 19th centuries. However, all of this was spoken of as if it were one seamless transmission from Rumi himself. Whatever.

People in a setting such as a small, relatively informal zikr are nothing if not polite.

A place where I'm coming to with this whole business of social spiritual practice is to acknowledge the effects that can occur in a social setting devoted to that purpose while temporarily suspending my usual standards regarding quality of information.

Nonetheless, when I question why it hasn't worked out for me to remain committed in a steady way to the spiritual paths to which I was introduced--and particularly those into which I have been initiated--it seems to me that, over time, the bullshit factors begin to put a drag on the experience for me, and they effectively result in a conflict situation in which it becomes difficult for me to justify continuing to devote the same amounts of time and energy to something about which I have difficulty remaining affirmative in good faith, especially when this means diverting time and energy away from other pursuits that I may value as much, if not more than, what I perceive to be the obligations of a given organization.

Nonetheless, the experiences that I have had so far have helped me to re-situate my experiences of Sufism and Islam more comfortably. Parallel with that, the readings, films, and music I have been pursuing on my own--particularly with respect to Bosnia--have also helped me to heal some feelings of separation and fragmentation around my previously-established spiritual practices.


Peace,

kh

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