Back in January I resumed the practice of salat, and I haven't discontinued since. At some point I became curious about what kind of sufi activities might be going on locally since I last checked several years ago. I found a small Meetup group that had recently found a steady place to meet. I went to my first meeting 2 weeks ago.
I wasn't sure at first if the person who started the group was working within a particular tariqat or not. When he brought out a photo of Sheikh Nazim al-Haqqani, however, it was pretty clear that he is a dervish in a Naqshbandi group. I have an instinctively uncomfortable reaction to Nazim's appearance, and having the obligatory photo there reminded me of the Amma scene, from which I have been distancing myself for a couple of years now.
The zikr we did followed a CD recording of a supposedly spontaneous zikr that Nazim did at Georgetown University in the 1990s. There was definitely some power in it, and since it was based on commonly known passages from the Qur'an and on a handful of the Asma'ul Husna, I was able to follow it pretty easily.
During the zikr I lost track of time. I became aware of, as it were, energy flowing along circuits that seem not to have been used for a while. In a sense, I was getting an inner workout. After the zikr was over I was feeling a bit ungrounded and not quite ready to get behind the wheel and drive home. The zikr was held at a wellness center, and the host and a friend of his did the owner a favor afterward by carrying bags of garbage and recyclables to dumpsters outside of the building. We and the other attendee (there were just four of us that evening) stood and talked for a while in the parking lot while the host and his friend stood there, holding the bags of trash and recyclables. In a somewhat comical way, this seemed to provide some symbolic "grounding" to the experience, which was something that I needed before heading home.
I didn't experience any particular "heart" energy: just energy moving through spaces that had perhaps become somewhat constricted and shut down.
Since then, I seem to be reconnecting with prior aspects of my spiritual path, and some of that has involved some heart openings, tears, etc.
My take on this particular situation is that it is what is most readily available at the moment. The fact that I'm not drawn to Nazim (or to his representative in the US, Hisham Kabbani) makes it easier to for me to witness what I'm experience and then to see how it helps me to reflect on the experiences I have had over the last 21 years of active spiritual search through spiritual groups.
There was another zikr scheduled for this evening on Meetup, but apparently there was a schedule change and I didn't get word. The organizer's friend didn't get word either, so we worked on trying to understand what had happened and then just talked a little bit. He's a somewhat quiet and reserved, but polite South Asian (I think) and is middle aged. The organizer is probably in his 30s, possibly South Asian as well, but more outwardly friendly and engaging (in a somewhat more typically American way).
I have more to write, but I'll put it in a separate post.