If life is to have meaning, if guidance is real and we wish to find it, we must be sincere in our readiness to listen. We must want to hear what is in our hearts, and what has grown silent due to lack of attention. The soul of every person, the soul of life itself, is waiting to be heard. Are we listening? Are we capable of hearing? Listening: Commentary on the Teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan by Gayan Macher
Remember Me and I shall remember you. (Qur’an 2:152). If in your heart you make a manger for his birth then God will once again become a child on earth. - Angelus Silesius The Swing is both a motion of releasing and opening that creates a space in our heart/being for the birth of the Divine Presence. Opening and releasing can be felt as a longing, a deep, possibly inarticulate yearning for something more. We can’t usually give words to the vague feeling of desiring something perpetually fulfilling, wanting somewhere we can rest and be ourselves, loved and accepted. Fulfillment doesn’t imply or mean always being happy or getting one’s way, but rather that there’s a deep knowing of the ultimate loving nature of existence and that our life exists within this context of loving human divine sacredness. Further Practice In New Rain Online, we return regularly to the practice of zikr, as well as concentration, awareness, and turning our hearts toward practice as we explore the integration of Inayati teachings with everyday life. If you would like support with your spiritual practice, you are welcome to join New Rain Online, which includes a monthly call-in class with Taj and Gayan (recorded for your convenience), weekly practice tips, answers to your personal questions, and more. The next class is this Saturday, November 12.
Part Two: Opening In the Islamic tradition, it is said (God speaking) We have opened you. Sit for a moment, in the sun if you can, or in the company of gentleness, or bird songs or kindness -- something benign, and sweet. Sit in the tender presence of benevolence, and consider being like a rose feeling the warm generous sun on your petals. Isn't opening the most natural response? Or perhaps someone is looking at you with deep appreciation, seeing your true motive, seeing how hard you try, how you have good intentions; they see it, and then what happens? Do you soften and open? What opens me? What can I open to? While contemplating opening, try moving your head and torso in the Swing, or add la illaha or no words at all but just the feeling of being opened. We'll post Part Three next week - sign up for the email list at the bottom of the page if you'd like to be notified.
Part One: Releasing Try this. Sit comfortably kneeling or on a chair and gently move your head and torso in the swing without words, and feel/notice the somatic experience of releasing. What is the feeling of release? Is it a letting go, like a sigh or an orgasm? Or a sense of freedom from constriction or unnaturalness, like releasing an animal back into the wild? Or opening a tight fist that has been clutching something for dear life, holding on to a point of view as if your life depended upon it, but then finding out you were mistaken, you had it all wrong. In the Buddhist tradition, a story is told where a man was holding tight to a tree branch all night fearing there was a chasm below him. When dawn came he was able to see clearly that the ground was actually only a few inches below his feet. He was safe -- the danger he felt was illusionary. We release our life every single night, or we wouldn’t be able to go to sleep. We just let it go, defocus. Releasing or letting go of something is necessary for change and growth. Old ideas are released to make way for new ones more true ones. Old ways of identifying ourselves are released into order to discover a deeper, truer self. Inhale releases into exhale in order to breathe new breath. The cosmos is in a continual dance of release and renewal. The Zikr mirrors this dynamism, Never a dull moment! Practice as you sit or kneel the feeling of letting go, casting off, giving away, unfurling, unclenching, as you swing your head and torso. You may want to hold lightly a thought such as releasing all things, or letting go of the drama, or just letting your body’s experience be the language. Or simply pay attention as you sigh. We'll post Part Two: Opening next week - sign up for the email list at the bottom of the page if you'd like to be notified.
During one of the recent New Rain Online classes, Gayan spoke on a topic that many people have been asking about lately, so we’re sharing it with you: How can we integrate spiritual practice in daily life? In this short talk, Gayan explores how rhythm is one way to bring the fragrance of the inner life into daily functioning, when we leave our quiet places of meditation and enter the world. As Hazrat Inayat Khan says, “Heaven is a state experienced when the rhythm is in perfect working order.” During one of the recent New Rain Online classes, Gayan spoke on a topic that many people have been asking about lately, so we’re sharing it with you: How can we integrate spiritual practice in daily life? In this short talk, Gayan explores how rhythm is one way to bring the fragrance of the inner life into daily functioning, when we leave our quiet places of meditation and enter the world. As Hazrat Inayat Khan says, “Heaven is a state experienced when the rhythm is in perfect working order.” There's a short practice in the talk and if you try it, we’d love to hear your experiences by commenting on the post, or joining us in the New Rain Online Facebook group. And if you’d like to join New Rain Online for monthly classes with Taj and Gayan, weekly tips, and support for your personal practice, here's how.
In New Rain Online and New Rain Retreats, there are themes we turn to again and again for support with spiritual practice. We've compiled them here in this free resource for you, if they have resonance for your own path. You'll find inspiration and short practices to experience questions such as, "Why do you practice? How do you enter into an awakened perspective?" and "What would it look like to practice beautifully?" Click here to open or download Three Foundations of Spiritual Practice. The Gift of Sacred Teaching In section two of the booklet, there is a suggestion to try reading a passage of Hazrat Inayat Khan and seeing into the words. Here is one to try out: It is mentioned in the Bible, 'Unless the soul is born again it will not enter the kingdom of heaven.’ Being born again means that the soul is awakened after having come on earth, and entering the kingdom of heaven means that this world, the same kingdom in which we are standing just now, turns into heaven as soon as the point of view has changed. Is it not interesting and most wonderful to think that the same earth we walk on is earth to one person and heaven to another? And it is still more interesting to notice that it is we who change it; we change it from earth into heaven, or we change it otherwise. - Hazrat Inayat Khan Practice With Us You don't have to be alone in your spiritual practice. Join New Rain Online for ongoing support with your spiritual practice in the form of monthly live classes (archived for your convenience), practice partners, weekly tips, and answers to your personal questions from Taj and Gayan. Learn more about New Rain Online In-Depth and In-Person For significant shifts, a residential retreat is recommended to deepen your practice and experience. Learn more about New Rain Retreats. Please share this page with friends on the path -- or invite them to New Rain Online as your practice partner.
Although the complete experience of retreat cannot be replicated, we hope the following list of musical selections and books from the last New Rain retreat will inspire you. Many thanks to Hayyan for compiling this list. If you would like to join the next New Rain retreat in April 2017, here are the details. Music Selections "Beautiful City" (Omorfi poli) Vassilis Salcas Greek Clarinet Litany Mikis Theodorakis, From the Album The Very Best Of Mikis Theodorakis, Vol. 2 Amazon DREAM: A Liquid Mind Experience, "Dream Ten" Amazon Ustad Zia Moinuddinn Dagar, Rudra Vina "Raga Pan…” Sacred Spirit Music Gayan, “Stay Awake With Me” Gayan Music CD Baby el-Hadra (the Mystik Dance) Amazon "Bishnau Az Nay”, Beloved World Music Ensemble Amazon - Bishnau Az Nay Amazon - Beloved World Music Ensemble ”I Went Everywhere", Mirabai Amazon Gayan, “It Feels Like Dying, It Feels Like Bliss” Gayan Music "Yagarde Dost", Shahram Nazeri (Played by Gayan, but difficult to find) More music featuring Shahram Nazeri: Mystified - Poetry of Rumi: Sufi Music of Iran Through Eternity: Homage to Molavi (Rumi)”, Sharam Nazeri 12-century Persian poet Jallalidin Mohammede Balkhi Molavi, a.k.a. Rumi, is probably more famous now than he was during his lifetime due to the proliferation of new music being made in his honor by contemporary poets and musicians. While much Western ambient and pseudospiritual music is made in his name these days, there is still a continuing tradition of respect and creation carried on by Iranian artists, and this CD is a testament to his inspiration. Dastan includes Kayhan Kalhor on setar and kamancheh, Pejman Hadadi on percussion, Hamid Motebassem on setar and tar, and Hossein Behroozi-Nia on barbat. These are all well-respected artists in their own right, which makes Dastan a major ensemble in the Persian music world. But the center of this recording is singer Shahram Nazeri, one of Persian music's great classical singers, whose powerful vocals dominate the music here. Expertly performed and beautifully recorded, Homage rises above the already high standards of these musicians. --Louis Gibson "Follow Me Down," The Lonesome Sisters with Rayna Gellert Amazon Leonard Cohen - "Come Healing" Amazon Passages from these books were read by Taj & Gayan: Reflections on Silver River, Ken McCloud "In this masterful translation and commentary on Tokmé Zongpo's Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva, Ken McLeod shines the light of wisdom on the challenges of contemporary life and illuminates a path the modern reader can take to freedom, peace and understanding. Thirty-Seven Practices of…