When we hear about “Sufi”, we all feel differently. Sufism for most of us is restricted to the Sufi music we hear in popular culture. Sufism is a difficult path within Islam. The ultimate goal of Sufism is to detoxify the soul and achieve a reunion with the divine personality. The person who practices Sufism is called a Sufi. Sufism encourages the practice of spirituality that is very much similar to the tradition of Yoga. Unlike yoga, where there are several variations, Sufism is intact with its original self as the main purpose of this meditation technique is to remember god.
Sufism is used to bridge the gap between the heart of the human and god so that the practitioner is able to unite with god. The base of this meditation is purely devotional and if anyone is atheist then Sufi meditation may not be fruitful for them. So from where does Sufism come into existence? The germination of Sufism dates back 1400 years ago. Due to the political turmoil and aggressiveness in a few of the Islamic rule, this technique was nearly extinct in the 20th century.
The basic journey of Sufism is to let go of any egoistic attitude and surrender yourself to the one almighty or the near and dear ones. According to many Sufi experts, one of the biggest reasons for any hurdle that blocks your success pathway is ego. So letting go of the ego will help in accepting the change that is better for you. So let the journey of Sufism begin.
What Is Sufi Meditation?
Sufi Meditation is also called “Muraqabah”. Muraqabah is derived from an Arabic word called ra-qaf-ba. The meaning of this is protecting and having an eye for any change, qualities or any anomalies of a given thing. A person performing this meditation is intelligent and hardworking. He feels that whatever effort he is putting in is replicated by his peers. Through his muraqabah, a person keeps an eye on his spirituality and gains insight into the connection between his heart and the divine creator. The main objective of Sufism is to pour one’s basic characters and develop a giant character in its place. Like Hinduism has mantra, Sufism has Dhikr or zikr. It is a hymn or sentence used to remember god.
The Basic mantle of the Sufi meditation technique is to be aware of the Divine every time until there is a long sense of separation between meditation, god and daily life. This is holistically called oneness or ekatmata. It is the completed surrender of oneself with the beloved one and eliminating any duality in the process. The Sufi meditation can be divided into two parts. One is to keep the focus on the almighty and generate love in your heart so that you can merge yourself with the beloved one. The other one is to concentrate and focus your mind in such a way that no other thoughts derail your devotion toward god. The combination of keeping the focus on mind, god and purging the heart with love informality is the Sufi meditation. One piece of advice. Do not allow any negative thoughts to germinate in your mind as this can be the barrier to attain oneness.
Remembering the god is by repeating his name. In Yoga and Hindu religion, it is called mantra and similar to that of prayer offered to a god in Christianity. In Sufism, the same Sufi meditation mantra is called the Zikr (also called Dhikr by some). It goes like this.
- Allah (God)
- Allah hu (God Just he)
- La ilaha illa llah ( There is no God but God)
- La ilaha illa hu ( There is no God but he)
- Any other of the 99 names of God.
The main idea is to remember the god. The importance of Zikr is to remember the god in your heart all the time. This has to be done in silence and it requires a lot of practice to meditate and repeat the Zikr. Unlike yoga, there is no specific posture for Sufi meditation. Usually, the practice is synchronized with a breathing practice. For example, when you inhale the person says “Aal” within the heart and when it exhales then you say “Laah”.There are various Sufi meditations. Let us crack one by one. Before we dive into the world of Sufi meditation, it is better to check the experts of Sufi meditation and take their guidance.
Sufi Meditation, Significance And Way To Perform
There is no specific posture for this meditation. However, few experts divide it according to spirituality.
- Sufi Heart Meditation: This is also called as Jikr-e-Sirr or Wakoof Kulbi. This means awareness of the heart. This is a type of remembrance of God. It is one of the two main practices of Naqshabandi Sufi. It is followed by Sunni Muslims. According to the yogis, the spiritual heart and the physical heart lie differently. But for the Sufi, both the form of the heart lies at the same place, that is the left side of the body. The basic technique is given below.
You need a quiet place for this. Start hoarding the dispersed energies. Bring them into you from outside. The mind and senses should still be to experience any kind of connection between heart and reality. Secondly, focus the attention on your physical heart until you sway away from everything else. This state of self-meditation is considered the direct route to the infinite. The third step according to Sufi schools talks about the heartbeat. According to the experts, the heartbeat rhymes in the form of the name of the god. Try listening to that during your daily routine. Do Zikr and chant the name of your god. The key to success is to keep the focus on the heart.
So what does meditation do? What is the benefit? The primary stage of this meditation is to generate the feeling of love that activates the heart chakra. This meditation can be performed in various ways. One of the most common ways is to take the name of the person whom we love as this will generate love in the heart. Mostly it’s the name of the god. However, initially taking the name of the god may not sync with your heart as God is omnipotent but we can’t see him. Instead, try with the name of someone you love as we can relate more with them.
When we evoke the feeling of love, thoughts will come and intrude into the mind. Memories will float and imaginations will appear in front of the eyes. Every feeling, especially the feeling of love, is more dynamic than anything else. So if anyone practices this Sufi meditation with this feeling then all other thoughts will vanish. The mind will empty out.
- Sufi Breathing Meditation: Rumi, one of the well-known Sufis, spoke highly about the practice of breathing while doing the meditation. This is called Hosh dar Dam of Hapje-daem. In Heart meditation, we saw remembering God with each heartbeat. Here also God is remembered with each breath. For this, we need to follow a certain method.
- Close the eyes and breath normally as you do.
- Concentrate on the spiritual heart and think about the almighty. The thinking should be strong and the heart should feel empty and light.
- As you inhale, utter “Allah” in your mind repeatedly such that spiritual light is getting embedded in your heart.
- While you exhale, repeat Hu in mind and feel that the light of Hu is propelling toward your heart.
- Slowly increase the breathing rhythm speed to three to four times than the normal breathing. The main focus should be on god and the zikr. Increase the breath speed. The breath should be shallow and rapid. However, the inhalation should be longer than exhalation. The exhalation has to be powerful.
- Repeat the steps for ten minutes.
The breathing cycle focuses on the five elements of nature.
Earth: Begin by breathing normally. Inhale and exhale through the nostril for 5 times. The first five breath purifies yourself with the earth element. As you inhale, imagine that the energy of the earth and magnetism is drawn in your body while you exhale the gravity of the earth draws all the heaviness and makes you light and purified. With each breath, you feel light and rejuvenated.
Water: The second set of five breaths purges yourself with the energy of water. Inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth will bring the water energy that flows from heaven down to your body. Like the river clears all the blocks, this water-energy will remove all the native blocks from your body.
Fire: The next set of five breaths purify yourself with the energy of fire. Inhalation through the mouth and exhalation through the nose will allow the breath to focus on the solar plexus as you inhale and radiate the light from your heart centre. This form of inhaling fire and exhaling light suggests that the fire burns all the impurities and is radiated as light.
Air and ether will purify yourself with air and the soul. After this set of 25 cycles, you need to cool down and get ready for the next meditation cycle.
- Bond of Love Meditation: The master and disciple relationship plays an important role in Sufi meditation. The pir is highly regarded as a loved one. According to some, in this Sufi practice the master act as an object of meditation. The main idea is to dissolve any sense of duality between the master and the student. When these two bonds, then the disciple can see through the eyes of the master.
- Gazing Meditation: Gazing your beloved one and looking into each others eye holding each other’s gaze will surrender yourself to each other. This is a type of bond of love meditation and follows the same practice of having a disciple and a master or a beloved one.
- Sufi Walking Meditation: According to Sufism there is Nazar bar Kadam, which means what your steps. This talks about watching the steps mindfully and consciously. This talks indirectly about the blockage during spiritual progress. This also means one should avoid wandering aimlessly to waste energy. The practice is basically the application of the principles applicable to the contemplation of God.
- Sufi Whirling : Some of the Sufis consider that art and dancing bring the heart to an excited level of high. It is mostly practised by the Dervishes of the Mevlevi Order and sometimes called samzen, the other name of Sufi whirling.
Sufism is all about letting your ego go and devote yourself completely to god. Sufism teaches about loving your soul, god and beloved one. It is the awakening of the heart and the synchronization with god. So come together and hold your breath and focus your heart to attain divinity with Sufi meditation. For maximum benefits take the guidance of a Sufi expert.