What You Need From The Sufi Way
by Qutub Sarmouni

There is something you need from the Sufi Way that you cannot get from any other source on Earth.  This something does not require your conversion to Islam, nor that you master Arabic, Persian, Turkish or Urdu.  The viability of the Sufi Way does not depend on Islam, but rather the viability of Islam depends on the Sufi Way.  The honeybee lands on the flower of Islam and extracts the essence, which is the Sufi meaning, but she then flies away to make honey; she is not a prisoner of the flower.  The taste of the essence is everything.


What you need from the Sufi Way is not easy to describe or explain because it is a thing of the Language of the Heart.


The Sufi, the Knower of the Divine Being, sees nothing of greater value than the Zikr, the remembrance of the Divine Being in each and every breath.  Try to understand why this is so.  But The Secret Protects Itself.


Many things of the Sufi Way are called “secrets” only because they need to be withheld from people until they are on a level of matured attitude and knowledge that would allow for real understanding and effective experiencing.  Premature disclosures only build up greater entry barriers to the Way.  This simple truth itself is an important thing that is hard to learn from anyone but Sufis.  Are you now learning it?


Do not try to listen to the spiritual music and singing of the Chishti Qawwali’s if there is a proud materialistic or pretentious person present, or if there are children or adolescents there with their restless distractions, or if there are men and women present who are having sexual considerations of one another.  It is also bad if there are people there having private conversations or making observations to one another as some sort of superior judges.  Everyone there must be united in the deeply real purpose and attitude of being there, which is the right meaning of Jam, gathering.  It is difficult outside the Sufi kind of gathering to find this kind of essential protocol.  For instance, if you listen to the Black Hat Ceremony recording of the Gyalwa Karmapa of Tibet, you will hear babies and little children screaming there in America when this “great blessing” was being given out.  No true Sufi would consider such a gathering valid nor would he or she promote it or participate in it, not because it is a Tibetan thing, but because it is not being done right for a valid transmission of Baraka or Blessing.  Gatherings that include superficial, distracted mothers with crying babies are just not Jam Situations, whatever language or culture is the mental format.  Nothing deeply real can happen like that, whether for Mideasterners, Hindus or Tibetans.  If one seeks the Blessing where the unworthy seek it, one will only get a diluted and distorted Blessing at best.


One must always feel rather ashamed for people who attend supposedly spiritual gatherings, lectures or seminars for reason of their own entertainment, social stimulation or personal aggrandizement, which can include possible sexual connections with “like minded” members of the opposite sex.  No matter how much these people have convinced themselves they are in pursuit of some higher purpose, they invariably reveal themselves to be primarily seeking lower purposes, which often is just to feel a sense of belonging, of being able to get or give attention.  So, again, can you think of anyone other than Sufis who point this social problem out clearly to you?


The social self of the seeker usually has complete control of the seeker, who is virtually never aware that he or she is wholly under the Attention Compulsion Syndrome.  The desire to get or give attention dominates the social self even in the so-called “spiritual” field of evolutionary aspiration to improve or get into higher states of consciousness.  Many strange changes of beliefs or commitments can be seen in people who have simply gotten into a more personally promising attention exchange situation.  They will then say something like, “At last I have met some people who really care and understand.  I have at last found the true spiritual path.”


The Sufi Way also takes more care of basic character development than do most other Ways.  The Sufi will try to help you see that you must curb the tendency to become nasty, annoyed or ill-humored in the face of disruptions or little inconveniences that arise in daily life.  If you are usually superior, proud and easily annoyed, you are considered to be virtually unteachable until you have stopped being like that.  Most modern seekers are of course not worried about being teachable, but are eager to see what they can get in spite of their atrocious character defects.  One of the main aspects of this problem is that you have been culturally trained as a Western Consumer.  This training forces you to “shop” for what might help your development.  You trust your Nafs, your outer social self operating through your material brain, to be able to rightly select from various sorts of offered “Ways” for sale in the spiritual marketplace of sellers and buyers.  In the world of sellers and buyers, the higher human development is treated as a commodity to be evaluated, weighed, by people of random motives and purposes without regard for their worthiness or readiness.  You should now be informed, if you will allow it, that you can be sold sacks of potatoes, computers or even apparently higher books, but you cannot be sold higher knowledge or experience.  Any form of spiritual transmission supposedly given for a fee, whether a Muktananda Shaktipat “intensive” of his successors or a Carlos Castaneda Tensegrity session given by his successors, will not give you anything real.  In fact it will make you worse rather than better due to the contagious spiritual and mental illnesses of all the other participants, not to mention the personal problems of those “successors”.


Whatever Way you follow, whether the Sufi Way or a modern universalist composite Way, you must keep in mind that the Way must genuinely produce complete liberation from pain, sorrow and trouble of any kind whatsoever.  This means that your spiritual development must never be based on personal, neurotic greed.  Whatever titillates your greed is never going to connect you to your true higher good.  The Way is not there to release you from poverty or any form of human sense of deprivation or feeling left out.


The Sufi Way wants you to get over your imaginary virtues or advancements you believe you already possess.  If the imaginary development is not set aside, the real development cannot be built within you.  Since you are not as mature or developed as you like to think you are, why not get from the Sufi Way some useful keys as to how to develop more mature thinking and aspiration about all this.  We promise not to imprison you in our exclusive tradition nor to make you into a Muslim.  Just make sure that you get from us what you cannot get from anywhere else.  If you then want to be a Zen Master, a Tibetan Naljorpa, a Mexican Nagual or a Hindu Yogi, go ahead and do that.  You might even be able to make a Universal Composite Way actually work.  All is in the hands of the Supreme Guiding Spirit of the Universe.  He is the truly great and there is none greater than He.  May we say this to something in you that can hear it?  And, again, do not become a Muslim!  But it is imperative that you not be less than a Sufi even if it is possible to become more and better.


The simple truth is that you cannot learn what you cannot be taught.  However, even if you could be taught, it will not be in some social expansion group such as one of the Sufi Meditation Centers in Great Britain.  The minute there is advertising and random recruitment, connection with the Real Centre or Core of our work has been lost even if it was partially there at one time as with the students of Idries Shah.  The urgency to renew the numbers in the face of diminishing interest after the death of a known Sufi is a known problem recorded over and over again in the history of the Sufis.  Renewal always happens in an apposite manner which will not itself advertise or encourage random self-selection.  Apposite means neither the same nor the opposite, neither conforming nor critical toward the departed authority figure.