Sufism is freedom, freedom of conception, of belief. It is a lineage school. It is not a code of rules. It is an attitude of life, not taught by any particular principle or dogma; it is to tune oneself to a certain pitch, so that the heart can become tuned to the One and Only Being. Neither is Sufism a system of intellectual doctrines. It does not impose anything. It proposes a way of life from the finite to the infinite. Sufism is a school of training which takes into account all aspects of human nature. Through a combination of spiritual practices and devotion practitioners by overcoming the false self, the nufs (ego), gradually realize their essential self which is a clear reflection of Divine Reality.
I teach under the auspices of the Sufi Ruhaniat International which was founded by Murshid Samuel L. Lewis shortly before he died in 1971. My own Sufi guide is Murshid Saadi Shakur Chisti, (Neil Douglas Klotz). We are in the stream of the ages-old wisdom lineage of Sufism brought to the West in 1910 by Hazrat Inayat Khan and developed by his disciple Murshid Samuel L. Lewis (Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti). This work was continued by Pir Moineddin Jablonski, the spiritual successor of Murshid Samuel Lewis, who guided the Ruhaniat from 1971 until his death in 2001. It continues today under the guidance of Pir Shabda Kahn, the successor of Pir Moineddin.
Our way of Sufism emphasizes opening the heart using especially music and dance. The breath and the heart are the primary focus for inner development. Meditation is also emphasized.
What is meant by the word Sufi? The word Sufi is derived from the Arabic word Safa, or Saf, which means, literally, pure, i.e. pure from distinctions and differences. It also means Divine Wisdom. According to some even the use of the word Sufism is a misnomer. The original Arabic word Tassawuf means the process of becoming a Sufi. As the Sufi Al-Ghazzali said, “Sufism is based on experience and not premises.”
“Today Sufism is a name without a reality. It was once a reality without a name,” said Abul Hasan Bushanji some 300 years after passing of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
According to Inayat Khan it is a mistake to assume that Sufism is simply the esoteric side of Islam. He asserts that according to the sacred history which the Sufis inherited from one another, it is clear that Sufism has never been owned by any race or religion for differences and distinctions are the very delusions from which Sufis seek to purify themselves. Inayat Khan traces the pre-Islamic roots of Sufism back through the early Christian mystics of Syria and Egypt, to the Essenes, the ancient Pythagorean orders, and the mystery schools of the Egyptians and Zoroastrians, among others. For him the germ of Sufism has existed throughout human history.