Say Yes, Hang On!

My ordination anniversary comes around again and the memories arise. It was a long-awaited day and in the moment the baraka, the blessing poured through the shiny soul ordaining me there was nothing but that moment. There was light. There was love. There was …

Afterward, a friend who came to celebrate with me said she saw spiraling golden light and bluebirds swirling around Ahmaddin and I as the ceremony progressed.

This day nineteen days later it is Ahmaddin who’s on my mind and in my heart. Ahmaddian as’Salik AbdAllah was, is my, “spiritual grandfather.” Teacher of my teacher, guide of my guide, his living presence still returns to offer guidance, comfort, but always laughter. His physical presence was larger-than-life … a big man who could switch from gruff to gentle in a breath and yet always his heart shone through so that remains the strongest impression on this one.

My studies with him to be ordained as a cherag (literally, ‘light bearer’), or minister in the interfaith tradition of the Service of Universal Peace began shortly after settling into my studies at Holy Names College (now University) in the Institute in Culture and Creation Spirituality. Ahmaddin shared my respect for the founder and guiding light of ICCS, Matthew Fox. He told a story of how one day he took his flute and made his way on buses and trains and finally the uphill trek to Matt’s office. He was shown in and asked to wait. Matt came in, stressed, a bit preoccupied and asked how he could help Ahmaddin. The response was, “Allah told me to come play for you today.” With that, he began playing his flute. After some time, he finished and Matt was calm, peaceful, relaxed, smiling. They sat there quietly for a few minutes. Ahmdaddin put away his flute, thanked Matt for his time, and went back home.

This revealed then and reveals now just how we all are here to serve one another. When we say Yes to serve humanity, when we commit to being, “of service,” we cannot know how that will look. We can’t know what we will be led to do. We certainly can’t know just how our actions will affect others, but we have to trust we are acting in harmony with Divine Will and take the necessary steps.

Ahmaddin encouraged me to, “name drop,” his name and remind Matt of that day. I resisted as Matthew Fox was a bit of an imposing figure to me in those early days of my studies with him. Still, one day I worked up the courage and told him after a class one day that I had begun studying with Ahmaddin, who sent his love. He paused, smiled and said, “Did you know he played his flute for me one day?” We chatted a bit and he asked me to convey his greetings and love to Ahmaddin.

All this matters today to me because it remains a model of willing service. I saw how love in action touched both people in the moments of service offered and service received. It became a lesson in which more was taught than could be learned on that day … as is so common with our deepest learnings.

One’s life path twists and turns and we only truly understand where we’ve arrived by taking the time to pause, to look back in reflection at the path already travelled. The past isn’t behind us, it’s that which we’ve lived and remains part of this moment now. Without it, that which is about to be, the future has no foundation, no roots. We live in this present moment, yet it passes as soon as we realize it and becomes a new root, a new foundation stone.

Our ancestors are with us always, here and now in the teachings of many cultures. What they lived, what they learned is for us, here, now if we are willing to accept it. This moment both of reflection and of accepting what my dear heart-friend Ahmaddin has for me today, right now, is a gift he offered me years ago and it is one that has unfolded in the past few years first in my heart and then, when it was ready to grasp the information in its proper context, in my mind.

The Sufis call this Fana-fi-Sheikh … the experience of one’s teacher who is at present out of the body … the living presence of the teacher. This one is blessed to receive this and shares this only to encourage others to stop, breathe, and hold in their heart their loved ones, their teachers, their lovers, their friends of the heart who have left behind the body. It is worth the time no matter what one may experience in those moments.

Whatever comes after we say Yes to serve, it is true that it will be richer, more full, more wondrous than anything we may imagine. By following the promptings of our heart, we will be led, drawn, even pushed a bit at times into places with people that may well become times that memory will not be able to release. Like riding a roller coaster, each moment of Yes is that pause at the top of the hill just before gravity takes hold and we fly into the future.

This learning is just one that Ahmaddin offered me in those moments of swirling golden light and bluebirds. It is one to be cherished as are he, his memory in my heart, and his welcome living, and loving presence.

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Heartwing Study Circle – Monday evenings

We remind you that the Heartwing Study Circle meets every Monday at 6 p.m. for zikr, sohbet, not infrequently a meal or desert, and sharing our heartspace. Each week, our work is supported by, “A Bowl of Saki,” “Gathekas,” by Hzt. Inayat Khan, and, “Physicians of the Heart.”

Our purpose is to support our spiritual growth, and to welcome those curious about the Universal Sufism of Hzt. Inayat Khan, particularly as it has grown through the Sufi Ruhaniat founded by American mystic Hzt. Sufi Ahmed Murad/Samuel Lewis.

If you are interested in joining us, please email Dr Luccia at (small space, want to be prepared)

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ONe TRUe LOVe Blend Created by Heartwing Roasters!

Non-profit ONe TRUe LOVe selects Heartwing Roasters to provide its unique drip coffee blend at its set donation restaurant in Mesa, Arizona. The blend will be produced like every other Heartwing Roasters artisan coffee … small co-op sourced, small batch roasted, hand blended.

Donors to ONe TRUe LOVe will also receive ONe TRUe LOVe coffee depending upon donation level … more on that later.

Heartwing Rosters is proud to be a partner with ONe TRUe LOVe.

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Soul Can’t Be Sold, Wisdom Can’t Be Bought

This, “reality show,” approach to life is getting stupid. People have to compete to prove they’re a good person doing good works? Really? Don’t we remember what happens every time humans play the, “my (religion/beliefs/practices) are better than yours,” game?

Why can’t the sponsors of this silly, anti-human, anti-heart, and anti-spirit, “contest,” share the wealth with all these people? Winner-take-all proves what, really?

Enough with the marketing of soul, the competition of, “spirit,” the packaging of, “wisdom.” Social media is little more than communication, the only other function it seems to serve is advertising, marketing, selling, selling, selling.

The ability to be packaged and marketed and sold to create a pile of wealth is not now, has never been, and will never be, “proof,” of the validity of spirituality or good works. The changes in the heart that affect the whole life and thus, the whole world cannot be sold, bought, packaged, nor marketed, they are the result only of personal attention to one’s own heart, one’s own spirit, one’s own soul.

But, there’s no profit in that, is there?

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Labyrinth Is Open

The labyrinth at Superstition Mountain Campus, Central Arizona College in Apace Junction is open. Community members will gather at 6 p.m., May 2 with drums, sage, candles, sacred oils, holy waters, and open hearts to bless the sacred space and walk the labyrinth.

College students, staff, and community members have already been taking advantage of this meditative and calming practice since it was completed two weeks ago. A ribbon-cutting ceremony by campus dean Julian Easter officially opened the labyrinth, which is the first on a college campus in Arizona, the fourth in Apache Junction, and thought to be the twentieth in the Phoenix-Tucson area.

All are welcome. Join us!

The labyrinth project was midwifed by Rhonda Jackson, CAC/SMC Librarian and a learner in Heartwing Education’s Practical Mysticism and Ordination Preparation programs. It was her service project for the, “Mystical Practicum,” capstone course. Heartwing Education provided logistical and spiritual support for the project.

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Them, they, over there, those ‘monsters’, those bombers

Someone I know requested hearing only good stories about the recent tragedies, specifically the bombing in Boston. This has been a lot to take in, but today a good story came to me. Allow me to share it with you.

One good story in this is to remember that we are that, too. Whatever else anyone has done is within our abilities and capacities. When we look at another and see evil, we are seeing ourselves. There is no difference between us at the point each soul exists. But, it can be helpful to most as we grow and mature and evolve to start with this idea of, “them, over there,” and, “me, or us, over here.”

Promote the good stories of all who helped, but demonizing any, “other,” has no effect on them and a negative effect on oneself. Focus on the healing, not the pain. Focus on the the helpers, not those who created the situation that needed help. Ultimately, yes, forgive them all.

When Jesus was dying and he forgave his killers, forgave all humanity, he set the bar for forgiveness. Fortunately, he also said more than once that anything he did we could and would do.

Are we really to continue to pray on Sunday and seek revenge on Monday? Or, are we ready to grow beyond our fear, anger, and hurt?

Comedian and actor Patton Oswalt asked us to remember that when the bad happens, it’s up to us to look it in the eye and say there are more of us that are good, and we will win. By not giving in to our anger nor seeking revenge and by standing up to the darkness within and without, we will win. We all win. The prize is the polished heart that reflects the best within us, the light of the Divine to all around us. Light always displaces the dark.

They, over there, are us, over here. Our light is their light.

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What if prayer was alive?

It seems most prayer has become a visit to SantaGod. Give me, I need, We want, Show us …

What if prayer was an individual or communal practice of tuning ourselves to the heart of the Divine? What if we didn’t start with a cursory, “Yea, God,” and then move quickly to our shopping list? What if we simply sat in silence, holding the thought/feeling/idea of the Source of All in our hearts/minds/bodies and said nothing?

Prayer can also be movement, or singing, or chanting, or breathing alone or together.

We have the examples of mystics throughout the ages and from around the world who assure us that prayer is worth the time and effort even if we experience nothing since there is nothing we can do to curry favor and gain results … all come to be by grace, by the working of the One within and without us in Divine time, not ours. Because of this, is it not better to continue to seek to improve our heart/soul/mind connection with the ongoing practice of prayer even if the, “answer to prayer,” is no, or later, or even silence?

For most people, religious or spiritual practices are what they turn to when they have no other idea of what to do. For the first Christians, the practice of prayer was their first, not last refuge. And, for many of every faith tradition it is this that makes prayer alive and vibrant. We may do well to model what it means to turn to prayer first instead of last and what it means when prayer is not a shopping list, but a time of communion, community, quieting, tuning into the song of the Universe, and in that way making even regularly scheduled prayer meetings a time of greening, abundant joy and not dry obligation or repetition.

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