The Knowing Heart: A Sufi Path of Transformation

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9781570625664: The Knowing Heart: A Sufi Path of Transformation
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As human beings we stand on the threshold between two realities: the world of material existence and the world of spiritual Being. The "knowing heart" is the sacred place where these two dimensions meet and are integrated.

In Sufi teaching the human heart is not a fanciful metaphor but an objective organ of intuition and perception. It is able to perceive all that is beautiful, lovely, and meaningful in life—and to reflect these spiritual qualities in the world, for the benefit of others. Every human heart has the capacity and the destiny to bring that world of divine reality into this world of appearances.

The Sufis, mystics of Islam, have been educators of the heart for some fourteen centuries. Their teachings and methods are designed to help us awaken and purify the heart, to learn to listen to our deepest knowing. In The Knowing Heart, Kabir Helminski presents the Sufi way as a practical spirituality suitable for all cultures and times—and offers insights that are especially valuable for our life in today's world. In cultivating a knowing heart, we learn to experience a new sense of self, transform our relationships, and enhance our creative capacities. Most important, we learn how to meet the spiritual challenge of our time: to realize our sacred humanness.

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Review:

Sufism is making a name for itself as a viable spiritual path for the average Westerner, and Kabir Helminski is blazing the trail. A genuine Sufi shaikh and representative of the Mevlevi order of Sufism in North America, Helminski seeks to create what he calls "a spirituality adequate to our times." In The Knowing Heart's collected essays, Helminski delves into the unique characteristics that define Sufism and make it relevant to seekers today. Along the way, he explains the difference between a shaikh and a dervish; the purpose of the dervish's whirling dance during a sema; why Sufis chant the zikr; when a spiritual conversation is a sohbet; and how love turns service into ecstasy. Although the author is reaching into an ancient foreign tradition, there is little in this book that's arcane or awkward. Helminski softens his delivery with liberal use of poems, especially from his lineal forebear Rumi, and with pithy stories that are the hallmark of Sufi teaching. The overall message is that true spirituality requires sustained self-development, and The Knowing Heart offers an attractive path. --Brian Bruya

About the Author:

Kabir Helminski is the author of Living Presence: A Sufi Way to Mindfulness and the Essential Self, as well as the translator of numerous books of Sufi literature and especially Rumi. He is the codirector, with his wife, Camille Helminski, of the Threshold Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sharing the knowledge and practice of Sufism. As the publisher of Threshold Books for some twenty years, he was largely responsible for making Rumi the most widely read poet of our time. As a producer and writer of Sufi music, he has gained recognition for numerous recordings, including his own Garden within the Flames. He is a representative of the Mevlevi tradition founded by Jalaluddin Rumi.

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