Sunday Service: Awareness Worth Cultivating


Week of Sept 21 – 27, 2014

For the past few months we have been running an ongoing series about Sufi spiritual practices. The first in the series dealt with practices such as finding solitude in a crowd, and the second in our series includes exercises such as perpetual invocation of God as a way to stay present.

Today we publish the third and final part of our series on Sufi spiritual practices that followers of Vedanta can adapt for their own spiritual benefit.

As with the other two spiritual talks in our Sufi series, the bulk of this article comes courtesy of the Golden Sufi Center. We again thank them for permission to publish their work.

Enjoy this final piece of the series!

Peter Kowalke


AwarenessThis Week’s Spiritual Talk

Awareness Worth Cultivating

By Peter Kowalke

The great Sufi teacher, ‘Abd ul-Khaliq Ghujduwani (d. 1220), laid down eight spiritual practices for communing with God. These include finding solitude in a crowd and perpetual invocation of God as a way to stay present.

All eight of these practices–which are as helpful to the follower of Vedanta as they are to the Sufi–are basically about inward movement that changes the nature of reality for the person practicing them without requiring the consent of the world outside. Spirituality and real transformation is all about what happens inside, not what happens outside of the body.

Key to this is awareness, because the same event can often cause happiness or sadness depending on the perspective. The difference is just how we look at things, as illustrated by the act of looking at a glass as half full or half empty.

The founder of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order, Baha ad-din Naqshband (d. 1389), understood this. He founded his Sufi order on the eight inward practices suggested by Ghujduwani, and added three more key practices to the list. All three of his contributions revolve around awareness.

The Golden Sufi Center has put together a wonderful article that explains these three forms of awareness that Naqshband felt was so important for the spiritual person, and we reprint it here.

Vedantins can learn from these practices and apply them to their own daily life even if they are not Sufi.

(read more)


videoVedanta Television

American Vedanta on YouTube

Finding lasting happiness. Applying the Bhagavad Gita to daily life. Learning about the history of Vedanta in the U.S. These are some of the topics covered at American Vedanta’s YouTube channel. We curate a list of spiritual videos that will help advance your spirituality and expand your mind. When wanting spiritual videos, give our YouTube channel a look.

We also recommend other resources such as Booksaudio lectures and web sites, among other resources.


Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

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