Sunday Service: Four Sufi Spiritual Practices

Naqshbandi Tomb

Week of Aug 24 – 30, 2014

Last month we published a wildly popular spiritual talk on Sufi spiritual practices that the Vedantin could use to improve his or her own spiritual life.

Here’s what one serious Vedanta follower wrote us after reading the article:

“I loved it! It so aptly describes what my heart has said and pointed towards all this time! I have always struggled with spirituality in the midst of family life, gone thru the times when I thought monasticism was necessary to achieve the Self, but my heart always said that I find myself at this moment married with children, and that my way has to be amidst all this, not away! It has been difficult, very difficult!! But then, this is my sadhana, so aptly described in this article. Can’t wait to read the remaining ways. I will treasure this article.”

Well, this reader doesn’t have to wait any longer for the next part of this series. Today we present four more Sufi spiritual practices from the Naqshbandi Order.


Peter Kowalke


SufismThis Week’s Spiritual Talk

Four Sufi Spiritual Practices

By Peter Kowalke

At the highest level, the major spiritual traditions converge at the same ultimate destination. The words might be different, the paths might not be the same, and there sure is plenty of cultural variation and “lower truth” that obscures the unifying higher truths. But deep down, all faiths converge at the highest level.

This is not only an idea that encourages respect for other faiths. It also is a clue that we can learn from other spiritual traditions and use these traditions to better our own.

One spiritual path with insight that can benefit the Vedanta practitioner is Sufism.

The Naqshbandi spiritual order, a branch of the Sufi tradition, offers 11 exercises, or principles, for living spirituality and getting closer to truth.

Eight of these spiritual exercises came from the Central Asian Sufi teacher, ‘Abd ul-Khaliq Ghujduwani (d. 1220). The other three were added by Baha ad-din Naqshband (d. 1389), founder of the Naqshbandi Order.

The Golden Sufi Center has put together an article that clearly explains these 11 spiritual exercises central to Naqshbandi practice. In a previous essay we highlighted four of these 11 spiritual exercises, namely awareness in the breath/awareness in the moment (“hush dar dam”), watch your step (“nazar bar qadam”), the journey home (“safar dar watan”), and solitude in the crowd (“khalwat dar anjuman”).

Here we reprint the remaining four from ‘Abd ul-Khaliq Ghujduwani. We will highlight the last three exercises in the coming months.

(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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