Introduction to The Course
Imagine if we could:
...bring about in the world the realization of the divinity of the human soul.
...find God within ourselves, dive deep into ourselves so that we may touch the unity of the whole Being.
...[realize that] the whole of humanity is one single body, and all nations, communities, and races are the different organs. The happiness and well being of each of them is the happiness and well being of the whole body.
...live [the life of an adept] in the world... awaken one's heart to human sympathy... share every benefit and bliss in life with others.
...make God a reality by incorporating more and more of the bounty of the universe in that wonderful work of art that is the personality.
...build a beautiful world by becoming beautiful people.
These are some of the bold new perspectives of a spirituality for the future opened by Hazrat Inayat Khan and elaborated by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, his son and successor.
Keen to know the ways in which these inspiring pronouncements are fully experienced, Pir Vilayat, now in his eighties, spent decades studying the teachings and practicing the meditations of the world's mystics, both in the seclusion of spiritual retreat and in the fullness of worldly involvement. He complemented this with in-depth study of psychology, science and music. Thousands have come to his seminars and retreats, seeking an answer to the question he often poses, "How do you do it?" How do you experience that which is being said?
The course you have access to on this website addresses that question: how do we awaken, both consciousness and conscience, and further, how do we become creative of ourselves, right in the midst of life.
Commentary and practices from Pir Vilayat are woven together with wisdom teachings of mystics of the past, penetrating insights from Hazrat Inayat Khan, and cutting-edge thinking of modern scientists and psychologists. This rich tapestry is offered for our reflection.
Within this context, Pir Vilayat includes meditations that use issues and concerns from our life as themes of meditation thereby eliciting our wholehearted participation. Our search for meaning, our quest for the sublime, and our hope for creating a better world are illumined.
Through experience other perspectives, other modes of being emerge. An alternate point of view to our own, called the "divine" point of view, is revealed. Our sense of identity widens as we become conscious of a cosmic identity, deepens as we discover the inner sanctum, transforms with the encounter of an immutable harmony, unfolds breathtakingly as we recognize the experimentation of the universe self-organizing as us. Challenged to reconsider countless concepts, amongst them our notion of God as "up there", "we are encouraged to authentically discover God in ourselves as a potentiality that becomes an actuality as us."
Creativity's secret is revealed and its power is unleashed.
These perspectives, chronicled in the lore of the Sufis and sometimes correlated with those of other spiritual schools, provide an underlying framework for the teaching that is presented in a non-linear, multi-modal fashion. Refreshingly, the medium reflects this message of spiritual liberty. Never one to be limited to a sequential, step-by-step methodology, yet infusing into this course such rigor and depth, Pir Vilayat offers multiple doorways through which to enter this dialogue, this convocation of beings engaged in the alchemy of transformation.
An occasion some years ago allowed me to glimpse the grandeur of the convocation, the evolving dialogue, occurring behind the creation of this course of study. Pir Vilayat had alighted in a Washington, DC suburb to "rest" before leading a retreat later that week. I had been invited to review some changes in the latest lesson.
Coming in from the icy chill of the February evening, transiting from the log-jammed frenzy of the rush-hour beltway to the quiet of a subterranean study, I stepped into an unlikely setting - the temporary cave of a modern mystic.
Cable wires, laptop computers, cd's, floppies, pens, scissors, tape dispensers and paper of all sizes blanketed every available surface. Little discarded cuttings winked from the darkly carpeted floor. Soft amber lamp light infused the electric glow of the laptop, illuminating the tousled platinum mane and noble hawkish features of a head bowed in intense concentration. Still in the solitude of the day's end the mystic courted an inner dialogue.
Little strips of paper set out before him, jewels of wisdom ancient and contemporary, were the immediate focus of the author's unrelenting attention. Selected for their pithy insights, the sayings were purposefully arranged, exactly placed, as the inner conversation unfolded. White spaces, doors of varying size, stood open between the lines of the great ones ready to welcome the author's contribution. In that moment I sensed a generous, far-reaching invitation to participate in this convocation of sages and seers unbounded by time or space.
Having passed the robe of transmission within his Sufi lineage to his son and spiritual successor, Pir Zia Inayat Khan, Pir Vilayat continues to dedicate himself to sharing his bliss with others through selected seminars and retreats, through his writings, and now to you through this website.