I am preparing to return to South Africa in early March for the annual conference of Academy of Self Knowledge (see the Workshops calendar for my schedule). Together with Natalia, I have enjoyed sharing some of the work at two previous conferences in 2011 and 2012 and am grateful to the community of Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri for inviting us again this year. The topic of the conference will be “World Religions and Spiritual Illumination.” We are looking forward to another rich offering of wisdom and deep mystical devotion from many traditions, rooted within a spiritual community of Muslims who live according to the true meaning of the word islam, surrender to the absolute source of unity of being.
Here are a few words from Shaykh Fadhlalla about this year’s conference:
‘As long as thousands of years ago, early humans wondered about the origin of life and what comes after death. There is archaeological evidence from about twelve thousand years ago in Turkey of regular seasonal gatherings held around man-made stone structures, which could be considered as the focal point for early worship or pilgrimage.
‘As human beings spread out through Asia and Europe leaders, chiefs and later on kings and emperors exercised outer physical strength, as well as wisdom, insight and even clairvoyance. Shamans, priests and prophets proliferated. The advent of major earthly cataclysms, such as earthquakes, volcanoes and floods brought about influential prophets and messengers whose message spread beyond their tribes.
‘In today’s world, through accumulated research, scholarship and the Internet we can discern that outer differences in religions are mainly due to cultural norms, language and the need for stability and survival. In essence, most world religions were attempts to connect Supreme Consciousness or the God head with personal, evolving or conditioned consciousness of the individual self. All human beings are propelled to experience a zone of awareness that is not confined to space or time. This is often described as the soul or spirit. Thus we can say that the ultimate purpose is to experience this state.’
Since part of my current research is devoted to what I would call ‘nomadic spirituality’ or the ‘nomadic mind,’ how could I say no!
As part of my preparation, I have just edited and posted a podcast of my talk at the ASK conference from 2012, entitled “Asking Life’s Big Questions: Voices of Desert Wisdom.” See the Library menu above to access this and other free downloads there.
Yours in peace,