Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Sufi Reading on Building Your Own Temple Out of Your Own Being

"A sensitive person has a great need for the sacred. One needs to protect one's very fragile soul against the turbulence and grossness, vulgarity and ruthlessness one finds in the world. How can one be in the world and not of the world? ... How can one preserve one's attunement where one's soul is being pummeled all the time from all directions?

"In the course of history our societies have built temples and churches in order to seek refuge, so one is able to find one's soul again in favorable circumstances. The purpose of the temple is to provide a safe place for worship, to give expression to the nostalgia of our soul. The nomads, whether they were Jews or Arabs, found that since they were always on the move they could not rely upon a place where they could find peace and the sacred attunement of their being. They realized they had to create their own temple. Living in our modern societies, we might benefit by dedicating a room in our home that would be a temple for meditation, but not all of us can afford even that in our crowded lives. The answer is to build an inner temple out of our own being.

"The temple provides a threshold marking a very definite transit from the profane to the sacred, and marking a protection so you are able to find peace within your self without being subjected to the impressions coming in from all sides. You can seek refuge in that temple, even when you are right in the middle of activity, because you have built the temple from within. It's always there."

--Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan


for me, my temple is books, the spa, a date with my self at the beauty parlor, then my favorite restaurant, long walks through Nature, books again, swimming naked, lots of walking again, enjoying watching people quietly in a busy, noisy airport, more books, and writing, and more writing-- all done alone.

a solitary woman enjoying her own company in today's world seems anathema, though, and i had to struggle to establish, protect and nurture that temple.
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