After four decades of teaching, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, head of the Sufi Order, has gifted us with a spiritual classic. Here in one volume of talks given at retreats, the wisdom of this mystic path shines in all of its kaleidoscopic beauty and truth. Pir Vilayat describes the process of awakening whereby "we see through the eyes of God." This entails a liberation from the prison of duality and a new vocation as "ambassadors of the universe."
Pir Vilayat begins with a description of a retreat as "a venue within which seekers can explore the landscapes of the spiritual universe." In this section, he describes practices such as the examination of conscience and inner attunement with God through music, breath, imagination, and imagery.
This Sufi master encourages meditators to be tutored in the spirit by the great masters, saints, and prophets such as Buddha, Zoroaster, Abraham, Melchizedek, Jesus, and Muhammed. Pir Vilayat then moves on to suggest various practices such as "the smiling forehead" that can enable us to become "beings of light." The Sufis see a deep connection between illumination and enlightenment.
In one of the most profound chapters, Pir Vilayat discusses how personal problems can become the catalysts for spiritual creativity. Here the practice of glorifying and exulting God's attributes through prayer and concentration becomes a healing medicine.
Sufis have sought over time to build a temple for the Divine Presence on earth through their bodies. Pir Vilayat describes how the practices of whirling (ecstatic dance) and dhikr (a ritual of remembrance for inviting God into the chamber of the heart) contribute to the beauty of the world. Sufism also emphasizes the importance of service; cultivating idealism and bringing justice into play in everyday life are aspects of creating heaven on earth.