A memoir recommended for those who are interested in a sense of unity and in connections with spiritual people across traditions and ideologies.
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is a Sufi writer and leader who is profiled as a Living Spiritual Teacher at Spirituality & Practice. Over the past two decades, he has focused his attention on the emerging oneness movement that is drawing spiritual people together across traditions and ideologies; recognizing the interconnectedness of life, they are working to mend a tattered, conflicted, and wayward world. In this lyrical and fragmented work, Valughan-Lee takes us along with him as he reflects on his own adventuresome spiritual journey. Here's how he describes it:
"The mystical path is the most difficult, demanding, dangerous, and intoxicating journey one could ever make. It takes one into the depths of the heart, into the abyss and endless love that one finds there. It leads you from the known to the unknown, and then further, into the unknowable, into a darkness brighter than any light. Nothing can prepare you for the heart's journey, for the places it can take you, the depths and the heights that are within you."
In these musings, Vaughan-Lee seeks to convey the paradoxical nature of the journey which is fraught with fear and trembling, love and ardent devotion, loneliness and divine community. The author shares some of his feelings about the importance of the relationship between the teacher and disciple which is "stamped with the name of God."
According to Sufis, it is the longing in the heart for the Beloved that sends us on the questing path and it is also the source of our trip home to embrace the mystery of oneness. The author quotes Sa'd al-Din Hamawi:
If you dwell with the Friend
In genuine intimacy,
Then, in the whole world,
You will see the incomparable God.
Since the whole world
Is the living mirror of God,
It is impossible to see anything
Aside from God.
On the spiritual journey there will be cries of despair and dark nights of the soul, but these can be gifts that enable us to strengthen our resolve and to test our ability to persevere in the face of difficulties. The fragments of Vaughn-Lee's love story all weave together to form the shapes of a open and beating heart and an inner smile of joy.