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KMcfarland: Sufism, Purpose of Study and Research

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.sufi,alt.islam.sufism,talk.religion.misc,alt.consciousness.mysticism,alt.religion.gnostic
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: KMcfarland: Sufism, Purpose of Study and Research
Date: 7 Jan 1998 21:24:34 -0800

[from E Jason ]

Purpose of Study and Research (Notes by Mr Ken Mcfarland from 
Syed Idries Shahs book The Commanding Self)

Most people who study, approach the task with an existing body of 
knowledge and a set of ideological scripts. When studying Sufi 
material, people try to learn methods and techniques in order 
to supplement and strengthen their existing knowledge and beliefs. 
This approach may glean some ostensibly useful information but 
the quest of Sufi material cannot be apprehended in this manner. 
To understand the Goal, it must be experienced.

People do not want to make any fundamental changes in their knowledge 
or self-structure. This would be perceived as a loss of self. Rather, 
people are motivated to study Sufi material to 1) acquire that which 
they perceive will validate and enhance the self. This is the 
intellectual equivalent to wearing makeup and jewelry. 2) experience 
excitement and joy in the imagined scenes of self-aggrandizement, 
adoration, and power believed to arise out of acquisition of 
esoteric and privileged knowledge 3) acquire special and unknown 
knowledge for amelioration or avoidance of intrapsychic conflict 
and pain.

Many people want to experience transcendence to higher states of
consciousness. Often they learn phrases and slogans that seem to 
reflect personal growth. "Know thyself" is one such frequently 
spoken phrase. But this phrase requires the speaker to give up 
denial and bring defensive scripts, together with the 
vulnerabilities which are defended, into the light of awareness. 
The reality is that few have the inclination or courage to 
operationalize this dictum.

To be truly competent in an endeavor one must begin at the most 
fundamental level and examine assumptions, analyze the obvious, 
acquire the requisite skills, eschew the superfluous, and develop 
an experiential relationship with the goal of the effort. This is 
especially true within the domain of the Sufi enterprise.

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