Week of February 5, 2018…

Spiritual Care 8 Powerful Spiritual Heart Practices of Sufi Meditation

There are many forms of meditation that quiet the mind, open the heart and elevate the soul. The Sufis, like many other disciplines, have a practice of meditation that is as effective as several other meditation forms.

Below, is the first out of Eight Spiritual Heart Practices of Meditation offered as a facet of the Sufis spiritual discipline.  Throughout the next few weeks you will receive additional meditations that together, as a practice, will help you connect your heart self with the Divine. 

Enjoy these meditations I share them with you one at a time.

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Inscribe the Name of the Divine on Your Heart 

Sufism is the esoteric path within Islam, where the goal is to purify oneself and achieve mystical union with the Supreme (named Allah in this tradition). The practitioners of Sufism are called Sufis, and they follow a variety of spiritual practices, many of which were influenced by the tradition of Yoga in India. 

Unlike many of the other meditation techniques, Sufi meditation is spiritual by nature. There is no ‘secular version’ of these techniques, as the idea of God is part of their DNA. The core of all their practices is to remember God, fill the heart with God, and unite oneself with Him. So, if you are atheist or agnostic, you probably won’t find these meaningful. 

The journey of the Sufi is the journey of the lover returning to the arms of the Beloved, a journey of love in which we ‘die’ as egos so we can be one with Him. It’s the way of the heart. All of the practices are aimed at letting go of one’s ego, which is considered the biggest obstacle to realization. 

The roots of Sufism date back to around 1,400 years ago, but they became near-extinct in the 20th century. There are different orders of Sufis, each emphasizing different exercises. In this article, I have drawn techniques from different schools. 

Sufism is not a monastic path. The Sufi wayfarer lives in the inner world of the heart, as well as functioning responsibly in society. 

1.    The Heart of Sufi Meditation:  Contemplation of God 
Love flourishes in the heart in which glows the Name of God. The love of God is the fragrance that even a thousand wrappings cannot hold. Or like a river that cannot be stopped in its course. My Friend is in me, in my Friend am I–there is no separation between us. — Sultan Bahu

The core of Sufi meditation is to be conscious of the Divine at all times, until there is no longer a sense of separation between meditation, God, and daily life. This is called oneness (ekatmata)—that is, the complete merging with the Beloved and cessation of duality. 

In Arabic, the word for meditation is muraqabah (also murakebe), and the literal meaning is to watch over, to wait or to protect. The essence of Sufi meditation is two-fold: 

  • Keep your attention focused on God, and awaken love in your heart so that you can merge with the Beloved;
  • Constantly watch your mind so that no other thought except that of God enters the mind.

So there is watching over the mind, focusing the thoughts on God (remembrance of Him), and an awakening of love in the heart. This practice is done as a formal meditation, and also,should be followed during all moments of one’s day. Irrelevant thoughts are considered harmful and one keeps a watch on the mind to make sure they don’t sprout. 

Make everything in you an ear, each atom of your being, and you will hear at every moment what the Source is whispering to you, just to you and for you, without any need for my words or anyone else’s.— Rumi

The work of the lover is to be silent, waiting, always listening with the ‘inner ear of the heart’ for his call. Thus, ‘catching the divine hint’ is an important Sufi practice, in which we learn to be continually attentive to our Beloved in order to serve Him. 

Almost all other forms of Sufi meditation are extensions of these basic principles. 


By:   Giovanni Dienstmann  –  UPLIFT