I’m back from a recent stay in beautiful Switzerland at the Schweibenalp Center for Unity. http://www.schweibenalp.ch/en/ Together with others, I whirled like a dervish and discovered a new pathway to the Divine. Thank you, Banafsheh Sayyad http://banafsheh.org, who facilitated this amazing opportunity to learn an ancient dance of complete surrender and devotion. I learned that, in the Sufi tradition, dervishes wear white, the color of the shroud. They wear tall grey hats as gravestones and black jackets which symbolize ego identities, the material world, attachments to illusion. In this ecstatic practice, the dancers essentially die the death of their ego selves and let go into complete trust and oneness with the Divine. They begin the dance by removing their black jackets, thereby releasing all earthly attachments and identities. They lift their arms, right palm facing skyward to receive the energy of Spirit, left facing earthward as a conduit of that Divine energy into the earth. They begin to whirl, eyes open in a trance-like state, “seeing everything and seeing nothing,” as Banafsheh explained. They drop down ever deeper into the whirl of Spirit as they continue to let themselves be spun into sacred spirals.
Some of those I danced with spoke of becoming strands of DNA, whirling helixes fueled by life force energy. I became one unitary spinning chakra, a bit of physical matter with source energy moving through me. But at first I was dizzy and frightened stepping into this whirl. I tried to manage it by strategizing and monitoring my steps and motion. This just left me sicker and more scared. It was only when I surrendered, when I gave up on the stratagems and put myself completely into Divine hands that I felt myself moving into the whirl comfortably, even matter-of-factly. I had offered my body as a vehicle for the Divine and handed over the reins. And so I began to feel myself transported into the motion, aware of it and actively making it but at the same time a passive sail in the wind. Because of my fear and tentativeness though, I allowed myself only one small taste of being in this beauty, a starter course. But I now know that I can return to it when I wish, perhaps letting go a little more each time. If you are drawn to this type of experience, I say, of course, give it a whirl!