Information on Initiation


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The following information has been excerpted from an information package on the Sufi Order.


Requirements for initiation

What is asked by the Order of someone requesting initiation is first of all, sincerity of intention. There must also be the attitude of an open heart and mind toward the teachings, although complete acceptance is never required and there is no dogma. While the prospective initiate may not understand the full ramification of this act, there must be an awareness of the significance of such a step. Initiation signifies a serious commitment to deeply participate in a process of spiritual training. It is especially important that one not be unrealistic in his/her expectations, desire "fantastic experiences" or occult powers, attempt to use spiritual practices as a means of escape from the world, or evade personal issues through the misuse of spirituality. A person interested in initiation is usually asked to attend some classes and seminars on the teachings. During this period he/she may be viewed as a candidate for initiation.

Objectives of the Training

Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan, has enumerated a series of objectives that he associated with initiation into the Sufi Order. These objectives are offered here with brief commentary.

Self Realization

The first objective is "to realize the Self within and without". The Self is the divine aspect of each human being and is often referred to as our divine inheritance. The Sufi Order also places a strong emphasis on the initiate creating a meaningful life in the world, since doing this can be the means to actualize potential qualities, gifts and archetypes, thereby manifesting the Self without.

Training the Ego

"The path of initiation is the training of the ego, and it is self discipline which is learned on the path". An important element of the above quote is the word "training" for it conveys an image of the ego with a positive and significant role within the human structure when properly disciplined. It is not destroyed but worked with creatively. The practice of mastery is taught in the Order as a means to transform the ego into a suitable instrument for serving the divine within.

The Art of Personality

"The soul is veiled by covers, one cover over the others, and the rending of these covers allows the soul to emerge and rise high." This image of lifting the veils is found throughout Sufi poetry and refers to the process of awakening to one’s natural state of being. The veils are our distorted identification with past conditioning and personal dramas. The "art of personality" is in the creation of a personality which incorporates, manifests, and actualizes the soul’s potential.

Expansion of Consciousness

"To see into the world unseen" is the exploration of transpersonal states of consciousness. This means not reducing reality to the narrow perception of "ordinary" human consciousness but reaching beyond these parameters in a quest for direct experience of union with the Absolute.

Awakening Divine Love

"To kindle the fire of divine love." The awakening of the divine in the human being is the igniting of the love element in the heart. One of the essential criteria for recognizing a realized being is captured in the observation that "the Holy Ones are living streams of love". There is much emphasis placed upon the kindling of the love element in this training, which sometimes is described as the "Religion of the Heart".

To Know the Divine

"To know and communicate with God." The various practices used in the training of initiates facilitate different modes of relating with that ultimate reality which many call God. Part of this path explores different relationships between God and the human being and the understanding that arises from each. The archetypical relationship of particular significance to the Sufi is that of the lover and the Beloved.

Communication With Life

"To be able to read into nature’s manuscript" represents the mystic’s capacity to communicate with all of life, experiencing a world composed of beings rather than things. Learning to read means, in this case, developing the capacity to see within the mineral, plant, animal, and human kingdoms, patterns which illuminate the nature of reality and reveal an underlying unity permeating the micro-macrocosms. Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, the present head of the Order, describes this phenomena as "discovering that which transpires through that which appears".

Service to Humanity

"If we ask what profit we derive from initiation, the answer is that religion, mysticism or philosophy - all that we gain - would help us to achieve one result, and that is to be best fitted for serving other human beings."

The Sufi Order is concerned that its spiritual training not be distorted into a narcissistic self-involvement but enables one to become more sensitive to the human condition throughout the world and better able to respond in a positive and creative manner. The expanding of individual into planetary consciousness, is the ideal which the Sufi Order seeks to serve.

Other Traditions

The Sufi Order has an inter-faith orientation based upon respect for all authentic spiritual disciplines. Members are welcomed to participate in the religious traditions of their choice. If you have been initiated into another path and are presently doing a daily practice please inform your Sufi Order guide. This is to insure that the various practices are in harmony or are not repetitive.

Drug Policy

The only rule of the Sufi Order is that initiates are asked to refrain from using non-prescription drugs. This policy stems from the concern that combining spiritual practices and drugs may create an unbalanced condition in some individuals.

Financial Aspects

There are no financial obligations for those who take initiation. Both initiation and on-going personal guidance are provided free of charge. In addition, study circle classes are free for all initiates. Other programs may cost a reasonable fee.

Membership in the Sufi Order is different from initiation. Membership is achieved when one voluntarily chooses to pay dues to support the work of the organization.




This page was last updated on Monday, March 27, 2017



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