My granddaughter's birthday party with her friends was this morning at 10. So my wife and daughter marched to the ferry terminal with the people headed to the Seattle Women's March. I got to take care of my granddaughter and then walk with her to the party location. A four year old birthday party is a great reminder of what's important in life.
Then this evening we went to a presentation by Jamal Rahman, a Sufi iman from Seattle who came to talk. Every now and then you meet and/or hear a person talk who touches deep inside of you. That happened tonight.
A key theme was the five steps to peace. Here are my notes from a napkin I had.
Obviously, that's not going to convey much to you, but while I'm inspired by hearing and meeting this man, I also need to process a bit more. I just want to say, Jamal was wise, spiritual, funny, patient, humble, and peaceful, and insightful. Yes, there's a little bit of confirmation bias here, but sometimes you know, just know, this man is the real deal.
The title quote is from Rumi. It was one of many quotes and stories that left my mind and heart full
and brought peace. The message basically was what we all know - we must communicate with the 'others' in our world. To do so, we have to open our hearts and listen rather than try to convince. We have to first meet human to human. We have to let go of our own ego. Something I've been trying to say on this blog, but not nearly as articulately and as comfortably as Jamal has done.
So I'll leave you with this partial description from Jamal Rahman's website:
"Jamal Rahman is a popular speaker on Islam, Sufi spirituality, and interfaith relations. Along with his Interfaith Amigos, he has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, BBC, and various NPR programs. Jamal is co-founder and Muslim Sufi minister at Interfaith Community Sanctuary and adjunct faculty at Seattle University. He is a former co-host of Interfaith Talk Radio and travels nationally and internationally, presenting at retreats and workshops.
He is the author of Sacred Laughter of the Sufis: Awakening the Soul with the Mullah's Comic Teaching Stories and Other Islamic Wisdom; Spiritual Gems of Islam: Insights & Practices from the Qur'an, Hadith, Rumi & Muslim Teaching Stories to Enlighten the Heart & Mind; The Fragrance of Faith: The Enlightened Heart of Islam; and coauthor of Religion Gone Astray: What We Found at the Heart of Interfaith; Out of Darkness into Light: Spiritual Guidance in the Quran with Reflections from Jewish and Christian Sources; and Getting to the Heart of Interfaith: The Eye-Opening, Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi, and an Imam.
Jamal's passion lies in interfaith community building. He remains rooted in his Islamic tradition and cultivates a "spaciousness" by being open to the beauty and wisdom of other faiths. By authentically and appreciatively understanding other paths, Jamal feels that he becomes a better Muslim. This spaciousness is not about conversion but about completion.
Since 9/11 Jamal has been collaborating with Rabbi Ted Falcon and Pastor Don Mackenzie. Affectionately known as the Interfaith Amigos, they tour the country sharing the message of spiritual inclusivity.
Imam Jamal, originally from Bangladesh, has an abiding faith in the power of heart-to-heart connections to encompass differences and dissolve prejudices. He enjoys programs that celebrate life and unity through delight, laughter, and food. He has a private spiritual counseling practice serving individuals and couples, and is available for interfaith weddings and ceremonies. Jamal offers a variety of classes and workshops, including the popular "Blush of the Beloved," a course in spiritual deepening and discernment drawing upon the practices, insights, and wisdom within Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism."