98 Editors’ Note


The purpose of spiritual practice is to free our awareness from the duality born of the perceiver and the perceived. Another meaning of liberation, is freedom from the known… —Igor Kufayev, page 24

What is the purpose of reaching beyond what we know to encounter the unknown? Whether it be through travel or an encounter with someone with very different perspectives to our own, going beyond our comfort and subjective perception is what brings us opportunities to understand ourselves and the nature of reality more deeply, to truly wrestle with the ego’s limits, and develop our capacity for divine love and selfless compassion.

This issue of SUFI explores the nature of journeying into the unknown as we walk the path, from the perspective of mind, body and spiritual experience. Dr Alireza Nurbakhsh explores this in relation to the rise of tribalism and the need for us to connect beyond like-minded communities to practice understanding and compassion in a social reality that includes people who think and believe differently from ourselves. Safoura Nourbakhsh presents the possibilities inherent in reframing the role of women as lovers with their own agency rather than side characters in the canon of male spiritual quest. John Caughey offers insights on how the experience of travel, specifically pilgrimage, can open our minds, hearts and imaginations to the teachings of living and past teachers on the Sufi path, as well as nurture our own connection to the “teacher within,” and Igor Kufayev explores the nature of the heart as a tool of perception in this process. As Tracy Burnett and Tsering Dorje write in their interview with Trachung Kunchok Palsang, “If you want to experience life’s beauty, your heart must be attentive to real life.” It is precisely this attentiveness that brings presence and guides us like a compass to the experiences that open us to the loving kindness required to meet the challenges humanity is currently facing. “Only this kind of love can heal our broken world, change violence and retaliation into compassion and forgiveness and human suffering into freedom and joy,” writes Dorothy Buck. In his interview with Reid Pierce, artist and psychotherapist Alejandro Jodorowsky speaks of the importance of healing the human condition through the power of art.

It is when we encounter the unknown, in art and in life, that we are challenged to see and experience life beyond our own preconceptions, and are able to open the door to illumination.

—The Editors of SUFI


The editors of SUFI invite submissions of articles, stories, poetry, personal essays, and artistic works on all topics relating to mysticism. For details please visit www.sufijournal.org/submissions.