To Whom the Doors of our School Are Open
Ascending Flow is a contemporary mystic School intended for those who have dedicated their lives to the Sufi Tradition. Those who collect knowledge from “everywhere” will not find our School’s doors open. If the scope of their interests spreads across Advaita, Transurfing, teachings by Osho or S.Freud, yoga, positive thinking, alchemy, or writings by S.Prabhupada, and they are looking to add some “Sufi spices” to this blend, then they would first need to define the course upon which they would like to proceed. Ultimately, the Sufi Path is a calling, a destiny—a lifelong road that requires enormous effort. Once you have set out on the Path, you cannot renounce it, or it may safely be said that you never embarked on the Path in the first place.
Before You Begin
Before beginning your education in the School, it is recommended that you spend some time studying the literature on Sufism—luckily informational resources are plentiful these days—and in the meantime improve your ability to learn, be open, and somewhat unbiased.
Understanding the theory and having inner consonance with Sufi ideas is not sufficient, however. If a prospective student makes a decision to attend the School, he or she must ask themselves: What is it that I actually want? What is my Goal? Am I looking for unearthly experiences, the fulfillment of social ambitions, or the attention of other people or the Master? Or is it a desire to go beyond my individual existence, finding the Path to the self and to God?
Let’s elaborate on this a bit further. It’s important to understand that the School is not a social institute and should not be approached as a place for the accommodation of your need for social and emotional interactions. The students are not expected to become friends or share interests, except for one—the urge for the Truth. When active social networking is incorporated into education, it often becomes an impediment because students enjoy its “pleasant, harmonious, and heartwarming” atmosphere, take comfort in satiating their spiritual ego in a “friendly environment,” and ultimately forget about the urge. Spending enjoyable time together becomes more valuable than the Path, and a student “falls asleep” and ceases to progress. In the event that one student is fortuitous enough to undergo an extraordinary “esoteric” experience, the collective sleep becomes eternal, as everyone in the group who learned about it becomes deeply assured that they are on the right track, because the unwavering evidence of the trueness of the Path is right in front of them.
Having said that, a certain degree of amicable attitude during education is necessary for students to accept each other the way they are and work together on their individual and group goals.
The Master is responsible for balancing the interactions within the group. The unwillingness of a student to follow the Master’s guidance on group-related and other aspects of education is indicative of the student’s unreadiness to work in a group setting, and can result in suspension.
Goal-setting in Education
Going back to the subject of the adequate Goal of education, there are a variety of bizarre examples of what can come out of a lack of clear understanding with regards to one’s goal and replacing it with fantasies. Here is a real-life example: there is a Sufi group whose members drew a parallel between themselves and the story of Moses, particularly that part where the baby was floating in the Nile. With all seriousness, they identified themselves, their kids, and the kids of their kids with the river (they were dead set on this) and associated current and future members with the “media,” in which a prospective Moses should be able to survive, go ashore, and reveal his divine potential to the world. As you might guess, nothing was happening in this group and the people were not learning anything, having replaced their goal with inevitable self-consolation laden with procrastination. The members believed that potential can be found only in people at the level of a prophet, and no less. But in reality, anyone who is seeking honestly has this potential, and it is the seeker’s duty to fulfill it—if that is their destiny, of course. Notorious “enlightenment” would be a more reasonable goal than “to help an unidentified Prophet.”
The goal leads and motivates; it is impossible to initiate education without first creating the goal statement.
What is our School?
The way that the School operates is always outside of your beliefs. The School is a live entity, and the form of its Work is defined by three factors: time, place, and the specifics of the people involved in the Work. Therefore, if you have read some Sufi literature, including modern ones (for example, by Idries Shah), and have developed certain expectations of the style of education and what the Master should be like, be prepared to question them—and find them shattered.
The presence of a school means that there is leadership in place. There is an existing opinion that the time has finally come for a seeker to no longer need a teacher, and that a person of the 21st century can attain the incredibly high levels of the Spirit independently. However, this is a huge misconception. People carry way more burdens now than in the old days (look at the pressing influx of digital information alone), and therefore guides are more in-demand than ever. In our School, each student receives individual guidance from the Master, who travelled down the Path far enough and can now show the way to others. In the event that a seeker has no such leader, or if the leader is not available for direct communication with the student and leaves him or her to their own devices, then the seeker is most likely being misled.
The School provides an opportunity to walk down a straight Path for those who are ready and willing to learn. The energy of the group along with the Master’s energy provide nourishment to the essence of a student, which is vital, as without this nourishment, reasonable progress along the Path is hardly possible.
Studying at Sufi School is not a pleasant hobby or a showpiece for your lifestyle—rather, it is the end of your life, the process of losing oneself and being dissolved into the Divine.
Here is what a seeker can (and cannot) anticipate while studying at the School:
A student cannot expect the following:
- accrual of wealth
- fulfillment of all desires
- gaining world power and boosting his or her might
- gaining control over others
A student can expect the following:
- to work extensively through his or her nafs, or inferior human nature, as they call it in the Sufi Tradition
- to free oneself from the dominance of his or her “actions” and “states” and gain a true sense of the “here and now”
- to gain awareness of his or her place in the world and connection with God
On a final note, let us emphasize that the Sufi Path has no defined timeline or end within the human life span. However, education at the School does have a predetermined end date. In a way, a student becomes a graduate when acquired experience enables him to accept Life as the best School and God—as the best Master.