Sufism and the Modern World

We live in an age when science and technology have brought mankind not only great material advances, but also a deep cynicism towards the religious and spiritual aspects of life. On the one hand, the success of the “scientific method” has set limitations on what are considered to be useful and practical fields of study. We are taught to believe that only that which the outer senses can perceive, and which the rational mind can analyze, are worthy of being called ‘the truth’. And on the other hand, it is very easy to become disillusioned with the various religions’ claims that they have access to absolute truth and goodness, when these claims are rarely actualized by experience.

Yet human nature is such that questions regarding the deep mysteries of life continue to arise in individuals, and there will always be some for whom the thirst to find answers to these questions is so great that it will not easily be quenched by rationalistic philosophical constructs or by literal readings of religious texts.

Sufism teaches that it is possible for us to see beyond the veils of darkness which enclothe our belief systems. One who sincerely devotes himself or herself to a program of Sufi training may eventually approach the state where one can “see things as they truly are”, when one can “worship God as as though you can see Him”, and when can truly realize that one is “in the world, but not of the world”.

For many people in the modern world it may seem that such teachings are alien to their culture or are a thing of the past – if indeed they ever existed! Others may instinctively recognize that their destiny lies in the unfolding of these teachings in their lives, but are faced with overwhelming difficulties in finding a trustworthy and authoritative teacher who can show them the way out of the darkness.

One of the aims of the School of Sufi Teaching is to make tried and tested methods of gaining enlightenment accessible to people who are living ordinary lives in the modern world.