Category Archives: Original Essays

Sufi Lives: Adhem (Sufi and the Shriner)

by Ali Hammad There was once a man within whom resided dreams, such that it was hard to tell where dreams ended and real life began, or vice versa. Life, it seemed, was a set of questions, and dreams were … Continue reading

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Questions, Terrorism, and Nasruddin’s beard

by Modaser Shah Consider this Nasruddin scenario: Mullah Nasruddin has become a celebrity, much sought after. This forces him to resort to disguises to evade “fans” and their questions. A beard, if long enough, would serve purpose. One morning the Mullah … Continue reading

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The Defeat of “Love Trumps Hate”

by Modaser Shah Zen, which is mostly practice and not theory, requires three things: Great Faith, Great Doubt, and Great Perseverance. Following the recent election of Donald Trump, to many practitioners of Zen, and the Sufis, and the humanists, and the universalists, it … Continue reading

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Nasruddin’s Incompleteness Theorem: Can the “Great” Past/the Promised Land be Realized?

by Modaser Shah     Mullah Nasruddin, the wise fool of Sufism, had a narrative that was often obscure. Once when he left something incomplete and unexplained people asked him for more. He said, “The cause and effect cannot be … Continue reading

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The Power of Feelings

by Navid Zaidi The mind is everything. What you think you become ——–Buddha As you think so shall you be ——- Jesus Once a tall young man came to Lahore from the town of Merv in Afghanistan. He went to … Continue reading

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From Simplicity through Contradiction to Paradox

by Modaser Shah The title is from a paper by the prodigious and acclaimed Indian analyst Salman Akhtar writing in a psychoanalytic journal. I imagine him to be a hidden Sufi or at least steeped in Sufi wisdom and literature. … Continue reading

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The Freedom of the Self

by Navid Zaidi “You sound to me as though you don’t believe in free will,” said Billy Pilgrim. “If I hadn’t spent so much time studying Earthlings,” said the Tralfamadorian, “I wouldn’t have any idea what was meant by free … Continue reading

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The (Deeper) Movement of Thought

by Navid Zaidi There is a very simple, almost unspoken law, the law being that if any two things interact, they must be in some way like each other. It is quite possible for somebody who looks at the Sun … Continue reading

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Sanity Guides

by Modaser Shah “Wer den Wegweiser findet, sucht nun nicht nach einer weiteren Instruktion, sondern geht,” said Wittgenstein.¹ My translation of this is as follows: When one finds a guide(post), one doesn’t look for further instruction, one just goes. That … Continue reading

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Confusion and Clarity and the In-between

by Modaser Shah Heinrich Racker, the well-known psychoanalyst from South America, notes in passing in a book that “clarity cannot be attained except through confusion,” a remarkable sentiment from a rather unexpected corner. Usually one expects this kind of insight … Continue reading

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