The On Being Project

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\
\The Heart of Compassion: Exploring the Interior Landscape\\

The Heart of Compassion: Exploring the Interior Landscape | with Thupten Jinpa, Cynthia Bourgeault and Ingrid Mattson\

Posted by \Festival of Faiths\ on Friday, April 21, 2017\
\
","addPoetry":0,"poetry":"","newsletterUrl":"","prevPost":{"id":28429,"slug":"the-messiness-of-compassion-in-action","title":"The Messiness of Compassion in Action","date":"2017-04-21 17:14:42","path":"/blog/the-messiness-of-compassion-in-action/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/the-messiness-of-compassion-in-action/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/8882638212_33f695e6b8_o.jpg","author":{"id":1,"slug":"admin","description":"","guestDescription":"","name":"On Being Editors","avatar":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/cropped-ONBE_SocialMedia_Icon_OnWhite.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/admin/","positionTitle":"","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"@onbeing","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":28030,"slug":"trent-gilliss-what-if-we-told-the-stories-that-dont-get-acknowledged","title":"What If We Told the Stories That Don't Get Acknowledged?","date":"2017-04-22 05:00:28","path":"/blog/trent-gilliss-what-if-we-told-the-stories-that-dont-get-acknowledged/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/trent-gilliss-what-if-we-told-the-stories-that-dont-get-acknowledged/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/3814706346_80acf7a3e1_o.jpg","author":{"id":2,"slug":"trent-gilliss","description":"\

was the founding executive editor of On Being Studios.\

\n","guestDescription":"","name":"Trent T. Gilliss","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bio-trentgilliss_0.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/trent-gilliss/","positionTitle":"founding executive editor of On Being Studios","hometown":"Minneapolis","postalZipCode":"55405","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"@TrentGilliss","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"dateGmt":"2017-04-21T22:21:22","guid":{"rendered":"https://onbeing.org/?p=28430"},"modifiedGmt":"2017-04-21T22:34:17","status":"publish","type":"post","link":"https://onbeing.org/blog/the-inner-landscape-of-compassion/","featuredMedia":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/27902908133_a45e063a7e_o.jpg?fit=5488%2C3662&ssl=1","commentStatus":"open","pingStatus":"open","sticky":false,"template":"","format":"standard","meta":[],"featuredMediaCrops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""},"featuredMediaMeta":{"caption":"","photographer":"Gwenael Piaser","photographerUrl":"https://www.flickr.com/photos/piaser/27902908133/in/[email protected]/","license":"Flickr","photoUrl":"https://www.flickr.com/photos/piaser/27902908133/in/[email protected]/","imageLicenses":"Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike"},"path":"/blog/the-inner-landscape-of-compassion/","disqus":{"disqusUrl":"https://onbeing.org/blog/the-inner-landscape-of-compassion/","disqusIdentifier":"28430 https://onbeing.org/?p=28430","disqusShortname":"on-being","disqusTitle":"The Interior Landscape of Compassion"},"jetpackRelatedPosts":[{"id":8518,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/the-monk-manifesto-seven-principles-for-living-with-deep-intention/","urlMeta":{"origin":28430,"position":0},"title":"The Monk Manifesto: Seven Principles for Living with Deep Intention","date":"August 25, 2015","format":false,"excerpt":"We desire to live in meaningful ways, but how do we do so in a rapidly moving modern world? A Benedictine oblate scribes seven principles to help live a compassionate, contemplative, and creative life.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/19143208859_3813b8b046_o.jpg?fit=1200%2C551&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":28429,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/the-messiness-of-compassion-in-action/","urlMeta":{"origin":28430,"position":1},"title":"The Messiness of Compassion in Action","date":"April 21, 2017","format":false,"excerpt":"What does it take to do the messy work compassion through incredible obstacles? Rami Nashashibi, Naomi Tutu and Kevin Cosby on courage and living compassion.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/8882638212_33f695e6b8_o.jpg?fit=1200%2C801&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":28478,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/andrew-zolli-toward-a-contemplative-ecology/","urlMeta":{"origin":28430,"position":2},"title":"Toward a Contemplative Ecology","date":"April 25, 2017","format":false,"excerpt":"On the heels of Earth Day, a dialogue on the necessity of both contemplation and action, detachment and radical engagement in our relationship with the environment.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/gian-reto-tarnutzer-45212.jpg?fit=1200%2C803&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]}],"headerMeta":[{"property":"title","content":"The Interior Landscape of Compassion"},{"property":"og:title","content":"The Interior Landscape of Compassion"},{"property":"og:url","content":"https://onbeing.org/blog/the-inner-landscape-of-compassion/"},{"property":"og:site_name","content":"The On Being Project"},{"property":"og:type","content":"website"},{"property":"fb:app_id","content":"2007187426218054"},{"property":"twitter:card","content":"summary_large_image"},{"property":"twitter:title","content":"The Interior Landscape of Compassion"},{"property":"twitter:site","content":"@onbeing"},{"property":"description","content":"Three wisdom keepers on the inner voice of compassion in the mystical and contemplative traditions"},{"property":"og:description","content":"Three wisdom keepers on the inner voice of compassion in the mystical and contemplative traditions"},{"property":"twitter:description","content":"Three wisdom keepers on the inner voice of compassion in the mystical and contemplative traditions"},{"property":"og:image","content":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/27902908133_a45e063a7e_o.jpg?resize=1200,630"},{"property":"twitter:image","content":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/27902908133_a45e063a7e_o.jpg?resize=1200,630"}],"headerTitle":"The Interior Landscape of Compassion | The On Being Project","searchExclude":false,"archiveFeaturedImage":{"id":0,"url":"","crops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""}}}},"29459":{"id":29459,"date":"2017-05-18T05:00:18","modified":"2017-05-20T08:41:13","slug":"omid-safi-tending-our-inner-life-to-make-the-world-whole","author":65,"title":"Tending Our Inner Life to Make the World Whole","content":"\

When I was going through the rigor of university, there was a beautiful forest close to the school — a place I would go to periodically for a hike. I tended to go there when it felt like the world was crashing down around me, when I felt overwhelmed. The woods were my escape, \my get-away place of sanity\. Walking under the shade of tall trees and listening to the sound of running water from rivers and waterfalls, I always had the same thought: \I feel so whole when I am here. Why don’t I do this more often?\\

\n\

I know what makes me feel \more\. Why isn’t this an everyday practice for me?\

\n\

In these days, it seems like we are living on the brink. Pomp and bluster seem to rule the day. There is conflict here, at home and around the world. Our very home, this tiny third rock from the sun, is in real danger.\

\n\

One of the truths we know is that \we live in an enchanted universe\. The up-there and down-here mingle, the earthly and the heavenly mirror each other. We have no choice but to continue to redeem the world, to save the world from our own selves. We are, ironically, the cause of the breaking and just might be the channel of healing. To make the world whole, \we ourselves have to become healed, become whole\. Our well-being and the world being well are linked together.\

\n\

To tend to our own inner lives is not selfishness; it is wisdom, it is essential, and it is unavoidable.\

\n\

There is self-care that turns towards narcissism. And there is also \a different self-care\ that posits a self that is harmonious with fellow human beings, with the natural cosmos, and every sentient being.\

\n\

One of the fiercest revolutionaries of our time, that African-American giant of a warrior, \Audre Lorde\, says it best:\

\n\
\

\“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence,\
\nit is self-preservation,\
\nand that is an act of political warfare.”\
\

\
\n\

So, friends, how do you care for yourself?\

\n\

Here are some simple thoughts. None of us can provide answers for each other about how to nurture one another’s souls. But perhaps we can share questions that we must each seek to answer:\

\n\

\We have to get to know our own selves.\\

\n\

The oracles of old told us: \“know thyself.”\ The Prophet Muhammad \pointed to the same wisdom\ by saying: “To know God intimately, know yourself intimately.” There is no way to know God well unless we know our own selves well. We have to know what makes us tick, what brings joy to us, and where our own demons are. That kind of inner work is hard, patient, slow, and rewarding.\

\n\

I’ve been fond of \quoting W. B. Yeats\:\

\n\
\

\“It takes more courage\
\nto examine the dark corners of your own soul\
\nthan it does for a soldier\
\nto fight on a battlefield.”\
\

\
\n\

Let us go beyond Yeats. Yes, let us examine the dark corners of our souls and let us illuminate them. Let’s see the broken spaces, the wounds, which become the \openings for the light\ to pour through us.\

\n\

\Read our hearts.\\

\n\

We are so \attentive to our devices\, making sure they are charged. Do we show the same care and concern for our hearts? Do we wait until we are running on fumes? How lovely and wise to make sure that the recharging is not through being a “weekend warrior” or even once-every-few-years vacations (both are lovely), but rather a matter of daily practice.\

\n\

\What works for you?\\

\n\

We are different from one another. Some of us are rejuvenated through prayer and meditation. Some through \a run in the woods\. Some need quality time with friends and family for beautiful conversation. Some benefit from solitude. Some need to be in that place that is home. Some might grow the most from exotic vacations around the world. Get to know yourself, know what nourishes you and sustains you, and make it into a practice. Do what works for you.\

\n\

\What works now?\\

\n\

It is not merely that we are each nourished and sustained differently from one another. No one of us stays constant. Who we are \now\ is not the same person we were a few years ago. There may have been nourishing at one point in our life. There may no longer be nourishing at this phase. What sustains us now may evolve a few years down the road. That task of self-care will grow and evolve.\

\n\

\Beware of self-care capitalism.\\

\n\

There are, of course, experts and masters — those who \tap into on the timeless wisdom of ancients\ and the most timely of expressions. But there is also a whole industry that preys on our need for sustenance and fulfillment. If it promises to “feel good” without the need for transformation, sacrifice, discipline, and community, it might be good and wise to exercise some caution.\

\n\

\Self-care and community love must be linked.\\

\n\

The task of self-care is one that we have to carry out by our own selves, yet our well-being is linked to the well-being of fellow human beings. We are wrapped up in one another. I cannot do well until and unless we are all well. So do be on the lookout for self-care sliding into a kind of glorified spiritual narcissism.\

\n\

Let us, you and I, friends, find what sustains our soul. Let us find what nurtures our heart, who nurtures our heart, where our heart is nurtured.\

\n\

Let us go \there\\
\ndaily\
\nAnd make a habit of it.\

\n\

If we may paraphrase the great \Rumi\:\

\n\
\

\Out beyond the realms of this faith\
\nand that faith \
\

\n\

\     of no-faith\
\nThere is a field of goodness and beauty\
\

\n\

\ where hearts our nourished \\

\n\

\     With each breath\
\nI’ll meet you there\
\

\
\n","excerpt":"\

We often speak about how best to heal the world around us, but it’s also essential to nurture ourselves. A reflection on self-care as a crucial part of healing one another.\

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leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trips are open to everyone, from every country. More information is available at \Illuminated Tours\.\

\n\

He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.\

\n\

Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\; \Cambridge Companion to American Islam\; \Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam\; and \Memories of Muhammad\. His forthcoming books include \Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions\ and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.\

\n\

Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in \The New York Times\, \Newsweek\, \Washington Post\, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media. He can be reached regarding speaking engagements at \[email protected]\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center and weekly columnist for \On Being\. He is the editor of the volume \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\ and the author of \Memories of Muhammad\.\

\n","name":"Omid Safi","avatar":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/omid_safi_2012_media_photo_trees_background.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/omid-safi/","positionTitle":"Columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"ostadjaan","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}],"featuredMediaType":"featured_image","secondaryImage":0,"secondaryImageUrl":"","videoUrl":"","addPoetry":0,"poetry":"","newsletterUrl":"","prevPost":{"id":29189,"slug":"parker-palmer-trusting-in-the-natural-order-of-things","title":"Trusting in the Natural Order of Things","date":"2017-05-17 05:00:22","path":"/blog/parker-palmer-trusting-in-the-natural-order-of-things/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/parker-palmer-trusting-in-the-natural-order-of-things/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/34220914646_c5be928d87_o.jpg","author":{"id":4,"slug":"parker-j-palmer","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. He is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the \Center for Courage & Renewal\. His books include \\A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life\\, and \\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\\. His book \\On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old\\ will be published in June.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is founder and senior partner of the \\Center for Courage & Renewal\\. His books include \\\Healing the Heart of Democracy\\\, \\\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\, \\\and the forthcoming, \On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, Getting Old\.\

\n","name":"Parker J. Palmer","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/•Parker-J.-Palmer-Photo—Sept.-2017.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker_Palmer","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/parker-j-palmer/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"ParkerJPalmer","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":29634,"slug":"courtney-martin-men-for-longevity-cultivate-deep-friendships","title":"For Longevity, Men Need to Cultivate Deep Friendships","date":"2017-05-19 05:00:04","path":"/blog/courtney-martin-men-for-longevity-cultivate-deep-friendships/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/courtney-martin-men-for-longevity-cultivate-deep-friendships/","featuredMedia":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/GettyImages-485214280.jpg","author":{"id":3,"slug":"courtneymartin","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. Her newest book, \\The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream\\, explores how people are redefining the American dream (think more fulfillment, community, and fun, less debt, status, and stuff). Courtney is the co-founder of the \Solutions Journalism Network\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is also co-founder and partner at Valenti Martin Media and FRESH Speakers Bureau, and editor emeritus at Feministing.com.\

\n\

Courtney has authored/edited five books, including \\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\, and \\Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women\\. Her work appears frequently in \The New York Times\ and \The Washington Post\. Courtney has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor, and speaks widely at conferences and colleges. She is the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. She lives with her partner in life and work, John Cary, in Oakland, and their daughters Maya and Stella. Read more about her work at \www.courtneyemartin.com\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is the co-founder of the \\Solutions Journalism Network\\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is the author of six books including \\\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\\ and, most recently, \\\The New Better Off\\\.\\

\n","name":"Courtney E. Martin","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CourtneyMartin.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/courtneymartin/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"courtwrites","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"dateGmt":"2017-05-18T10:00:18","guid":{"rendered":"https://onbeing.org/?p=29459"},"modifiedGmt":"2017-05-20T13:41:13","status":"publish","type":"post","link":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-tending-our-inner-life-to-make-the-world-whole/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/GettyImages-456922890.jpg?fit=3699%2C2478&ssl=1","commentStatus":"open","pingStatus":"open","sticky":false,"template":"","format":"standard","meta":[],"featuredMediaCrops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""},"featuredMediaMeta":{"caption":"","photographer":"Ed Jones","photographerUrl":"http://www.gettyimages.com/license/456922890","license":"Getty Images","photoUrl":"http://www.gettyimages.com/license/456922890","imageLicenses":"© All Rights Reserved"},"path":"/blog/omid-safi-tending-our-inner-life-to-make-the-world-whole/","disqus":{"disqusUrl":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-tending-our-inner-life-to-make-the-world-whole/","disqusIdentifier":"29459 https://onbeing.org/?p=29459","disqusShortname":"on-being","disqusTitle":"Tending Our Inner Life to Make the World Whole"},"jetpackRelatedPosts":[{"id":8107,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/the-proliferation-of-all-that-will-ever-be/","urlMeta":{"origin":29459,"position":0},"title":"The Proliferation of All That Will Ever Be","date":"January 23, 2016","format":false,"excerpt":"It can be easy to fall into distorted channels of self-doubt and self-criticism. But, rather than trying to suppress those feelings, personal empowerment may come from acknowledging, relating, and directing them may lead to a more spacious life.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/10104358455_491828c059_o.jpg?fit=1200%2C868&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":7837,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/listen-to-the-soil-beauty-and-terrain-after-auschwitz/","urlMeta":{"origin":29459,"position":1},"title":"Listen to the Soil: Beauty and Terrain After Auschwitz","date":"May 9, 2016","format":false,"excerpt":"After a teacher stays on in Poland after a five-day bearing witness retreat at Auschwitz-Birkenau, she offers a peripatetic meditation on beauty, suffering, and our capacity to comprehend what is incomprehensible.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/2367327797_e707a09982_o.jpg?fit=1200%2C810&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":1333620,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/clare-mulvaney-we-are-stories-and-stardust/","urlMeta":{"origin":29459,"position":2},"title":"We Are Stories and Stardust","date":"June 6, 2018","format":false,"excerpt":"In today’s polarized political climate, the idea of changing a mind or a heart feels impossible. Clare Mulvany reflects on what it means to be open to the possibility of great change in yourself — and in others.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/5161235832_5be700371d_o-1.jpg?fit=1000%2C665&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]}],"headerMeta":[{"property":"title","content":"Tending Our Inner Life to Make the World Whole"},{"property":"og:title","content":"Tending Our Inner Life to Make the World Whole"},{"property":"og:url","content":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-tending-our-inner-life-to-make-the-world-whole/"},{"property":"og:site_name","content":"The On Being Project"},{"property":"og:type","content":"website"},{"property":"fb:app_id","content":"2007187426218054"},{"property":"twitter:card","content":"summary_large_image"},{"property":"twitter:title","content":"Tending Our Inner Life to Make the World Whole"},{"property":"twitter:site","content":"@onbeing"},{"property":"description","content":"We often speak about how best to heal the world around us, but it's also essential to nurture ourselves. Self-care as a crucial part of healing one another."},{"property":"og:description","content":"We often speak about how best to heal the world around us, but it's also essential to nurture ourselves. Self-care as a crucial part of healing one another."},{"property":"twitter:description","content":"We often speak about how best to heal the world around us, but it's also essential to nurture ourselves. Self-care as a crucial part of healing one another."},{"property":"og:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/GettyImages-456922890.jpg?resize=1200,630"},{"property":"twitter:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/GettyImages-456922890.jpg?resize=1200,630"}],"headerTitle":"Tending Our Inner Life to Make the World Whole | The On Being Project","searchExclude":false,"archiveFeaturedImage":{"id":0,"url":"","crops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""}}}},"29857":{"id":29857,"date":"2017-05-24T17:00:30","modified":"2017-05-25T10:59:07","slug":"omid-safi-ten-things-im-pondering-as-the-president-visits-the-middle-east","author":65,"title":"Ten Things I’m Pondering as the President Visits the Middle East","content":"\

President Donald Trump, facing a serious legal investigation about his ties with Russia, is taking a multi-country trip to the Middle East and Europe. This trip is highlighted \by visits to three countries\, featuring the holy centers for Muslims, Christians, and Jews.\

\n\

President Trump’s tone in Saudi Arabia and Israel has been more calm, measured, a noted departure from the bombastic nature of both his campaign and his first hundred days in office. The breathless coverage and analysis has been largely positive, but there are a few important points that still need to be made:\

\n\

\1) Which Trump?\\

\n\

The Trump that we saw during the presidential election famously stated \“Islam hates us.”\ In Saudi Arabia, surrounded by the heads of many Muslim states, Trump instead referred to Islam as one of the “world’s great faiths.” One simply wonders which Trump to believe or for that matter whether President Trump actually believes any of these. This smacks of political opportunism, a man who lacks the courage of his own convictions or is at least willing to subjugate them in light of business interests (see below).\

\n\

\2) Peace, Security, and Weapons\\

\n\

President Trump’s speech was filled with references to peace and security, yet the context of his visit was \one of the largest arms sales\ in the history of the United States: \a $110 billion weapons sale to Saudi Arabia\. Saudi Arabia has been waging a brutal war against Yemen and is escalating tensions against Iran. One does not purchase over a hundred billion dollars of weapons to store them or to beat them into plowshares. There is something more than ironic about speaking of peace and security while also weaponizing the most unstable part of our shared world.\

\n\

\3) There Is No ‘Muslim World’\\

\n\

President Trump presented his speech as visiting the “heart of the Muslim world.” Muslims, like Christians, represent a global community. There is no “Christian world,” there is no “Jewish world,” and there is no “Muslim world.” The Muslim world represents a racialized and homogenized entity that has much more to do with Euro-American imaginations, as \the recent book\ by Professor Cemil Aydin and \\Atlantic\ article\ by Professor Zareena Grewal both document.\

\n\

President Trump continues to speak of Muslims as living in this “other” world, somewhere over \there\. \In the words of Zareena Grewal\, it is as if “Islam is a foreign country.” The truth of the matter is that there is one world, a small, deeply interconnected world that we, all of us, share.\

\n\

Trump’s words about Islam also mask the existence of Muslims here in America since before there was an “America.” There were Muslims on Columbus’ ships, and there were hundreds of thousands of Muslims among the stolen West-African human beings who were enslaved and brought to the New World. Even today, the single largest group of Muslim Americans are African Americans. President Trump does not refer to them, since the notion of Muslim Americans who have been in America since before Trump’s own family migrated to America would disturb and unsettle his binary view of Islam and America being mutually exclusive categories.\

\n\

\4) Radical Islamic Terrorism / Islamic Extremism\\

\n\

In the inauguration speech, President Trump spoke of “radical Islamic terrorism”: “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.”\

\n\

In Saudi Arabia, Trump chose his words more carefully, instead speaking of a \“new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology.”\ To speak of “extremist ideology” rather than “Islamic terrorism” carries obvious tones.\

\n\

Only once in the \Saudi Arabia speech\ did President Trump link together Islam and extremism, after having spent years \blasting the Obama administration\ for \not more deliberately linking those together\: “That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”\

\n\

If the distinction between “Islamic extremism” and “Islamist extremism” is to be taken seriously, it actually would carry enormous consequences for U.S. foreign policy. “Islamist,” meaning political parties that seek to introduce an understanding of Islam into the public arena, covers a vast network of political parties across the political spectrum. If President Trump intends to label all of them as “extremist,” that would put the United States at odds with many Muslim countries at once.\

\n\

If one operates from the point of view that all human life is sacred, it is important to note that the majority of loss of human life comes not at the hands of “terrorist” organizations, but rather state entities. It is the role of nation states — including the United States — that has to be interrogated in any discussion of violence and extremism.\

\n\

\5) Hypocrisy Regarding Refugees\\

\n\

In the speech in Saudi Arabia, President Trump \famously said\: “This region should not be a place from which refugees flee, but to which newcomers flock.” One would almost be excused to believe that Trump is concerned about the plight of the refugees. Is this the same person who campaigned to \demonize refugees\, again and again equating them with terrorism? Is this the same president who attempted — and failed — to pass not one but two Muslim bans?\

\n\

\6) Saudi Arabia Is Not the Heart of the “Muslim World”\\

\n\

While Muslims do, following the words of the Prophet Muhammad, at times speak of themselves as a body (Christians also speak of the \Church as a body\), this metaphor is one that is intended to talk about the importance of sympathy and empathy among the faithful. But Saudi Arabia is not the “heart” of the Muslim community. The Muslim “world” doesn’t have a heart, eyes, brain, or butt cheeks. Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem are sacred to all Muslims but not so modern nation states. All modern nation states are creations that came to exist in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, well after the time of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim revelations. Whereas Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem all contain sites sacred to all Muslims, to sacralize an entire nation state (whether Saudi Arabia, the United States, Pakistan, Iran, India, Israel, or any other) is dangerous, irresponsible, and historically anachronistic.\

\n\

Furthermore, for many Muslims, the crass commercialism of the holy sites in Mecca and Medina, the sub-human treatment of many immigrants, the puritanical Wahhabi teachings, and the \destruction of almost 90 percent of sacred and historical sites in Mecca\ while building monstrous luxury hotels and shopping centers and more lead them to see Saudi Arabia not as the heart of the Muslim world but as something profoundly problematic.\

\n\

\7) Which America?\\

\n\

It is not only President Trump’s discourse on Islam that is changed, but so too is his notion of America. In this occasion, Trump stated, “America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust.” In his inauguration, on the other hand, Trump famously championed an \“America first”\ mentality (“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first.”) Which Trump are we to believe?\

\n\

Here is the simple and fundamental challenge: If, as President Trump stated in the inauguration, “we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first,” how are we to have world peace? By definition, we cannot all be first. If India is trying to be first, and China is trying to be first, and, of course, America is trying to be first, we are going to have a clash. World peace necessitates not a “me first” mentality but a principle of justice and harmony.\

\n\

\8) Militancy Against Islam\\

\n\

President Trump named so many of the great civilizations of the Middle East region: Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. Missing from this list was a significant omission: Iran. Whatever Trump thinks of the current Iranian regime (more on that soon), there is little reason to deny Iran (and its older name, Persia) its rightful place among the great empires in history. Iran is a nation with 5,000 years of history and 2,500 years of recorded history. Along with China, India, Greece, and Rome, Iran was among the great empires of history. Yet Trump is so bent on demonizing the current Iranian government that his animosity is projected back to millennia of history.\

\n\

Likewise, President Trump sees Iran as the key factor behind the instability in the region, conveniently foregoing the role of authoritarian regimes, usually backed by the United States (Iran itself during the time of the Shah, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, just to name a few). Even when Trump names Iran as complicit in the atrocities of Syria (“Among Iran’s most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria”), he conveniently leaves out the role of Russia, which has been following the very same policies as Iran. But Trump will not risk antagonizing Russia by mentioning them. His comments are rooted more in partisan warmongering than informed analysis.\

\n\

\9) Do Words Have Meaning?\\

\n\

As \Arundhati Roy once wrote\,\

\n\
\

\“In an enterprise as cynical as this one, it seems to matter hardly at all. Love is hate, north is south, peace is war.”\\

\
\n\

Unless the meaning of words is completely dissociated from them, how is one to read “Above all, America seeks peace, not war”? How can this be when the United States spends more on their military than the next 12 countries combined? How can this be when we alone keep military bases on he soil of more than a hundred other countries? How can this be when we are currently droning Muslims to death \in seven different countries\?\

\n\

Or is it that the words “peace” and “war” no longer have any meaning?\

\n\

\10) Peace in the Palestine/Israel Conflict\\

\n\

President Trump has \confidently stated\ that finding peace between Palestinians and Israelis may not be as hard as many others have posited. He is right about this element: it is not rocket science. It’s about the occupation. The \world community recognizes\ the occupation of the West Bank (and \de facto\ occupation of Gaza) as illegal and unjust. It is meaningless to speak of a peaceful solution when there are \hundreds of thousands\ of illegal Jewish settlers in the West Bank. The whole talk of a two-state solution is meaningless when there is no contiguous state left for the future Palestinian state.\

\n\

The key factors are known to all: borders of the future states, right of refugees to return, the fate of Jerusalem, equal rights for all under the law, the illegal settlements, security for both Israelis and Palestinians, etc. When the United States is arming Israel at a rate of \billions of dollars a year\ and providing blanket immunity at the Security Council it is hollow beyond belief to speak of achieving peace in this conflict.\

\n\

One has to be grateful for the change in President Trump’s tone. Words matter; tones matter. Yet one hopes that the reality behind words is also addressed so that our policies actually match the discourse of peace, justice, and security.\

\n","excerpt":"\

Challenging the notion of the “Muslim world,” what dedication to peace looks like, and the weight words — and actions — carry.\

\n","terms":[[2,897,328,113,83,70,603,74,148,48,259],[2,897,328,113,83,70,603,74,148,48,259],[2,897,328,113,83,70,603,74,148,48,259],[2,897,328,113,83,70,603,74,148,48,259],[2,897,328,113,83,70,603,74,148,48,259],[2,897,328,113,83,70,603,74,148,48,259],[2,897,328,113,83,70,603,74,148,48,259],[2,897,328,113,83,70,603,74,148,48,259],[2,897,328,113,83,70,603,74,148,48,259],[2,897,328,113,83,70,603,74,148,48,259],[2,897,328,113,83,70,603,74,148,48,259]],"metadata":{"additionalAuthors":[{"id":65,"slug":"omid-safi","description":"\

leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trips are open to everyone, from every country. More information is available at \Illuminated Tours\.\

\n\

He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.\

\n\

Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\; \Cambridge Companion to American Islam\; \Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam\; and \Memories of Muhammad\. His forthcoming books include \Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions\ and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.\

\n\

Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in \The New York Times\, \Newsweek\, \Washington Post\, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media. He can be reached regarding speaking engagements at \[email protected]\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center and weekly columnist for \On Being\. He is the editor of the volume \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\ and the author of \Memories of Muhammad\.\

\n","name":"Omid Safi","avatar":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/omid_safi_2012_media_photo_trees_background.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/omid-safi/","positionTitle":"Columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"ostadjaan","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}],"featuredMediaType":"featured_image","secondaryImage":0,"secondaryImageUrl":"","videoUrl":"","addPoetry":0,"poetry":"","newsletterUrl":"","prevPost":{"id":29773,"slug":"elizabeth-heaney-the-unseen-burden-of-a-veterans-grief","title":"The Unseen Burden of a Veteran's Grief","date":"2017-05-24 16:21:56","path":"/blog/elizabeth-heaney-the-unseen-burden-of-a-veterans-grief/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/elizabeth-heaney-the-unseen-burden-of-a-veterans-grief/","featuredMedia":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/3485794625_819e4e6842_o.jpg","author":{"id":1004,"slug":"elizabeth-heaney","description":"\

counsels service members, combat veterans, and military spouses and is the author of \The Honor Was Mine: A Look Inside the Struggles of Military Veterans\. She holds a master's degree and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.\

\n","guestDescription":"","name":"Elizabeth Heaney","avatar":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2017-Elizabeth-Heaney-bio.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"http://www.elizabethheaney.com/","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/elizabeth-heaney/","positionTitle":"guest contributor","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":29916,"slug":"courtney-martin-to-be-surprised-by-your-enemies-stay-sturdy-and-playful","title":"To Be Surprised by Your Enemies, Stay Sturdy and Playful","date":"2017-05-25 16:00:36","path":"/blog/courtney-martin-to-be-surprised-by-your-enemies-stay-sturdy-and-playful/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/courtney-martin-to-be-surprised-by-your-enemies-stay-sturdy-and-playful/","featuredMedia":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/GettyImages-500605972.jpg","author":{"id":3,"slug":"courtneymartin","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. Her newest book, \\The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream\\, explores how people are redefining the American dream (think more fulfillment, community, and fun, less debt, status, and stuff). Courtney is the co-founder of the \Solutions Journalism Network\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is also co-founder and partner at Valenti Martin Media and FRESH Speakers Bureau, and editor emeritus at Feministing.com.\

\n\

Courtney has authored/edited five books, including \\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\, and \\Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women\\. Her work appears frequently in \The New York Times\ and \The Washington Post\. Courtney has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor, and speaks widely at conferences and colleges. She is the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. She lives with her partner in life and work, John Cary, in Oakland, and their daughters Maya and Stella. Read more about her work at \www.courtneyemartin.com\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is the co-founder of the \\Solutions Journalism Network\\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is the author of six books including \\\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\\ and, most recently, \\\The New Better Off\\\.\\

\n","name":"Courtney E. Martin","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CourtneyMartin.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/courtneymartin/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"courtwrites","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"dateGmt":"2017-05-24T22:00:30","guid":{"rendered":"https://onbeing.org/?p=29857"},"modifiedGmt":"2017-05-25T15:59:07","status":"publish","type":"post","link":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-ten-things-im-pondering-as-the-president-visits-the-middle-east/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/GettyImages-686286110.jpg?fit=2000%2C1316&ssl=1","commentStatus":"open","pingStatus":"open","sticky":false,"template":"","format":"standard","meta":[],"featuredMediaCrops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""},"featuredMediaMeta":{"caption":"RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA - MAY 21 : (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - \"BANDAR ALGALOUD / SAUDI ROYAL COUNCIL / HANDOUT\" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump (R) speak during the U.S. - Gulf Summit at King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. (Photo by BANDAR ALGALOUD / SAUDI ROYAL COUNCIL / HANDOUT/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)","photographer":"Bandar Algaloud","photographerUrl":"http://www.gettyimages.com/license/686286110","license":"Getty Images","photoUrl":"http://www.gettyimages.com/license/686286110","imageLicenses":"© All Rights Reserved"},"path":"/blog/omid-safi-ten-things-im-pondering-as-the-president-visits-the-middle-east/","disqus":{"disqusUrl":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-ten-things-im-pondering-as-the-president-visits-the-middle-east/","disqusIdentifier":"29857 https://onbeing.org/?p=29857","disqusShortname":"on-being","disqusTitle":"Ten Things I’m Pondering as the President Visits the Middle East"},"jetpackRelatedPosts":[{"id":9149,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/is-all-morality-gone-condemning-isis-and-beyond-in-a-world-of-suffering/","urlMeta":{"origin":29857,"position":0},"title":"Is All Morality Gone? Condemning ISIS, and Beyond, in a World of Suffering","date":"October 6, 2014","format":false,"excerpt":"Invoking the words of Heschel, a Muslim scholar hearkens back to the prophetic tradition and asks what it means to be morally responsible in a world of ISIS and American empire?","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/14534287925_4f20e4cffe_o.jpg?fit=1200%2C803&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":7723,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/looking-at-trump-and-seeing-ourselves/","urlMeta":{"origin":29857,"position":1},"title":"Looking at Trump and Seeing Ourselves","date":"June 22, 2016","format":false,"excerpt":"It's easy to blame Donald Trump for the fear and anger in this election cycle; it's much harder to see the deep roots of prejudice in ourselves and in our culture. Parker Palmer seeks a political reckoning beyond the language "us" and "them," toward a language of shared responsibility.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/GettyImages-520532130.jpg?fit=1200%2C800&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":17813,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/discovering-not-uncovering-spirituality-muslim-women/","urlMeta":{"origin":29857,"position":2},"title":"Discovering (not Uncovering) the Spirituality of Muslim Women","date":"March 6, 2008","format":false,"excerpt":"It was almost midnight when I parked my car in front of the low plain building. Clearly there were no meaningful zoning regulations in this neighborhood where an Islamic elementary school backed onto the yard of an auto body shop. The Muslims were not complaining — after all, it was…","rel":"nofollow","context":"Similar post","img":{"src":"","width":0,"height":0},"classes":[]}],"headerMeta":[{"property":"title","content":"Ten Things I’m Pondering as the President Visits the Middle East"},{"property":"og:title","content":"Ten Things I’m Pondering as the President Visits the Middle East"},{"property":"og:url","content":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-ten-things-im-pondering-as-the-president-visits-the-middle-east/"},{"property":"og:site_name","content":"The On Being Project"},{"property":"og:type","content":"website"},{"property":"fb:app_id","content":"2007187426218054"},{"property":"twitter:card","content":"summary_large_image"},{"property":"twitter:title","content":"Ten Things I’m Pondering as the President Visits the Middle East"},{"property":"twitter:site","content":"@onbeing"},{"property":"description","content":"Omid Safi on the “Muslim world,” what dedication to peace looks like, and the weight words, and actions, carry."},{"property":"og:description","content":"Omid Safi on the “Muslim world,” what dedication to peace looks like, and the weight words, and actions, carry."},{"property":"twitter:description","content":"Omid Safi on the “Muslim world,” what dedication to peace looks like, and the weight words, and actions, carry."},{"property":"og:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/GettyImages-686286110.jpg?resize=1200,630"},{"property":"twitter:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/GettyImages-686286110.jpg?resize=1200,630"}],"headerTitle":"Ten Things I’m Pondering as the President Visits the Middle East | The On Being Project","searchExclude":false,"archiveFeaturedImage":{"id":0,"url":"","crops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""}}}},"30127":{"id":30127,"date":"2017-05-31T16:30:44","modified":"2017-05-31T17:01:38","slug":"omid-safi-the-sacred-path-is-the-one-were-on","author":65,"title":"The Sacred Path Is the One We’re On","content":"\

A few years ago, I went into the Shinto shrine of \Fushimi-Inari\ in the lovely city of Kyoto for the first time. It was a warm and humid summer visit to this thousand-year-old shrine, and a few of us made the pilgrimage together. A lovely spiritual guide led us through the experience. We walked mostly in silence, as one should, on this journey. We walked under thousands of torii Japanese gates that marked the path.\

\n\

After about an hour of walking, I kept wondering when we would get to the shrine itself. Eventually, a little bit tired and impatient, I turned to the guide and asked, “Where is the shrine?”\

\n\

He stopped, paused, and smiled in that knowing way that some guides do. With the most graceful motion, his right hand turned heavenward, he motioned his hand from right to left, pointing to everything in sight, and said: “Friend, the whole mountain \is\ the shrine.”\

\n\

It was one of those bolt-of-lightning realization kind of moments that has stayed with me even after all these years.\

\n\
\

\The whole mountain is the shrine\\.\\

\
\n\

It made me realize how linear my thinking had become, assuming that the path is there to bring us to a destination, and the “experience” would be had at the top of the destination. No, in this beautifully wise tradition, the whole mountain is sacred.\

\n\

The torii, the Japanese gate, is said to mark the threshold between the sacred and the profane. Yet the torii is famously open. Sacred on this side, sacred on that side. Sacred to the right, sacred to the left. And while the thousands of torii do mark the path that one is encouraged to stay on, there are also hundreds if not thousands of sideway paths into other shrines, other bamboo-filled forests to wander and reflect. Ultimately, all is sacred, all is illuminated.\

\n\

For the ones who walk on the path, it is all sacred.\

\n\

It was \\The Matrix\\ that had the memorable line:\

\n\
\

\“There’s a difference between \knowing the path and walking the path\.”\\

\
\n\

There are a number of signs on the path here that have stayed with me. There are reminders to “stay on the path.” And to “stay on the right path.” As a Muslim who has been raised with the \opening prayer of the Qur’an\, asking God to guide us to and \keep us on the right path\ (Qur’an 1:5-6), these words are especially resonant.\

\n\

There are hundreds of little shrines to the left, to the right, and on detours. Pilgrims step away, light a candle, fold their hands, and say a little prayer.\

\n\

The first time I was at the shrine there were tens of thousands of pilgrims there, making it hard at times to take a single step. There was a beauty to being part of the multitudes, but I also yearn for solitude and the open spaces. So for this second visit I went back before sunrise, at four in the morning. The mountain shrine is of course open, no tickets required. You just walk the path. There is little that is required in terms of ritual, other than walking and walking under the torii gates. They are open to the left, open above, open to the right. Walking through them, you see the shrine that is the whole mountain almost like a series of moving images. But you just focus on the path. One step at a time.\

\n\

How lovely would it be to treat one’s spiritual path like this: an awareness that the path is open, the path is everywhere, the path is the destination, and that what matters is to walk the path, be on the path. It is true, as the sages say, a journey of a thousand steps begins with one step.\

\n\

And so I walked and walked. Listening now to the song of the birds offering their own praise. Seeing now a lake so still that the whole cosmos is reflected in it. I saw perhaps ten people in the whole two-hour pilgrimage up the mountain. The cycle of solitude would be interrupted for a few breaths by meeting a fellow seeker. Are they there to pay respect to their ancestors? To be in the mountain shrine? For exercise? I did not ask, and they did not volunteer. We simply made eye contact, silent pilgrims all of us, a subtle bow of the head, shared a smile, and kept walking…they on their path, me on mine.\

\n\

Watching some of the pilgrims pause to pay respect to their ancestors also opened me up to how in our lives we are so disconnected from ancestors. If we pay attention, it is at most to parents, possibly grandparents. If we manage to rise above our own ego, we direct our compassion towards our babies. And yet how lovely to also \remember those whose love and sacrifice has brought us here\. We are who we are because somebody loved on us, because somebody sacrificed for us.\

\n\

Watching this cycle of birth and death and reverence also attunes one to a different sensitivity. I saw under my feet a large insect (\maybe a roach\) being carried away for food by a whole army of ants. One death becomes sustenance for others.\

\n\

The torii, the magnificent reddish-orange gates, go on and on. By some measures, there are tens of thousands of them marking the whole mountain. I paused at one point and saw that some of the torii gates themselves are in the process of decomposing. At least some of them are a cover over a tree. And the trees making up the torii gates are themselves participating in the same cycle of birth and death and return to the elements that we are. The gates marking the path decompose to the very soil that marks the path itself.\

\n\

And \so do we\.\

\n\

We are cosmic dust, spinning out of the Nothingness of pre-existence, breathed and birthed into existence by a Merciful God whose love necessitated creation. Here we stand for a few breaths, loving, yearning, seeking, finding, hoping, grieving, birthing, dreaming… and then our bodies go back into that same cosmic dust, our spirit/breaths go back to that same Loving Divine.\

\n\

So let us, friends, keep walking on the path.\

\n\

Let us stay on the path.\

\n\

Let us follow any path that brings us to the mountaintop where Moses met God, where Jesus went, where Muhammad went to behold the Divine.\

\n\

Let us remember those who loved us into being and those whom we love onto being.\

\n\

Let us stay on the path and recall that the whole mountain is the path.\

\n","excerpt":"\

After a meditative walk through a Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan, a reflection on recognizing the paths we’re on as a spiritual destination.\

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leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trips are open to everyone, from every country. More information is available at \Illuminated Tours\.\

\n\

He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.\

\n\

Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\; \Cambridge Companion to American Islam\; \Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam\; and \Memories of Muhammad\. His forthcoming books include \Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions\ and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.\

\n\

Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in \The New York Times\, \Newsweek\, \Washington Post\, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media. He can be reached regarding speaking engagements at \[email protected]\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center and weekly columnist for \On Being\. He is the editor of the volume \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\ and the author of \Memories of Muhammad\.\

\n","name":"Omid Safi","avatar":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/omid_safi_2012_media_photo_trees_background.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/omid-safi/","positionTitle":"Columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"ostadjaan","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}],"featuredMediaType":"featured_image","secondaryImage":0,"secondaryImageUrl":"","videoUrl":"","addPoetry":0,"poetry":"","newsletterUrl":"","prevPost":{"id":29956,"slug":"sharon-salzberg-love-doesnt-make-us-stupid-it-makes-us-brave","title":"Love Doesn't Make Us Stupid — It Makes Us Brave","date":"2017-05-31 15:00:38","path":"/blog/sharon-salzberg-love-doesnt-make-us-stupid-it-makes-us-brave/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/sharon-salzberg-love-doesnt-make-us-stupid-it-makes-us-brave/","featuredMedia":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/26606614115_ddaa5b60d8_k.jpg","author":{"id":103,"slug":"sharon-salzberg","description":"\

is a monthly columnist for \On Being\. She is a meditation teacher and the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is the author of many books, including \Love Your Enemies\, \Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation\, and \Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace\. Her most recent work is \\Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection\\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is a monthly columnist for \On Being\. She is a meditation teacher and the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is the author of many books, including \\Love Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier\\, \\Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation\\, and \\Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace\\. Her most recent work is \\Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection\\.\

\n","name":"Sharon Salzberg","avatar":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/SharonSalzbergHeadshot2015-1.jpeg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"http://www.sharonsalzberg.com/about/","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/sharon-salzberg/","positionTitle":"Columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"SharonSalzberg","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":30174,"slug":"courtney-martin-how-to-game-yourself-to-make-great-art","title":"How to Game Yourself to Make Great Art","date":"2017-06-01 15:23:18","path":"/blog/courtney-martin-how-to-game-yourself-to-make-great-art/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/courtney-martin-how-to-game-yourself-to-make-great-art/","featuredMedia":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/33721643384_4901826c2a_o.jpg","author":{"id":3,"slug":"courtneymartin","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. Her newest book, \\The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream\\, explores how people are redefining the American dream (think more fulfillment, community, and fun, less debt, status, and stuff). Courtney is the co-founder of the \Solutions Journalism Network\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is also co-founder and partner at Valenti Martin Media and FRESH Speakers Bureau, and editor emeritus at Feministing.com.\

\n\

Courtney has authored/edited five books, including \\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\, and \\Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women\\. Her work appears frequently in \The New York Times\ and \The Washington Post\. Courtney has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor, and speaks widely at conferences and colleges. She is the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. She lives with her partner in life and work, John Cary, in Oakland, and their daughters Maya and Stella. Read more about her work at \www.courtneyemartin.com\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is the co-founder of the \\Solutions Journalism Network\\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is the author of six books including \\\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\\ and, most recently, \\\The New Better Off\\\.\\

\n","name":"Courtney E. Martin","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CourtneyMartin.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/courtneymartin/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"courtwrites","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"dateGmt":"2017-05-31T21:30:44","guid":{"rendered":"https://onbeing.org/?p=30127"},"modifiedGmt":"2017-05-31T22:01:38","status":"publish","type":"post","link":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-the-sacred-path-is-the-one-were-on/","featuredMedia":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/8207545533_3aa4049050_o.jpg?fit=5000%2C3333&ssl=1","commentStatus":"open","pingStatus":"open","sticky":false,"template":"","format":"standard","meta":[],"featuredMediaCrops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""},"featuredMediaMeta":{"caption":"","photographer":"Freedom II Andres","photographerUrl":"https://www.flickr.com/photos/freedomiiphotography/8207545533/","license":"Flickr","photoUrl":"https://www.flickr.com/photos/freedomiiphotography/8207545533/","imageLicenses":"Attribution"},"path":"/blog/omid-safi-the-sacred-path-is-the-one-were-on/","disqus":{"disqusUrl":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-the-sacred-path-is-the-one-were-on/","disqusIdentifier":"30127 https://onbeing.org/?p=30127","disqusShortname":"on-being","disqusTitle":"The Sacred Path Is the One We’re On"},"jetpackRelatedPosts":[{"id":30602,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/trent-gilliss-what-if-the-connection-we-crave-is-right-in-front-of-us/","urlMeta":{"origin":30127,"position":0},"title":"What if the Connection We Crave Is Right in Front of Us?","date":"June 3, 2017","format":false,"excerpt":"Omid on recognizing that the path we're on is the right one; Courtney with mental trickery to uncover our creative confidence; and Turkish-American poet Adnan Onart on finding the kinship of faith during Ramadan — in a Dunkin Donuts.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/15240307125_41933f9f8a_o.jpg?fit=1200%2C763&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":8206,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/ripening-of-love-an-ode-to-rumi-on-the-anniversary-of-his-death/","urlMeta":{"origin":30127,"position":1},"title":"Ripening of Love: An Ode to Rumi on the Anniversary of His Death","date":"December 17, 2015","format":false,"excerpt":"More than 800 years later, the great Sufi mystic Rumi continues to influence millions. Omid Safi marvels at the unifying and ripening power of Rumi's wisdom and grace through his poetry and his presence.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/o-RUMI-POET-facebook.jpg?fit=1200%2C600&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":25591,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/calling-on-god-as-a-friend/","urlMeta":{"origin":30127,"position":2},"title":"Calling on God as a Friend","date":"February 23, 2017","format":false,"excerpt":"What if our relationship with God were more long, tender, even humorous?","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/GettyImages-123112481.jpg?fit=1200%2C759&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]}],"headerMeta":[{"property":"title","content":"The Sacred Path Is the One We’re On"},{"property":"og:title","content":"The Sacred Path Is the One We’re On"},{"property":"og:url","content":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-the-sacred-path-is-the-one-were-on/"},{"property":"og:site_name","content":"The On Being Project"},{"property":"og:type","content":"website"},{"property":"fb:app_id","content":"2007187426218054"},{"property":"twitter:card","content":"summary_large_image"},{"property":"twitter:title","content":"The Sacred Path Is the One We’re On"},{"property":"twitter:site","content":"@onbeing"},{"property":"description","content":"After a meditative walk through a Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan, a reflection on recognizing the paths we're on as a spiritual destination."},{"property":"og:description","content":"After a meditative walk through a Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan, a reflection on recognizing the paths we're on as a spiritual destination."},{"property":"twitter:description","content":"After a meditative walk through a Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan, a reflection on recognizing the paths we're on as a spiritual destination."},{"property":"og:image","content":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/8207545533_3aa4049050_o.jpg?resize=1200,630"},{"property":"twitter:image","content":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/8207545533_3aa4049050_o.jpg?resize=1200,630"}],"headerTitle":"The Sacred Path Is the One We’re On | The On Being Project","searchExclude":false,"archiveFeaturedImage":{"id":0,"url":"","crops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""}}}},"30602":{"id":30602,"date":"2017-06-03T09:00:09","modified":"2018-04-30T09:56:07","slug":"trent-gilliss-what-if-the-connection-we-crave-is-right-in-front-of-us","author":2,"title":"What if the Connection We Crave Is Right in Front of Us?","content":"\

This week, we release the second season of \Creating Our Own Lives\ (a.k.a. \COOL\). You can \listen to a preview here\ and \subscribe to the podcast here\.\

\n\

\\

\n\

We’ve also been commissioning some incredibly talented artists and brilliant thinkers to illustrate and write about \messy human realities and how they connect to grand religious ideas\. I’d encourage you to leaf through our portfolio and see which ones speak to you. In the meantime, I’ll direct your attention to our latest feature; it epitomizes the grittiness and aspiration of this project.\

\n\

\Public Theology Reimagined\\

\n\
\\\"A\\
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\n\

\Abigail Pogrebin | \\\Knowing Is Belonging\\\
\nI don’t know about you, but Abby’s opening line, “I am not an easy joiner,” deeply resonates. So many people nowadays live frantic, hectic lives. Adding another commitment to our schedules — joining a book club, working at the local food shelf, adding another social media space — can feel overwhelming. But she experienced something different once she delved into her religious heritage: a profound kinship that doesn’t deplete but revives:\

\n\
\

\“Knowing is belonging, but it is also a call to activate every one of those seemingly random symbols, every line of centuries-old liturgy, every blessing. Belonging, for me, is not passive camaraderie. There’s some kind of electrical current charging through it.”\\

\
\n\

\A Word from Our Columnists\\

\n\
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\n\

\Omid Safi | \\\The Sacred Path Is The One We’re On\\\

\n\
\

\“The torii, the Japanese gate, is said to mark the threshold between the sacred and the profane. Yet the torii is famously open. Sacred on this side, sacred on that side. Sacred to the right, sacred to the left. And while the thousands of torii do mark the path that one is encouraged to stay on, there are also hundreds if not thousands of sideway paths into other shrines, other bamboo-filled forests to wander and reflect. Ultimately, all is sacred, all is illuminated. For the ones who walk on the path, it is all sacred.”\\

\
\n\

We often see what’s immediately before us. Our view becomes linear, as Omid observed while walking through a Shinto shrine in Kyoto, Japan. What if we recognized the path is part of the destination?\

\n\
\\\\
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\
\n\

\Courtney Martin | \\\How To Game Yourself To Make Great Art\\\
\nWhen I first read this piece, I thought of the Nike slogan, “Just do it.” But how do you do those things that scare you, and still rise to your best self? Courtney explains how: by duping your mind into feeling confident until you actually are:\

\n\
\

\“If I can trick myself into thinking the stakes are lower than they really are, then I can get out of my own way emotionally and let my gift flow more freely. There’s a directness, a playful quality, a delight, that can exist within the context of this game; it isn’t weighed down with all the self-seriousness of the artist trying to make something worthy of the world.”\\

\
\n\
\\\\
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\n\

\Parker Palmer | \\\The Vitality of Diversity\\\

\n\
\

\“Sartre’s definition of hell is a reach too far for me. My hell is much more specific. It’s a place populated exclusively by straight white males over 50 who have college degrees and financial security — which is to say, people like me. For me, variety is more, much more, than the spice of life. It’s a basic ingredient of a life lived fully and well.”\\

\
\n\

Parker follows up his bold opening by drawing four parallels between biodiversity and social diversity. A worthwhile read for this time.\

\n\

\The Poetry Radio Project\\

\n\
\\\\
\\\\\
\
\n\

\Adnan Onart | \\\Ramadan in Dunkin Donuts\\\
\nWe’re in the season of Ramadan, and every year I pull up this magical reading of a poem by the Turkish-American poet Adnan Onart, in which he shares a touching moment between two Muslim men in a donut shop in the days after 9/11.\

\n\

As always, I welcome all feedback, constructive or otherwise. I can handle it. You can reach me at \[email protected]\ or via Twitter at \@trentgilliss\.\

\n\

May the wind always be at your back.\
\n\Trent\\

\n","excerpt":"\

Omid on recognizing that the path we’re on is the right one; Courtney with mental trickery to uncover our creative confidence; and Turkish-American poet Adnan Onart on finding the kinship of faith during Ramadan — in a Dunkin Donuts.\

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was the founding executive editor of On Being Studios.\

\n","guestDescription":"","name":"Trent T. Gilliss","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bio-trentgilliss_0.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/trent-gilliss/","positionTitle":"founding executive editor of On Being Studios","hometown":"Minneapolis","postalZipCode":"55405","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"@TrentGilliss","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}],"featuredMediaType":"featured_image","secondaryImage":0,"secondaryImageUrl":"","videoUrl":"","addPoetry":0,"poetry":"","newsletterUrl":"http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=c4ce343e5cb83e8b16dffbf08&id=a948c2cdf0&e=d977cfd1e3","prevPost":{"id":29948,"slug":"christena-cleveland-true-connection-requires-our-bodies-and-our-minds","title":"True Connection Requires Our Bodies and Our Minds","date":"2017-06-02 16:40:26","path":"/blog/christena-cleveland-true-connection-requires-our-bodies-and-our-minds/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/christena-cleveland-true-connection-requires-our-bodies-and-our-minds/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/GettyImages-688136634.jpg","author":{"id":1009,"slug":"christena_cleveland","description":"\

is a social psychologist, public theologian, author and professor. She teaches at Duke University’s Divinity School and is the author of \Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is a social psychologist, public theologian, author and professor. She teaches at Duke University’s Divinity School and is the author of \Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart\.\

\n","name":"Christena Cleveland","avatar":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/cleveland.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"http://www.christenacleveland.com/","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/christena_cleveland/","positionTitle":"Contributing Editor","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"@CSCleve","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":30040,"slug":"lyndsey-stonebridge-the-shape-of-totalitarianism-and-the-meaning-of-exile-three-lessons-from-hannah-arendt","title":"The Shape of Totalitarianism and the Meaning of Exile: Three Lessons from Hannah Arendt","date":"2017-06-05 16:30:47","path":"/blog/lyndsey-stonebridge-the-shape-of-totalitarianism-and-the-meaning-of-exile-three-lessons-from-hannah-arendt/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/lyndsey-stonebridge-the-shape-of-totalitarianism-and-the-meaning-of-exile-three-lessons-from-hannah-arendt/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/GettyImages-511968628.jpg","author":{"id":1002,"slug":"lyndsey-stonebridge","description":"\

is a professor of modern literature and history at the University of East Anglia in Norfolk, England. She’s the author of \\The Judicial Imagination: Writing after Nuremberg\\ as well as the essay \“Thinking Without Banisters”\ for \Jewish Quarterly\ magazine.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is a professor of modern literature and history at the University of East Anglia in Norfolk, England. She’s the author of \\The Judicial Imagination: Writing after Nuremberg\\ as well as the essay \“Thinking Without Banisters”\ for \Jewish Quarterly\ magazine.\

\n","name":"Lyndsey Stonebridge","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/2017-Lyndsey-Stonebridge-bio.jpg?resize=139%2C139&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"https://www.uea.ac.uk/literature/people/profile/l-stonebridge","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/lyndsey-stonebridge/","positionTitle":"contributing editor","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"LyndseyStonebri","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"dateGmt":"2017-06-03T14:00:09","guid":{"rendered":"https://onbeing.org/?p=30602"},"modifiedGmt":"2018-04-30T15:56:07","status":"publish","type":"post","link":"https://onbeing.org/blog/trent-gilliss-what-if-the-connection-we-crave-is-right-in-front-of-us/","featuredMedia":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/15240307125_41933f9f8a_o.jpg?fit=4797%2C3051&ssl=1","commentStatus":"open","pingStatus":"open","sticky":false,"template":"","format":"standard","meta":[],"featuredMediaCrops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""},"featuredMediaMeta":{"caption":"","photographer":"Deveion Acker","photographerUrl":"https://www.flickr.com/photos/draphotography/15240307125/","license":"Flickr","photoUrl":"https://www.flickr.com/photos/draphotography/15240307125/","imageLicenses":"Attribution-NonCommercial"},"path":"/blog/trent-gilliss-what-if-the-connection-we-crave-is-right-in-front-of-us/","disqus":{"disqusUrl":"https://onbeing.org/blog/trent-gilliss-what-if-the-connection-we-crave-is-right-in-front-of-us/","disqusIdentifier":"30602 https://onbeing.org/?p=30602","disqusShortname":"on-being","disqusTitle":"What if the Connection We Crave Is Right in Front of Us?"},"jetpackRelatedPosts":[{"id":7813,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/how-do-we-nurture-the-potentialities-of-creating-our-own-lives-on-running-motherhood-sexuality-and-the-treasures-we-all-hold-within/","urlMeta":{"origin":30602,"position":0},"title":"How Do We Nurture the Potentialities of Creating Our Own Lives? 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Plus, our executive editor selects some of the most intriguing reads on female sex positivity, evolving definitions of motherhood, democracy's doctors, and the cultural treasures binding us together.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/14444569508_ea7f25ff4c_o.jpg?fit=1200%2C675&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":9203,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/yo-yo-ma-preview-music-at-loring-park-gratitude-for-teachers-reclaiming-time-words-from-muir-borges-and-a-french-song/","urlMeta":{"origin":30602,"position":1},"title":"Yo-Yo Ma Preview; Music at Loring Park; Gratitude for Teachers; Reclaiming Time; Words from Muir, Borges, & Merton; And a French Song","date":"September 4, 2014","format":false,"excerpt":"Our executive editor pulls together a mix of live events, sneak previews, and words from some of our favorite thinkers and columnists who make this world a better place to become.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/yoyoma_lead.jpg?fit=1200%2C800&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":9144,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/spirituality-in-the-everyday-letters-to-the-living-dont-domesticate-our-prophets-days-of-awe-taking-in-criticism/","urlMeta":{"origin":30602,"position":2},"title":"Spirituality in the Everyday; Letters to the Living; Don't Domesticate Our Prophets; Days of Awe; Taking in Criticism","date":"October 9, 2014","format":false,"excerpt":"Highlights of some of the most heartening work our executive editor has read this past week, including Tara Mohr's advice to women on taking in criticism, seeing the sacred in the mundane, engaging our prophets, and a behind-the-scenes glimpse into photos we chose.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/6344762344_b2eda46516_o-2.jpg?fit=800%2C533&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]}],"headerMeta":[{"property":"title","content":"What if the Connection We Crave Is Right in Front of Us?"},{"property":"og:title","content":"What if the Connection We Crave Is Right in Front of Us?"},{"property":"og:url","content":"https://onbeing.org/blog/trent-gilliss-what-if-the-connection-we-crave-is-right-in-front-of-us/"},{"property":"og:site_name","content":"The On Being Project"},{"property":"og:type","content":"website"},{"property":"fb:app_id","content":"2007187426218054"},{"property":"twitter:card","content":"summary_large_image"},{"property":"twitter:title","content":"What if the Connection We Crave Is Right in Front of Us?"},{"property":"twitter:site","content":"@onbeing"},{"property":"description","content":"Recognizing the path we're on; the mental trickery to uncover our creative confidence; and a Turkish-American poet on celebrating Ramadan in Dunkin' Donuts"},{"property":"og:description","content":"Recognizing the path we're on; the mental trickery to uncover our creative confidence; and a Turkish-American poet on celebrating Ramadan in Dunkin' Donuts"},{"property":"twitter:description","content":"Recognizing the path we're on; the mental trickery to uncover our creative confidence; and a Turkish-American poet on celebrating Ramadan in Dunkin' Donuts"},{"property":"og:image","content":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/15240307125_41933f9f8a_o.jpg?resize=1200,630"},{"property":"twitter:image","content":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/15240307125_41933f9f8a_o.jpg?resize=1200,630"}],"headerTitle":"What if the Connection We Crave Is Right in Front of Us? | The On Being Project","searchExclude":false,"archiveFeaturedImage":{"id":0,"url":"","crops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""}}}},"30627":{"id":30627,"date":"2017-06-07T16:39:30","modified":"2017-06-07T16:39:30","slug":"omid-safi-our-bodies-are-means-by-which-we-live-out-our-faith","author":65,"title":"Our Bodies Are Means By Which We Live Out Our Faith","content":"\

The holy and blessed month of Ramadan is upon us. It’s a holy month for Muslims: we work on inner purification and discipline, as well as an embodied practice of empathy and justice, identifying with those for whom abstaining from food is not a choice but a daily reality.\

\n\

It is a month of celebration for us. It may seem strange to celebrate not eating and not drinking (during the daytime), but the month is a joyous time: it is when the Qur’anic revelation began and a highlight of the year for Muslims. So much more so that when the month is over, there are some sweetly heartbreaking songs to say goodbye to the queen of months till next year (\veda’, veda’, ya shahr-e Ramzan:\ “Goodbye, Goodbye, oh blessed month of Ramadan”).\

\n\

One of the first pieces of public writing I ever did was called \“A Date Omelette for Ramadan,”\ written in memory of my childhood when my mother (Pouran Safi) cooked date omelets for us. We would sit in the kitchen, listening for the distinctive \Iranian call to prayer\ (\azan/adhan\) recited by Moazzenzadeh. No one could have been named more properly; his family name meant “the child of the reciter of the call to prayer.” The call to prayer would be followed by the prayer calling on God by the incomparable vocalist Mohammadreza Shajarian. This was called the \“Rabbana” prayer\ (“Our Lord”), which brought together many of the Qur’anic verses that begin with the phrase “Our Lord.” Shajarian went on to become the most beloved classical vocalist in Iran, but it was his \Rabbana\ prayer that would make him beloved to Iranians.\

\n\

In my childhood it wasn’t Ramadan (or \Ramazan\, to Turkish/Persian/Urdu speakers) unless we heard the prayer recited by Shajarian. (In the aftermath of the Iranian revolution, the \Iranian government\ would periodically ban this much beloved prayer.) The call to prayer would be following by a mystical poem from Rumi calling on the faithful to close down the mouth (in the head) and instead open up the heart and soul.\

\n\

It is well known that Muslims abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset. After the sunset, there would be a joyous return to these celebrations, often in the contexts of family celebrations. Children, the elderly, pregnant and nursing women, and the sick are not required to fast. Ramadan was a part of my life for about 30 years, from when I was a child to an adult. I fasted in college and fasted as a young father. I fasted alone and fasted with my family. One of the sweet memories of life was in college when my \professor of Arabic\, Shawkat Toorawa, would come to pick us up and take us to Waffle House for the morning meal, well before sunrise. He may not have known, but that act of living faith in community was so important to me at a time that I was forming my own identity as a person of faith.\

\n\

A few years later I was diagnosed with diabetes. Along with that diagnosis has come the need to pay much closer attention to my blood sugar and be on guard against the rise and fall of my blood sugar. Based on the advice of both my physicians and religious guides, I was told to avoid fasting. Indeed, many people with chronic sickness are exempt.\

\n\

Some of my Muslim friends joked with me, “Omid, you’re so lucky. You don’t need to fast.” Little did they know how much I miss fasting. I miss getting up for meals before sunrise, seeing my body as a means by which I live out my faith, and taking part in the communal breaking of the fast. I do “break fast” with some friends, but I know that the hunger and thirst they have experienced is one that I have not. Yes, I do feel like I am missing out on something, on the communal and embodied experience of the fast.\

\n\

And yet I work to not have guilt take away from my own experience of this sacred month. This body of mine, this chubby, brown, furry, soft body of mine is a gift from God and the only body I’ll be given in this existence. It too is me, it is mine, I am it. I am more than this body, but I am also this body. And we were sent as a mercy to creation — not to curse any of it. Not even my own body that has a hard time processing sugar.\

\n\

So being unable to fast physically from food and drink, I take the fast inward with me. This inward fast is one that all Muslims do and I focus on it.\

\n\

My eyes fast — from glancing at what I should not — vowing to bring compassion to my glances.\

\n\

My ears fast — from listening to what I should not — vowing to listen beautifully and patiently to those around me.\

\n\

My tongue fasts — from speaking unkind words, from gossiping — vowing to speak words of love, words of tenderness.\

\n\

My touch fasts — from a touch that would grab and desire to possess — vowing instead to bring comfort.\

\n\

My heart fasts — from anger, lust, greed — vowing to be a seat for God’s breath, Divine spirit.\

\n\

Ramadan Mubarak, friends.\

\n\

May this fast be blessed for all who fast and cannot fast.\

\n\

May there be a cleansing and purifying fast for the body, the eyes, the ears, the tongue, the touch, the heart, the soul.\

\n","excerpt":"\

After a medical condition changed the way he observes Ramadan, Omid reflects on what he misses about the embodied experience of the fast — and the inner, spiritual fast he takes on now to live out the holy season.\

\n","terms":[[2,5628,113,1995,70,435],[2,5628,113,1995,70,435],[2,5628,113,1995,70,435],[2,5628,113,1995,70,435],[2,5628,113,1995,70,435],[2,5628,113,1995,70,435]],"metadata":{"additionalAuthors":[{"id":65,"slug":"omid-safi","description":"\

leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trips are open to everyone, from every country. More information is available at \Illuminated Tours\.\

\n\

He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.\

\n\

Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\; \Cambridge Companion to American Islam\; \Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam\; and \Memories of Muhammad\. His forthcoming books include \Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions\ and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.\

\n\

Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in \The New York Times\, \Newsweek\, \Washington Post\, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media. He can be reached regarding speaking engagements at \[email protected]\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center and weekly columnist for \On Being\. He is the editor of the volume \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\ and the author of \Memories of Muhammad\.\

\n","name":"Omid Safi","avatar":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/omid_safi_2012_media_photo_trees_background.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/omid-safi/","positionTitle":"Columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"ostadjaan","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}],"featuredMediaType":"featured_image","secondaryImage":0,"secondaryImageUrl":"","videoUrl":"","addPoetry":0,"poetry":"","newsletterUrl":"","prevPost":{"id":30473,"slug":"parker-palmer-walt-whitmans-advice-for-a-kind-and-authentic-life","title":"Walt Whitman's Advice for a Kind and Authentic Life","date":"2017-06-06 16:12:44","path":"/blog/parker-palmer-walt-whitmans-advice-for-a-kind-and-authentic-life/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/parker-palmer-walt-whitmans-advice-for-a-kind-and-authentic-life/","featuredMedia":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/13709074535_ed175ca59f_o-1.jpg","author":{"id":4,"slug":"parker-j-palmer","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. He is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the \Center for Courage & Renewal\. His books include \\A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life\\, and \\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\\. His book \\On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old\\ will be published in June.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is founder and senior partner of the \\Center for Courage & Renewal\\. His books include \\\Healing the Heart of Democracy\\\, \\\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\, \\\and the forthcoming, \On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, Getting Old\.\

\n","name":"Parker J. Palmer","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/•Parker-J.-Palmer-Photo—Sept.-2017.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker_Palmer","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/parker-j-palmer/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"ParkerJPalmer","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":30725,"slug":"courtney-martin-the-gifts-we-give-the-gifts-we-are","title":"The Gifts We Give, The Gifts We Are","date":"2017-06-08 16:48:10","path":"/blog/courtney-martin-the-gifts-we-give-the-gifts-we-are/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/courtney-martin-the-gifts-we-give-the-gifts-we-are/","featuredMedia":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/11282726733_8b51ac98ec_o.jpg","author":{"id":3,"slug":"courtneymartin","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. Her newest book, \\The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream\\, explores how people are redefining the American dream (think more fulfillment, community, and fun, less debt, status, and stuff). Courtney is the co-founder of the \Solutions Journalism Network\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is also co-founder and partner at Valenti Martin Media and FRESH Speakers Bureau, and editor emeritus at Feministing.com.\

\n\

Courtney has authored/edited five books, including \\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\, and \\Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women\\. Her work appears frequently in \The New York Times\ and \The Washington Post\. Courtney has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor, and speaks widely at conferences and colleges. She is the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. She lives with her partner in life and work, John Cary, in Oakland, and their daughters Maya and Stella. Read more about her work at \www.courtneyemartin.com\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is the co-founder of the \\Solutions Journalism Network\\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is the author of six books including \\\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\\ and, most recently, \\\The New Better Off\\\.\\

\n","name":"Courtney E. Martin","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CourtneyMartin.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/courtneymartin/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"courtwrites","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"dateGmt":"2017-06-07T21:39:30","guid":{"rendered":"https://onbeing.org/?p=30627"},"modifiedGmt":"2017-06-07T21:39:30","status":"publish","type":"post","link":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-our-bodies-are-means-by-which-we-live-out-our-faith/","featuredMedia":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GettyImages-545183126.jpg?fit=5472%2C3648&ssl=1","commentStatus":"open","pingStatus":"open","sticky":false,"template":"","format":"standard","meta":[],"featuredMediaCrops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""},"featuredMediaMeta":{"caption":"BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 06: Members of the Somali community share tea as they picnic and celebrate the festival of Eid in Small Heath Park on July 6, 2016 in Birmingham, England. Up to 70,000 people congregated in Small Heath Park to celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid which marks the end of 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. 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She finds unexpected kinship in the rhythms of the culture and its people, reflecting all that is human: piety and gaiety, charity and ostentation, sacrifice and indulgence.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/GettyImages-77320213.jpg?fit=1200%2C856&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":9301,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/the-nourishment-of-ramadan-isnt-about-pushing-food-away/","urlMeta":{"origin":30627,"position":1},"title":"The Nourishment of Ramadan Isn't About Pushing Food Away","date":"July 1, 2014","format":false,"excerpt":"With all the focus on fasting, a Muslim man from Atlanta tells us that the sustenance of Islam's holiest month lies in focusing on letting God in.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/9444130421_fdc6d1f2ee_o.jpg?fit=807%2C537&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":32188,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-the-power-of-being-seen-for-who-we-are/","urlMeta":{"origin":30627,"position":2},"title":"The Power of Being Seen for Who We Are","date":"July 5, 2017","format":false,"excerpt":"How can we nurture our identity and faith if we don't feel recognized for who we are? A reflection on yearning for a community that truly sees us.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/GettyImages-628832450.jpg?fit=1200%2C800&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]}],"headerMeta":[{"property":"title","content":"Our Bodies Are Means By Which We Live Out Our Faith"},{"property":"og:title","content":"Our Bodies Are Means By Which We Live Out Our Faith"},{"property":"og:url","content":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-our-bodies-are-means-by-which-we-live-out-our-faith/"},{"property":"og:site_name","content":"The On Being Project"},{"property":"og:type","content":"website"},{"property":"fb:app_id","content":"2007187426218054"},{"property":"twitter:card","content":"summary_large_image"},{"property":"twitter:title","content":"Our Bodies Are Means By Which We Live Out Our Faith"},{"property":"twitter:site","content":"@onbeing"},{"property":"description","content":"After a medical condition changes how he observes Ramadan, Omid Safi reflects on the inner, spiritual fast he takes on now to live out the holy season."},{"property":"og:description","content":"After a medical condition changes how he observes Ramadan, Omid Safi reflects on the inner, spiritual fast he takes on now to live out the holy season."},{"property":"twitter:description","content":"After a medical condition changes how he observes Ramadan, Omid Safi reflects on the inner, spiritual fast he takes on now to live out the holy season."},{"property":"og:image","content":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GettyImages-545183126.jpg?resize=1200,630"},{"property":"twitter:image","content":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GettyImages-545183126.jpg?resize=1200,630"}],"headerTitle":"Our Bodies Are Means By Which We Live Out Our Faith | The On Being Project","searchExclude":false,"archiveFeaturedImage":{"id":0,"url":"","crops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""}}}},"31038":{"id":31038,"date":"2017-06-16T16:52:09","modified":"2017-06-16T17:23:26","slug":"mohammed-fairouz-we-need-to-stop-asking-muslims-to-atone-for-the-crimes-of-violent-extremists","author":696,"title":"We Need to Stop Asking Muslims to Atone for the Crimes of Violent Extremists","content":"\

As the United States endures a \day of coast-to-coast anti-Muslim rallies\ fueled by a fear that “Sharia law” is taking over the law of the land, I am preparing to return to the U.K. to install one of my recorded works in St. Ann’s Square in Manchester.\

\n\

The work is modeled on the \\azan\\, the Islamic call to prayer. I conceived of it as a celebration of a sonic ritual that punctuates the lives of over 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide, a secular call to meditation or prayer. One of the most beautiful things about the \azan\ is how the musical overtones of the human voice, such a fragile instrument, can cut through the cacophony and noise of our day-to-day muddle.\

\n\

We planned all of this years before the attacks with no way of knowing that we would be forced to realize our art in a space that has been transformed into a nexus of mourning, a place filled with the scent of floral tributes and heavy with the somber prayers for the slaughtered innocent.\

\n\

Suddenly, just as so many of our political debates about solving our serious issues as a nation disintegrated into security narratives after being hijacked by explosive attacks, my collaborators at the Manchester International Festival and I had to consider every action taken and every word uttered to the media. For every public appearance and every private gathering, we had to reconsider everything and account for a peace that was ruptured by violent savagery.\

\n\

Other composers were also commissioned. If any of them had found themselves in the same situation, me and my colleagues at the festival would have none of the concerns that bedevil the Muslim artists represented. In my case, I have to contend with the depressing notion that I was not going to be able to share a pure sonic ritual that I intended as tender song and somber celebration. This sonic ritual, rooted in vocalizations that span over an millennium and a half, would now be tainted by media overeager to couple it with the connotations of violent destruction. Just like that, a potentially communal moment of meditation would be hijacked by the national security narrative. And all the while, we’d continue seeing commentary after commentary about how we have to accept that Islam is a radical faith and that I am, by default, as tainted as my Azan.\

\n\

A recent article in the\ Guardian\ posited that Britain needs to be “less sensitive” about coupling Islam with violence. People who I thought were my friends have told me that I have my “head in the sand” if I don’t recognize that these acts of terrorism are “Islamic.” They don’t realize what we are clearly witnessing: the Islamization of radical violence and not the radicalization of Islam.\

\n\

This is demonstratively true. I know that facts are unfashionable in this gut-driven age of ours, but they remain facts and they have a tendency to be stubborn even in the face of massive miscarriages of representation in the media. Here’s a chart from \Princeton University’s \Loonwatch\\ as compiled from FBI data.\

\n\
\\"Terrorist\
\Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Soil by Group, from 1980 to 2005, According to FBI Database\\\ (\Princeton University / Loonwatch\ / © All Rights Reserved) \\\
\
\n\

Defining terrorism in the most liberal way still produces numbers that don’t jibe with public perception. And \this study\ shows a discrepancy between the frequency of attacks perpetrated by Muslims versus a general survey of media response that is truly staggering.\

\n\

These statistics allow for leniency. In strict terms, terrorists are non-state actors who, with or without state sponsorship, seek to destabilize nations through tactics of intimidation and violence.\

\n\

President Trump may have insisted that Omar Mateen, who massacred many, including someone in my circle of friends, was born “in Afghan,” but that doesn’t change the fact that Mateen was born in the very same town that Donald Trump was born in. What Mateen did is indefensible, but labeling his actions as “terrorism” accomplishes a double negative in which we turn our backs to one problem while also exacerbating another problem.\

\n\

Mateen was as much of an American as James Hodgkinson. Hodgkinson just managed to launch an actual lethal assault on the government of the United States, and yet \\The\ \New York Times\ describes him as a “lone shooter.”\ Adam Lanza, the man who showed us \butchery in Sandy Hook Elementary School\, was not described as a terrorist by anyone unless they were trying to make a point of the double standard.\

\n\

To be clear, the insistence of Islamizing radical violence is much more stubborn than simply reserving the moniker of “terrorist” to be applied as soon as a violent act is discovered to have been committed by someone of a Muslim background. I remember when, in 2011, people spoke of being “horrified” en masse by the very concept of a “Christian terrorist.” But that’s exactly the title that \Anders Behring Breivik\ bestowed on himself right after he killed 77 people in cold blood.\

\n\

That friend of mine I mentioned earlier was happy to go online and suggest that I was in denial while he seemed to be unaware, or himself in denial of, the facts. I’ve seen this sort of exchange become so widespread in the corridors of social media that I felt moved to confront it. Our moment in history is too dangerous for anyone engaged in social and political discourse to simply ignore reality. My friends (the aforementioned is far from a rare occurrence on my walls and in my inboxes) are entitled to their opinions, but they are certainly not entitled to their own facts. They must get their heads out of the sand and see the world for what it is.\

\n\

My latest opera gives a lyrically dramatic voice to one of the clearest leaders of our age: Benazir Bhutto. As I compose it, I cannot help but think back to the iconic moment in 1989 when the young Pakistani Prime Minister \stood before Congress and declared\:\

\n\
\

\ “As a representative of the young, let me be viewed as one of a new generation of leaders unshackled by the artificial constraints and irrational hatreds of the past. \\

\n\

\As a representative of women, let my message be to them, from the villages of Baluchistan to the universities of Lahore, Paris and Boston: ‘Yes, you can.’ \\

\n\

\As an adherent of Islam . . . let my message be about a compassionate and tolerant religion, teaching hard work and family values under a benevolent God, for that is the true Islam which we cherish. \\

\n\

\Everywhere, the sun is setting on the day of the dictator.”\\

\
\n\

Were she alive today, Bhutto would weep to see the Oval Office occupied by a man who openly applauds dictators, and she’d balk at the notion that, all these decades after she delivered a message of hope to Congress, the likes of Ayaan Hirsi Ali \would be given the opportunity to speak with U.S. lawmakers\.\

\n\

Back in 2010, Ayaan Hirsi Ali asked the question, “Why are Muslims so sensitive?” While she may fashion herself a feminist, liberal thinker, I fail to see the place that her impassioned rhetoric of hate informing a singularly negative view towards Muslims has in this. She is none of those things. And the bigoted argument she presented following her title is proof of that.\

\n\

Does it occur to her that Mayor Sadiq Khan takes more grief than he needs to take and more arbitrary scrutiny than other mayors of London have taken? He’s endured this throughout his political career, well before Donald Trump volleyed his verbal trash-talk transatlantically. Sadiq Khan embodies the textbook definition of thick skin, not the mark of needless sensitivity.\

\n\

While a Muslim mayor is securing the lives and unity of one of the largest cities in the Western sphere, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is being brought out from the lunatic fringe winter and let into the house only to incite faction and violence.\

\n\

The good, thoughtful, liberal, and intelligent organizers in the U.K. were forced to accept that I would be treated differently because of my background and nothing else. They never signed up for that. They never would. I truly believe that they would be happier if they could approach my work, which is fittingly somber in tone, in the same spirit as all the other commissioned composers. As much as they would like to, they simply don’t have that option. They are taking great and meticulous pains to be infinitely more clear when describing my work to the press than they would with others. Given the general trends in the media that I’ve outlined above, who could possibly blame them?\

\n\
\\
\Members of the Manchester Dawoodi Bohra Muslim Community pay their respects to victims of the Manchester attack in St Ann’s Square on May 24, 2017 in Manchester, England. \\\(\Christopher Furlong\ / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved) \\\
\
\n\

Muslims aren’t inherently “hypersensitive.” Half of the defensive tweets from the current president of the United States should be proof enough of that. One yearns to tell Ayaan Hirsi Ali that “hypersensitivity” is not the sole practice of Muslims. If she possessed the qualities of a true expert, then she’d be able to see the world, and its 1.8 billion Muslims, as the diverse, complex, and contrapuntal spectrum of humanity that it is.\

\n\

The world is often so complex that we lack the art to decipher what lies in the layers. But some things really are simple. Here’s why it’s important to uncouple Islamic ways of life from violence: because we are keen on surviving. We are also keen on the survival of the greater human family.\

\n\

Having billions of people in Muslim-majority nations as well as Western ones goaded into civilizational conflict isn’t a great survival tactic.\

\n\

Let’s cut right to it: I’m 31 years old. I want us to have a future. All of us. Not just Muslims. Muslims make up \nearly one-quarter of the world’s population\. They are part of a current that has shaped human civilization for over a millennium and a half. We’re not a new fringe movement that has yet to contribute to humanity’s shape. The Prophet Muhammad’s name is etched into the facade of the Boston Public Library in reverence to Islam’s role in keeping the flames of knowledge burning during the darkest ages. The Prophet is also one of the “lawgivers” sculpted into the forum of the United States Supreme Court in \celebration of Muslim contributions to jurisprudence\.\

\n\

There’s a reason why Muslims and so many others would dearly like to see it become common practice to uncouple destruction-driven anarchists from Islam, and this reason has nothing to do with “sensitivity.” It’s because, like most other people, the overwhelming majority of Muslims (the non-lunatics) care about their own survival, the survival of fellow Muslims, and the survival of the greater species.\

\n\

The consequences of embracing a heady mix that proclaims we can all be cleansed through politics will be far more devastating in its scope and reach than it was in the 1930s.\

\n\

Take the peaceful majority of Muslims and combine that population with the populations of Europe and the United States. That’s over half of the world’s population and they just want to get through their days and sustain themselves and their loved ones. They have no galactic fight to pick. If the majority of those 1.8 billion Muslims were not peaceful people, if the majority of them wanted to destroy one another, we’d know it and it would be evidenced by a simple fact: the world would no longer exist. We’re not talking about subjugation here; we’re talking about mutually assured destruction.\

\n\

When the West couples Islam and violence, the result is that it does more than just validate the “us against them” narrative of terrorists and extremists all over the world. It telegraphs a message to those billions of Muslims who have no beef with the West and has the West essentially saying: “We don’t care that you have no fight with us. We insist on picking a fight with you.”\

\n\

Let me remind the many progressives who see my inability and unwillingness to pick a fight with a third of the world based on factually fraught statistics as evidence of some denial on my part: Exercising collective punishment is supposed to be against everything you stand for.\

\n\

As for those who are trembling at the thought that Sharia law is conquering the United States, consider the fact that the Prophet is acknowledged as a lawgiver in the Supreme Court for Islamic legal contributions such as the right to counsel and the idea that human beings are innocent until proven guilty.\

\n\

I’ve got nothing to do with the attacker. Period. If you want someone to punish, you’re looking in the wrong place. I will not be associated with, nor will I apologize for, the sins of others. I take accountability for my own actions; not others’.\

\n\

If I were a Dominican composer preparing an installation in Times Square this summer, rather than a Muslim presenting in St. Ann’s Square, the festival presenters and I would not be forced into the uncomfortable conversations and considerations that are so tiresomely soul-killing to them and to me.\

\n\

Resent-mongering extremists like Ayyan Hirsi Ali, many on the far right of American and European politics, as well as terrorist groups like ISIL can do nothing but sustain an enmeshed codependence that breeds faction and holds the rest of society hostage.\

\n\

Everyone, from Ann Coulter and Ayyan Hirsi Ali all the way down to my head-in-the-sand friends who don’t understand why I refuse to associate one of our planet’s most significant cultures with the very violent extremism that they mirror from their codependent bedmates in ISIL-land, seem to lack an understanding of what liberal and open societies from the U.S. and the U.K. to the U.A.E. and Japan are actually defending.\

\n\

But during the week of the London attacks, it was Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, and not the purported leader of the “free” world who articulated \a defiant defense of our universal values\:\

\n\
\

\“Terrorists want to attack London because they hate the fact that we don’t just tolerate each other – whether you’re a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, member of an organized faith or not, we respect, embrace, and celebrate each other and that’s going to carry on.”\\

\
\n\
\\
\Manchester resident Gulnar Bano Kham Ghadri wears a Union flag head scarf during a vigil by multi-cultural religious leaders from across Manchester in St Ann’s Square on May 24, 2017.  \\\(Photo by \Jeff J. Mitchell\ / Getty Images / © All Rights Reserved) \\\
\
\n\

Muslims across the world do not need sympathy or sensitivity from the broader communities we live in. But this final point cannot be stated clearly or often enough: If those in the West who thrive on faction succeed in tearing our social fabric apart in order to capitalize on our divisions then we will not succeed in defeating violent extremism.\

\n\

We can only do this together.\

\n\

This isn’t because Muslims have magical information to report that will rid us of the scourge of terror. And it is certainly not because we have a special obligation to atone for the sins of others, people who have nothing to do with us. It’s not even because Bill Clinton, speaking at the DNC, implied that Muslims were here to help “us” win.\

\n\

It it because when civilization is attacked, the entire civilized world must respond in unison.\

\n\

How is civilization supposed to prevail when so many in the West choose the path that insists on picking a fight rather than accepting the partnership — and I mean full and equal partnership — with the second-largest civilizational force in human history?\

\n","excerpt":"\

In the wake of the attacks in Manchester, an artist’s impassioned appeal to the West to cast off the scourge of collective responsibility for terrorism — and embrace the world’s 1.8 billion Muslims as partners not adversaries in the battle against extreme violence. \

\n","terms":[[2,5433,3753,83,70,74,48],[2,5433,3753,83,70,74,48],[2,5433,3753,83,70,74,48],[2,5433,3753,83,70,74,48],[2,5433,3753,83,70,74,48],[2,5433,3753,83,70,74,48],[2,5433,3753,83,70,74,48]],"metadata":{"additionalAuthors":[{"id":696,"slug":"mohammed-fairouz","description":"\

is a composer whose opera and symphonies have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and The Kennedy Center. His 11 albums include \Native Informant\, \In The Shadow of No Towers\, \Poems and Prayers\, and, most recently, \\Follow, Poet\\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is a composer whose opera and symphonies have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and The Kennedy Center. His 11 albums include \Native Informant\,\ In The Shadow of No Towers\, \Poems and Prayers\, and, most recently, \Follow, Poet\.\

\n","name":"Mohammed Fairouz","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/MohammedFairouz_by_SamantahWest5-hi-res-medium-1.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"http://mohammedfairouz.com","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/mohammed-fairouz/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"@MohammedFairouz","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}],"featuredMediaType":"featured_image","secondaryImage":0,"secondaryImageUrl":"","videoUrl":"","addPoetry":0,"poetry":"","newsletterUrl":"","prevPost":{"id":31160,"slug":"parker-palmer-a-left-wing-son-celebrates-his-republican-dad","title":"A Left-Wing Son Celebrates His Republican Dad","date":"2017-06-16 16:46:50","path":"/blog/parker-palmer-a-left-wing-son-celebrates-his-republican-dad/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/parker-palmer-a-left-wing-son-celebrates-his-republican-dad/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Max-J.-Palmer-Parents-Age-2-1914crop-1.jpg","author":{"id":4,"slug":"parker-j-palmer","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. He is a Quaker elder, educator, activist, and founder of the \Center for Courage & Renewal\. His books include \\A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life\\, and \\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\\. His book \\On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old\\ will be published in June.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is founder and senior partner of the \\Center for Courage & Renewal\\. His books include \\\Healing the Heart of Democracy\\\, \\\Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation\, \\\and the forthcoming, \On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity, Getting Old\.\

\n","name":"Parker J. Palmer","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/•Parker-J.-Palmer-Photo—Sept.-2017.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker_Palmer","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/parker-j-palmer/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"ParkerJPalmer","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":31659,"slug":"trent-gilliss-to-possess-and-to-pass-on-reflections-on-fathers-day-and-creative-imagination","title":"To Possess and To Pass On: Reflections on Father's Day and Creative Imagination","date":"2017-06-17 09:00:24","path":"/blog/trent-gilliss-to-possess-and-to-pass-on-reflections-on-fathers-day-and-creative-imagination/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/trent-gilliss-to-possess-and-to-pass-on-reflections-on-fathers-day-and-creative-imagination/","featuredMedia":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/trent-gilliss-bear-in-minnesota.jpg","author":{"id":2,"slug":"trent-gilliss","description":"\

was the founding executive editor of On Being Studios.\

\n","guestDescription":"","name":"Trent T. Gilliss","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bio-trentgilliss_0.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/trent-gilliss/","positionTitle":"founding executive editor of On Being Studios","hometown":"Minneapolis","postalZipCode":"55405","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"@TrentGilliss","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"dateGmt":"2017-06-16T21:52:09","guid":{"rendered":"https://onbeing.org/?p=31038"},"modifiedGmt":"2017-06-16T22:23:26","status":"publish","type":"post","link":"https://onbeing.org/blog/mohammed-fairouz-we-need-to-stop-asking-muslims-to-atone-for-the-crimes-of-violent-extremists/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GettyImages-691335628.jpg?fit=5100%2C3400&ssl=1","commentStatus":"open","pingStatus":"open","sticky":false,"template":"","format":"standard","meta":[],"featuredMediaCrops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""},"featuredMediaMeta":{"caption":"Muslims and supporters wait for Iftar, breaking fast during their holy month of Ramadan -when Muslim devotees around the world fast from dawn to dusk - during a demonstration to protest US President Donald Trump's stand on Muslims and immigrants, near the Trump Tower in New York on June 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jewel SAMAD (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)","photographer":"Jewel Samad","photographerUrl":"http://www.gettyimages.com/license/691335628","license":"Getty Images","photoUrl":"http://www.gettyimages.com/license/691335628","imageLicenses":"© All Rights Reserved"},"path":"/blog/mohammed-fairouz-we-need-to-stop-asking-muslims-to-atone-for-the-crimes-of-violent-extremists/","disqus":{"disqusUrl":"https://onbeing.org/blog/mohammed-fairouz-we-need-to-stop-asking-muslims-to-atone-for-the-crimes-of-violent-extremists/","disqusIdentifier":"31038 https://onbeing.org/?p=31038","disqusShortname":"on-being","disqusTitle":"We Need to Stop Asking Muslims to Atone for the Crimes of Violent Extremists"},"jetpackRelatedPosts":[{"id":30627,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-our-bodies-are-means-by-which-we-live-out-our-faith/","urlMeta":{"origin":31038,"position":0},"title":"Our Bodies Are Means By Which We Live Out Our Faith","date":"June 7, 2017","format":false,"excerpt":"After a medical condition changed the way he observes Ramadan, Omid reflects on what he misses about the embodied experience of the fast — and the inner, spiritual fast he takes on now to live out the holy season.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GettyImages-545183126.jpg?fit=1200%2C800&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":17820,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/can-woman-imam-debating-form-function-muslim-womens-leadership/","urlMeta":{"origin":31038,"position":1},"title":"Can a Woman Be an Imam? Debating Form and Function in Muslim Women's Leadership","date":"March 6, 2008","format":false,"excerpt":"Islamic tradition is replete with references to the responsibility each Muslim bears for finding or establishing a group of Muslims with whom he or she can worship and fulfill communal obligations.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/freemage-3216987891_e73bc04b94_o.jpg?fit=1200%2C797&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":8870,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/selma-is-now-inclusion-and-marginalization-on-the-bridge-of-democracy/","urlMeta":{"origin":31038,"position":2},"title":"Selma Is Now: Inclusion and Marginalization on the Bridge of Democracy","date":"March 12, 2015","format":false,"excerpt":"Fifty years since the historic march on Selma, Omid Safi calls for an inclusive justice for all people — and welcomes Muslim voices to be full democratic participants — so we can cross that bridge together.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/465621166.jpg?fit=1200%2C767&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]}],"headerMeta":[{"property":"title","content":"We Need to Stop Asking Muslims to Atone for the Crimes of Extremists"},{"property":"og:title","content":"We Need to Stop Asking Muslims to Atone for the Crimes of Extremists"},{"property":"og:url","content":"https://onbeing.org/blog/mohammed-fairouz-we-need-to-stop-asking-muslims-to-atone-for-the-crimes-of-violent-extremists/"},{"property":"og:site_name","content":"The On Being Project"},{"property":"og:type","content":"website"},{"property":"fb:app_id","content":"2007187426218054"},{"property":"twitter:card","content":"summary_large_image"},{"property":"twitter:title","content":"We Need to Stop Asking Muslims to Atone for the Crimes of Extremists"},{"property":"twitter:site","content":"@onbeing"},{"property":"description","content":"An appeal to cast off the scourge of collective responsibility for terrorism — and embrace the world's 1.8 billion Muslims as a partners not adversaries."},{"property":"og:description","content":"An appeal to cast off the scourge of collective responsibility for terrorism — and embrace the world's 1.8 billion Muslims as a partners not adversaries."},{"property":"twitter:description","content":"An appeal to cast off the scourge of collective responsibility for terrorism — and embrace the world's 1.8 billion Muslims as a partners not adversaries."},{"property":"og:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GettyImages-691335628.jpg?resize=1200,630"},{"property":"twitter:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GettyImages-691335628.jpg?resize=1200,630"}],"headerTitle":"We Need to Stop Asking Muslims to Atone for the Crimes of Extremists | The On Being Project","searchExclude":false,"archiveFeaturedImage":{"id":0,"url":"","crops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""}}}},"31051":{"id":31051,"date":"2017-06-14T17:09:45","modified":"2017-06-14T17:09:45","slug":"omid-safi-our-traditions-are-gems-covered-in-centuries-of-junk","author":65,"title":"Our Traditions Are Gems Covered in Centuries of Junk","content":"\

I recently had a lovely conversation with a \group of young people\, beautiful people, who are searching and seeking for a life that is spiritually open and porous, inviting and welcoming, yet rooted and grounded in teachings and practices that have stood the test of time.\

\n\

In this conversation, one of the points that we shared is that so many of us are divers in the ocean of meaning, searching and seeking for teachings and practices that speak to us from across the centuries. There is a delicate balance between being open and receptive, drawing on teachings from multiple religious traditions (on one hand), and remaining rooted and grounded, having a sense of community, and having sufficient discipline and ritual to give shape and form to our spiritual lives (on the other).\

\n\

That sense of diving again and again for the pearls and jewels of one tradition (or more) also reminded me of something that in my own heart I have experienced as true. There are jewels in each one of our traditions. These jewels are there both in our foundational sources and lived out by so many in our contemporary lives. But it is more complicated than simply diving for gems and living through these teachings today.\

\n\

For Muslims, there are teachings that the whole of creation is the outpouring of Divine mercy, teachings that command us to love and justice. There are contemporary exemplars, from \Malcolm X\ and \Muhammad Ali\ to \Linda Sarsour\ and \Alaa Murabit\.\

\n\

For Jews, there are teachings that remind us to treat the stranger with kindness, for we ourselves were once strangers, as well as the teachings of \\tikkun olam\\. And there are exemplars like \Rabbi Heschel\ and \Michael Lerner\, the \Jewish Voices for Peace\ community and others who embody these teachings.\

\n\

For Christians, there are teachings that remind us that to love God we have to love the “least” of God’s children. And there are exemplars like \Dr. King\, \Dorothy Day\, \Desmond Tutu\, \Cornel West\, and others.\

\n\

And in each one of our traditions there is also… shit. The jewels of our traditions, all of our traditions, are covered in shit. Actually, “shit” might be too kind of a word. Shit can serve as fertilizer. This filth, this untruth, this opposition of truth only covers up the jewels.\

\n\

There is the filth of racism, of sexism, of misogyny, of tribalism, and more recently of white supremacy, ethnic supremacy, and nationalism. And each of us has to deal with the cruelty committed and justified in the name of our traditions: transatlantic slavery and colonialism and the KKK; al-Qaeda and Taliban and ISIS; Israeli occupation and bombardment of Palestinians; \Hindu nationalist groups\; \Buddhist attacks on Myanmar Muslims\; and on and on.\

\n\

None of us is spared. None of our traditions is pure, none unsullied. Any justification that states that pointing out the shortcomings and flaws that have crept into our traditions is a result of us not understanding the language or the context is simply denial. We deserve, and our traditions deserve, more and better than denial.\

\n\

This notion that we each contain jewels covered by filth also operates at the personal level.\

\n\

One of the loveliest teachings of the Prophet Muhammad is this: There is a Qur’anic question in which God asks all of humanity who have ever been, are, and shall ever be the ultimate rhetorical question:\

\n\
\n\

\“Alastu bi-rabbikum?”\
\n\
(“Am I not your Lord,\
\nwho cherishes and sustains you?”)\
\n— \Qur’an 7:172\\

\n\
\n\

This question is addressed not to Muslims, not to Arabs, but to all the children of Adam and Eve. The knowledge, that intimate, tasted knowledge of God, has been there with us since before there was a time, or a “there.”\

\n\

That knowledge is innate in us, within our hearts. It is the jeweled nature (the \\fitra\\) that is in all of our hearts. In our hearts, we already know God intimately. This \fitra\ is something like the \Buddha nature\. There is no need to “acquire” this knowledge of God.\

\n\

There is only the dropping of the illusion, the forgetfulness, the veils that have hidden from us that awareness of who God is and who we are. These illusions are like the filth that covers up our own jeweled nature. There is no need to “acquire” religious knowledge. There’s only the need to let it go: let go of the egoism, the sexism, the nationalism, the tribalism. Then the inner jewel of our hearts will shine. In the Qur’an all of humanity joyously answers God’s rhetorical question above by shouting in unison:\

\n\
\n\

\“Qalu bala.”\
\n\
“Yes, yes!”\

\n\
\n\

Let us also answer yes. Let us also recover these jewels in our hearts and in our traditions.\

\n\

Here’s the challenge we find ourselves in. All of us have to drink from waters that run deep. And we have to also engage and purify the very fountains that we are drinking from. Let us dedicate ourselves to cleansing these ancient fountains.\

\n\

Yes, there are real jewels in each of our traditions. And they are all covered in filth and junk that is centuries old. In some ways, the jewels shine today as they have always shone. There is a light that’s too bright to be put out. At the very same time, the filth and shit of racism, tribalism, nationalism, colonialism, classism continues to cover the jewels. There is a jewel inside our own hearts. That jewel, the inner divine knowledge, also shines so bright. It too has to be purified from the filth of egoism, sexism, and greed.\

\n\

Let us wash these jewels,\
\nyou and I.\

\n\

Let us rinse these jewels,\
\nyou and I.\

\n\

Let us polish these jewels,\
\nyou and I.\

\n\

Let us be in awe of our own inner light,\
\nyou and I.\

\n\

We dive, and keep diving, into these oceans, picking out dirty jewels.\

\n\

We curate these jewels and think about which jewels, which stories, which teachings, which practices are worth passing on to our children. So many are. Not all of them are.\

\n\

There will be a polishing that our own children will have to do. We may be too deeply immersed in some of the filth to see it.\

\n\

Let us be divers after pearls, friends.\
\nLet us cleanse the fountains we drink from.\

\n\

And then we will be able to \sing together\:\

\n\
\

\
\This little light of mine,\\
\nI am gonna let it shine.\
\

\n\

\
\This little light of mine,\\
\nI am gonna let it shine.\
\

\
\n","excerpt":"\

There are gems at the heart of all our faith traditions. Omid Safi on the challenge ahead to polish away the impurities of hatred and greed that keep the light from shining.\

\n","terms":[[2,344,235,113,366,70,517,516,74,295,447],[2,344,235,113,366,70,517,516,74,295,447],[2,344,235,113,366,70,517,516,74,295,447],[2,344,235,113,366,70,517,516,74,295,447],[2,344,235,113,366,70,517,516,74,295,447],[2,344,235,113,366,70,517,516,74,295,447],[2,344,235,113,366,70,517,516,74,295,447],[2,344,235,113,366,70,517,516,74,295,447],[2,344,235,113,366,70,517,516,74,295,447],[2,344,235,113,366,70,517,516,74,295,447],[2,344,235,113,366,70,517,516,74,295,447]],"metadata":{"additionalAuthors":[{"id":65,"slug":"omid-safi","description":"\

leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trips are open to everyone, from every country. More information is available at \Illuminated Tours\.\

\n\

He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.\

\n\

Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\; \Cambridge Companion to American Islam\; \Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam\; and \Memories of Muhammad\. His forthcoming books include \Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions\ and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.\

\n\

Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in \The New York Times\, \Newsweek\, \Washington Post\, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media. He can be reached regarding speaking engagements at \[email protected]\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center and weekly columnist for \On Being\. He is the editor of the volume \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\ and the author of \Memories of Muhammad\.\

\n","name":"Omid Safi","avatar":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/omid_safi_2012_media_photo_trees_background.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/omid-safi/","positionTitle":"Columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"ostadjaan","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}],"featuredMediaType":"featured_image","secondaryImage":0,"secondaryImageUrl":"","videoUrl":"","addPoetry":0,"poetry":"","newsletterUrl":"","prevPost":{"id":29628,"slug":"kao-kalia-yang-my-father-is-not-a-powerful-man-lessons-from-my-refugee-father","title":"My Father Is Not a Powerful Man: Lessons from My Refugee Father","date":"2017-06-14 13:57:33","path":"/blog/kao-kalia-yang-my-father-is-not-a-powerful-man-lessons-from-my-refugee-father/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/kao-kalia-yang-my-father-is-not-a-powerful-man-lessons-from-my-refugee-father/","featuredMedia":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Hands-contrast.jpg","author":{"id":1003,"slug":"kao-kalia-yang","description":"\

is a Hmong-American teacher, public speaker, and writer. She is the author of the award-winning book \\The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir\\ and \\The Song Poet\\, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2017. She is a graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Kao Kalia lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her family.\

\n","guestDescription":"","name":"Kao Kalia Yang","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/YNH7Yori.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"http://www.kaokaliayang.com/","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/kao-kalia-yang/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"KaoKaliaYang","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":31133,"slug":"courtney-martin-in-praise-of-play-and-idle-time","title":"In Praise of Play and Idle Time","date":"2017-06-15 14:59:11","path":"/blog/courtney-martin-in-praise-of-play-and-idle-time/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/courtney-martin-in-praise-of-play-and-idle-time/","featuredMedia":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GettyImages-478349332.jpg","author":{"id":3,"slug":"courtneymartin","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. Her newest book, \\The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream\\, explores how people are redefining the American dream (think more fulfillment, community, and fun, less debt, status, and stuff). Courtney is the co-founder of the \Solutions Journalism Network\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is also co-founder and partner at Valenti Martin Media and FRESH Speakers Bureau, and editor emeritus at Feministing.com.\

\n\

Courtney has authored/edited five books, including \\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\, and \\Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women\\. Her work appears frequently in \The New York Times\ and \The Washington Post\. Courtney has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor, and speaks widely at conferences and colleges. She is the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. She lives with her partner in life and work, John Cary, in Oakland, and their daughters Maya and Stella. Read more about her work at \www.courtneyemartin.com\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is the co-founder of the \\Solutions Journalism Network\\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is the author of six books including \\\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\\ and, most recently, \\\The New Better Off\\\.\\

\n","name":"Courtney E. Martin","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CourtneyMartin.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/courtneymartin/","positionTitle":"columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"courtwrites","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"dateGmt":"2017-06-14T22:09:45","guid":{"rendered":"https://onbeing.org/?p=31051"},"modifiedGmt":"2017-06-14T22:09:45","status":"publish","type":"post","link":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-our-traditions-are-gems-covered-in-centuries-of-junk/","featuredMedia":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GettyImages-164033999.jpg?fit=3000%2C2000&ssl=1","commentStatus":"open","pingStatus":"open","sticky":false,"template":"","format":"standard","meta":[],"featuredMediaCrops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""},"featuredMediaMeta":{"caption":"VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 19: A man prays during the Inauguration Mass for Pope Francis in St Peter's Square on March 19, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican. The mass is being held in front of an expected crowd of up to one million pilgrims and faithful who have filled the square and the surrounding streets to see the former Cardinal of Buenos Aires officially take up his role as pontiff. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)","photographer":"Spencer Platt","photographerUrl":"http://www.gettyimages.com/license/164033999","license":"Getty Images","photoUrl":"http://www.gettyimages.com/license/164033999","imageLicenses":"© All Rights Reserved"},"path":"/blog/omid-safi-our-traditions-are-gems-covered-in-centuries-of-junk/","disqus":{"disqusUrl":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-our-traditions-are-gems-covered-in-centuries-of-junk/","disqusIdentifier":"31051 https://onbeing.org/?p=31051","disqusShortname":"on-being","disqusTitle":"Our Traditions Are Gems Covered in Centuries of Junk"},"jetpackRelatedPosts":[{"id":36204,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-how-can-we-live-beautifully-in-an-age-of-vitriol/","urlMeta":{"origin":31051,"position":0},"title":"How Can We Live Beautifully in an Age of Vitriol?","date":"October 25, 2017","format":false,"excerpt":"It’s easy to respond to vitriol in kind. But, our columnist asks, what if we looked to examples of our better nature and chose to reflect back a spirit of kindness, instead?","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/GettyImages-662184808.jpg?fit=1200%2C800&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":33943,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/krista-tippett-one-voice-in-a-jewish-spiritual-rennaissance/","urlMeta":{"origin":31051,"position":1},"title":"One Voice in a Jewish Spiritual Renaissance","date":"September 2, 2010","format":false,"excerpt":"Rabbi Sharon Brous speaks about teachings in Jewish tradition that grieve her, as a woman in particular. But she adds that "the wisdom that comes from this text comes from the same place as the excruciating pain that flows from it." And even the tears she cries over the pages…","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Screen-Shot-2017-08-11-at-11.59.25-AM.png?fit=892%2C371&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]},{"id":28478,"url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/andrew-zolli-toward-a-contemplative-ecology/","urlMeta":{"origin":31051,"position":2},"title":"Toward a Contemplative Ecology","date":"April 25, 2017","format":false,"excerpt":"On the heels of Earth Day, a dialogue on the necessity of both contemplation and action, detachment and radical engagement in our relationship with the environment.","rel":"nofollow","context":"In \"Blog\"","img":{"src":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/gian-reto-tarnutzer-45212.jpg?fit=1200%2C803&ssl=1&resize=350%2C200","width":350,"height":200},"classes":[]}],"headerMeta":[{"property":"title","content":"Our Traditions Are Gems Covered in Centuries of Junk"},{"property":"og:title","content":"Our Traditions Are Gems Covered in Centuries of Junk"},{"property":"og:url","content":"https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-our-traditions-are-gems-covered-in-centuries-of-junk/"},{"property":"og:site_name","content":"The On Being Project"},{"property":"og:type","content":"website"},{"property":"fb:app_id","content":"2007187426218054"},{"property":"twitter:card","content":"summary_large_image"},{"property":"twitter:title","content":"Our Traditions Are Gems Covered in Centuries of Junk"},{"property":"twitter:site","content":"@onbeing"},{"property":"description","content":"Omid Safi on polishing away the impurities of hatred and greed that keep the jewels at the heart of our faith traditions from shining."},{"property":"og:description","content":"Omid Safi on polishing away the impurities of hatred and greed that keep the jewels at the heart of our faith traditions from shining."},{"property":"twitter:description","content":"Omid Safi on polishing away the impurities of hatred and greed that keep the jewels at the heart of our faith traditions from shining."},{"property":"og:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GettyImages-164033999.jpg?resize=1200,630"},{"property":"twitter:image","content":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/GettyImages-164033999.jpg?resize=1200,630"}],"headerTitle":"Our Traditions Are Gems Covered in Centuries of Junk | The On Being Project","searchExclude":false,"archiveFeaturedImage":{"id":0,"url":"","crops":{"archiveFeature":"","listViewItemSmall":"","listViewTwoColumn":"","listViewOneColumn":"","itemFeature":""}}}},"31679":{"id":31679,"date":"2017-06-21T16:00:43","modified":"2017-06-21T14:34:24","slug":"omid-safi-the-spirituality-of-the-ordinary-is-luminous","author":65,"title":"The Spirituality of the Ordinary Is Luminous","content":"\

I might be an experience junkie. I love the \extra\-ordinary. I love the extraordinary beauty of cities like Istanbul, Paris, Esfahan, and Kyoto.\

\n\

Love the extraordinary beauty of places like Florida beaches, North Carolina hills, the Rockies, Utah, Lake Tahoe, Vancouver Island. Love the extraordinary sound of \Mahalia Jackson\, \Orüç Güvenç\, \Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan\, and \Coltrane\. (OK, and \\Hamilton\.\) Love the sensuality of the beloved in soft sheets, rose petals, and candles. Love the extraordinary high that comes with an intense session of chanting, \prayer in an Ottoman mosque\ or \repetition of God’s names\ (\\dhikr\\).\

\n\

It is easy to love the extraordinary. It is easy to pursue a spiritual path that is about the sensory overload of the \extra\ordinary. It is easy to fall in love with spiritual practices that lead one to transcendence and ecstasy. It is easy to soar. It is easy to seek the “high.”\

\n\

And there is something lovely about experiencing the extraordinary, to remember that we have spiritual faculties in us open to the realms beyond.\

\n\

But what does that say about the ordinary? Where does that leave the everyday? How do we experience the ground? The far less dramatic, the unsexy, the “boring” words like discipline, ritual, community — these are where the ideals of our spiritual path meet the reality of our daily lives.\

\n\

Let us love the ordinary. Let us love the closeness of God and the sacred, here and now.\
\nLet us cherish the everyday, the every breath, the where we are.\

\n\

This is the wisdom of \Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel\, among so many others, who said:\

\n\
\

\“It takes three things\
\nto attain a sense of significant being:\
\\
\nGod,\
\nA Soul,\
\nand a Moment.\
\

\n\

\And the three\\
\n\ are always here.”\\

\
\n\

God. Soul. A Moment. God is always there.\

\n\

We live breath by breath. We are always in the moment, even if we are not always fully inhabiting the moment.\

\n\

And there is always a heart. God is always there. We are sometimes absent from our own heart.\

\n\

Heschel would go on to say:\

\n\
\

\“Wonder or radical amazement\
\nis the chief characteristic\
\nof the religious man’s attitude\
\ntoward history and nature.”\
\

\
\n\

Wonder. Awe. Radical Amazement. How I love these qualities.\

\n\

Awe is such a quintessentially marvelous quality of living an enchanted life. Awe, like love, is not even an emotion. It is, above all, a way of being in the world. It is a way of being with God, soulfully.\

\n\

We used to have a sense of this word in English. We would speak of having an “awesome” experience. We could even speak of having an “awful” experience. “Awful” did not mean terrible. “Awful” did not mean bad. “Awful” meant something that would fill you with a sense of awe.\

\n\

Heschel came back to the centrality of this sense of awe, wonder, and radical amazement again and again:\

\n\
\

\“The surest way to suppress our ability\
\nto understand the meaning of God\
\nand the importance of worship\
\nis to take things for granted.”\
\

\
\n\

This model of spirituality of the ordinary begins by not taking things for granted. We see the patterns in life, in nature, in events, in our own emotions, but we also recognize that each moment, each breath, each \guest of the heart\ is unique. The “ordinary” is already luminous.\

\n\

God and the sacred, the enchanted and the luminous, are not “over there” somewhere. They are all right here, where we are.\

\n\

May we get back to the ordinary, the breath by breath, and the living in each moment fully. Inhabiting each moment and seeking the wonder therein. The refusal to let life descend down to a cycle of the mundane, the insistence of seeking awe in the ordinary — this is the beginning of spiritual life. Heschel again:\

\n\
\

\“Indifference to the sublime wonder of living is the root of sin.”\\

\
\n\

Sin, for Heschel, is ultimately not about eating this or not eating that, praying in this temple or that temple, but a losing of that sublime wonder of being truly alive. That is the ultimate sin, the only sin. Yes, there are religious commandments to observe. But the goal of religion remains to cultivate that sense of wonder, awe, and radical amazement.\

\n\

This is the wisdom that the Muslim sages point us to as well. The great \‘Attar\ states:\

\n\
\

\“Every breath\
\neach breath\
\nof your life\
\nis a precious jewel.”\
\

\
\n\

How lovely to live like this, to cherish the precious jewel in each breath.\

\n\

So, friends, let’s you and me live in this awe. Let us celebrate the ordinary, and locate the immanence of the sacred here. And now.\

\n\

Let us seek the beauty in the every-breath moments. Let us live an “awesome” life, in each breath. May we have an “awful” life, a life filled awe, in the most ordinary of moments.\

\n\

Have a beautiful ordinary life. May you live in awe. May it be filled with wonder. May it overflow with radical amazement. May we have an awesome life.\

\n","excerpt":"\

The extraordinary is revered and celebrated, but where does that leave the ordinary? On rediscovering the meaning of awe, and finding it in the quiet majesty of the daily grind.\

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leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trips are open to everyone, from every country. More information is available at \Illuminated Tours\.\

\n\

He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.\

\n\

Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\; \Cambridge Companion to American Islam\; \Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam\; and \Memories of Muhammad\. His forthcoming books include \Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions\ and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.\

\n\

Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in \The New York Times\, \Newsweek\, \Washington Post\, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media. He can be reached regarding speaking engagements at \[email protected]\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center and weekly columnist for \On Being\. He is the editor of the volume \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\ and the author of \Memories of Muhammad\.\

\n","name":"Omid Safi","avatar":"https://i2.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/omid_safi_2012_media_photo_trees_background.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/omid-safi/","positionTitle":"Columnist","hometown":"","postalZipCode":"","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"ostadjaan","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}],"featuredMediaType":"featured_image","secondaryImage":0,"secondaryImageUrl":"","videoUrl":"","addPoetry":0,"poetry":"","newsletterUrl":"","prevPost":{"id":31659,"slug":"trent-gilliss-to-possess-and-to-pass-on-reflections-on-fathers-day-and-creative-imagination","title":"To Possess and To Pass On: Reflections on Father's Day and Creative Imagination","date":"2017-06-17 09:00:24","path":"/blog/trent-gilliss-to-possess-and-to-pass-on-reflections-on-fathers-day-and-creative-imagination/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/trent-gilliss-to-possess-and-to-pass-on-reflections-on-fathers-day-and-creative-imagination/","featuredMedia":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/trent-gilliss-bear-in-minnesota.jpg","author":{"id":2,"slug":"trent-gilliss","description":"\

was the founding executive editor of On Being Studios.\

\n","guestDescription":"","name":"Trent T. Gilliss","avatar":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bio-trentgilliss_0.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","email":"[email protected]","publicEmail":"","personalLink":"","archiveLink":"https://api.onbeing.org/author/trent-gilliss/","positionTitle":"founding executive editor of On Being Studios","hometown":"Minneapolis","postalZipCode":"55405","fellowYears":"","socialLinks":{"twitterHandle":"@TrentGilliss","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":""}}},"nextPost":{"id":31769,"slug":"courtney-martin-reclaiming-this-nation-starts-with-reclaiming-our-attention","title":"Reclaiming This Nation Starts With Reclaiming Our Attention","date":"2017-06-22 16:30:11","path":"/blog/courtney-martin-reclaiming-this-nation-starts-with-reclaiming-our-attention/","url":"https://onbeing.org/blog/courtney-martin-reclaiming-this-nation-starts-with-reclaiming-our-attention/","featuredMedia":"https://i0.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/ganapathy-nikita.jpg","author":{"id":3,"slug":"courtneymartin","description":"\

is a columnist for \On Being\. Her newest book, \\The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream\\, explores how people are redefining the American dream (think more fulfillment, community, and fun, less debt, status, and stuff). Courtney is the co-founder of the \Solutions Journalism Network\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is also co-founder and partner at Valenti Martin Media and FRESH Speakers Bureau, and editor emeritus at Feministing.com.\

\n\

Courtney has authored/edited five books, including \\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\, and \\Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women\\. Her work appears frequently in \The New York Times\ and \The Washington Post\. Courtney has appeared on the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC, and The O’Reilly Factor, and speaks widely at conferences and colleges. She is the recipient of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and a residency from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre. She lives with her partner in life and work, John Cary, in Oakland, and their daughters Maya and Stella. Read more about her work at \www.courtneyemartin.com\.\

\n","guestDescription":"\

\is the co-founder of the \\Solutions Journalism Network\\ and a strategist for the TED Prize. She is the author of six books including \\\Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists\\\ and, most recently, \\\The New Better Off\\\.\\

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was the founding executive editor of On Being Studios.\

\n","slug":"trent-gilliss","name":"Trent T. Gilliss","profileImage":"https://i1.wp.com/api.onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/bio-trentgilliss_0.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1","positionTitle":"founding executive editor of On Being Studios","guestDescription":"","hometown":"Minneapolis","postalZipCode":"55405","fellowYears":"","twitterHandle":"@TrentGilliss","instagram":"","facebook":"","linkedin":"","snapchat":"","tumblr":"","medium":"","avatarMap":{}},"65":{"id":65,"description":"\

leads spiritual tours every year to Turkey, Morocco, or other countries, to study the rich multiple religious traditions there. The trips are open to everyone, from every country. More information is available at \Illuminated Tours\.\

\n\

He is director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center. He specializes in the study of Islamic mysticism and contemporary Islam and frequently writes on liberationist traditions of Dr. King, Malcolm X, and is committed to traditions that link together love and justice.\

\n\

Omid is the past chair for the Study of Islam at the American Academy of Religion. He has written many books, including \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\; \Cambridge Companion to American Islam\; \Politics of Knowledge in Premodern Islam\; and \Memories of Muhammad\. His forthcoming books include \Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Traditions\ and a book on the famed mystic Rumi.\

\n\

Omid is among the most frequently sought out speakers on Islam in popular media, appearing in \The New York Times\, \Newsweek\, \Washington Post\, PBS, NPR, NBC, CNN, and other international media. He can be reached regarding speaking engagements at \[email protected]\.\

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is Director of Duke University's Islamic Studies Center and weekly columnist for \On Being\. He is the editor of the volume \Progressive Muslims: On Justice, Gender, and Pluralism\ and the author of \Memories of Muhammad\.\

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is a composer whose opera and symphonies have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and The Kennedy Center. His 11 albums include \Native Informant\, \In The Shadow of No Towers\, \Poems and Prayers\, and, most recently, \\Follow, Poet\\.\

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is a composer whose opera and symphonies have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and The Kennedy Center. His 11 albums include \Native Informant\,\ In The Shadow of No Towers\, \Poems and Prayers\, and, most recently, \Follow, Poet\.\

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