Sufi whirling and me

resort whirling

I was introduced to Sufi whirling several years ago when I visited the Osho International Meditation Resort in Pune, India.  It’s an experience I will never forget.  I’m not a “regular” type person as far as routine goes.  But I fell so utterly in love with Sufi whirling that I became a “regular”  for the three months I was there.  Every day, when that ecstatic music begin to drift through the resort, I dropped whatever I was doing, and hurried to Buddha Hall (pictured above) for the sufi whirling.

I was reluctant at first.  That marble floor looked very hard, and I knew I would get dizzy and fall.  But the music was so captivating, so beckoning, my resistance soon wore down, and my love affair with Sufi whirling began.   

The secret is, you start slowly, just as the music starts slowly; and as the music builds, the whirling slowly builds too. Eventually, the music reaches a peak; and by that time, you are like a spinning top — head thrown back, arms raised to God, lost in ecstasy, spinning, spinning, spinning all around the room. If you’ve really given yourself up to it, at some point, YOU are no longer there. There’s only an ecstatic laughing energy whirling around the room.

Yes, Rumi was certainly onto something when he started the whirling dervishes.  I count myself  very fortunate to have been able to experience Sufi whirling, especially in such a spiritual environment as the Osho International Resort.  It’s a very different thing to be a participant in Sufi whirling than to be a spectator – to get lost in the music and the whirling energy.

Sufism is in some ways akin to Zen.  Scholars and adherents of Sufism are unanimous in agreeing that Sufism cannot be learned through books.  It is a direct experience of oneness with the whole, with the divine.  Sufi whirling is one activity that can take you there.