Be Like the Rose Unfolding

Rose UnfoldingI meet so many kind caring people with holy hearts, with a beautiful longing to give and receive love, to bring hope, joy, love, light, and beauty to others.  Yet many feel their hearts have been covered over by “old baggage,” painful pictures and voices, and old patterns of behavior they carry from challenging earlier experiences.  It is easy for them to recognize God’s light and beauty in all the rest of creation, yet they are often harsh with themselves.  And they describe the place in their hearts where they could be receiving love as being tight, constricted, or as though it’s covered over by a gate that’s been rusted shut for years.

I often see this pattern in nurturing, caring people, such as mothers and people in healing professions: they give to and care for everyone else, but find it difficult to care for themselves and let themselves receive.  The problem of course is that when we are giving and giving to others all day long, but don’t let ourselves receive, eventually the well begins to run dry, leading to feelings of overwhelm, exhaustion and burnout.

Part of the healing journey involves leaving those old harsh voices and pictures and stories from the past and returning to the truth that Allah’s mercy encompasses all things, including our deepest wounds, and to let ourselves begin to receive what our hearts are crying for.  We begin to remember that we are created from the light and spirit of the Most Generous, Loving, Merciful, Beautiful, Wise Lord.  We remember that everything in our lives is in the hands of Divine Love. We learn to trust that when we return our awareness back to Him, Allah can transform everything in a moment, erase our past, and create a present and future for us that is more beautiful than we could have ever imagined.

When I think about this process I am often reminded of the roses in our garden, symbols of the soul in so many spiritual traditions, and a symbol of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) in the Islamic Sufi tradition.  Roses show us how easy it can be to give and receive beautifully, in complete grace and balance.

Even when the blossom is still tight in a bud, the rose is drinking in everything it needs of soil, water, air, and sunshine, to completely feed its being.  And it does all this effortlessly.  A rose doesn’t have to “try,” in order to drink in sunlight and photosynthesize it into food.  It just happens, because roses are designed to do so.  The rose simply follows its own nature.

The same with blossoming.  A rose doesn’t have to “try,” in order to open.  It just does.  And each stage of that unfolding, from the tightest closed bud, to the gloriously unfurled full blossom, is exquisitely beautiful. We recognize the beauty even in a rose that’s completely closed, and we see only beauty, as petal after petal unfolds.  If we got impatient and tried to open the rose before its time, we would wound it.  Instead, we trust the process and we recognize that every moment of this unfolding is beautiful and perfect in its own way.

And we would not complain to the rose that it should have been born a lilac or a lily or a daffodil!

So it is with our souls and our healing, even though we often do not recognize this. Every step on our spiritual and healing journey is beautiful, each unfolding of the petals of our deep heart is full of grace and mercy.

Beloved soul, longing to know your Lord, let your heart be like the rose unfolding. Your unfurling is perfect and holy and exquisitely beautiful just as it is.  Surrender to the truth of your essential nature and let yourself drink in all the light, the water of love and mercy, all the nurturing that is being sent to you from your loving Creator in every moment.  Let yourself be fed until you are full.  Say yes to the divine beauty within you and trust the process of your blooming.  Trust the beauty of your blossoming and the sweetness of the perfume your Beloved is exuding through you.  The angels delight in your holy fragrance!

Keys to Helping Others Heal

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Some of the foundational insights that my spiritual healing work is based on.

A young man interested in helping others, who hopes to have his own clinic one day, wrote to me and asked a wonderful question: “Can you please give me any advice you have that you wish you had years ago?”  Here’s my answer:

I went into psychology because I wanted to marry spirituality, love and compassion, and psychology.  I believe that God and His love and mercy are what truly heals, and felt that clinical practice would be so much more effective if it embraced and integrated this.   I feel so blessed with Allah’s generosity which has allowed me to get the professional education, the spiritual healing training, and enabled me do this in my practice.

Below are some of the understandings that have made the most difference for me, both in my own healing and in service to others. Although the seeds of these ideas have been planted in me through many teachers and traditions, the fullest understanding of them has come through the Sufi teachings of my Shaykh Sidi Muhammad al-Jamal.

Open your heart to God and allow yourself to deeply experience His love for you. Feel it and know it in your heart, so that it is real for you and not just a mental idea or belief. Let your heart be filled to overflowing with this love.

This transformed everything for me, and this is essentially what I teach my clients and students. The more people taste this, their emotional wounds heal, their hearts are purified of what harms them and others, their anxiety and depression turn to faith and gratitude, and their psyches and lives are transformed in surprising and beautiful ways.

Trust Allah and act on your faith. Trust that Allah is truly your Sustaining, Nurturing Lord, caring for you every step of your journey. Don’t worry; just be the son or daughter  of your moment and do what you need to do, and trust the outcome to the Most Wise. Lovingly help your clients to do the same.

Leave the mistakes of the past, whether they are yours or someone else’s. God says in the Qur’an that when we come to Him with repentance, He can make even our bad deeds into good deeds. He asks us to forgive others because we also want His forgiveness.

He is making a new creation in every moment and He can change everything in an instant. Whatever sorrows you’ve suffered; they are over and finished, but Allah can bring something good even from the most difficult circumstances.

Gently and compassionately help your clients to release the past so that they can free themselves of the prison of guilt and anger and become free to experience the blessings of the present.

If you do look backward at the past, do it with remembrance of Allah’s blessings to you. Focus on the good and the gifts in your life. If you start to count all the good that He’s given you, you will run out of time before you run out of blessings to count. Help your clients to do the same and it will open the door to peace, joy, and gratitude for them.

Look for the blessings in every challenge. There will undoubtedly be challenges, but enfolded within them are opportunities for growth, wisdom, and the beautification of our souls, if only we look for them and make use of them. As my shaykh says, Allah has placed a door to Himself within everything.

Finally, as a servant and helper to others, remember that God is the Healer. The psychologist, the physician, the acupuncturist, the herbal healer, the pharmacist, are vehicles for the healing. Truly understanding this is deeply humbling, for we are ever needy of Allah.  But it also takes a lot of the pressure off of the clinician. We do what we’re given to do, but Allah is in charge of the healing process.

We may create a loving, healing space and offer the remedy our clinical training, experience, and intuitive guidance encourages us to give, but the healing itself is between the person and their Lord.  We hold the hurting person with care and compassion but never lose sight of the Healer, Who loves them with exquisitely tender, intimate, mercy and compassion. Allah knows best and gives what is best, and we can trust Him to do that.

May God bless you and bring you ever closer to Him and open the door for you to serve many and be the vehicle for His love, blessings, healing, and guidance to pour forth in abundance upon every heart you meet.

When you feel stuck in a challenging situation…

When a dear friend asked me recently how to deal with a chronically painful situation, I was reminded of what the Qur’an says, “Never despair of the mercy of Allah.”

 

The things I struggle the most with in this worldly existence, are the things that ultimately make me turn most fully to Allah. Those parts of my life where I hurt the most, where I am the most desperate and needy, are the ones that make me throw myself into His arms and rely on Him the most, because ultimately there is no one and nothing in this world that can help me, but Allah. It seems for many of us there are particular issues that become our deepest walking on the path to know Allah, because we need help and Allah is the helper.

When I first came to the Sufi path, I had experienced much worldly success, but I had also been through trauma and loss, and I came with a lot pain, grief, and fear in my heart. Much of my suffering was the result of looking back at my past with sadness or looking at my future with fear. I had a strong vision of how I wanted my life to be different, but I was unhappy with my circumstances at the time.

A lot of my suffering actually came because I resisted being where I was. If only my life was different, if only other people were different, and if only I was different, then I would feel peace and happiness. As I continued on the path, I learned to open my heart and began to truly taste and experience Allah’s love and mercy for me, just exactly where I was in that moment, regardless of what was going on in my outer world, or inside of me. Instead of an abstract theological concept, Allah’s love became more and more of a reality for me.

I discovered that divine love and mercy and peace was what I had really been looking for all along. And I began to sincerely want Allah, more than what I wanted so much in the material world. I began to trust in Allah’s love and care for me, even when I couldn’t see it, even when I was struggling most and in the greatest pain. I began to understand that Allah’s love and mercy was so vast, it was like an ocean without a shore, and that I could let it wash over me and carry me.

I finally got to the place where I genuinely felt that if I never got what I wanted in the material realm, I could still be happy and grateful, because I had Allah, and His love, which was more, and better, and greater than anything. This was a huge shift for me. This was when everything changed. Instead of pain and grief, I began to feel peace, gratitude, love.

It wasn’t that I stopped wanting, or praying for, what I deeply wanted, but that I wanted Allah even more. And I opened my heart to Him, because there wasn’t really anything left for me in creation, and I received His love and mercy and healing and let it fill me. And when this shifted for me on the inside, things started to shift on the outside. When this feeling of contentment with where I actually was became stable for me on the inside, things on the outside changed. And eventually, almost everything that my heart had been crying for, before, became a reality for me.

Never, never, never despair of the mercy of Allah. Keep asking Him for what your heart is crying for. He can change everything in an instant. Let your difficulty or pain be a doorway to Him, not a barrier, if you can. Let it bring you closer, because He is the One Who has everything you need and He loves you so very much and He’s given you everything in your life that you love and He wants you and He wants you to be happy. To whatever extent you can, focus on all the ways He has blessed you, and be as truly grateful as you can be for those, and trust His mercy for you, even when you are veiled from it, and hold on tightly to your hope. And let there just be as much mercy for yourself as you can, because His mercy encompasses all things.

Be the Child of Your Moment

Today I was out hiking in the mountains with my little dog, Pandora.  The night before a loved one had had a scary health episode, and as I walked, I was still fretting about what had happened.  We wandered along a little stream, looking for the shallowest part to cross over (Pandy is tiny!), when two joyful hounds bounded by, followed by their man.  We exchanged friendly greetings. “Your dogs look really happy to be out here,” I noticed.  “There’s never a moment when they’re not happy,” he replied as we passed.  “Dogs are great teachers for us aren’t they?”  “Yep.  Live in the moment!” he called back to me, as he disappeared over the hill alongside two joyfully wagging tails.

“Live in the moment!”  Those four words snapped me out of my brooding in an instant, and transported me to a state of joy.  Yes, there was a health crisis last night, but my loved one was perfectly fine now.  And here, in this moment, I was walking through beautiful mountains, on a gorgeous spring day.  The winter California rains had greened the hills again and the wildflowers were now peeping up and opening their pretty faces to the sunshine.

“Leave the past!  Be the daughter of your moment!”  I have heard Sidi say this so many times.  How often we suffer because we are re-running an old sad movie about something painful that happened in the past, and is over and done with.  Whether it happened 30 years, 3 days, or 3 hours ago doesn’t really matter.  It’s done and gone and no one can change it.

And when I let go of whatever happened before, I am free in this moment to open my heart to the infinite divine love that God, Allah, is showering on me in every moment.  When I shake off the blinders from my pictures of the past, I am free to see the wonder of what He’s giving me now.  And what He gives is stunningly beautiful.

Happy New Year – Let There Be Peace on Earth and Love in Every Heart

The New Year has arrived!

I pray that it brings you overflowing blessings.  A new beginning, a time for hope, new goals, transformation.  The last few years have been tough for many, with personal, emotional and economic struggles and sadness for the challenges our world faces.  Yet every human heart at its depth yearns for the same thing: love, peace, health, basic material well-being, to live in harmony, and, ultimately, full expression of the gifts and talents we’ve been given.  Every one of us wants to see the establishment of the kingdom of heaven right here on earth.

Imagine a world where each one of us tries to be just a little kinder, a little more patient, show a little more compassion, be a little more merciful with ourselves and others.  Imagine a world where we remember that we are all brothers and sisters, created from a single soul, descended from one mother and father, created to express love and beauty.  Let’s “be the change we want to see in the world,” as Gandhi said.

A lot has changed for me over the past year and a half!  I married a wonderful man who shares my spiritual path and my passion for helping others, moved my practice to California, and most recently was honored to join the faculty of the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism.

One of my intentions for growth in this New Year, insha’Allah (God willing), is to reach out more here on the internet to serve more people and help everyone I connect with to find the same love, peace, and healing in their hearts that I’ve found.  I’m going to be offering some special gifts that I hope will truly bless you this year.  So bookmark this page and come back often.

Until then, what is your heart yearning for that will make this New Year the best it can be for you?

Welcome to Sufi Spiritual Healing!

Thank you so much for visiting. I hope that you will find something here that will bless your heart.

My name is Elizabeth Rose and I want to share with you the beauty of Sufism and Sufi Spiritual Healing.  In my work as a psychologist and Sufi spiritual healer and teacher I have seen so much deep healing and transformation in myself and many others, and I hope to give you a taste of it.

First of all, let me tell you a little bit about Sufi spirituality.  You may have heard of Rumi, the Sufi poet, who is now the best-selling poet in the United States.  Sufism is a spiritual path with deep roots in the Middle East that draws from all three of the Abrahamic faiths of the Holy Land, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  It’s a beautiful path of love and unity that honors the prophets of all three spiritual traditions.

The Sufi way is about purifying our hearts so that we can reconnect with Divine Love and return to be the beautiful, loving, radiant beings we were created to be.  Sufis seek to cleanse their hearts of their human flaws, false beliefs, and unloving behaviors and make themselves available to be vessels of Divine Love, Mercy, Wisdom, and Peace.  Those who follow Sufism want to be the hands and voices of Divine Love in the world.

I have been exploring spirituality and mainstream and complementary healing modalities for nearly 30 years now.  If there’s a spiritual path or healing technique out there, I have probably explored it, studied it, or experienced it.  I’ve practiced transcendental meditation, Reiki, Healing Touch, shamanic healing, and Buddhist meditation, among many, many others, and obtained a Ph.D. from one of the top counseling psychology programs in the country.  I have learned something from every spiritual path and every healing system I have studied, and from some of them I received a lot of healing and spiritual growth.  I am grateful for so many wonderful teachers, experiences, healings, and insights.

Sufi spirituality is by far the most beautiful, direct, and love-filled spiritual path I’ve ever found to establishing a deep and lasting connection with the Divine.  Sufi Spiritual Healing is the most powerfully transformative healing modality I’ve ever encountered, and at the same time the most gentle and loving.

From the first time I experienced Sufi Spiritual Healing I felt a sweetness and love and light unlike anything I’d known before.  The healing sessions were powerful and deep, yet infused with love and gentleness.  Issues that I had been working on for years began to clear.

I felt like I had discovered an great treasure that I needed to share with my clients.  I immediately began to incorporate this way of healing into my psychotherapy practice.  Even deeper transformations began after I met my spiritual teacher, Shaykh Sidi Muhammad al-Jamal (http://sufimaster.org/), from Jerusalem, who brought these ancient teachings to the United States.

I soon became a student at the University of Spiritual Healing and Sufism (http://www.sufiuniversity.org)  and underwent a three-year period of intensive training.  I studied powerful healing techniques that have been handed down for 1500 years.  As I healed personally and integrated more Sufi Spiritual Healing into my work with my clients, I saw an amazing acceleration in their healing process.  People started moving through their issues much more quickly.  What previously took years to heal might only take a year; what formerly took a year to heal might only take months.  I saw the same dramatic changes in myself and my classmates at the Sufi University – people healing old wounds, letting go of fear, anger, grief, addictions, becoming empowered, centered, radiant, joyful vessels of Divine Love, bringing much more light and love and healing into their own lives and the lives of those around them.

I am so grateful for the healing and blessings I have receive on this path that I want to share the teachings of Sufism and Sufi Spiritual Healing.  That is why I have created this site, and I’m so glad you are visiting.

The Remembrance

Right now I’d like to share with you a very simple form of the most basic Sufi spiritual practice, which is called the Remembrance.  Remembrance is about going within and opening our deep hearts to directly experience God’s love for us, using the name of God as a focal point.  This is a beautiful and amazingly simple practice that deeply feeds people’s hearts.  Of course, as you do the Remembrance, you can use any name for the Divine that holds the greatest love and beauty and light for you, but I invite you to taste what happens when you use the Sufi name for God, Allah.

So take a moment to get comfortable.  You might want to set aside 10 or 15 minutes for this exercise, or even more if you like.  Read through these instructions first, and then, when you’re ready, let your eyes gently close.

Now take a few full, deep breaths. As you slowly inhale and exhale, let your chest, upper back, and abdomen really expand and open, so that you can receive fully and deeply.  With each exhale, let any tension, stress, or discomfort begin to melt away, so that your body becomes loose, limp, and relaxed.

When you’re ready, allow your awareness to begin to drift down and settle into your heart center, into that sweet tender place right in the center of your chest.  Now let yourself travel inward, deeper and deeper into your heart, back toward your spine.  You may notice an almost magnetic pull to this deep and beautiful part of your being.

Now take a deep breath, and as you exhale, gently repeat the Sufi name for God, Allah.

“Alll-lllaaaaah.”

Continue to softly repeat the name, and let the rhythm of your breath and the soothing sound take you deeper and deeper into your own heart.  Allow your heart to gently open, like the tender petals of a flower unfolding to drink in the golden sunshine.  Let all the thirsty places in your heart be filled.

If you find your awareness pulled up into your mind, that’s ok.  Just recognize you’ve gone up into your head, thank your mind for sharing, and let yourself drop back down into your beautiful heart again.

Continue to breathe and very softly repeat the name.  Allow yourself to pause from time to time to notice what you’re experiencing.  Many people describe a sense of deep peace and serenity.  Others experience light, love, joy, gratitude.  Sometimes people feel a release of pent-up tension or emotion.  Whatever happens for you, is just right, so I invite you to allow yourself to notice your experience from a place of compassion rather than judgment.

When you’re ready, gently reconnect with the physical reality around you.  Move your body, shrug your shoulders, wiggle your toes, open your eyes, and enjoy the afterglow of whatever you’ve just experienced.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief taste of the Remembrance.  It’s a foundational part of Sufi spiritual practice and Sufis make it a goal to eventually be in continual Remembrance of our loving and merciful Creator.  The Remembrance is also a core part of the healing work that I do with my clients, so you are already on your way!

One of the many beautiful things about Sufi Spiritual Healing is that it can be done over the telephone; in fact many of my sessions are done over the phone.  If you would like more information about Sufi Spiritual Healing, scheduling a healing session, or if you’d like to be on my email list so you can receive information about my upcoming workshops, you can email me at drrose (at) drelizabethrose.com or call 415-258-2829.

Again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to share these beautiful teachings with your heart.  I hope you will return often as I post more teachings and excerpts from Sidi’s books, the writings of Sufi masters, teachers, and poets, and my own thoughts about the jewels I have found on this path.

Love and blessings,

Elizabeth Rose

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