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Pursuing Change with Heart

session description

The keyword of this session is DOING. More specifically, it is about SERVING. An important part of the art of living is accepting and fulfilling our role as part of the human race. Mysticism and activism are not opposites — they cannot be, because the mystic’s very reason for being is service to the One Life. If compassion, action and courage are missing, the spiritual effort is hollow. And activists are committed to the Many: to defending the needs of people, creatures, the planet and all life. During this evening we will explore both outer and inner aspects of service and liberation. Finding pathways for change that benefit all, ways of interacting that bridge differences, how to seek agreement in a way that equally values speaking and listening, that challenges injustice and imbalance without moralizing. For mystical action is a response to what is needed right now, not about what may be right or wrong.

The experiential, Visions of a Beloved Earth, will be led by a mystery guest (maybe a couple) with wide experience of ecology, peacemaking, feminism, ecumenism, and a long and active life as mystics.

series description

From July to December 2018, Bay Dervish will host monthly evening gatherings at Rudramandir in Berkeley, a 6-session series called “Sufism & the Art of Living.” Each evening will be in two parts: a talk/conversation with space for questions, followed by a creative play experience or “experiential.” The talks will be given by Murshid Kiran Rana; different teachers and artists will lead the experientials.

Sufism is, essentially, a search for and an opening to love, asking us to find our wholeness in our humanness. Associated for a long time with Islam, Sufism is increasingly universal in its expression, embracing many traditions, teachings, lineages and schools.

The phrase “The Art of Living” is a seed idea; its purpose is to help us understand that we can bring grace, style, creativity, authenticity and spirit to how we live. All are welcome. The sessions may be provocative. The experientials may be dreamlike. We will also explore insights and actions that can liberate us, lift us up when we feel incomplete or helpless. There will be time for questions and suggestions for deeper inquiry; those who want to follow-up personally with Murshid Kiran can arrange times to do so.

The creative play experiences, the experientials, are a way for the ideas from the talks and discussion to find a home in your body, in your physical knowing and doing. Each experiential is led by an expert guide and developed jointly with Murshid Kiran and other friends. They will be complete in themselves but could also become the beginning of a whole new journey. 

About Murshid Kiran Rana

Kiran Rana is a mystic, a teacher, a storyteller, and a friend. Born and raised in India, in 1973 he traveled to the West where he met the Sufi mystic, Fazal Inayat-Khan, and joined his Khankah (residential Sufi community). He spent the first seven years of his Sufi training living and working in close proximity to his teacher and was rebirthed in the fire of that experience. In 1981, Kiran moved to California where, for 35 years, he published books on physical and emotional health, dealing with trauma, becoming whole. He also led workshops on poetry and music, often teaching through the Sufi musical form called qawwali. During that time he also became a Murshid (guide) in the Sufi Way, the progressive Sufi order started by Fazal Inayat-Khan.

In 2014, Kiran gave up publishing and devoted himself full-time to the practice and teaching of Sufism. In addition to regular zikr and qawwali gatherings at Bay Dervish, he currently teaches an online webinar called A Taste of Sufism, interacting with participants who range from absolute newcomers to long-time Sufi teachers. 


Earlier Event: October 19
Bringing Your Imagination to Life
Later Event: December 7
Celebration, Community & Belonging