Sufi whirling allows you to centre the chaos from within
THE PRACTICE OF THESE EXERCISES ALIGNS US TO A CENTRE WITHIN WHICH VARIOUS FACETS OF OURSELVES COME TOGETHER TO CREATE A HARMONIOUS PURPOSE OF BEING
Dance is natural to our body. It is universal. Dance forms of every tradition has turning and whirling techniques. Like ballerina pirouettes, kathakchakars, odissibrahmaris, gypsy spins and the sufi whirls.
Whirling is as old as movement itself. It is natural to our body. Have you seen children spin, whirl, get giddy, and giggly, fall, get up and whirl again? We have all done this naturally. It is a natural force within our body. It reflects the forces of the earth and the universe. These spinning forces within us and around us are vortices that shape our form and the world around us. However, at the centre of these whirling forces is a fulcrum of stillness. This is the paradoxical reality of existence. Silence is the origin of sound. Stillness is the origin of movement.
When I first watched sufi whirling at the Osho Commune, Pune in 1994 I was awestruck by the experience of stillness that I felt within. Something shifted in me. It was as though I was in meditation while the whirlers whirled and this experience lingered on for several days after. I studied extensively, travelling to America and Europe to study with world renowned teachers from the Gurdjieff Bennett tradition.
Sufi whirling is an active movements meditation. The premise of this work is centering and stillness. George Gurdjieff, an Armenian mystic from the early 1900s brought ancient sufi temple dances from secret temples out into the world. He explained how we are designed to function. We operate from three main centres of function—the physical centre being the body, the heart centre which constitutes our feelings and emotions and the mind centre that contains our thoughts
and logical cognitive processing. Often we find ourselves operating in chaos, where our three centres oppose each other. The heart desires one thing while the body is acting on another and the mind is busy with other thoughts. The practice of these exercises aligns us to a centre within where all the various facets of ourselves come together to create a harmonious purpose of being. In this centred space we touch stillness and become silent. It's a space of deep contentment and a sharpened awareness. From this stillness dance arises. When participants have reached this space of centering, whirling techniques are introduced. The stillness becomes a fulcrum around which the body turns. The consciousness of the whirler is still, as the body continues to whirl. And then there is no dizziness. The stillness gives us balance. This balance allows us to whirl.
I believe that in our chaotic world today sufi whirling is a centering force that brings forth a crys- tallised presence of being. We come in touch with our source—the spring of health and wellness within us, the origin of our existence and touching this space is an experience of bliss. Knowing through experience, that we touched this point of bliss within us and on our own is an empowering experience that re establishes self trust.
People come for whirling from all age groups and diverse lifestyles. Some doubt if they can really do it as they have never danced before. Some inquire if they can manage with their vertigo. By the end of the class, everyone is whirling and I have a hard time getting them to stop. Awakened to their higher consciousness, they are thrilled that they can touch this space again and again. This is the mystique of the sufi whirl. The danseuse will be part of Zambhala, slated to be India’s biggest yoga and life spirit festival that kicks off its first edition in Goa, on Dec 21st and 22nd.