An 8-Month Free Teleconference Open to All: October 2017 – May 2018

We are pleased to announce the fifth year of the warmly received Living Sufism teleconference.
This year, sixteen teachers and guides of the Sufi Way will explore, in solo presentations and
 panel discussions, the theme Sufi Inayat Khan called The Alchemy of Happiness.

Happiness means different things to different people. Almost all of us want to be happy, and in some parts of the world happiness is even seen as something we have a right to have — but what is it? For some it is about material comfort, security, even plenty; for others it is about health and family and deep relationships; yet others look for inner peace and contentment. Clearly happiness is a central concern in our lives, something that fills our time and crosses all areas of human activity, search, desire, imagination and creativity.

Many great teachers have suggested happiness is our very essence. The Indian sage Ramana Maharshi once famously said, “Happiness is your true nature,” echoing the words of Inayat Khan: “The soul itself is happiness.” Perhaps happiness is hidden within us, so close we can’t see it.

In this year’s Living Sufism sessions we will explore the alchemy of happiness from many perspectives. What keeps us from recognizing this self-arising happiness? How can we experience it directly and how does it transform us? Is it possible (and okay) to be happy in an unhappy world? What about happiness and grief; happiness and beauty; happiness in relationships; happiness in the middle of the routines of our daily lives? What part do the arts play in revealing happiness — and is “happiness” even the right word?


NEXT SESSION May 20, 2018: 
Finding Happiness 
Pir Elias Amidon In this final talk of the 2017–18 Living Sufism series, I will try to weave together some of the many themes we have heard this year on the subject of The Alchemy of Happiness, and offer a few suggestions for finding happiness on the extraordinary journey of our lives.


What is it?
The Living Sufism teleconference consists of one-hour sessions accessed either by telephone or without any expense through a computer. Each session is held on an interactive telephone conferencing service called “MaestroConference,” which gives us the flexibility to take questions, as well as

 break into small groups for easier discussion together.

When is it?

The Living Sufism calls are scheduled on Sundays, approximately every three weeks, from October, 2017 to May, 2018. The first session is on Sunday, October 1, 2017. Call times are: 9:00 AM Pacific, 10:00 AM Mountain, 11:00 AM Central, 12:00 PM Eastern, 5:00 PM UK, and 6:00 PM EU.

Who are the presenters?

The sixteeen presenters of the Living Sufism series are teachers and guides of the Sufi Way. We may also invite guest speakers from other traditions to join in some of these conversations.

Who can join these calls?

Anyone who is interested.

What does it cost?

There is no charge for participating in the Living Sufism teleconference. However, if you find this program is of value to you, please consider donating to the Sufi Way ( so that we can continue offering programs like this.

What do I need to access the calls?

You can access the conversations easily through a telephone. If you want to save telephone charges you can call in from a computer or mobile device through Skype. Instructions on how to access the conversations are sent to you after you register.

You can access the calls by simply dialing the number given in the MaestroConference email. For many of you, this will be an international call (to the U.S.), so it’s best to use a low-cost international calling plan — these are readily available on the Internet and the charge should be no more than a few cents per minute.

More options for accessing the Living Sufism sessions will be sent to you upon registration.

Will the calls be recorded?

Yes. The presentations are edited to delete any long silences or personal issues, and then posted on the Sufi Way website ( under Programs > Archives on the menu bar.

How do I register?

To register for the entire year-long programme, click on the button bellow.

Fill in your name and email address where indicated, and then click on “Register.” That’s all — you will be registered for the entire year of calls. You can also register anytime after the series begins.

Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email from MaestroConference with the phone number to call, along with your PIN. You will also receive an email reminder from MaestroConference 24 hours and 2 hours prior to each call. That email will also include the telephone number to dial and your PIN.


October 1, 2017: 
Simple Happiness and the Difficulties of Life 
Pir Elias Amidon “Happiness,” Henri Bergson once remarked, “is one of those ideas which humanity has intentionally left vague, so that each individual might interpret it in his own way.” This diversity of interpretation is quite understandable, since happiness is typically thought of as a sweet feeling that arises in us from specific conditions — conditions that are different for each of us. In this opening talk of the 2017–18 Living Sufism series, I want to suggest the possibility of an unconditional happiness — what I call “simple happiness” — that is freely available no matter what the outer conditions of our lives might be. Simple happiness is our home-place. It doesn’t depend on nice things happening for us; instead it liberates a capacity in us to respond to the difficulties of life with equanimity and love. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ October 22, 2017: 
Releasing Certainty 
Suzanne Inayat-Khan We Sufi seekers love taking something seemingly tangible and real and loosening it until we notice — maybe it’s not really there. At least, not there in that certain way we previously had been so sure of. Might releasing certainty help us to welcome alchemy and the universal happiness it can offer? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ November 12, 2017: 
Panel: Doorways to Happiness 
Erica Witt, Simon Vivian, Chris Covey, Murshid Kiran Rana (facilitator) Some see happiness as a place, a hidden territory or a magic land waiting to be found. Others see it as a process of transformation, of remaking where we are — and ourselves — into what we desire. In brief presentations and an open conversation, our panel will look at three aspects of happiness: the creative promise of imagination; embracing responsibility for health and a healthy discipline; and the deep contentment that comes from physical awareness and caring touch. Perhaps the searching and the creating are the same indivisible happening that shines in the light we call happiness. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ December 3, 2017: 
The Hands of Happiness 
Murshid Puran Perez What if happiness is not something you achieve, but something you give; not something you luckily arrive at or are blessed with, but something you generate and share? This line of inquiry may be tricky—after all, what is this thing we point to so confidently with the word, “happiness”? But it can yield some valuable insights. It invites us to consider how our thoughts, our speech, our glance and, especially, our touch may be the fountainheads of happiness. Let’s explore how we might fully embody the sustaining grace through which happiness flows. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ January 14, 2018: 
The Poetry of Happiness 
Jeanne Rana Poetry cracks open my heart to the beauty and pain of the world. Then, in a mysterious way, it helps me to choose happiness. Using examples from my work and that of others, I will describe how poetry functions as a door to feeling, opening the eyes and heart. As the door opens wider, our feelings can deepen until we find ourselves in a place called happiness. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ February 4: 
Panel: Opening to Happiness Sabah Raphael Reed, Murshid Elmer Koole, Michael Wenger, Suzanne Inayat-Khan (facilitator) As the word alchemy suggests, happiness manifests transformative power that can heal and revivify mind and body, whilst illuminating the world as pure gold. In our session we will explore how we can open to the grace of happiness, including through the many moments of sadness and loss that we encounter in life. Together we will discuss various 'opening practices' and we will especially pay attention to the art of gratitude as a way to open to the power and the grace of happiness. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ February 25: Darkness Allows Us to See the Stars 
Carol Barrow In our desire for happiness, we often push away uncomfortable states like anger, fear, and grief. But in order for something to be pushed, it needs to be solid. Is our darkness solid? Or is it, like the night sky, wide open and showing up as many things, including light? With curiosity, mercy, and awareness, let’s investigate together the darkness and the light of the human condition. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ March 11, 2018: 
“Happiness lies in relationships and connections” 
Murshid Sharif Hawkins ”He who binds to himself a joy – does the winged life destroy; 
But he who kisses the joy as it flies – lives in eternity’s sunrise.” — William Blake. This talk will explore how happiness is co-created through relationships and connections, both intimate and with those we work with, and with other humans and with the more than human world. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ April 8, 2018: 
Panel: The Practicalities of Happiness
Umtul Kiekens, Lysana Robinson, Klaus-Peter Esser, Murshid Puran Perez (facilitator) Because happiness is at once a crystal clear and ambiguous term, it can be easy to lapse into philosophizing about it rather than deeply inquiring into the nature of happiness. Sufism urges us to seek realization through the direct experience of our humanity, in our relationships, in our work in our everyday activities. The clarity of mind and presence of heart this entails might well be the headwaters of happiness, vital to awakening the Message in our lives. Let's explore the simplest, direct ways in which our ability to meaningfully engage the fabric of our realities yields opportunities for "happiness". ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ April 29, 2018: The Alchemy of Sex, Love and Attraction 
Murshid Kiran Rana The physical delight of lovemaking. The sensual joy of touching a body, knowing its beauty and your own, knowing the physical as essence made flesh. The sharp, catch-your-breath thrill of being in love, being loved. The courage to walk out onto a field of trust and intimacy. A deep, unique happiness arises between loving humans. It spreads to the edges of understanding and transforms our known and unknown. This love-happiness is an energy bath that dissolves self and other.... We stand for a moment or a life at the edge, both one and no one. And glad. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ May 20, 2018: 
Finding Happiness 
Pir Elias Amidon In this final talk of the 2017–18 Living Sufism series, I will try to weave together some of the many themes we have heard this year on the subject of The Alchemy of Happiness, and offer a few suggestions for finding happiness on the extraordinary journey of our lives.