I first got in touch with Western Sufism in 1972. Since then I have been increasingly involved in Sufism. In 2004 I was initiated as Murshida in the Innerschool of Sufi Way. I am a musician and have led many Zikr trainings and other music related programs for more than 20 years. I live in France - near Paris - at the International Headquarters of Sufi Way.
I have been engaged with the work of the Sufi Way and the Open Path since first meeting Pir-o-Murshid Fazal Inayat-Khan in 1972. I lived and worked with Murshid Fazal in Europe and the US, and upon his passing, continued in the work with his successor Murshida Sitara Brutnell and with the current Pir of the Sufi Way and founder and leader of the Open Path, Elias Amidon.
Sharif Peter Hawkins
I have been involved in the Sufi Way and before that the Sufi movement for nearly 40 years and was initiated by Pir-o-Murshid Fazal, who became a close friend and colleague and with whom I ran a number of joint workshops. In 2012 I was initiated as a Murshid by Pir-o-Murshid Elias. He gave me special responsibility within the Sufi Way for Rites of Passage ceremonies and with the help of several Mureeds we are developing universalist ceremonies that are aligned to the needs of the 21st century. My many roles include author, professor of leadership, consultant, coach, retreat guide, mentor, grandfather, friend, lover, searcher and gardener and I travel internationally giving talks and workshops, mostly on the leadership required to face the challenges of our time.
I have been a member of the Sufi Way for most of my adult life and this has been a wonderful privilege and a deep enrichment for me ever since my initiation in 1976 by Pir-o-Murshid Fazal Inayat Khan. I have led and co-led many groups, meditation evenings and retreats and presently co-ordinate the Bristol Sufi Way Centre. In addition, my husband Karim and myself are leading journeys of pilgrimage to sacred places associated with Sufism and Sufi music. In 2011 Pir-o-Murshid Elias Amidon inititated me as a Murshida.
Next to my Sufi activities I have worked as a cultural anthropologist and a psychotherapist and trainer, and have enjoyed my life as a mother, a singer, a traveller, a friend, a lover of humanity and nature.
Puran Lucas Perez
I joined Murshid Fazal at the Khankah in 1971 and spent the next five years living and working closely with him both in England and Holland. That experience left me with an insatiable thirst for the next unknown and an irrepressible inclination toward love and friendship. As a writer, musician, digital artist and Magic Theatre maker, my path winds through the soulscape I believe Ibn Arabi refers to as the ‘imaginal realm,’ where creativity and spiritual practice can converge. Professionally I run New Age Com, a digital media and communications consulting firm.
Born in Kashmir and raised in India in a Punjabi Sikh family, I became dissatisfied at an early age with traditional responses that emphasized acceptance of scripture or the elevation of one faith/teaching over another. After college and three years working at an Indian multinational, I traveled to the West in search of enlightenment. At Four Winds in England I had the fortune to meet the perfect teacher for me. I spent the first seven years of my Sufi training living and working in close proximity to my teacher, Fazal Inayat-Khan, and feel I was re-birthed in the fire of that experience.
Today, more than thirty years later, I live in Alameda, California, with my wife Jeanne, a poet. I am deeply involved with Sufism, and with teaching through the Sufi musical form, qawwali. When I am in India, I sing with the familial qawwali group of my teacher, Ustad Meraj Nizami, the qawwal at the Dargah of Sufi Inayat Khan. When I am in Alameda I run Hunter House, a publisher of self-help books on health and personal growth.
A statement about qawwali: “On a personal level, qawwali gives me a place to sing devotionally without needing to suppress my intensity; the opportunity to improvise and play with melody and rhythm; a musical development and landscape from tranquil to desperate and everywhere in-between; a place to integrate poetry and lyrics with musical expression; and a place to find and make the spiritual associations that over time become a language describing the home of my soul.”
Elizabeth Rabia Roberts
After an intense Catholic education (Jesuit) in my early years, I became a lifelong student of Buddhism and then, for the past thirty years, an initiate of the Sufi Way. Throughout my life my central work has been as a citizen activist and teacher concerned with social justice, peace, and environmental issues. My activist life began in 1965 when I spent two years in Selma, Alabama working with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Since then I have directed several international projects related to women’s empowerment, population, and educational policy.
I taught philosophy and ethics at Harvard and Marquette Universities, and co-founded and directed The Institute for Deep Ecology, Naropa University’s M.A. in Environmental Leadership, and its Certificate Program in Ecopsychology. I was a founding faculty member of the Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), an international educational institute for grassroots activists in Southeast Asia.
In 1999 my husband, Elias, and I sold our home and undertook a deliberate period of homelessness as part of an international pilgrimage of direct service and teaching. In 2002, while working with a peace group in Iraq, I was elected the first American delegate to the Global Non-Violent Peaceforce. Since 1994 I have taught in Burma, Indonesia, the tribal lands of Southeast Asia, Iraq, Syria, Israel/Palestine, and Brazil. Most recently I have worked on a project to help empower local women leaders and organizations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
For the past decade I have become deeply familiar with nondual teachings from several traditions. The nondual revelation of Present Awareness (both empty and full) is now the nourishment that feeds my daily life and is the ground of all my work for global change.
I have been involved in the Sufi Way for 36 years and was initiated by Pir-o-Murshid Fazal in 1986. I was initiated as a Murshida by Pir-o-Murshid Elias in 2012. He gave me special responsibility within the Sufi Way for Care Giving as an important part of our collective purpose. I particularly focus on care for care-givers in approaching this task so that care givers can develop both wisdom and resilience in carrying out their work, whether it be within a caring profession or among family and friends. I have been a psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer for 30 years.