I have an insatiable hunger for spiritual knowledge and my appetite only intensifies with age. The more I learn, the greater the yearning. It’s like entering a grand palace, where every lavishly ornate room leads to another, more sumptuous and opulent than the one before it, until I eventually realise it will take a lifetime to stumble across the inner chamber. But that’s quite all right, because ultimately it’s the journey which brings growth and wisdom and not the destination. At least that was my experience in a year-long odyssey, exploring different religious practices.
During that time, a significant pinnacle was the discovery of Jamal Rahman – a Sufi Interfaith Minister. Not only did his teachings reconnect me with the faith of my ancestors, but he opened my eyes to Sufi rituals which proved indispensable in meeting life’s challenges. One notable gem was Expression and Resolution – an exercise used to resolve difficult issues between people. For example, I was taught that if I had a problem with my boss, I should summon his soul to a virtual meeting to express my thoughts and feelings (freely but cordially) and finish with a heartfelt desire, in the form of a prayer. Through that dialogue (between the souls), healing would take place if I expressed myself truthfully. This meant that when I eventually met with my boss, the encounter would go well.
I was intrigued by this teaching, but didn’t test it until I found myself en route to an appointment with my haematologist. This was an annual brouhaha and even though it had become routine over the years, it still had the power to unnerve me. However, on this particular occasion, I had good reason to be worried. My blood tests identified concerning irregularities (highlighted in bold red print) and my mind was struggling with terrifying narratives. Having previously labelled the haematologist “Dr. Doom” – because of his tendency to dwell on alarming hypotheticals – I dreaded his reaction to bona fide bad news. However, as I walked towards the hospital, I suddenly remembered Expression and Resolution. Instinctively, I summoned the haematologist’s soul and expressed my fears and vulnerability, praying for a comforting encounter.
Thirty minutes later, I was ushered into the consultancy room, where the haematologist stood up respectfully, as soon as I entered. With head bowed and an air of kindliness, he greeted me with the gentility of an elderly uncle. I responded cautiously, waiting for the killer blow, as he concluded the physical examination. Failing to find anything to trouble him, he cheerfully waved me off for another year. Yet still I lingered, timidly enquiring about the blood tests; determined to confront the truth. He peered at me curiously over his spectacles and read them aloud, before shrugging them away. They were too miniscule to be of any significance and off I was despatched, for another year.
Later, I reflected on why the appointment had gone so well. Many a time, I’d left his office distraught and frightened when my blood tests had been completely normal. Yet on the day when I expected a nuclear reaction, I was met with serenity and calm. Why? Expression and Resolution.