For millennia the sages of the East have proclaimed that the world is illusion ( Maya). Is it possible to make sense of this notion? Drawing on theoriese of sensory perception from physics, psychology and biology, the author shows that all products of perception are artifacts. The most dramatic of these artifacts is the familiar notion and experience of being an individual a separate self. In spiritual growth the power of this artifact; is diluted. Enlightenment is an event or process in which the artifact of the self is completely shattered.
The book discusses the precise set of mechanisms through which the artifact of the separate self arises and is perpetuated. It considers the enormous implications of the psychological existence and non-existence of the separate self. The author argues that the primate-human brain, rooted in the me-thou dichotomy, based on deep illusion, has outlived its usefulness and must now be transformed if the species is to survive. This illusion can be gradually dispelled. The book shows how we can set ourselves free.
New Sufi thought, in the spirit of the Renaissance, is a framework where art, science, philosophy and authentic spiritual impulse merge into a single unified, potent sense and sensibility the ingredients of a meta primate mind.
Ali Ansari is a writer, poet and engineer. He holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and has taught at several universities in the Unites states and India. He has been engaged in contemporary adaptations of Sufi work and has drawn on both ancient and modern sources in developing his system. He lives in India and conducts frequent workshops.
Ali Ansari was born in India where he did his undergraduate work in Mechanical Engineering. He moved to the USA in 1969 and received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1973. Since then he has taught at several universities in USA , Nigeria and India and has coauthored a textbook on thermodynamics, published by John Wiley & Sons.
Ansari is also a literary writer and poet and his work has appeared in several
magazines. Ansari began developing his ideas and vision of the New Sufi system
as a powerful synthesis of Eastern and Western knowledge aimed at a very deep
level of personal insight and transformation after being associated with a number
of teachers in the East and the West. Much of the New Sufi material is however
based on his own original and personal work and the workshops and classes he
One of the joys of writing a preface is that it is the last thing one writes, even thought it appears first in the book. As I write this, I have before me a bird’s eye view of the book. Thoughout the writing I felt that I was solving some kind of a deep puzzle. Have I solved it?
Evolutionary biology has been marvelously successful in fitting together all the major pieces of our evolutionary past. It has revealed to us the mechanics of biological evolutions. All organisms are produced than can be supported by the natural food base of a particular environment. Natural selection acts on random genetic mutations and allows the fittest to survive, yielding thereby the dynamics of evolution. This is how, as a species of higher primates, we have come into being. However, our remarkable cognitive resources have made it possible for us to master our environment . We have effectively put natural Selection out of action.
So what’s going to govern our future evolution? Our evolution as a species. Evolutionary biology fails us here. And what about personal evolution? There is no such concept in biology. Yet, each one of us knows very well that there is such a thing as personal growth. And that it is exciting and wonderful to pursue and experience. There are signs all around us that human society is entering an “Age of Personal Growth”. Having more or less solved as a species, the problems of biological survival, the drama of evolution for us has shifted to the personal and the individual.
What sort of personal growth do we wish to undergo? What does it mean to be truly human? Science can be of little help in answering this question. Some other form of knowing is required. Not knowledge, but a knowing that is never static, never complete. It is not found in books or teachings. This knowing tells us that it is for us now to transform our primate-human brain, for this brain has become for us individually and collectively, a source of conflict and suffering.
Sufism, like many other similar systems, guides us in evolving a met primate brain. By combining Sufi knowledge and methods with modern discoveries in science we may not only understand the roots of primate fear and greed and insecurity in our psyche but also learn how to transform them.
The Sufi doctrine maintains that there is, in our psyche, a natural and powerful urge to expand continuously towards a point of ultimate freedom. And that freedom is freedom from the dichotomy of Me and Thou. I believe that it is time for science and psychology evolutionary drive, and honors it.
How can we set ourselves free? The mystics and the sages try to teach us. But teachings are couched in strange metaphors. This book is a re-statement of those teachings in the light of late 20th century science. The work of setting oneself free is personal and individual. Everyone has to do it for himself. But it helps to understand clearly what we are intuitively trying to do. And to know how and where to tap the necessary resources.
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