LETTERS reveals an intimate and unique relationship between a teacher and pupil on the path of the heart. Carol will read passages from her correspondence with the contemporary western Sufi mystic, Shamcher Beorse.
Tea and Treats will be served
Location and parking details (near UBC) on request.
From Donaleen Saul Writer, Editor, Creativity Coach. Link to this review on Amazon.com
On the face of it, Letters is the story of 26-year-old Carol Sill’s spiritual awakening as she is transported into the heart of the Great Mystery following the sudden drowning of her seven-year-old son in 1974.
Broken-hearted and seeking spiritual support to help her navigate the dark waters of her grief, she chose – or perhaps was called to – the Sufi path, which had attracted her after reading the work of Hazrat Inayat Khan, the great Sufi who had originally introduced this mystical tradition to the West in the early 1900s. One of the names on a list of North American contacts was 78-year-old Shamcher Beorse, a Norway-born scientist and businessman, world traveler and maverick – a pupil of Inayat Khan’s who heard the cry of Carol’s heart and responded without reservation.
Although described by Sufi master and son of Inayat Khan, Pir Vilayat, as “the esoteric head of the Sufi Order,” Shamcher had no interest in titles, hierarchies or belief systems. He refused to be called a teacher and yet Carol describes how she “exploded in his presence” and how others wept upon meeting him. Under his openhearted and humble guidance, Carol soared “through the winding routes of Love’s progress, growth and development.”
The correspondence that surfaced between Carol and Shamcher is a rare and often euphoric expression of the encounter with The Beloved, impossible to put into words, and yet blazingly articulated by these two Godstruck humans whose love “grew wider than all creation…to feed all in fierce expansive compassionate understanding.”
One of the many gifts of this beautifully written book lies in its generous revelation of the relationship between initiate (Mureed) and elder (Murshid), comparable to that between the famed 12th century Sufi mystic, Jelaluddin Rumi, and the dervish Shamsoddin Tabriz, a profound soul engagement that sparked the ecstatic poetry that outsells all others 900 years later.
These lines from Rumi’s Mathnavi, exemplify the unique relationship between Carol and Shamcher:
Not only the thirsty seeks the water,
but the water seeks the thirsty as well.
What is evident in the correspondence between Carol and Shamcher is that the relationship between Mureed and Murshid is not a one-way transmission between one who knows and one who doesn’t, but a dynamic interchange that impacts both people equally – and everyone else in their lives. The purity of Shamcher’s teaching is revealed in his humble realization that “To me, everyone in the whole world may be called a Sufi or, if not, I may not be one either.” He saw Carol as a unique and gifted person with the capacity of heart to teach others (which she later did for 20 years), who was as much his teacher as he hers: “Your messages, particularly in your last two letters, roll on in majestic melodious rhythms, touching truth and my soul.”
Shamcher had little interest in himself as a Sufi master or even as a human being: “A Sufi may know all the jokes and tricks of a magician but he is more serious than any saint or government economist or garbage collector. And he loves them all with a love so fierce, so bitter, and so sweet that in comparison with this love, the magnitude of it, he himself disappears, and no longer exists.”
It is the omnipresence of that vast Love that is without question the greatest blessing of this extraordinary book, which is as much a mystical transmission as it is a tale that has needed to be told. The Love that carried Carol through the soul storm of grief to the awakening that enabled her “to live outside these limitations imposed upon us in life on earth” is as much ours as it is hers and Shamcher’s.
Letters is Carol Sill’s wide-open invitation to all of us to enter our own heartland and to know “that the unseen realm in which Shamcher and I were communicating has a place within your being also.”
From isabella mori, Writer, psychologist. Link to this review on Amazon.com
This book is like a delicious box of rich, handcrafted chocolate. You don’t want to wolf it down in one gulp – I would go as far as saying you can’t. And it is almost as if you cannot “read” it, either; instead, what I recommend you do is to sit down with it and be with it, experience it, taste it slowly.
This book signifies the depth of Shamcher’s and Carol’s love for each other, of teacher and student, of two people who are entirely dedicated to show the very best of humanity to each other and thus, to the world. The very best – and at the same time nothing: “Congratulate yourself that you don’t ‘find’ yourself now,” says Shamcher, “Who do you think I am? Nobody and everybody. But is this good? Yes, excellent, and besides: it is true.”
Carol pours her whole heart and soul and life out to Shamcher, lyrically, with a childlike trust:
“The waves go up and down, sometimes my little boat is soaring. sometimes it is almost drawn under.
I must leave this boat and walk upon the waters direct.”
Shamcher’s acceptance and humility show themselves literally in every letter, it is the many strands of gold that shoot through the book. He smiles upon the various factions within the Sufi community, never criticizes harshly, sees value in everyone. “Everyone has a message and is worth listening to.”
This book of letters make me want to cry out with Shamcher’s words: “Oh, what precious beauty … I feel so small, so grateful!”
The website”Technology of the Heart” is featuring the introduction to LETTERS and includes some creative collages of impressions of the work, as well as music playing for the posting also. Below is an excerpt, and you can see the whole posting HERE.
“Introduction to an Introduction and Interview
In the Sufi Path, the sacred bond between the teacher and pupil is of paramount importance because it is through the love of one soul for another, the invisible web of love of highest order is spun. Through devotion, love and obedience to teacher, one arrive at the devotion, love and obedience to God. It is said that: ‘the moment spiritual seeker is united with the master, the journey becomes effortless.’ The spiritual master is to his pupil, what Jesus Christ was to his disciples, what Prophet was to his companions. By being an exemplar in spiritual state, station and action (both inward and outward) a master transmits much, with and without words.
Every relation in the world is unique, so are the relation between a master and his disciple or companion. Even though when a master and a seeker are physically away from each other, correspondence and transmission of message continues. Sometime such transmission occurs through written messages. In sufi tradition, there are a number of correspondences between powerful masters and their disciples. In fact the tradition goes back to Prophet Muhammad himself who used written correspondences to transmit his message. The correspondence or letters a Murshid to a Mureed is called Malfuzat or Malfuziat….
…..Upon reading it (still reading) one cannot help but remembers Shams Tabrizi, the spiritual master of Rumi and the beautiful bond between him and Rumi. In a very subtle, hidden and beautiful way Shamcher appears to me as Shams in these letters.”
From Julia Balter, Co-creative Movement Artist
It was extraordinarily powerful to read these letters. So much, on so many levels came flooding through. In particular, Shamcher’s views on hierarchies comes through so clearly both in and between the lines. Likewise, the thread between his utter lack of dogma and his brilliant ability to gently and precisely say the right thing at the right time to each person.
So many memories of eternal moments with Shamcher are washing through me these past two days. I met Shamcher in 1977 or 1978 – was it really 40+ years ago? More than anything else in my life, there really is no time here. Although my memories of those years are in general a bit vague, virtually everything he ever said to me lives in me forever.
I am so grateful to Carol Sill for writing this book. She has done a true service. I cannot really use the word “legacy” in relationship to Shamcher, because it is all an ongoing eternal moment, but I am sure her book helps to weave more of his exquisite presence into every aspect and every corner of this world.
As I am a slow reader it has taken me several weeks to read this wonderful book. In that time the message of the Letters revealed itself slowly as well, which is, I think that each person can and must find their own way to the intense, impassioned and heightened state of being that Carol and Shamcher were able to inspire in the other for a short time. In this state, openings were created that seem to have allowed a flow of metaphysical communication and guidance from their higher selves, or God. The Letters do more than just document this process of the heart and mind but also express a pattern for the attainability of such contact with the holy for anyone.
The signature cover of the book gives a great deal of meaning to the collected letters within the paperback version. Its graceful design is by the accomplished Canadian artist and graphic designer, Diane Feught.
Diane’s masterful work in book design and layout can be seen in Ann Mortifee’s recent book, In Love with the Mystery, where she interwove Ann’s inspired text with images by renowned Canadian photographer, Courtney Milne.