Living Presence (Revised) | Kabir Helminski

Summary of: Living Presence (Revised): The Sufi Path to Mindfulness and the Essential Self
By: Kabir Helminski


In the book ‘Living Presence’, Kabir Helminski explores the principles of Sufism – a practice of Islam focusing on experiencing a reality of divine interconnection. He strives to demonstrate how Sufism transcends mere metaphysical aspirations and embraces physical reality. In this journey, readers will be introduced to the Sufi concept of the infinite spirit, the essence that unites all living things and manifests through an electromagnetic field. Helminski delves into the importance of presence – maintaining awareness in the present moment – as a means to experience the infinite spirit and develop a connection with the divine. The summary will shed light on overcoming the tyrannical ego by surrendering to the love of the infinite spirit, transforming suffering into positive change, and the significance of channeling creative energy.

The Journey to Oneness

Imagine a city consumed by fear and alienation, where accomplishments mean nothing. Now envision discovering a village, warriors, and saints, each one closer to experiencing the divine. Sufism, a practice of Islam, emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things through an essence that binds them all. According to Sufism, reality is oneness, where all living things share an infinite spirit. This idea aligns with our modern scientific understanding of the world, as subatomic particles vibrate with energy within an electromagnetic field. However, Sufism is more concerned with personal experience than scientific arguments. The end goal is to embrace the present moment and achieve presence.

Presence and the Infinite Spirit

A Sufi teacher instructs the author on the importance of maintaining awareness in the present moment, leading to a connection with the infinite spirit. Sufism emphasizes practical everyday spirituality achieved through meditation and clearing the mind.

In this insightful passage, the author recalls his early experiences as a spiritual seeker under the guidance of a Sufi teacher. He recounts the story of his first encounter with a horse, a task the teacher had instructed him to carry out despite his lack of experience. While grooming the horse, the author achieved a sense of total absorption and presence that connected him to the moment, the horse, and ultimately, to the infinite spirit.

The author notes that Sufism is a mystical faith that promotes practical everyday spirituality achieved through maintaining awareness of the present moment. This presence can be developed through meditation, a process the author refers to as “polishing the mirror of awareness.” By paying attention to our breath, senses, emotions, and thoughts without attachment, we can begin to clear our minds and reveal our capacity for awareness as a conduit to the infinite spirit.

Thus, the key message emphasized in this passage is the importance of being present in the moment, which opens up a connection to the infinite spirit. Sufism teaches practical spirituality achievable through everyday activities while emphasizing the significance of clearing the mind and being mindful of the present moment.

Taming the Troublesome Ego

In Sufism, the ego is seen as the compulsive self that stokes fear, resentment, judgment, and envy. Although it’s crucial for us to face adversity, our ego should serve us, not rule us. The key message is to end the tyranny of the ego by surrendering to the love of the infinite spirit. Developing presence and an awareness of the spirit is crucial to humble the ego and face life’s challenges. Remember the connection between your individual self and the divine to release the hold of the ego.

The Power of Humility

A parable illustrates how suffering can transform oneself and the world. To overcome suffering, one must first let go of the disappointments of their ego and face the world realistically. Great change agents, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and Malcolm X, expressed deep humility which drew people to them and allowed them to become part of the transformation they sought. Developing presence can help defeat imagined sufferings and affect real change, while absorbing the love of the spirit.

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