Some time ago, I arrived in Jerusalem in a very sad state. I was looking for something, and Sidi seemed to be an archetypal middle-easternern Holy Man. I was previously attracted to eastern gurus, but here was a man who seemed like an eastern mystic and the old testament prophetic model combined. Within a few days, I had a spiritual name and a whole new identity as someone who had 'taken the promise' to be a disciple. He seemed rather insistent on my doing this, and as I had very little confidence in my ability to do anything, at that point in life, I went along. Not long thereafter, he started putting me together with a disciple of the opposite sex. And I do mean putting together and he WAS there in the roon with us while it went on. There were candles and incense, the call to prayer going off, an exotic desert locale, new food, new prayers, a new language, a brand new holy book-- I figured this was he was just like God in the Garden of Eden and I and my partner were like Adam and Eve. In fact, he did keep saying, 'Be the real Adam for her . Be the real Eve for him' during the intense 'deep secret love' sessions he directed.
These sessions were intersperced with his frequent and insistent attempts to get us to marry. Later, I finally did marry this person...how could I not after an audition like that? I had tried to be proceed more slowly, but kept feeling like this was my one and only chance for love and redemption in a life that was going nowhere anyway.
Did my marrriage partner and I expect to simply glide into new, regenerated identities with no pasts, problems, addictions, hurts to examine and come to terms with? Did we really think all we had to do was turn ourselves over to Sidi? Was the advice he subsequently gave us based, as he implied, on his personal direct contact with the Divine? Did our 'stuff' get handled by taking on a new identity as a strategy? Was that Sidi's point? Would anybody from an Islamic milleau be treated the way we did? Was there any sanction of the way we were treated by Sidi? Did he have only our interests at heart or was there some need on his part for power, to get involved in another's intimate relations?
I don't know if I will ever answer all of these questions. It is certainly true that it is easier to condemn the man now that I have gotten over him and the group surrounding him, and done some work on myself in a traditional psychological way. Perhaps I 'needed' the container of this group. Perhaps I 'needed' to be put with another human being in this forceful way to break a habitual lonliness that was killing me. Perhaps others still need this now and I should shut up and let them have it.
Still, I believe that someone wondering whether the spiritual path consists of following another's descriptions of God and the path to Him, no matter how first-hand they SEEM to be, should remember the Qur'an when it says, " He who knows himself knows his Lord". There's no escape in pretending one is an Arab, or a 'son' or 'daughter' of a person more influential with God, or someone who is otherwise exempt from remembering one's past misunderstandings, hurts, and wrong-doings, amending them, and finding a place of balance among the community of humanity. I have that balance now, and I am sorry for so many that, having invested so many years in one 'spiritual community' or another, feel their identities are so contained within that leader/group/ideology that they dare not seek other options. It is actually a bit harder in a group like this which is not exactly a 'cult', at least as far a Sidi promotes it. For known cults there is known help. For this love-oriented sufi group there is mainly one's own betrayed hopefullness to get over.
New Dissent Info. Group!
Free Previews of Truth of a Sufi!
See Sidi This Summer
Dissenters on Usenet
Gushy Sidi Video Now Available