UPCOMING EVENTS

RETREAT COURSES

ABOUT BESHARA COURSES

Study

The perspective that Beshara aims at is not a new invention, but one that has been known by a few for thousands of years. The difference now is that this is available to as many people as have the inclination and desire to search for it. Texts reflecting this wisdom have come to us from down the ages, written by exceptional people who have been inspired. These texts must be interpreted according to our time and disposition, but the fundamental human truths they contain do not change.

Above all these texts serve as mirrors to ourselves, so that through engagement with words and ideas we can see deep into our own nature through a process that must be learnt but cannot be taught. A balance that must be found between the rational mind (the head) and the sense of presence or feeling (the heart) for the searcher to enter a state of unitive awareness.

In order to avoid limiting this wisdom to our own individual understanding, Beshara courses concentrate on group study where a shared perspective can be arrived at and the individual students can act as mirrors to each other, just as the texts provide a mirror for the group as a whole.

There are no teachers, or rather each person within the course becomes a teacher not only to themselves but to others. This includes the course supervisors who have experienced this process and so can convey something of its quality – they do not have the answers. The answers come from the individual to the individual, and from the whole to the whole – it is just a question of perspective.

Love and knowledge are often considered the two poles of this quest for self-knowledge –  both of these are necessary. Knowledge sets out the terrain to be traversed – where we came from and where we are going. It asks the great metaphysical question ‘How does the One become many?’, and the great philosophical question ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ or, put more personally, ‘What am I really here for?’ Love is the motive force, described by Dante as ‘the power that moves the sun and other stars’. It melts the heart and transcends the narrow confines of selfhood in favour of greater beauty and inclusive identity.

Rumi & Ibn Arabi

The works of two great poets, mystics and thinkers from the 12th & 13th century – Rumi and Ibn ‘Arabi – are favourites for study in depth, as they offer a comprehensive, multi-faceted view that addresses both the unseen world and the visible world as one.  The shifting points of view that both these writers freely and thoroughly adopt break up our pre-established patterns of thought and their texts invite students to radically new perspectives.

Students by studying mystical texts from other traditions can learn to correlate ideas, and discover for themselves the single truth that runs through all human thought.

Ibn ‘Arabi famously writes

O Marvel! a garden amidst the flames.
My heart has become capable of every form:
it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
and a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Kaa’ba,
and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Quran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take,
that is my religion and my faith

Residential Courses

Fully residential Beshara courses – such as those that are hosted by the Chisholme Institute in the Scottish Borders and Beshara Australia –  involve study, meditation, work and devotional practices.

Meditation focuses on facing the essential reality without intermediary in order to develop intimate awareness of an ever-present reality.

Work – in the kitchen or garden, for example – while of great practical importance, also allows for the expression of service and love.  It is also  the practice of the constancy of this awareness.

Devotional practices, both individual and collective,  are undertaken in recognition and remembrance that anything we receive by way of wisdom, inspiration or ‘enlightenment’ arrives as a gift.

Selected Reading

Know Yourself. An explanation of the oneness of being  Ibn ‘Arabi/Balyani Translated Cecilia Twinch Beshara Publications 2011

The Twenty–nine Pages   An Introduction to Ibn ‘Arabi’s Metaphysics of Unity, Roxburgh, 1998

The Kernel of the Kernel  Ibn ‘Arabi trans. Bulent.Rauf, Sherborne, 1981

The Fusus al-Hikam  Ibn ‘Arabi trans. Bulent Rauf  4 vols. Oxford, 1986-91, earlier translations of some of these vols.

The Wisdom of the Prophets  by Ibn ‘Arabi trans. T Burckhardt.  English trans. A. Culme-Seymour. Swyre Farm, Glos, 1975

Selected poems of Jelaluddin Rumi

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu

Baghavad Gita

Universal Man  Abd al Karim al Jili trans. Angela Culme-Seymour, Sherborne, 1983

Apocryphal Gospel of St. John

Mystical Astrology  Ibn ‘Arabi trans. T. Burckhardt.English version Bulent Rauf,  Sherborne, 1977.

The Spiritual Addresses   Niffari  Trans. A.J.Arberry, Cambridge, 1978