Dr Yannis Toussulis in his recent book Sufism and the Way of Blame suggests that due in part to spiritual consumerism and also to the way Sufism has been presented in the West its core message has been obscured by a pervasive mystique. His solution to wrestle the core message of Sufism away from the grips of obfuscation, is to present Sufism as a multiplex phenomenon – that is a complex phenomenon inclusive of a number of cultural, political and psychological elements.
It’s for this reason I so highly recommend this work by Michael Greenstein. Instead of presenting us with the now cliché exotic journey, beautiful scenery and obscure methods of spiritual training, the reader is taken into the depths of the everyday struggle to overcome loss and face the challenges of modern life all within the familiar ambiance of a metropolitan cityscape. As we read Mr. Greenstein’s journey, the reader cannot help to see how the cultural, political and psychological trends of his day impacted his search for Truth.
What Mr Greenstein accomplishes with the plainness and accessibility of his speech, his honesty and most importantly his sincerity in sharing from his personal coffers of wisdom far outreaches the what other flashier, more exotic, and popular authors do. He shows the vulnerability of daily life beyond the catch words and labels. He shows a living example of how beyond the surface differences the religious and mystical experiences united all humanity regardless of creed, races and religion. Given the current anti-religious and anti-Muslim sentiments plaguing our culture at the moment, I was happy to read a story that touches on what unites us as human beings beyond our petty bickering.
Living in a consumerist society it’s no surprise to me at least that spirituality is a commodity bought and sold in the marketplace. However, just beyond the DVD’s and exotic vacation packages promising a spiritual awakening, there are real people seeking to discover what it means to be alive in this moment now within the context of daily life in a fast paced urban metropolis. The book was a sound reminder that there is beauty all around us if we endeavor to answer that call to open our eyes. I am happy to recommend this book not just to those interested in sufism but to seekers of all paths who endeavor to live with their yearning in our sometimes difficult and troubling times.
The Book’s Amazon Page