WITHIN THE HEART OF HEARTS: A Story of Mystical Love by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee



Within the Heart of Hearts is a journey into the mystical secrets of the heart. Designed to be read like a medieval book of hours, it uses prose, poetry, and images as a series of meditations on the stages of love’s mystical journey, from the initial experience of searching and the heart’s longing, to the ecstatic union with God, the lover united with the Beloved. This simple but powerful description of the Sufi journey reminds us of this living tradition of divine love.

Taking advantage of the format of an eBook, beautiful images speak directly to the soul, as do the poems that touch the heart. Here is the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz, Ibn ‘Arabi, and other Sufi masters placed within the context of the stages of the heart’s opening to God. Speaking the universal language of love, they allow each of us to feel the mystery, wonder, and bliss that belongs to the heart of hearts, the mystical secret that is hidden within us. They draw us deep within our own heart, where this intoxicating relationship of lover and Beloved takes place.

The popularity of Rumi has shown a thirst in the West for mystical love. This small book is a way to drink deeply of this wine of love, this tradition of lovers of God. Written by a contemporary Sufi, Within the Heart of Hearts is based upon a lived experience of the Sufi path and the inner experiences of the heart.

INTRODUCTION

The mystical journey is the greatest undertaking we can ever make, a journey inward into the heart of hearts, the mysterious core of our own being. On this journey we will encounter the depths of the darkness within us, of our fears and failures, and then a light and a love beyond imagining. We are taken by love to love, into the pain, the tenderness and then the unbelievable bliss of oneness with the divine. This is humanity’s greatest secret, hidden within each of us.

Since the very beginning there have always been those who are drawn to follow love’s calling, to make this impossible journey into the center of the heart. Some of these travellers came to be called Sufis (the name possibly referring to their white woolen garments, sûf, or an indication of their purity of heart, safâ). And some of them have left signposts of their journey—poems and stories of their heart’s opening, of the transformations wrought through the power and pain of the love along the mystical way. This little book, following some of those signposts, takes us through some of the stages of the journey on this secret path within the heart.

The poems in these pages point to an unfolding story. In its more familiar form, this is the narrative of the mystical journey that takes us from the experience of separation to the oneness of union with God—a journey, as those who have been taken on this path have told us, that passes through longing, struggle and pain, as well as bliss. But underneath this story lies another less-told one, not about a journey, but about a relationship.

Mystical life can be seen as an unfolding inner relationship between the soul and its Beloved. This relationship is always present, though it is hidden by life’s outer activity, by our ego, by the mind and its thoughts. It is a relationship of love: the love affair with the Beloved that is always alive in the core of our being, within the heart of hearts. Its story is the story of the mystic’s gradual opening, as she steps into the arena of the heart where this love affair is taking place, into a fuller and fuller experience of the love that is always present.

The poems that follow speak to this inner love affair. They tell of the nearness, the sweetness, as well as the suffering of love. This is the one story of divine love within all that exists, that spins the heart as well as the sun and the stars. And it is also our own intimate love affair, the passion of our own soul.

This book, with its poems and images, is designed to be experienced as a series of meditations, like a medieval book of hours. It is hoped that the reader will allow these meditations to unlock the secret of the hidden story of love they point to, so that once again we can hear what the Beloved is saying, come to know how much we are loved.

Chambers of the Heart – Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee outlines the spiritual journey on the Naqshbandi Path as an unveiling of the chambers of the heart, from the awakening of longing to the annihilation in Absolute Truth.

This talk was given at the 2008 Sufi Conference. See also: vimeo.com/channels/suficonference and suficonference.org

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