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Writing From the Heart – Final free weekend
April 15 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
WRITING TOGETHER, HEALING TOGETHER, in the beautiful surrounds of the International Peace Center at the Farm of Peace.
Each Saturday and Sunday through Ramadan.
Jamila Vicki Davies is practiced in the art of healing as a Murabi in the Shadhdhuliyya Sufi Tariqa. Before becoming a Sufi, she taught hundreds of people the art of opening to the deep silence within as a teacher of meditation in the Vedic tradition. Her love of writing began more than forty years ago and in her master’s practicum in Spiritual Ministry through the University of Sufism, she developed a program of self-discovery and self-reflection called Writing from the Heart.
Throughout the holy month of Ramadan Jamila Davies has graciously offered this course to all who are interested in joining each Saturday and Sunday 1:45pm-3pm EST.
If you are able to attend in person, we will be meeting in the dome room of the IPC.
If you prefer to join us virtually, click here to join via Zoom
As-Sami — The one who hears, the All Hearing, the Listener
People who can listen and open their heart to others are endowed with
great maturity, for nothing touches another human being like the
feeling of being heard.
-Fawzia Al-Rawi Divine Names
Listening is a learned skill. Mostly we want to be heard. A crying child wants to be heard. That cry will elicit the flow of milk from a mother’s breast, how strong is the need to be heard. We spend much of our life trying to be heard, to make our needs known, to be understood. Often in relationships not being heard is the strongest complaint. He never listens to me; she never listens to me. Children particularly thrive in an
environment where an adult, parent, teacher really listens and hears the longing behind their incessant chatter.
As adults we might seek out therapists, someone who will listens not only to our words but to the deeper meanings and connection behind
them. In my twenties, prompted by a good friend, I started writing in journals. Writing allowed me to express and release powerful emotions
on the page and once on paper, to gain a perspective, something that isn’t always possible while the chaos rages around inside.
Writing for me has always been about getting to the inside story, getting to the heart of the matter, finding words that give expression to
hidden emotions or discovering the significance of a particular thought or feeling. Writing gave me access to places inside that shaped my
reality and to habits and behaviors that orchestrated my actions in ways I might not be fully aware.
Judith Guest, author of Ordinary People wrote, “Writers do not write to impart knowledge; rather, they write to inform themselves.”
Writing became a tool for me of self-understanding and self-reflection. And in this process, I began to listen to myself, to hear my own
thoughts, to understand my own needs, desires, hopes and fears.
“Words have power. How do we make room for what is essential in us to be spoken, given voice to so that we can know ourselves more
consciously?” Krista Tippett from her book Becoming Wise, An Inquiry Into the Mystery and Art of Living.
I had not thought of using writing as other than a tool of self-discovery until my master’s practicum in spiritual ministry 2007. By then I had
been journaling for more than forty years so when my spiritual advisor suggested I could use writing together to break through the obstacles I
was facing in developing my practicum, it was as if the doors to heaven opened, and light poured down. I could use writing as my doorway,
something so long done, and so well loved and I could help others discover the beauty of their own most intimate and beautiful selves. I
called it Writing from the Heart, a practice of listening for the sensations of thoughts that arise when the mind is quiet, and the heart
is open; listening to hear what can only be felt and to express that beauty in our own words. Through this technique, I learned how to turn
writing into a tool of deep listening.
Anyone who has ever sat down with a pen and notebook knows the myriad voices we confront when first trying to express our thoughts on
the page. It takes practice to distinguish the felt form from the chaos. Writing requires deep listening, following the thread that leads to
deeper knowledge and insight, listening to connect with the voice that is most truly and uniquely ours.
Rachel Naomi Remen MD, clinical professor at UCSF, describes to new doctors what she means by generous listening. “Generous listening as
powered by curiosity, a virtue we can invite and nurture in ourselves to render it instinctive. It involves a kind of vulnerability—a willingness to be surprised, to let go of the assumptions and take in ambiguity. The listener wants to understand the humanity behind the words of the
Natalie Goldberg, in her book Writing Down the Bones, captured a technique of writing called Writing Without Stopping that allows the
mind to transcend assumptions and to open to vulnerability. Through this technique and remembrance of the Name of Allah in the silence of
their own heart, writers are freed from the confines of the mind’s need to control and instead open to the vulnerabilities of self-discovery. This
is the practice, using the written word to open to the deep inner direction, listening to feel the sensation and write, capturing in our own words a hidden link to our soul.
“I want to speak from my soul. I want to discover the intimacy inside me where no “otherness” resides. I want to allow space
for that immense vulnerability where I no longer exist and only You are. Using writing as a tool, like a spade in the garden, I dig
deeper, uncovering my divinity, Your divinity in me.”
An excerpt from a Writing from the Heart session.
Writing from the Heart clarifies and connects us to our own inner landscape, where, letting go of the ego’s idea of how things should be,
we open more fully to the reality of how things are. I love this process of opening. It is a joy to watch how much just being heard allows a
person to begin to hear themselves, what they want, what they need and who they are.
What I’ve learned in my years of practice is that writing is listening—listening to deeper and deeper levels of my own inner experience a listening that includes what is being spoken but also listening to what is behind the words. It is more than being quiet—it is being present. By listening deeply to another we become conscious of listening with an intimacy that includes ourselves. When we listen deeply, otherness disappears.
Writing from the Heart is a form of deep listening, listening for the words that move through us in a constant stream… listening for the deeper, inner sweetness that purifies the heart and soul. Prayer begins the process, opening and asking to hear, as-Sami, the All Hearing, a divine attribute of God; He hears our prayers and responds—al-Mujib, the Responsive.
Writing from the Heart sings you the song of yourself. As you write and listen for those deepest holy words, listening for the truth you must convey, listening to hear your own words in the voices of others. Writing from this deep and holy place unlocks the soul, unlocks the door to your deepest longing and freedom.
April 11, 2023