Meditation & Chanting
Sufism is an interesting practice for many reasons. I’ve met Sufis who had fully integrated Islam into their practice, and I’ve met others who weren’t even Muslims. The concept of Sufism is deeply embedded within our nature, and it can be understood and practiced in different ways.
In Sufism, we mostly practice heart meditations. If Yoga is about alignment and harmony, and Zen is about emptiness, then Sufism is about love. When it comes to the subtle body, in Yoga we focus on seven energy centers, in Sufism we focus only on one, the heart. We use breathing techniques, mantras and focused states of awareness to develop our connection to the heart. In due time, a wonderful feeling begins to settle in the heart. Its this feeling that made the Sufi poets write all their mystical poetry.
Another big part of Sufism is practicing asceticism. To have an effective practice, we must control our desires and purify our being. The Sufi’s say "to be in this world, but not of it" meaning we maintain enough mind and sensual desire to simply survive in this world, and by doing so we master both body and mind. Once we attain this form of mastery, we begin to understand the Sufi process of purification and expansion.
To better understand Sufism, Sufi poetry is a good place to start; it’s some of the most beautiful poetry ever written. Just by reading it, we might get a taste of a Sufi state. It's all feel in Sufism, it’s a practice where we hammer the head into the mighty heart.
Since Sufism is focused on the heart, it can be quite emotional and intense. Its best therefore to develop a strong and grounding practice before delving into the world of Sufism.