Sufi Turning / Whirling

“Turning is an image of how the dervish becomes an empty place
Where human and divine can meet.
To approach the whole the part must become mad.”
– Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi (interpreted by C. Barks)

Sema was inspired by the 13th century Sufi mystic Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, widely known and popular to this day for his passionate poetry and teaching stories. The poetry poured out of Rumi when he reached ecstatic states after sometimes hours of turning. The divine then spoke through his mouth and disciples would write down the words. His language is very lively and inspiring.

Over time Rumi’s raw practice of turning that had developed spontaneously got transformed into a more formal whirling practice, known as ‘Sema’. The dervish (Semazen) goes on a mystical journey in Sema, turning towards the truth. Leaving the ego behind. A Semazen opens him/herself to the divine, every turn a bit more. Through this spiritual practise people can gain more awareness, mindfulness, capacity to love and a greater ability to serve all beings.

Whirling /Turning Meditation in Auckland
led by Abheer Zander

After an introduction we turn for 45 min . The music is mostly pentatonic which is very supportive in creating inner balance and harmony. A sitting area is provided to allow the meditation to continue if you do not want to whirl the whole time. By keeping your eyes open, you can still be part of the process. At the end we sit silently for 15 mins with closed eyes, finishing with a short Sufi-chant.

Abheer is a mureed of the Inayati Sufi Order in New Zealand and learned to Turn in the Osho community. He has recently participated in a 3 week Sema with Rahmi Oruc Guvenc in Turkey and joined Rahmi Oruc Guvenc in Sema during his 2013 visit to New Zealand.

“Whirling is one of the most ancient techniques, one of the most forceful. It is so deep that even a single experience can make you totally different. Whirl with open eyes, just like small children go on twirling, as if your inner being has become a center and your whole body has become a wheel, moving, a potter’s wheel.”
– Osho