For awhile now I have been wanting to share how Sufi practices and Aromatherapy can be merged together for a more connected spiritual practice. I truly believe, and have experienced for myself, the powerful effects of adding essential oils to prayer and meditation. One Sufi practice is to meditate on the 99 Divine Names (or Attributes) of God. For me, God is beyond human comprehension, but the 99 Divine Names point to 99 of the Divine Attributes for us to contemplate and, in a sense, cultivate.
Neil Douglas-Klotz' The Sufi Book of Life:99 Pathways of the Heart for the Modern Dervish is a beautiful resource to explore these Names through meditation. I have decided to share what I feel / intuit / think would be a helpful essential oil to use when meditating on each of these Names. Before embarking on the 99 Names, the author begins with an exploration of "Bismillah." In many cultures, including my Turkish culture, we begin any endeavor with "Bismillah," which translates to "In the Name of God." I highly suggest getting the book for yourself, because his explanation helps to really understand how meditating on these Names fits in your life.
When you are guided to this pathway of the heart, take a moment to breath, and begin what you are about to do wholeheartedly. -The Sufi Book of Life
Sitting with this meditation and diffusing Rose (Rosa damascena) helped me become aware of how often I am conflicted, ambivalent, or hesitant - not of whole heart - and how important it is to root this out when we become aware of it. It reminds me of driving with one foot on the brake, you can't go as far and as fast and you end up wearing out all the parts. I can tell you that I have been hesitant about starting this project - the 99 Fragrances of God - for a variety of reasons that are all based on fear:
- fear of not knowing what I am talking about (imposter syndrome)
- fear of offending (is this sacrilege?)
- fear of being seen (oh cruel internet!)
My responses, after meditating with Rose and Bismillah:
- I don't know everything, but I know enough. And I haven't found anyone else doing what I am sharing - combining Sufism and Aromatherapy, and this is something I am deeply interested in and I think others are interested too. It is something that adds to my life and I think it can add to others' lives too.
- some people may be offended by Islamic terms or using Islamic ideas in this way, but contemplating on God is a good thing! And using aromatherapy for Sufi meditation is something that really connects me to my Higher Power.
- the internet can be scary. yes. but no one is reading this, lol! I don't have any followers, hahahaha but true. And, yes the internet can be scary but I can't let that keep me from being my unique offerings.
I decided Rose (Rosa damascena) would be the oil for setting out on this journey.
What is the scent of the Rose? The breath of reason and intelligence, a sweet guide on the way to the eternal kingdom. - Rumi
For a quick introduction on the Rose and its use in Islam, I suggest The rose: A flower with deep roots in Turkish culture by Jennifer Çelik.
For more information about Rose, I suggest this blog post from Aroma Web.