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Sufism: The Transformation of the Heart [Paperback]

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

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Book Description

1 Sep 1995
SUFISM: The Transformation of the Heart is a clear and accessible approach to the spiritual tradition of Sufism, a mystical path which uses the energy of love for inner transformation. This new work by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee gives an outline of Sufism - its basic principles, historical background and recent development in the West, and offers practical guidelines to help the seeker.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The Golden Sufi Centre; Paperback edition (1 Sep 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0963457446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0963457448
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.5 x 1.7 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
57 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Longing for God 13 Feb 2010
By Michelle Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In Sufism, The Transformation of the Heart, Vaughan-Lee brilliantly describes a spiritual tradition that cannot be nailed down in words--a path of inner union between lover and Beloved, "a bridge from the world of forms to the formless." In this book he introduces the major teachers of different branches of Sufism, while distilling the essence of the path taught by all of the masters: the cry of the soul to God.

For those who have tasted this desire for God, Vaughan-Lee's passages will blow on the fire of their longing. For those new to Sufism, this book is an excellent introduction to a spiritual path that leads to the heart's transformation. I love how simply and lovingly Vaughan-Lee points our attention away from ego-identification with this transformation, reminding us that we are here for the Divine to reveal the Divine to Itself. (It is so easy to get caught in the ego's games of claiming spiritualness for itself.)

Vaughan-Lee's unique contribution to Sufi literature is his application of Jungian psychology to help Westerners understand this process of transformation. I found the chapter "Polishing the Heart" particularly helpful, where he describes a woman's relationship to her animus much more clearly and more intimately than Jungian texts covering the same subject. Vaughan-Lee also gives attention to the suffering of the feminine in Western culture and how we have collectively repressed feminine qualities, inner experiences, and a mystical connection with God. This book is very accessible and a valuable resource.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Heart's Desiring-- Soul's Journeying" 1 Feb 2010
By Charlotte A. Bruce - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
What is written in The Transformation of the Heart speaks to the basics of the spiritual path, the fundamental questions a seeker has when she yearns to embark on this strange journey of the heart. "At the core of all Sufi practices is the element of love and devotion," the author says in the introduction, and everything that follows is invitation and methodology to go deeper and deeper into one's heart.
I particularly appreciated the chapter in which Dr. Vaughan-Lee discusses the relationship with the teacher. It's so different to the way we've been culturally conditioned to experience relationship in the West, as some form of association between person and person, ego and ego. The author shows the real relationship with the teacher, that the teacher is an empty space through which the love and grace of the path flow.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learned a lot about Islam... 7 Nov 2012
By Renee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a reader, it has always been a hobby for me and
I love the feel of a book in my hand and owning a copy
of the book. I read to know that I am not alone and this
was one book that taught me a whole lot...We are more alike
than different. The book gives a history of the Islam belief
and the Muslim true culture. It also tells us that we
are looking for the same thing...Love...Love for God, Love for
others, and Love for self. Reading this book gave me hope for
my belief...We Are One...One In God.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart Transforming purchased from Amazon 21 Sep 2012
By Joy and more joy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I saw this author on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday about a month ago. When Lewellen Vaughn-Lee shared that there are at least 99 words for God, but the Sufi's say "Beloved," my heart opened and I felt transformed. All the other words for God did not resonate with me...too remote or not meaningful, just words. "Beloved" was the key for me, I felt it in my heart and tears sprung to my eyes.

The gentleness in this man made me want more. I immediately downloaded Sufism: The Transformation of the Heart on my Amazon Kindle. At the same time I ordered the paperback from Amazon as well. The book is well written, gentle in nature, and on my bedside table. I whole heartedly recommend it.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not Doing Justice to Llewellyn or Sufism 1 Aug 2013
By karsiyaka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book after watching an interview of the author on Oprah since I had wanted to learn more about Sufism and Rumi for a long time. Although during the interview Llewellyn was very impressive, this book is not. I was reluctant to write an unfavorable review, so I went ahead and read the book the second time, did a lot of research on the internet and watched Llewellyn's almost an hour long video called "We Are All One: Full Interview with Llewellyn Vaugh-Lee" and his interview with Oprah on the internet before writing the review.

According to the book's definition, "Sufi is a name given to a band of mystics who are lovers of God". The goal in Sufism or a Sufi is to become one with God by mediating and chanting (dhikr). Some of the concepts are similar to other spiritual teachings such as "Divinity of humans" (Holy Spirit or God living in every human like Unity teachings), "The real reason of unhappiness or feelings of unfulfillment is the result of separation from God" ("A Course in Miracles") ," Living in the world but not of it" (Bible) and "Living in the presence of God every moment" (Marianne Williamson's writings)

After finishing it, I was terribly disappointed by the book which is terribly dry, abstract and repetitious. ( "The mind and the ego can never grasp an experience of total unity in which there is no distinction between observer and observed, but the heart's experience of His unity is reflected into our ordinary consciousness." )I learned more about Sufism from a three minute video of Jonathan Brown from Georgetown University, a video clip of a documentary about Sufism by PBS on the internet and Rumi's official website maintained by his descendants(Mevlana Rumi), than reading this book.(Mevlana Rumi's website also has a list of recommended books in English. If you click on each book's web link, it takes to Amazon.com, where you can buy the books.)

However, my major disappointment about this book was the dedication of one third of the book, fifty pages, to Carl Jung and his dream work while briefly mentioning Rumi, two pages, the first person comes to mind in many circles talking about Sufism. (Since I did a lot of reading about Jung years ago, I did not buy this book to learn about Jung but Sufism) Not to mention, there was no coverage of Omar Khayyam or Al-Ghazali "whose influences extended beyond Muslim lands and Western philosophers and theologians" according to my internet research.

In this age of separation, alienation and strife, we need more enlightened spiritual teachers like Llewelly and his message of universal love and unity. ("God is all there is, everything is God's expression of Himself and God is love."/ "Whatsoever you turn, there is the face of God") One can't help but admire his command of the English language when he talks, brilliance, level of spiritual enlightenment, and dedication of spreading the message of universal love (Sufism) to masses. I wish he would write the way he talks because if readers, who don't know much about the subject matter unlike him, don't understand the book, the message is not going to reach the target audience. (I highly recommend watching his an hour long video called "We Are All One" on the internet to really appreciate him.)
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