Almost . . . First Attempt / by Netanel Miles-Yepez

 A sign on the way up to Pir Vilayat's Pod. "Almost ..." was right. I never found it. — N.M-Y. 2015

A sign on the way up to Pir Vilayat's Pod. "Almost ..." was right. I never found it. — N.M-Y. 2015

Just before seven, I headed outside in the rain to the Meditation Hall to lead the “Morning Attunement.” I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant in this context, and hadn’t much time to prepare, but figured I couldn’t go wrong giving instruction in and leading the retreatants in the Chishti dhikr. The session went well and I enjoyed it. Afterward, a wonderfully sincere young man came up and told me that was exactly what he had been looking for, the “real Sufism.” I thought about that . . . The basics of our path; that’s what we need to stick to.

 A sign pointing up the road to Pir Vilayat's Pod. Or so it said. — N.M-Y.

A sign pointing up the road to Pir Vilayat's Pod. Or so it said. — N.M-Y.

Shortly before lunch, I made an attempt to go find Pir Vilayat’s Pod, the place where Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan (1916-2004) used to retreat on the mountain. My friend, Atum O’Kane, one of Pir Vilayat’s senior students, told me that I should visit the spot years before. So I headed up the mountain in a lovely but ultimately fruitless attempt to find the pod. I came upon a campground of sorts and a stone foundation of something, but nothing like the pod that had once been described to me.

 The campground on the mountain. — N.M-Y. 2015

The campground on the mountain. — N.M-Y. 2015

In the afternoon teacher’s meeting, Pir Zia asked me to be part of a panel of younger leaders—including himself, Alia Wittman, and Sarah Leila Manolson—during sohbet to discuss issues of paradigm shift in the Sufi Order. It was an interesting conversation and brought up a number of issues for the community.

 Sarah Leila Manolson speaking during the sohbet on paradigm shift in the Sufi Order. Photo by Hilary Benas, 2015.

Sarah Leila Manolson speaking during the sohbet on paradigm shift in the Sufi Order. Photo by Hilary Benas, 2015.

Afterward, I spent the evening hanging out with friends and taking a series of long walks up and down Chairfactory Road, on which I tried to capture pictures of the Moon in puddles.

 Unsuccessful attempt to capture the Moon in a puddle. — N.M-Y. 2015

Unsuccessful attempt to capture the Moon in a puddle. — N.M-Y. 2015