Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Ep. 178 – Dr. Omid Safi

For episode 178 of the Metta Hour, Sharon speaks with Dr. Omid Safi.

For episode 178 of the Metta Hour, Sharon welcomes her friend and colleague, Omid Safi.

Omid is a teacher in the Sufi tradition of Radical Love and the Founder of Illuminated Courses & Tours. He is a professor at Duke University specializing in Islamic spirituality and contemporary thought. The author of several books, his most recent release from 2018 is “Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition.” Omid is also the host of his own podcast, The Sufi Heart Podcast, on the Be Here Now Network.

In this conversation, Sharon and Omid discuss the nature of Radical Love and the many forms that love can take outside of romantic bonds. Omid also shares some of the factors and practices that support greater access to states of Radical Love. They contemplate what Rumi would do in a pandemic and what it looks like to flow to where the greatest needs and suffering are to be found in life. Sharon asks Omid about the cultivation of curiosity and humility in life and their roles in life. Lastly, they speak about accountability and restorative justice in the collective as a form of love in the public sphere. The conversation closes with Omid sharing about the power and sanctity of presence and Omid leading a Sufi meditation practice.

Dive into Dr. Omid Safi’s illuminating Sufi Heart Podcast exclusively here on the Be Here Now Network
Contraction & Expansion // Radical Love

Catching up from their last conversation in “the before times,” Sharon and Dr. Omid Safi begin this episode of the Metta Hour by reflecting on the particular nuance of the word love for having the ability to elicit responses of both contraction and expansion. Exploring the conditional versus unconditional, they discuss the insight and freedom of learning how to stay rooted while ebbing and flowing in the ocean of radical love.

“The word ‘radical’ originally had to do with being rooted. I love that idea, that every tree needs to have roots that anchor you, that help you draw up nourishment and sustenance, but then you grow and you expand your branches heavenward, and you might provide shade and fruit far beyond where your roots are.” – Dr. Omid Safi

Sharon and Omid discuss planting seeds of radical love, on Ep. 79 of the Metta Hour
Boundaries & Self Love // Feeding Your Soul (12:28)

Opening to the topic of boundaries, Omid and Sharon compare implicit and explicit boundaries along the spiritual path, highlighting how cultivating enormous care and compassion for others needs to be balanced by the wisdom of strong boundaries and a deep love self-love. From here, Omid reflects on lessons of parenthood, abiding in radical love, teachings and stories which become like friends, cultivating spaciousness, connection to God, facing death, and identifying what feeds one’s soul.

“So even as we may be cultivating an enormous care and compassion for others, there needs to be something that is not abandoning ourselves. There’s a kind of equality there that’s very intriguing.” – Sharon Salzberg

Bunny Michael shares on boundaries, safe spaces, & unapologetic beauty, on Ep. 77 of the BHNN Guest Podcast
What Would Rumi Do in a Pandemic? (25:52)

Digging into themes from Omid’s latest Vox feature, they contemplate: What would Rumi do in a pandemic?

“[Rumi] had this beautiful analogy of being like water. And, for him, that meant that if you pour any cup of water, it always flows down. And his analogy was: this is what pure love is—is that you always gravitate towards where the greatest pain and the greatest suffering is.” – Dr. Omid Safi

Accountability & Restorative Justice // Guided Meditation (43:43)

Shifting gears to accountability, activism, and restorative justice, Omid speaks about his path of merging his Sufi tradition with inspiration from the Black Led Freedom Movement. Describing justice as love in the public arena, he illuminates the importance of keeping an openhearted curiosity to make sure one’s outrage doesn’t transform into rage. After talking ‘presence,’ Sharon invites Omid to lead us home with a relaxing breath and heart-focused guided meditation practice from the Sufi tradition.

“Justice is public love, that’s all it is. If you love your neighbor, if you love your parents, if you love your partner, if you love your child—you wouldn’t want to see them be homeless, and bombed, and occupied and degraded—well don’t you dare be silent when it’s somebody else’s parents, or baby, or neighbor, or friend who’s having those atrocities done to them.” – Dr. Omid Safi 

Omid examines love & justice through the lens of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, on Ep. 11 of Sufi Heart

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