Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rahima's Teacher

Below is a tribute marking June 17 as the Urs—the date of union with the Beloved—of Pir Vilayat who died on June 17, 2004. In Persian pir means elder. Among the Sufis it is used to designate the spiritual master. Rahima referred to him simply as her teacher.

The words, written by Pir Zia, reflect the spiritual lineage that Rahima entered as a Sufi practitioner. It was Pir Vilayat who instructed Rahima in Sufism—which I think of as the mystical way of the open heart—and gave her the name Rahima, meaning compassion. From this teacher she learned to meditate, to think expansively about "the love-light energy of the universe" as she called it, and to engage life with great generosity of spirit.
Pir Vilayat
Pir Vilayat was a spiritual pioneer who blazed new trails in the pursuit of the Infinite. True to the essence of tradition, he nonetheless broke free from outworn forms and illuminated a very contemporary path, putting music, psychology, and physics to the service of an ever-advancing repertory of meditative disciplines methodically developed to expand the frame of human identity and raise the tenor of earthly life. The Hope Project in India is testament to his commitment to a world nourished by love, respect, and solidarity. On this day, the day of his voyage beyond eight years ago, we celebrate his triumphant achievements, his generous spirit, and the legacy of mystical insight and compassionate service he has left to us.
I remain fascinated by the influence of this great teacher on Rahima and by the progression of thought from Hazrat Inayat Khan, who brought Sufism to America in 1910, to his son Pir Vilayat and his grandson Pir Zia, leader of the Sufi Order International today.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Greenfield Public Schools—Rahima Wade Award

Table at Greenfield High School
with photo of Rahima and a student,
June 7, 2012
This month the Greenfield Public Schools honored Rahima at its annual volunteer recognition breakfast, an event that she had previously organized. The Volunteer of the Year Award has been renamed the Rahima Wade Award in her memory.

At the gathering in the high school cafeteria, Rahima was remembered for her contributions to the school district over the last few years: directing the volunteer program, assisting the principal of the middle school, supporting new teachers, helping to promote the schools through the local media, and introducing a variety of enrichment programs. The most successful of these was the Pen Pal Project which matched more than 100 citizens with students in the 6th Grade. A team led by Joan Joshi carried the project forward. It culminated last week with a party at the school when the pen pals got to meet face to face. It was fun to see my charges, Jack and Zack!

These events were reported in three separate articles that appeared last week the Greenfield Recorder, our local paper. Rahima's influence in the schools is still felt and appreciated.