In this inner world, a man is bowing.
Dressed in Persian garb, a white, tall, hat, the man spins away.
Kewe opens his eyes.
Twelve people are under the canopy. Clad in white, white silk shirts, bell-like skirts, they are spinning across the room.
A single reed pipe, then a sounding tone. Spinning, the billowing skirts caressing, spin, spin, like prayer-wheels in the wind.
They spin towards him, the man in a black suit holding a clicker instrument in his hand. At the far side of the canopy, as Kewe watches, the man places one foot under the toe of the other. In this position, standing stiff like a post, he holds his arms above him, points towards the roof of the canopy his fingers.
Suddenly there’s a quick, piercing cry.
Instantly, white hats glistening, the whirling dancers spin away.
The effect is mesmerizing. Around they go. Around and across and around the floor.
Arms outstretched, they turn, and turn and turn and turn.
Around and around and around they whirl, the white, spacious skirts surging as if they are giant waves.
The sheikh clicks again.
The dancers converge. They scatter.
The dancers surround him, and as they do, the sheikh reaches again into the canopy.
Drawing with his hands the power, he cries once, the bright, haunting sound bringing to our frequency new frequency energy fresh and sparkling.
The dervishes their baggy pants flowing spin, spin away from the sheikh, and as they spin they move towards the spectators. They whirl where the people are.
Arms crossed, hands clasped to shoulders, the trunks of their bodies stiff, gracefully they pivot.
Spinning open umbrellas, right feet crossing over their left insteps, around they go.
Around around and across the floor, closed eyes, with head bent upon the shoulder, they turn and turn, spinning softly as a gentle wind.
Right hands raised palms turned upwards left hands lowered palms turned downwards they spin about and around one to the other.
And as each circle melts into the next, peace in its quite descends upon those who watch..
In the gentle swell of intoxication of spirit, they revolve back towards thes heikh, his arms, his hands, his fingers up to the center apex of the canopy.
As the dervish converge, in the cloaking of the man, he waits.
Then he gives a spellbinding scream.
And as the dancers move, he moves with them, turning slowly, slowly with and around them.
The sheikh outside then inside the skirts that fly around him, all swirl across the floor, and in the endless, moving rotation, they spin to the edges of the watching people that encircle them.
The crowd feels the flooding. Over everyone it sweeps, the powerful embracing.
The young, spinning dancers soar in rapture.
The dancers bringing their gift, scattering all they have to the spectators.
The whirling slows. Like some great majesty, the sheikh and the dancers spin slower and slower.
They whirl until there is no movement, until they stand fixed in the stillness.
All around them the very space of the room, the very atoms of air, has become an exquisite brilliance.
The dancers their arms crossed bow low to each other. Then, walking in line, they depart.
Behind them, a wrinkled, turbaned man in a black suit trails.
“Please take note,” the musician speaks into a mike. “The cleansing ceremony when the sheikh returns in fifteen minutes.”
. . .
Kewe has stepped into the foyer. People mill around on the stairs, many seeking restrooms.
On the ground floor some of the crowd talk by the entranceway, others smoke cigarettes in the courtyard.
Kewe is thinking of the comment Rick had made about Shams’ whirling style dancing.
“When Rumi met Shams, both he and Shams were drenched with Spirit,'' Rick said.
``Shamsuddin they called him a man inside the Sun. Shamsuddin, absorbing spirit would bring the power, and the power would spread over everyone, become an existence that each could feel and touch. Shams was a master at producing this flow of Spirit.”
`O’ Holy Ghostness,` Kewe hears himself in his thoughts in his mind. `O’ Holy Spirit that has descended into my brain. You require of me, what? You are taking me, where?`
Gazing at the cars passing by on the street below, he’s experiencing Spirit. Inner light is surging through his body, filling his brain.
Our brains, Kewe thinks, have been built so that we can receive this wonderment.
It is the flow that Michelangelo symbolized in his painting on the Sistine Ceiling, the flow between human, and some special more.
It is a connection between the Super higher powers and the human reality a touch we need to help us rise above.
In this presence there is a quality, a personal zest that we can only dare to conjecture from where its origin.
This is their contract with us that Life in its purpose is more. That life has more.
Kewe can see through the large plate glass window the college building across the street.
It reminds him that Rumi was a learned scholar of the mind, a master of the mind.
Once Rumi met Shams he was brought into the bliss of contact with Spirit, into its heart. Once truly inside the bliss, then Earth qualities no longer in mortal life would be enough.
You entered into the heart of the touch, and you never returned.
Kewe hears inside his head, “Under the post is where you need to be.”
Walking back inside the gym, children run around under the canopy, chasing each other, playing tag. A humming has started in his ears and walking towards the center of the canopy, he’s almost afraid to proceed.
He cranes his neck, looks into the apex of the huge silk tent.
It’s an eerie thrill. Fissures melt into nothing. Swirling light circles into a spinning mass of some concealed, mighty, beyond.
He stands gaping up at the flow for minutes. The children dance about him, containing the feeling of continuing, of all that is from this high center.
One of the musician thumps on the mike. “Please, attention. The sheikh will begin the cleansing ceremony. The sacrament to purify for admission to sacred worship. Those who dance should enter Semahane to perform the ancient observances. Request, you now enter.“
People enter underneath the canopy place their mats down to sit. Kewe returns to the space where previously outside the canopy he had been sitting.
From the door behind the stage, the black-suited turbaned man walks into the center of the people who are sitting waiting on the mats.
Kewe, engrossed in his thoughts, remains at the spot where he has left his shoes.
The sheikh starts to chant in Persian specific phrases. People seem to know the phrases and they respond, calling back to him.
While they do this, they copy movements the sheikh is making with his hands. He holds his right hand up, turns his left hand down.
Then his fingers turn inwards, point towards his chest.
Weaving his hands in a circle he pushes his palms outward, as if forcing some energy away from the body.
Several times these movements are repeated, Kewe watching as people copy.
Absorbed with the sheikh’s actions, words come into Kewe’s head. ‘Do you not want to dance? You have to cleanse yourself if you want to dance.’
Not sure if it’s him alone, or if he’s pushed from inside, he springs up, dashes under the canopy. Here he repeats the actions everyone else is making.
He rotates his hands in a counter clockwise fashion around his heart. He holds his hands palm up, turns them down. He weaves his hands around. Forming a circle, then pushing from him the unwanted waste energy.
For each motion the sheikh sings. People who know the words chorus back.
The words fade, this part of the ceremony has ended. Kewe, locating his shoes, sits down once again outside the canopy.
Enclosed in his thoughts, he doesn’t hear a horn blown. Metal castanets clap together and a drum bangs.
People are dancing now inside the canopy. A circle has formed of linked arms. Many are returning inside with feet kicking out as they go, then joining with the rest, they hold hands, stomp to the left, stomp to the right.
Everyone twirls when the circle separates, once, twice, three times. Arms are linked as the circle regroups.
The musicians add a kettledrum, and a zither instrument. The sheikh is signaling others to come and join. The circle grows. Kewe watches as people stand waiting for the circle to open.
Many people are now inside the canopy. The circle is so large that the sheikh is creating a new, smaller inner circle. Pulling people from the outer circle a dancer here, a dancer there the sheikh is pushing them inwards.
Two full rings of people now circling under the canopy. A sax blares out from the stage. The kettledrum bangs and cymbals clash.
Kewe sees the sheikh signaling for more to move underneath the canopy. He watches the two rings of people with arms linked dancing.
The sheikh is holding up his hands.
The circles separate. Each person twirls once, twice, three times. They link hands. The circle reconnects.
The inner circle is moving clockwise.
The outer circle has reversed.
Kewe watches the people not doing the turn on their toes. They do it fix-footed, like the dervish. How odd it looks, one foot flat, the other curving around the first foot, the body turning so much faster than the feet.
Strings, and fiddle bows are whizzing, and he can hear the difficult double-stopping that gets even faster, the transpositions to strange tonal keys.
Kewe, who has been completely absorbed as the beat intensifies, sees the sheikh signaling to him.
He is beginning to get very cold and his body shivers violently. An icy wind he swears is deadening everything inside. He cannot sit any longer. He must stand.
Right in front of him the circle breaks. A woman reaches out, grabs his hand, but it’s not only Kewe who steps out, it’s the Jake part now.
His legs kick. He circles. The jass with its multiformity, the reeds, the guitar, the music burrows into him.
The sheikh shouts at a woman, screaming at her loudly and roughly to move to the inner circle. The sheikh pulls the woman, pulls and pulls until she lets go of the outer ring. The inner ring opens and he spins her to it.
Double-drums played on the knees. Fiddles and zithers and strings of the Barbat whizzing and Jake can hear the lightning successions the first finger on, then the second finger, then the second finger and the fourth.
Then the Tardif its three strings plucked all at the same time. In the zãida, the gloss, Jake no longer is hearing all that the musicians are playing, in his ears are sounds from some other realm. The sheikh touches Kewe as Jake. The sheikh is grabbing his shoulder.
The outer circle opens, and Jake looking at the sheikh springs out, spins to the inner ring.
Now the sheikh is pushing a man from the inner circle. From this inner circle, Kewe as Jake can see there are people dancing alone at the center of the canopy. The man his eyes closed whirls into this open center.
Next to him, a woman is being touched by the sheikh. She senses the touch and she flings herself away from the inner ring. She skips. She jumps.
She shakes. Jake can feel the power of the center as it draws her. In her rapture, in the shaking, in the spinning one moment lying against the floor, the next arms raised as high as she can lift them she spins, and spins and spins, floats inside the wildness.
The sheikh has returned to Kewe as Jake now. Kewe can hear the thoughts, “ It’s time.”
He stares up at the apex of the canopy.
He has seen the fissures melt into nothing, the fissures that wield such power.
Fear takes him for a moment. The intensity of the power is enough to make him hesitate. He gapes, and then lets go of the fear.
The sheikh waiting watches. As the inner circle separates, in the frenzy, the explosion of the music, Jake flings himself away.
A gyrator of some extraordinary power picks him up.
He shudders under the energy. It thrusts him inwards. Light is swirling into silken rivulets, and in his mind he hears someone speaking.
`When you seek me,`
an accented strange voice is saying. `I am mostly you. I just steer you. You are always here.`
The tent is out of focus now. As Jake spins, he separates from Kewe's body. Still hearing the music being played by the musicians, his spirit is taken into whatever this inside is.
Surrender now Jake.
Surrender to your knowing.
It is the sweetness. It is of so many dreams that he spins into God’s power; that he spins into this wonderful, unspeakable, dance that is existence.
Spinning, spinning, spinning.... Suddenly,