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tv   Mosaic  CBS  September 14, 2014 5:00am-5:31am PDT

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♪ good morning. welcome to mosaic. i'm ron swisher. it's a pleasure to have you with us. i especially want to welcome my fairfield community, the community of united methodist church this morning, who are sure watching. i'm thrilled to have the guest here this morning, two of the members of the suv ism community. great to have you. >> thank you. >> great to have you. >> thank you. >> pascal and terry. when we hear suvism, what does that mean? >> i'll say a little bit about it first, then reoriented.
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>> sufism is a universal stream that is at the heart of every spiritual. it's the love for god and the expression of that love through service to god's creation. the thing, it's not a creed, it's not a set of beliefs, it's a living experience of the deepening and unfolding of love. love for god. and because of that, it's something which in every generation, in every culture is a living experience, so it has to be refreshed. generation after generation in every culture. >> i see. >> sufism is a con temp -- founded in 1952 by a spiritual
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figure from india, and it's carried by a lineage of spiritual teachers that he appointed to serve as spiritual guides for americans who in their point of life-- >> picture of him right there. >> mm-hmm. >> in the stage of life that we're in, feel the need for spiritual guidance for the living teacher. >> now, i understand you've been a part about 44 years, and terry about 37 years. >> mm-hmm. >> how did you get involved? >> well, let's see,s in my case, everybody gets involved -- we all are on our own spiritual quest, spiritual past, whether conscious or not conscious. there's that inner yearning for truth and for meaning, like what is this all about? >> that's right. >> and in my case, when i was 6 years old, i grew up in new york city and i have gone watching a tv show. i thought i turned on some cartoons and instead, it was this program that had a picture
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of manhattan island, which i recognized that i lived there, and the person took a big black marker and circled and it said that if this thing happened, that everything inside that circle would just poof! dissolve into dust in a second. and later i learned that it was the h bomb that had just been developed. but that moment made me realize that everything could -- that i could die at any moment, that everything could just disappear at any moment. >> at that age? >> at 6 years old. i was not a happy child. i was trying to figure out, well, what happens then? the people around me talked about that you're born, you live, you die and they had ideas about maybe life after death or no life after death, but i wanted to know. i wanted from personal experience to know why am i alive? what is the purpose of life? and so that then became my
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quest, that early. and i went to college and graduate school, studying religion to try to see if anybody really knew from personal experience. >> and you have a ph.d in theology, right? >> i do. i got a ph.d in theology. but in the middle of getting that, i actually dropped out. it was during the time that i dropped out that i learned about sufism and the questions that i had were all answered on a personal experiencal level and then i went back and finished my degree because part of his teaching, spiritual teaching for this age is that one has to be a productive member of society and contribute to society. >> and that's where the service and the commitment to love and the universal kind-- >> yeah, that it's not just up here and it's not just well intentioned. of course that's where it starts, but that one has to actually use one's body to act
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on what we know, our highest knowing of service and the unity, the unity. >> the oneness. >> oneness, yes. >> terry, tell us about your journey. >> mine is very different from pascal's, because by the time i was born, both my parents had learned of sufism reoriented and had become members. my mother had actually met the leader when he was visiting the united states. so both my parents were already drawn to sufism, but members of sufism reoriented neither teach that to their children, nor do they expect their children to follow that path. so i had a very deep relationship with the spiritual director of sufism at the time and i felt very drawn to -- well, when i was a child, i felt very drawn to all the faiths. my parents opened the doors for us to attend any church, so we often visited with our friends
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on sunday worship that they went to. and i myself was very interested in buddhism, so i was studying that and my parents hardly supported that. as long as we were truthful to following our own faith. >> where were your parents from? >> my mother was from lebanon. my father also had lebanese heritage, but they were living in the united states. my mother was educated in washington, dc and my father in texas. >> okay. well, we are going to come back to your story and the sufism reoriented. >> thank you. >> glad you're here, both of you. >> thank you, ron. please join us.
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. welcome back to mosaic. we have been talking to terry and pascal about sufism
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reoriented. tell us more. terry, i met you, of course, about a year and a half, two years ago, with this heavenly choir that you direct. >> well, one of the ways that sufism reoriented members have found it most lovely to express their love for god is to express it through the arts, so many members of sufism are artists or musicians or actors. and so we do have a choir. i'm going to show a few photographs. i was showing you earlier one of our concerts at mission dolores basilica in celebration of st. francis of assisi. all of our concerts are free. this is one such celebration. our children, children's choir also joined. >> that was at st. marks in orinda, you brought almost the entire choir. it was a glorious time. it was one. >> it was a pleasure for us.
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we've also been invited to perform at union square, which is also such a delight. this is one of hose concerts at union square, where we can share the universal message of love and brotherhood. it's just a lovely forum for us to celebrate god and the unity. >> i asked you about the colors, the white. >> yes, yes. so that's right, because we are costumed. we're dressed in white. and though that's not -- as you can see, we don't wear white as a uniform, but white does have a special meaning for us, as it does for many, many spiritual traditions, because white is the color that is made up of all the other colors. >> right. >> the rainbow colors. so it's most inclusive of all colors. so it's symbolic of that kind
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of universal inclusion, the oneness of all of creation, of all of life, and one of the things about the chorus and the reason that so many of our members participate in the chorus, not just the singers, but on the technical crew and so forth, is just as i said before. sufism isn't about teachings and learning creeds. it's about love for god and then celebrating that love, which is something that's beyond, you know, up here. it has to do with the heart. and what can express love and gratitude more than beautiful music? >> one of your emphasis and expressions is in walnut creek. many people will say, can i come and join? how can i be in touch with you? and had you some interesting thoughts around that. that you don't actually just come and join and be a part.
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>> well, a distinction needs to be may not between a church like yours, which is a community church, where people can drop in. you have regular members who come regularly, but then others come as they can. >> i want them to drop in more often! >> yes, you do! [ laughter ] >> hope that they will, right [ laughter ] >> the shows you do, they should. but there are other kinds of spiritual organizations that are known as spiritual orders. came tholism, buddhism, islam has spiritual orders, orders of spiritual groups in islam. it is progressive, where one participates in an environment where it's really a life commitment to be a part of a spiritual community and to
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unfold one's self along with the other members of that community. >> so it takes about a year of orientation? >> yes, so for those people who are interested in joining sufism reoriented, we have a program like other spiritual orders do, but one learns about it and there's an orientation so that at the end of the year, one can -- it's not just for us to say is this person somebody who, you know, belongs here. it's for each person has to decide, is this my spiritual home? and one of the things that drew me when i was young, i didn't want to belong to a group. i was very independent, not wanting to belong to a group. and when i learned that the thing about sufism reoriented is one cannot become a sufi. it's not about achieving something. it's whether one is a sufi or not and it's a matter of recognizing where one spiritual home is. each of us has a spiritual home
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somewhere and for those who are searching, the search is for where is my spiritual home. >> now, when i was in orinda, i remember that the walnut creek had opened the doors for you to build there. can you share with us that incredible facility that you have there that i was really struck by that? >> we broke ground last may and so construction has begun. >> i understand there's about $10 million or more? >> yeah, it's -- you know, the construction costs are still-- >> they go up and change. >> -- with the bids and so forth. >> yes. >> the important part is what we were committed to doing, we knew when we purchased our current center, also in walnut creek just a block away from where we've broken ground from the new sanctuary, that it was too smawrl for us and that we needed to have more space.
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we don't have a rehearsal hall and yet we have a 70-member choir. we needed. we've been saving and we've been working toward having a sanctuary that could house our programs. the thing about it is that what we wanted to do was to create a sanctuary that in its symbolism, in its physical structure, represented the principles of unity that we try to carry into the world in our daily lives. so it's a physical representation. it's circular, which circle is a symbol of unity and oneness and it's clad, going to be clad in some light-colored marble so that, again, that white, the idea of idea as a representation of unity. >> when you talk about love and service, it definitely means
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commitment. and most traditional, conventional kind of expressions of religion, we tithe or we ask for offerings. we're in a major remodeling that we've done in our particular church in fairfield, so we asked to give back. so we have fund raisers and ask people to give. how do you go about making that commitment of funds? >> well, it's very individual because everybody's financial situations are individual. there's not -- first of all, the spiritual director of sufism reoriented, who is dr. carol connor at this time, and is -- they don't know, they don't -- part of their relationship with the members of sufism isn't at all related
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to our financial contribution towards sufism. each person individually knows how much it costs to run the various programs we have. there are many things we are very committed to, which we've had as long-term projects. the mayhurst schools which is in lafayette-- >> i want to do back to that. >> oh, sure. >> we'll take a break and when we come back, tell us about those schools and what you do in those schools. thank you. please join us.
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welcome back to mosaic. we've been talking about sufism reoriented. we've been talking about schools and what terry johnson and others have done in the schools. tell us more about that. >> one of the projects we were mentioning that is a more public service, expression of our devotion to serving god through service to his creation
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has been through the mayhurst schools and it's preschool. we are very happy the preschool in the past two years has been identified as the best -- it won awards. >> okay. >> children come from as far as benicia and berkeley, so it's very affordable. we try to keep the costs as low as we can. and all of the teachers are dedicated to serving the children through living the highest principles we can of love for god, kindness, the things that are at the heart of sufism. and so -- but the children never hear that. they know they are getting a high quality education. their parents do also. we're a fully accredited wosc school and receive six-year accreditation, but we integrate decree richly into the
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curriculum, the arts. so there's a lot of music and drama and fine arts so that the children are free to express the broad spectrum of learning and stay infused with the love for learning. >> that's exciting. what about the st. francis shall. >> one of the things i'll say is that we don't teach anything about sufism reoriented. as with everything else, it's the way in which we live and the -- kind of the energy that we share. so it's not a parochial school in that sense. it's just a small private school. it's not that small. we've got 300 families. >> okay. >> but then the francis and the schools program, which you are the director of. why don't you say something about that. >> you asked about projects and whether or not we tithe. we do not. but sometimes when we have special projects that we want to offer to the city, we invite people if they would like to, to contribute towards it.
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so based on how much we have in our little bank for that project, then we can offer it as richly as we can afford. >> pictures of the choir is where you have some of those-- >> no, those programs are all free. those are free programs. we don't charge anything to those. the chorus members donate their time. it's very -- often the churches open their doors very generously. >> that's right. >> why don't you talk about the francis program. >> the francis in the schools program was started in 2010. it was founded by connor, who has a deep love for san francisco and devotion to the city and feels very strongly that in its namesake, st. francis of assisi, there is great potential for healing. and so we identify children in the neighborhoods that come from the most, the most
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underserved, the children whose neighborhoods-- the neighborhoods are mostly plagued by crime, poverty and neglect. the first two years or so, it was about 1300. now by the end of may, more than 2000. >> that's fantastic, fantastic. >> what it is, it starts, we bring the children at no cost to see a musical play that celebrates the life of st. francis of assisi and they get to see an interactive play. the actors come around and chat and the children are part of the action. >> tell us more about that in the next segment. >> okay. >> because time goes so fast. we're enjoying it. okay? >> sure. >> i hope you'll please join us in our last segment with terry.
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w
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. before we go back to st. francis of the schools, you
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have a symbol over there. >> i do. so this is a symbol of, that is mayor bab a's symbol that he designed that, as you can see, is circular, which represents the unity. but then within the circle are the symbols of the the major world religions. >> i noticed that. >> when we talked about sufism reoriented and siewf sufism, this is a representation. >> thank you for sharing that. >> let's go back to the schools in the last few minutes. >> that's also at the heart of the st. francis of the schools program, because as you well know, given just one school in san francisco, there are sometimes nine languages. >> that's right. >> and such diversity. >> even more. >> so they don't know.
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the children don't know that sufism -- there's no reason that they should know that sufism reoriented is sponsoring that. they only know they are hosts of st. francis of assisi, the namesake of the city, who loves them and whose life and message about brotherhood and kindness and love for one another and unity, that just the core values are celebrated and we all in that moment just enjoy one another and the beautiful nature. >> is that year round? >> well, it happens when we're able to afford it. often it's been in the fall and in the spring, especially, when we can -- after we show the children the play, we perform a play in the national shrine of st. francis in north beach. and then after they see the play, we take them to one of the neighborhood city parks that we transform into a renaissance fair. >> you're talking over 2000? >> well, 300 at a time.
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>> okay. >> then overall, with the number program, it comes up more. >> okay. we have just a minute or so. anything last that we need to say? >> you know, only thing i would say is the kind of program that you're hosting where you bring representatives from different spiritual traditions to speak with you every week is such an example of what, you know, sufism reoriented is about. >> we thank you for that. >> thank you. >> we have the jewish community represented, the catholic community, sometimes the muslim community, and protestant community represents this segment. we are glad that you have come. >> thank you. >> thank you for coming, terry, pascal. >> thank you. >> it is wonderful. jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment? he said love your neighbor as yourself. this is an expression of that.
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sufism reoriented has demonstrated their actions over the years and their deeds. we are glad they were with us this morning. i know you've been inspired. i'm ron swisher. join us next month. hugh should be back with us. thank you for being with us.
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