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Exploring the Hidden Gifts and Pitfalls of the Unseen World is the Topic of a Recent ASK Workshop held

in South Africa One of the questions arising in circles of spirituality is, how can we engage with the world of the unseen to enhance spiritual growth, while not being caught up in distraction and unwanted interference? Seeking to answer this question, a workshop on A Practical Guide to the Unseen, was recently delivered by ASK director Aliya B. Haeri, at the ASK Academy Hall, in Pretoria. The event drew many firsttime visitors to the ASK Centre, who came from diverse religious and spiritual traditions and brought together to better understand and consider the dos and donts of working with the unseen to increase happiness and quality of life. Whether were aware of it or not, we live in both the seen and the unseen worlds simultaneously, all the time. The world of the seen and the unseen are not separate, but one. Aliya presented a mapping of the unseen world that has its roots in the major world religions, using the terminology from Islamic sources and drawing on contemporary findings in science and consciousness studies. This universal map encouraged the attendees to speak openly and many shared deeply personal and moving experiences of encounters with divine forces, the angels and other subtle presences. Not so surprisingly perhaps, given the nature of the workshop, a large number of the participants reported highly intuitive experiences, precognitive dreams, angelic visitations and interaction with the djinn. The workshop described practices to help in clearing blockages and cleansing the heart and inner senses so that one would be more open to ones own inner light within, and thereby access the higher, subtler presences of the divine realms. Tools and remedies were given on avoiding the pitfalls and dangers of dabbling with the occult and the djinn. If one is experiencing unwanted, mischievous interferences, engage in ablution, prayer, reading of ones scripture, and good works, all of which keep one grounded. Avoid dhikr totally until the interference has abated. Aliya proposed a simple and direct practice of how we can live a more awakened life by constantly bringing the unseen archetypes those beautiful names of God that are already within each one of us, into our daily relationships and activities. By experiencing the unseen in our seen world, we live more enlightened lives. Spiritual experience can awaken us to a higher perspective. In my view, visionary experience can convince us, at that deepest place within us, of a reality that is true and eternal. And once experienced, that knowing is unshakable. It removes all doubt, so that we can live consciously and with gratitude in the awareness that the most important time of our life is this instant, living right now. A follow up workshop on this topic will be held in early September 2011. The workshop will offer practices and tools to deepen the experience of the unseen in our everyday life activities and relationships to enhance living seamlessly in higher consciousness. Details to follow. Aliya B. Haeri Director, Academy of Self Knowledge