Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spiritual Peaks and Valleys songs now available at iTunes!

If you wish to sample these songs, at the iTunes store, search for Bill Whitehouse. There you will see the Spiritual Peaks and Valleys CD as well as the Sufi Reflections Podcast.

Thank you for your ongoing support for Anab's work.


Monday, February 23, 2009

160 pages

Shari'ah: A Muslim's Declaration of Independence by Anab is now available at Amazon, either though the general Amazon site or through our estore.

To find out more about this new offering, click on the following link if you wish:


Monday, February 16, 2009

Spiritual Peaks and Valley's, a compliation of 27 poems set to music, is now available at CD Baby. You can go there and listen to samples, and, if you like, download (99 cents per track) any of the individual tracks that you like, or, if you wish, you can download the entire CD.

These tracks will soon be available at iTunes, Napster, Amazon, and other places of discerning taste. :)

Thank you for your support. To find out more, click on the following link:

Spiritual Peaks & Valleys at CD Baby.


Catalysis is a process affecting the speed at which a chemical reaction takes place. This is accomplished by introducing an agent into a reaction system that is capable of either speeding up, or retarding, the rate at which such a reaction proceeds.

In those circumstances when a catalytic agent speeds up the reaction process, the agent is known as a positive catalyst. Agents which impede the reaction rate of a given system are referred to as negative catalysts.

In some instances, a reaction will proceed in the absence of the right kind of catalyst. However, the reaction will do so only very, very slowly. In other cases, a reaction will not proceed at all in the absence of appropriate kinds of catalyst.

Not all catalytic agents perform their function in the same way. Some agents have the ability to bring various components of a reaction into closer proximity than would be possible in the absence of that agent, thus speeding up the rate of reaction of those components.

Other catalytic agents have the means of increasing the surface area necessary for certain reactions to take place. With more surface area available for interaction, the reaction proceeds more quickly than would be the case under non-catalytic circumstances.

Still other kinds of catalyst speed up or slow down reactions by changing the conformational and/or ionic character of the components of a reaction. This is especially true in the biochemical reactions of living systems.

Some catalytic agents have the capacity to lower or raise the level of energy necessary for a given kind of reaction to occur. Thus, for example, when the energy of activation for a reaction is lowered by introducing the appropriate kind of catalyst, the reaction can proceed much more quickly with the same amount of energy in the system than would be the case 'normally'.

Some catalytic agents retard the rate of reaction by becoming competitors with one or more of the components involved in a reaction. When such catalysts occupy surface areas or membrane sites and, thereby, make them unavailable for components necessary for a given reaction, this competitive inhibition, as it is known, slows down the rate at which the reaction proceeds.

There are many other modalities of catalysis. However, the few which have been mentioned are enough for present purposes.

According to the masters of the Sufi path, spiritual development or progress, especially in the mystical sense, either will not take place without catalytic assistance, or, it will do so only at an exceedingly slow rate. In fact, to the extent spiritual progress does occur at all in the absence of the appropriate catalytic agents, it, nonetheless, will be incapable of permitting the individual to make much headway toward the ultimate purpose of spiritual growth which is the realization of the true self.

Mysticism is not an endeavor in which an individual working entirely independently can succeed. The mystical heights cannot be scaled through sheer brilliance, talent or determination.

There are no solitary ascents on the mystical path. Support and assistance and catalytic additives are all necessary for anyone who seeks to reach the top.

Sufi masters do admit that not all people have the same spiritual capacity. Like gifts of intelligence, artistic talent, beauty, athletic ability and so on, spiritual potential is not distributed equally.

These differences in spiritual potential may affect the speed with which spiritual development proceeds. On the other hand, spiritual capacity is not the only factor affecting the rate of progress.

In fact, someone who has less spiritual potential than another individual might not only develop more quickly than the gifted person but actually travel farther on the path than her or his more gifted companion. Qualities of sincerity, perseverance, desire and effort also affect whether, and at what rate, spiritual growth takes place.

The sine qua non of catalytic reagents is God's grace. Absolutely nothing takes place without the presence of this support and assistance.

One could say every modality of help, support, assistance, protection, and catalysis (both positive as well as negative) one encounters on the Sufi path is an expression of God's grace. Differences in the form or character of the locus through which the grace comes, does not alter the underlying reality of grace standing behind such variable manifestations.

Notwithstanding the foregoing comments, spiritual catalytic agents come in different varieties. Prayer, fasting, chanting, charitable acts, spiritual etiquette, night vigils, contemplation, meditation, and reading sacred texts, all, each in its own way: both, give expression to God's grace, as well as, serve as a means to open one up to more grace.

Each of the above mentioned practices or observances has unique spiritual benefits and effects. The Sufi master is one who, by the grace of God, knows what the aspirant requires, at any given time, in the way of practices. Since we are all different spiritual capacities and potentials, some spiritual catalytic agents may be more effective forms of assistance to some of us, than others, among us.

Furthermore, the package of practices may change in character during the course of the spiritual journey as our catalytic needs change during the journey. For example, at certain stages of the path, the teacher may indicate to the student that invoking a certain Name or Attribute of God may be especially beneficial for the individual. At another stage, another Name or Attribute of God may be given for invocation.

At one stage, the spiritual guide may recommend the individual become busy with charitable works. At another stage, more emphasis may be given by the teacher to concentrating on the inculcation of spiritual etiquette in the aspirant.

The general package of practices and observances stays roughly the same. However, the combinations and focal concerns involving this general package may shift during the journey: from stage to stage for a given person, as well as from individual to individual.

In all of this, the Sufi master is somewhat like a spiritual chemist who has expertise in, among other things, the use and effects of different spiritual catalytic agents. Using one of these catalytic agents may help alter the spiritual orientation of the individual's heart in a certain way. Use of another catalyst may help retard the rational mind's interference in spiritual matters.

Use of another agent may have a catalytic property of opening the individual up to various spiritual experiences. This may have the effect of increasing the spiritual "surface area" available for certain kinds of reactions to proceed.

Still other catalysts, in the form of specific spiritual practices, may have an effect comparable to a lowering of the energy of activation necessary for a particular spiritual process to proceed. Alternatively, use of a given catalytic medium may provide the individual with the enabling power needed to overcome normal obstacles standing in the way of making spiritual progress on some aspect of the path.

Some spiritual catalysts may help change the shape and character of one's understanding. Other spiritual catalytic agents may give expression to a form of competitive inhibition by preoccupying the individual with, say the remembrance of God, and, as a result, helping to prevent the world or the ego from gaining access to sites of attachment within consciousness or one's heart.

The primary form of catalytic agent is the spiritual guide or master. Practices, of one sort or another, all have their value and their special catalytic properties. However, one could be engaged in such practices from now until the end of time without any significant essential spiritual benefit manifesting itself as long as one did so in isolation from a spiritual teacher. All of the Sufi masters are in agreement on this point.

The teacher is, in a sense, the straw that stirs the drink. Or, perhaps, more appropriately, the teacher is the one who has responsibility for ensuring that all the right catalytic ingredients and reactants get into the drink in the right proportions and in the correct sequence and at the most efficacious time.

God, of course, provides the drink, the straw, the tavern, the drinkers, the entertainment, the trained staff and everything else which is necessary for the reactants to be able to come together to have the desired spiritual results. The teacher is the one who is looking after things on behalf of the tavern's proprietor. The teacher is the one who, by God's grace, becomes the locus of catalytic manifestation through which things are brought together in the Sufi tavern in an organized and effective manner.