The Sacred Manuscript of Nature
The word “Ziraat” means “agriculture” and is used as a metaphor for spiritual development. “The sacred manuscript of nature” might be one of Murshid’s most evocative phrases. It opens the awareness to the abiding wisdom available all around and within us. Observing, understanding, and admiring the natural world is an excellent Ziraat contemplation and can keep us busy for a lifetime!
As a Ray of Sirat-i Inayat, Ziraat is an invitation to seek, find and celebrate God in all aspects of nature and life. Murshid assigned the elemental purification breaths to all mureeds, breathing in rhythmic attunement with the elements of earth, water, fire, and air, then reciting the healing prayer, Nayaz:
Beloved Lord, Almighty God,
Through the rays of the Sun,
through the waves of the air,
through the all-pervading life in space,
purify and revivify me,
and I pray,
heal my body, heart and soul.
If we are to understand ourselves, we must study the life within and around us. All that we discover and witness in nature is within us, ready to be strengthened, harmonized, and utilized. Our lives flow with more ease and success when we align ourselves with the natural rhythms of the seasons, the tides, the moon phases, the intelligence of nature.
Ziraat activities include prayers and rituals that help us understand and attune to the wisdom of the natural world. Ziraat initiates are encouraged to choose a “watchword” that feels most aligned with their life themes at that moment. Choosing a watchword to keep in our awareness can help us in our conscientious tending to the process of our own lives.
The watchwords include: toil, courage, hope, joy, strength, and thanksgiving. Ziraat practices can help us see and understand the essential nature of each moment and how our own lives can harmonize with that reality. Murshid said:
A Sirat-i Inayat Ziraat Initiator can offer a Ziraat initiation, which is an acknowledgement of one’s sincere love and dedication to the earth, and a benediction of stability, inspiration, a flow of life force, strength, and wisdom, gathered up from the elements and poured forth for the lover of Nature.