The Emotions You'll Feel While Watching the Dervishes

Article by: Chip Conley|@ChipConley

Wed December 12, 2012 | 00:00 AM

After the four Selam intervals that represent the whirling part of the ceremony, the Semazen head back to the edge of their circle where they put back on their black cape, symbolic for their worldly personality or ego. One of the purposes of the ceremony is to help remind all of us that from these moments of connecting with the divine, we can integrate this back into our normal lives with a newfound grace. The end of the ceremony includes a recitation and a prayer from the Semazen Basi. By that point, my emotions had taken quite a whirl from anticipation to exhilaration and from energetic to tranquil. Watching the dervishes – not just with your eyes but with all your senses – is an obstacle course through your emotional field.

For me, I felt worn out after the first ceremony. But, somehow when observing the second ceremony, I took a more carefree approach to what was channeling through me. It was like going on the same rollercoaster (the Sema ceremony does not alter), but having a sense of the twists and turns ahead. If there’s any Rumi poem that is a guide for how to live a more emotionally intelligent life, it’s “The Guest House” which is excerpted below:

“This being human is a guest house.

Every morning, a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”