I heard the sound of leaves whirl in vortexes of wind as I touched their breeze on my naked extended arms; then I let the leaves whirl and I whirled in vortexes of the divine human wind as I circled my self with the sounds of Hu. In my orbit, the word Allahu began slow and quiet, almost a whisper, almost silent, and nearly an echoing of the distant drumming. This softness was a reflection of the shyness and the hesitation of the human voice when the group faced a new world with eyes wide shut. Though later, I took confidence from the beating on the drum, and with each hit on the drum, and each ending of the Hu, my feet took a turn, one foot vertically centered in place and the other in motion tracing a space. As my feet moved to the sound of the drum, my head leaned to the Hu in the air, as my body remained a stem for both. Yet at some point in time, these endings merged, as the drum became the Hu, and the Hu became the drum, so my feet and head continued turning, but this time to a single sound, known yet unknown.
I thought speed would impact my body, but the constant beating and repetition of a single word did that too. However, I can only describe the pace and depth of my whirling movement as I describe the way Allahu evolved from a word to a sound in the following manner: A group of twenty people circled another group of twenty, as the outer group began saying Allahu, Allahu, Allahu with every pulse in their hearts and every second in time. And as they escaladed in speed and pressure: AllaHu, AllaHu, AllaHU, AllaHU, HU, HU, HU… I turned faster, felt the wind deeper, the gravity stronger, and the Hus filling the particles of the air I inhaled. I was therefore taken from a state of hearing a word, to feeling a sound, and finally to a state of motion, and that is how I became a full participant. As the word gradually unfolded its meanings, my body floated, forgetting the earthiness of my fear of turning and focusing on my longing for a new space.
When I opened my eyes to the sound of lizards: nuk nuk nuk, a sound that feared me and brought me to the surface, to earth, anxieties, and phobias, I thought my whirling will come to an end because of this distraction. It was a lie, because where I had already been, was deeper than fears, which made this a beginning of a new in and between. I grasped the sound of my fears and fused it with the previous routine and continued gliding. This fusion made the elements that the surrounding sound contained, from nature’s sound in wind, human’s voice in Hu, animal’s sound in nuk, and the drum’s sound in my ears, known yet unknown and explained yet unexplained.
I was a participant in the making of Hu, the sound, the existence, and the experience, just as it was a participant in the making of me. Therefore, I did not think of the meaning of Hu and I did not think of how it made me feel, because I was not outside of them anymore. We were both in the room, but everywhere else. We were in familiar places, and in new spaces. My arms stretched, one reaching upwards, opening to everything that is new with every Hu, while the other opening to give what it knew. My fingers tickled and surrendered, while my body felt like it was centered. It was however in motion, both in its place and outside of its place, like tracing a thread to a memory or a lace to a self-discovery.
I returned back to a guided whispering, through a voice that was there but not there, a gentle and soft voice that was instrumental in its softness and human in its gentleness, and he woke us up. The HUs started folding again to their word nature and the rhythm lowered, as I began hearing again. I heard the word Allahu Allahu Allahu… and as it evaporated, I too, stopped.
I witnessed several Sufi Dervish Whirling events, but the colors, movement, and lights often captured my eyes more than my ears and made me a viewer rather than a participant. This day, I heard the same movement, lights, and colors through my own steps and in my own unfolding. This synthesis can only often happen when the body surrenders to sound.