If you ask Latif Shenmen what led him to the University of Sufism, there will be light and laughter in his voice as he tells you, “No matter what it looked like on the outside, on the inside it was all from Allah’s decree and timing.”
Looking for Inner Changes to be a Better Person
As a lifelong seeker of God he had practiced many forms of meditation but had not yet experienced the inner changes he was looking for to help him be a better person. Then he witnessed the changes his step-son experienced through Sufi healing. Next his wife got involved. Finally, in spite of what he calls his “stubbornness,” he gave it a try.
When asked how he uses Sufism in his life since he’s gone through the University program, Latif says, “There is no difference between my personal and professional life.” For Latif the key to our “path of the heart” is serving others. The work he does in Arizona with youth in the Pima County Juvenile Corrections facility and on the Pascua Yaqui Reservation does not feel like work at all. “These are the ways I can serve.”
Serving Gang Members to Make a Difference
And his service is making a difference. A huge difference. Latif helps gang members turn their lives around through the Sufi practices. Parents are deeply grateful for the changes they see in their children. The local judicial system now consistently refers youth to his program because his Sufi-based work makes such a difference.
The Journey of Self Healing
Recently, when Latif found himself diagnosed with cancer, he turned again to his Sufi practices. Through his Sufi healing process he has come to see the disease as a blessing and a way to bring him closer to Allah. Using the University teachings, Latif worked deeply to purify his self and to surrender more deeply. Even though he currently enjoys a complete healing from the cancer, he is taking nothing for granted. In his gratitude, he is even more dedicated to serving Allah in every way he can.
Latif believes that the University is a beautiful container for our spiritual journey. It gives us the time to learn and reflect. It shows us how to experience and stay in the flow of Allah’s ocean of love. Latif says, “Everyone and everything should go to the University – the ants, the rocks, and the people.” “The University teaches the beautiful life that Allah wants us to lead, not just for some of us, but for all of us.”
The quotable Latif
“Our mess is our messenger. That is what brings us to Allah.”
“The key is to work from the heart. Sufism gave me the roadmap to stay on course. Before I relied primarily on intuition. Now I’m more likely to have direct guidance.”
“We are all meant to live in the wine of (divine) love.”
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