Fazalunissa is a Sufi Movement In Canada centre leader living in Vancouver, British Columbia. She and Jelaluddin co-lead the Vancouver Sufi Centre.
In the early 1990’s I lived and worked in my hometown of Banff, a small mountain town in the Canadian Rockies. It was a wild time of trying to come to grips with life’s challenges. I was newly divorced and joint parented my two youngish children. My parents, who also lived in Banff, suffered increasingly ill health. Life was not easy in those years.

I had been studying Zen with a Korean Zen Master named Dr. Kim and his wife Bubsa for several years. Twice a week, kids in tow if they were at my house, I’d drive to the nearby town of Canmore for sitting meditation, Chi Gong lessons, and tea. My friends Cindy and Lynn, who were also in the Zen class, had started attending Rocky Mountain Sufi Camp which was held for a week each June at Lake O’Hara Lodge. They kept urging me to go; just come for the hiking, you don’t have to do anything else if you don’t want to.
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Fazalunissa Carole Harmon
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Fazalunissa Carole Harmon
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image: Lake O'Hara,
Fazalunissa Carole Harmon
Lake O’Hara was my old friend. I hiked and camped there with my aunt before it was heavily regulated, when fishermen still pitched tents beside the alpine lakes, built campfires for cooking food. I hiked there with friends, photographed the area with my father, and then on my own.

Lake O’Hara is the only location in the Rockies you can reach by a bus. The service is operated by Lake O’Hara Lodge, an old CP Railway log structure with cabins nestled along the shore of the lake. Rocky Mountain Sufi Camp began there in 1980.

Ancient Sufis say all paths lead to the Beloved, source of all we understand as God, Goddess, Great Spirit. They say the journey leads to the inner self then back into the world—all in good heart—a sacred contract which maintains world balance.
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image: Lake O'Hara,
Fazalunissa Carole Harmon
The teachings of Inayat Khan and other sufi teachers have allowed me a framework from which I interpret the world and a way to polish the mirror of the heart so that I can both enjoy the beauty found in our daily lives and withstand the pain and sorrow that is also a part of being human. I don't know what my life would be like without this framework and I try daily to live up to the ideals expressed so eloquently in the teachings of Inayat Khan.
The first year I went was 1994. When I arrived at the parking lot to catch the bus my friend Cindy waved me over to her car and introduced me to Hidayat and Aziza Inayat-Khan who had come from Holland to teach Sufi practices at the camp. Hidayat’s keen eyes sized me up, then welcomed me. Hidayat was the younger son of Inayat Khan, the renowned Indian musician and mystic, and also a musician and composer. Under his direction breathing practices, concentration, meditation practice with musical accompaniment, rituals and discussions fleshed out a world view vastly different from the one I was raised with.
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image: Lake O'Hara, Hidayat's Birthday, Fazalunissa Carole Harmon
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image: Lake O'Hara, Hidayat's Birthday,
Fazalunissa Carole Harmon
Elemental forces form our world but our intentions craft not only our own future but influence the world in profound ways. From my first contact I fell in love with the sufi ideals of love, harmony, and beauty. Add to that the ideal of spiritual liberty, recognizing all names and forms as emanations from one source, and my heart was finally home.

Fazalunissa Carole Harmon
2018.01.15