Hooman Sedighi and Ali Amirsadri

Recorded February 20, 2021 Archived February 19, 2021 42:13 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby020444


Friends Hooman Sedighi (56) and Ali Amirsadri (66) discuss their work in medicine, their journeys as adherents of Islamic Sufism, and how its teachings have affected their lives.


  • Hooman Sedighi
  • Ali Amirsadri

Recording Location

Virtual Recording


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00:02 Hi, my name is Hooman Sedighi. I'm 56 years old today's date is Saturday, February 20th, 2021. I'm calling in from Dallas, Texas.

00:15 My conversation Partners name is Ali a music of your very close friends and both are volunteers and students at MTO shahmaghsoudi school at Islamic Sufism.

00:31 Hi, my name is Ali. I'm sorry. I am 66 years old today is Saturday, February 20th, 2021.

00:43 I am in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

00:49 And my ID the name of my partner I'm speaking with is home on Saturday.

01:00 Are we are friends and students in Futurama to the school of Islamic Sufism?

01:12 I just want you to be able to give some more background information about yourself.

01:19 Well, I am.

01:22 66 years old as I mentioned I was 27.

01:27 When I left you down with my family.

01:30 And since then it has been cold for us United States. I mean and I'm a practicing physician. I'm a psychiatrist or Behavioral Medicine specialty.

01:44 Practitioner

01:47 IU

01:50 Have a $2 married.

01:55 And the Gimme your back in town?

01:59 And I too was born in Iran have we came to the United States in 1978? I was 13 years old at that time, and I'm also a physician in private practice in Dallas, Texas.

02:17 But I grew up mostly in Indiana. That's why I attended High School College medical school. So I like to tell everyone that this is my Hoosier accent. It shows I'm also married with a son so I essentially have two bosses at home.

02:36 I know you're going to be talking about the empty or charity work that has been ongoing since they got covid-19 pandemic. But first, can you tell me how did you come across Sufism? How did you hear about it?

02:54 Yeah, you know as a child. I wanted to know more like at the other child and I grew up and became teenager.

03:03 Ali became a hunger for me

03:06 So

03:09 As I was looking at the society was not satisfying for me.

03:16 I was trying to test limits or push the boundaries of social norms and rituals and all that.

03:26 Well, I'm not sure if I was a rebel, but Trevor day was a little bit too proud of myself. So.

03:35 What happened is what I found out outside those boundaries were similar things which were inside.

03:42 Sorry, if it suited to both started reading books and among those books were so few books, and I really loved it.

03:50 The problem was that I could not relate to them because they were written in the language which belonged to centuries ago.

04:00 And also they were metaphoric.

04:03 So I didn't understand them the way that I wanted to understand.

04:08 However, what I found out later through the studies and teachings that I deceived from NPR is that what I was trying to do was use the store the languages of today to understand a concept of centuries ago, so I didn't know the language language.

04:33 On the metaphors where things should have cleared.

04:39 My mind, however, I didn't know the meanings of those which came through also the teachings of a received from a job.

04:51 Socius then when I read these books, they're very clear to me. So that's how I started in fact.

05:08 I was reading a book about the life of an Islamic Saint Imam ja'far, Sadiq.

05:16 And I found out that this man created University 1200 years ago, which lasted for centuries?

05:25 He had lines the science and religion.

05:30 Is the students and student of students work the same way?

05:36 The fact many of his students have been empty ocean shipping Masters.

05:41 The example that I can give you all those a student's work for example grooming who is very well known in the United States and Europe and particularly in Germany because of his influence that this man have

06:01 Nitsches work actually a German philosopher and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said that if I go today was receiving drug Elations from her office and had been visited by Hafiz spirit.

06:22 Yeah, I have heard the Android similar things of an 18-pack interesting.

06:28 So

06:31 Also, they she was about the science part.

06:36 I read and found out that many of those scientists also invented a famous who discovered ethanol or alcohol with reusing medicine and surgery and now they are part of the sanitizers that we use everyday. Yeah, and the other one is a vacina was already prominent physician and his books.

07:09 We're still used.

07:13 Until the end of 19th century early 20th century

07:19 And as I reflect on all those

07:23 I found out there are lots of similarities that you can find in religion and

07:30 In science

07:34 Because both have a question the question in science has something that based on observation of individual.

07:43 Will ask why Apple falls from the tree and they will make hypothesis and work it through.

07:51 It becomes a kind of

07:55 Destiny for them

07:57 That they have to explore on and religion is sophism.

08:03 The question would be who am I? What is God it's a transexual.

08:09 And in their individual also.

08:14 Would have to do all the things that science just us. However, it is a very personal matter and the lab is not in the building. It is in his body so I can meditate and discovers things both of them as part of the

08:40 Law of nature or one of them

08:43 I'm the scientist discovers.

08:49 Your self your reality of himself goes to the essence of his existence. So he has access to all whole lot of things depending on circumstances.

09:03 But they are on the same Spectrum science and True Religion that we have a tendency to separate them. Unfortunately, and I'm not sure why but when you looked at the work of some folks like a Newton you mentioned the Apple coming from from the tree or Einstein when you look at their the product after work, you can actually have the scent of Sufism and religious and Discovery in your work.

09:40 Yeah, so this is how my journey continued.

09:45 How about U-Haul?

09:48 You know, I wasn't as much of the Rebel as you were when I was a kid, but I always thought it was unfair that the folks in the past, you know had the benefit of getting the teachings from the profits directly.

10:04 And thousands of years later part may be would be left to our own devices trying to figure out what they said or what they meant by the teaching. I also saw that people have personal interpretations of what the prophet's teachings were two different belief systems, which interesting to even though they all believed in one God in led to conflict and Wars.

10:35 And it reminded me of the Same by Napoleon that religious wars are about different groups of people fighting over who has the best imaginary friend.

10:47 So imagine you have six and a half billion people with six and a half billion guards.

10:56 So even though I was brought up in an Islamic family, and I was encouraged by my parents to pray daily.

11:06 It was more like a chore to me because they said you need to pray to keep God happy and I will going to hell.

11:14 And it actually reminded me of a saying ice on a t-shirt one time that said the beatings will continue until the morale improves. So the premise wasn't logical.

11:27 But at the same time I knew that there was a purpose to life and any particular I wanted to know about my own life.

11:37 And this became even a bigger question for me and became more evident when I turn 21 I had started my third year of medical school. That's when we do our clinical rotations as you. Well remember

11:52 And one of my first clinical rotations was at the Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.

11:59 One of the kids that we were taking care of was this beautiful three year old girl who unfortunately had incurable a treat or leukemia.

12:11 And she was going through chemotherapy. She had a central line. So she was on total performance nutrition and she was hospitalized essentially for several months while I was doing the rotation.

12:26 And I found myself spending every free moment. I had during the rotation with her.

12:33 Her hair had fallen out, but you know her cheerfulness her spirit was always there. In fact, she's the one who was giving me courage honestly. So what is the truth of the rotation? I grew close to her and her family.

12:51 And unfortunately she passed away about a month after I had to rotate it off. Clinical rotation.

12:59 So the questions I had about life became even more acute.

13:04 It was around this time that it was visiting my mom in California and had the fortune of attending a session at the MTO Sufi Center there.

13:16 And it was being taught by the sushi Master himself Professor another ankle.

13:22 For the first time

13:24 I heard teachings that touched my heart.

13:28 I heard that God is a beautiful reality that has to be experienced and witnessing my heart.

13:35 So it was not the god of fear. It was anything but fear.

13:41 In fact, it was the god of love that binds all of existence together.

13:48 I heard that we are one with God meaning that there is no separation. However, because of my worldly attachments II in my mind that created that separation.

14:01 But at the same time world functions at the materialistic level and it's covered by the laws of nature as God intended it to

14:11 So as me function within this world, we are impacted at the cellular level.

14:18 Which also includes a variety of different diseases, but we are not limited by our illness.

14:26 Has done is just a physiological state. So we are more than just our clinical sentence.

14:34 And by performing Day prayers with love and presence of the Heart by providing selfless service to others by meditating. These are all keys to opening that treasure box within one's heart.

14:51 In order to be able to discover that treasure which is that Divine spirit that is within all of us. So for the first time the daily prayers actually made sense to me.

15:04 And you have to realize this was such a wondrous experience for me at the moment in my life when I really needed those answers. Yes. I did not have to struggle with any books. But I also realized that you need a guide in this process someone who's already walked a path. So that one with experience has continued to this day. I am I know you actually were exposed to the Sufi teachings through reading the books. But how did you first get exposed to the MCO School lawsuit?

15:41 Well, I also was 21 years old and I heard about a class about them. I wasn't around back then.

15:53 And then I attended the class I

15:57 Really went there to just reject the idea. I told you you were a rapper.

16:05 No, I was I think you're arrogant. But anyway, so as soon as I said.

16:18 I heard things which were really very new.

16:22 Show me

16:24 But there was able to

16:26 Understand it at least mentally.

16:30 And relate to it.

16:33 As a person

16:36 One of the examples which was given.

16:43 He one of the early sessions was.

16:46 If someone has not seen sugar has not taste of sugar.

16:53 If you give explanations.

16:56 About sugar

16:58 Or read tons of books about sugar

17:02 Will that individual understand what sugar is?

17:07 However

17:08 If someone comes

17:11 I put the sugar cube in his mouth. He would fully understand what you're getting is and that was something which open my eyes to what I was thinking before.

17:24 You know, Eddie.

17:26 That I said yes science and religion experience.

17:36 A discovery of self the scientist will get lost

17:42 Resort fully

17:45 In his own questions

17:49 And discovers facts about it.

17:54 The same

17:56 For the Sufi you were better to say Sophie master.

18:02 We'll get this off.

18:05 In the truth of being

18:08 I've discovered all about existence.

18:11 What can be better than this?

18:16 The good news, is that the scientist.

18:21 Or other people around him will use whatever he has discovered and make life easier for people most of the time and sometimes very difficult.

18:33 Large Braum's

18:37 I know there's things to destroy each other having said that.

18:43 The Sufi master

18:47 Will give

18:50 To whoever wants to hear

18:54 The things that he discovers

18:57 And we make people who are

19:02 Truth Seekers want to know more?

19:06 And this way

19:08 Imagine

19:10 That you have individuals who have some sense of self.

19:17 And are not bound to Aldi.

19:21 Social aspects of life

19:25 And these individuals cooperate?

19:30 Work together to create a society which is peaceful.

19:34 I'm not fighting all the time over nonsense things in pursuing their perfect Society for a long time actually as long as man's being around so it is a piece when things to do and they discover peace. In fact, you're right.

19:52 So that is how

19:55 I pursued

19:57 My question

20:02 And it has been a very sweet thing as I give the example of the sugar. I love that accept every single time when they when they look at it, especially because of the topic that we discussed.

20:18 Super master Stars the charity of teaching from the beginning for whomever.

20:25 He or she wants and continues. So this charity is not something new for me. I have been the student of this charity and you having to for many many years definitely the shapes or forms change.

20:41 But charity continue

20:44 That's how well.

20:47 I got to know MTO.

20:51 And the I was

20:55 Wondering since we are talking about charity.

20:59 How has been?

21:02 The

21:04 Experiences that you have had as a physician

21:08 Another person receiving these teacher

21:13 You know, that's a nice one question. If you teachings have impacted every aspect of my life. I wanted to be a physician ever since I was a kid because I wanted to help others.

21:29 The Sufi teachings have elevated that passion to a different level.

21:34 I never forget it. It was about 20 years ago in Dallas and Professor another Angela but visiting the MTO Sufi Center here.

21:44 And he said if your neighbor is not doing well and it's sick, but you're not aware to help him. It's your shortcoming that needs to be addressed.

21:55 MTO has taught me that my role in helping patients does not stop at relieving what is ailing them. But I need to address all the other aspects that also impact their life. That's why be modified our practice to have a more holistic approach. You know, we made it a practice policy. We will take care of all patients that need our services regardless of their ability to pay.

22:26 In fact him a few years back a few Physicians and I had the opportunity to build a few Rehabilitation hospitals to take care of patients after they've had a traumatic injury brain injury spinal cord injury stroke and that we should kids to patients who have no insurance. So you could be able to take care of patients at the otherwise would not be able to receive that service.

22:57 And the most impactful aspect of that experience for me and was when be admitted as 60 year old lady.

23:07 Who was working two minimum wage jobs. She unfortunately had labile hypertension but didn't have the money to buy the medication to control it.

23:19 As a result she end up having a hemorrhagic stroke. She was admitted to the acute Medical Center next door to us.

23:27 And once she was medically stabilized and she was referred to us and be admitted her for her inpatient Rehabilitation station top staying with us for about 20 days.

23:38 And with God's grace, she made excellent neurological and functional recovery.

23:43 A week prior to her discharge and I had a family conference going over the progress that she had made and what the future plans were post-discharge.

23:54 After the family conference her daughter, stop me and wanted to talk to me about home. She needed to talk to to make the payment arrangements.

24:03 With great pleasure. I had to tell her that would God's grace that he was all taken care of.

24:10 Shouldn't be too worried about it and she started tearing up.

24:15 And she started she was very thankful. But in my heart I knew who she was thanking which was the soldier.

24:23 She she showed her gratitude with whatever happened with her. But can you imagine?

24:30 The lift which was removed from her shoulders for years to come and not wasn't just for her. It was for me also to be able to apply the principles of the Sufi teachings in my practice.

24:49 Honestly has been a life-altering experience for me personally. And obviously you are talking about that is giving me permission to talk about something else in Sufism.

25:09 And that is Hope.

25:11 Which you gave to this woman?

25:16 And as a result because of the harmony.

25:19 You were an instrument that you said without so you received help yourself and both of you will be rewarded in this area. Isn't it? Interesting how this function? Yeah, actually it's that because we are all one and this is something that I think we tend to forget and especially when we are under stress ourselves, but there have been many similar experiences like this and I owe them all to the teachings of Professor another alarm clock because you know, as one individual you always wonder what is it that I can do that with make a difference but you realize that by serving others you don't have to imagine Bay just start somewhere.

26:04 And by applying that to your life, you'll be surprised how impactful you are and I in society in general.

26:13 Which is some of the things that you mentioned previously. I know you actually have received many awards and a few years ago. You were a physician of the year in Michigan some serious. Haha. MTO Sufi teachings impacted you and the way you practice.

26:33 World impact was has been global.

26:37 In all areas of my I cannot imagine myself without those teachings probably faced individual. I was before the teachings and now we won't be able to see it.

26:52 So

26:55 And you mentioned something about Awards. I know that I didn't get it in Lourdes. These were the results of those teachings. So that's how it has impacted me. I didn't I didn't need to be acknowledged.

27:11 I was not.

27:14 They were all there's a lot of these teachings.

27:19 Having said that seeing all the sufferings which I saw in the first 20 years of my practice in emergency Psychiatry and emergency rooms in downtown Detroit.

27:34 It made me to have a

27:38 Different

27:39 Approach to things because the system is broken or has been broken at the same time.

27:50 I really

27:52 Felt

27:54 Text humans respect.

27:57 It's kind of gone away, and we don't know each other.

28:03 And people are being treated like numbers.

28:07 When you haven't even being in front of you.

28:11 With all you having you.

28:15 Hope treat this individual the right that you want to be treated.

28:20 Anyway, because of these deficiencies that I mentioned.

28:25 Reduce my clinical work, maybe 70% and focused on creation of new programs, which were addressing some of the issues that

28:38 Our citizens are facing.

28:41 So we created the

28:43 They service line which was a Loosely connecting some of the networks with verse I load and we were trying to connect people through this.

28:57 We partnered with the other big girl.

29:03 Health care clinics

29:07 And inserted the behavioral health substance abuse in them in case management. So people were receiving account.

29:16 We can run group.

29:19 It became whole house for them and this way to some extent was preventing a possession or going to your house.

29:31 We made tell about the Sun at that time, which was about.

29:37 Eight nine years ago before and that make it was

29:48 Lots of pain, honestly

29:54 And we started delivering services to rural areas and of course urban areas when they don't have access to reduce the pain and suffering for people with all these

30:08 Came to my mind because

30:11 I have been observing.

30:14 How did teachings have worked?

30:18 For example for dependent as soon as you became established the website and the call center run immediately probably in less than a week. We were functional.

30:30 The interesting part is that

30:33 I became aware.

30:37 Some of the work that's my other colleagues have had other places and they had gone to social media and internet created.

30:48 So many other outlets for people

30:51 Like if you want to wear over them to ya.

30:55 Did Odell young sister pandemic started obviously and Theo has been involved in charitable activities for centuries now, but

31:07 Obviously, you took it too kind of different as a form when the pandemic started and Professor another analog directed all the mcoc centers throughout the world to start a Google coordinated effort in order to address as he put it in the suffering and the pain that people were experiencing at that time.

31:29 And even to this day

31:32 Taehyung Sushi centers throughout New Zealand

31:37 Australia Europe United States North America Asia actually be formed and you're part of this at a collaborative effort and your to address the issues. Dependent make had presented us with the challenges were the first challenges. We both are hospital-based and we're lack of personal protection equipment at the hospitals as so, you know, I learn how to sew a b started making me a disposable gowns face shield face mask and started to send to multiple medical centers in our respective communities. In fact over a hundred and fifty thousand items of PPE have been delivered to the hospitals too. You two counties growing on a daily basis and also to the First Responders to the police stations fire stations US Post Office.

32:35 Two other Healthcare entities Home Health agencies that your hospice companies skilled nursing facilities nursing homes. The second prong of guy was

32:50 Regarding the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. I mean Millions upon millions of people have lost their jobs. So internationally Global I didn't your city center started making these care packages are mainly most from non-perishable food items but items for hygiene school supplies for children, and we have delivered again and hundreds of thousands of these care packages to families in need to the homeless to add the elderly either do not have transportation or we're in lockdown.

33:30 So that was the physical aspect that needed to be addressed. But as you pointed out there's a significant with anxiety and stress associated with this pandemic too. And so you're calling you said neuroscientist and psychologist for volunteers of them to you and students at MCO started streaming meditation exercises relaxation exercises. Breathing exercises a visual imagery at that is still being live streamed on Instagram and Facebook and they created a narcos app in order to be able to have people have access free of charge so that their Stress and Anxiety could be addressed while

34:17 We all collectively and are trying to recover from this pandemic any side effects.

34:23 But you know what you put in. Something that selfless service brings hope.

34:29 But you're also showing respect to each other and by recognizing the Divine Spirit within the other person and having the honor of dentists accepting what you're offering is damn respecting you back and that is something that is propagating this process this hope

34:54 And you know, they're having so many experiences during this pandemic.

35:00 Got your I'm speechless. Yeah, you know cuz I'm listening to you.

35:10 I'm reflecting are what you say and several things come to mind.

35:17 What is that you're talkin about charity, but really you're talking about Service as well.

35:24 And as you mentioned selfless service is one of the principles of Sufism.

35:33 And its original name is Scott the Mets.

35:36 In this you are part of the bigger process and your dissolved in this process.

35:43 You gather all you have and not paying attention to all the minor things you have your just one go.

35:51 The goal is to reach an ocean of Truth and knowledge.

35:57 But

35:59 As you're moving with this current which is like your neighbor as charities.

36:07 You are able.

36:11 2

36:13 Provide or give to hope that you're chatting with you to others and they even if it's wrong.

36:21 And this hope

36:23 Does not die down it continues unless someone destroys it and will it be?

36:31 Such a bad thing to do if you and I destroyed that hope

36:38 Brothers, that's why we have to give because we are always given this charity to you and I are always there.

36:48 And we are benefiting from it.

36:52 And as I mentioned I see charity.

36:56 Are there anyway which is moving along?

37:01 And noticing everything around it.

37:05 Nourishing all in it.

37:08 And if that's Nordstrom and he's going to a tree that tree let's a apple tree bears fruit.

37:19 And everybody benefits from it, but at the same time.

37:24 That's fruit has the same water.

37:27 It came from veggie burger, which is full of Hope.

37:31 Tractor the best example or definition that I can give about Hope is what Professor Northern hope.

37:47 Is

37:50 Seed

37:53 Atlanta news retard song

37:56 Which best fruit in at the more that I think about this statement the more I found it with myself the more I find in general, but all we are doing

38:07 This hope which is in that apple.

38:11 Noticed as many others goes thousands of miles away and the hope is with it and within you examples that.

38:22 We cannot give in our interactions that you and I have had with people when they receive that hole that is so true. In fact, there are two interactions that have stayed with me. When was when the Virgil Arena care packages to the folks that were homeless one gentleman stopped after he received the package and said, you know, he's really appreciate what you guys are giving us.

38:51 But what we appreciate most is that you guys recognize that we exist.

38:57 That to this day gives me goosebumps when I think about it.

39:02 The second experience that many experiences but

39:07 And another one that really has stayed with me is when and this is something most people don't realize that there are folks that work at the hospitals that are exposed to the same dangers that nurses and Physicians and therapists are

39:25 And those are the folks that work in the cafeteria. Clean the floors and clean the patient's rooms and some of them are not making much more over minimum wage. So we thought about you know, these guys may need assistance also because it may have members in their household who may have been laid off.

39:45 So we started delivering care packages to them as well at the hospitals and I got the most beautiful postcard from the staff of the cafeteria. One of the hospital's I go to that it taking a group picture and created the postcard and sent it to us another postcard. It said Thank you and to you for not forgetting about us.

40:10 I'm seeing both people are talking about acknowledgement of how you gave them. Hope they give it back to you and you're happy. And in fact you receive sugar cube in your exactly are body functions as such that all research has shown that the person who receives the gift will be really happy. But the person who's happier is the person who has given

40:42 And that is amazing as I'm listening also to you is that

40:47 It reminds me of having hope as a process is not something we just static it is dynamic and moving on.

40:57 And it consists of Cascades of processes which they need to go and move and if you kind of not to move with them you are in the path of destruction of the hope for you and of course others. Well, I know that you're coming to an end and I want to thank you for this conversation and I want to thank you as a psychiatrist for allowing me to switch around the proverbial couch on you and allow me to answer the questions. I know you are the one who's usually asking the question.

41:38 But I thank you so much for spending this time with me.

41:42 Pleasure and privilege anytime that I have time to discuss which has helped me and I can't cuz I won't hesitate because that's part of

41:58 My hope that we have a peaceful Society again if we can.

42:04 And thank you for spending your time with me.