The Sufic way of thinking is particularly appropriate in a world of mass communication, when every effort is directed toward making people believe certain things; that they should as a consequence do certain things that their manipulator a want them to do.
The Sufis often start from a nonreligious point of view. The answer, they say, is within the mind of mankind. It has to be liberated, so that by self-knowledge the intuition becomes the guide to human fulfillment. The other way, the way of training suppresses and stills the intuition. Humanity is turned into a conditioned animal by non-Sufi systems, while being told that it is free and creative, has a choice of thought and action.
The Sufi is an individual who believes that by practicing alternate detachment and identification with life, he becomes free. He is a mystic because he believes that he can become attuned to the purpose of all life. He is a practical man because he believes that this process must take place within normal society. And he must serve humanity because he is part of it.
The exercises of the Sufis have been developed through the interaction of two things, intuition and the changing aspects of human life. Different methods will suggest themselves intuitively in different societies and at various times. This is not inconsistent, because real intuition is itself always consistent.
The Sufi life can be lived at any time, in any place. It does not require withdrawal from the world, or organized movements, or dogma. It is coterminous with existence of humanity. It cannot, therefore, accurately be termed an Eastern system. It has profoundly influenced both the East and the very bases of the Western civilization in which many of us live- the mixture of Christian, Jewish, Moslem, and Near Eastern or Mediterranean heritage commonly called "Western."
Mankind, according to the Sufis, is infinitely perfectable. The perfection comes about through attunement with the whole of existence. Physical and spiritual life meet, but only when there is a complete balance between them. Systems which teach withdrawal from the world are regarded as unbalanced.
Expert from "The Sufis" by Idries Shah