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Was the Band Rush Influenced By Transcendentalism Which was Influenced By Sufism?
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Was the Band Rush Influenced By Transcendentalism Which was Influenced By Sufism?

Who is Rush?

For starters, Rush is a Canadian rock band from Toronto that immediately flourished in the beginning of the 1970s. They’re known for the songs “Tom Sawyer,” “Limelight,” “Subdivisions”, and “Closer To the Heart” to name a few. Granted, let’s zoom in on their song “Tom Sawyer” which is spiked with rich individualism. This individualism is one of the three-pronged American philosophical movement: Transcendentalism.

It’s blatantly evident that Rush was inspired by Transcendentalism. Mainly, because the original coiner of the character, Tom Sawyer, is Mark Twain, who was a Transcendentalist himself. The "Tom Sawyer" song was collaborated on between Rush alongside a “mysteriously, eccentric” Canadian poet and lyricist, Pye Dubois. 

What’s Transcendentalism?

Imagine a tree called Transcendentalism. It’s a fancy name, which simple means to “rise above.” It has three, main, ginormous and gorgeous branches: individualism, idealism and the divinity of nature.

American Transcendentalism is a philosophical movement that basically called for people to “rise above” the imposed mass prison traps of negativity and misinformation brought by institutionalism such as capitalism, westward expansion and industrialization (Miller, Nature’s Nation, 1967). It began in the 1820s America when a group of New England philosophers and writers were inspired to encourage people to use their logic and intuition to rise above mass imposed societal beliefs.

For example, these days we experience these beliefs forced upon us through mass media hacking into our peace of mind and forcing us to constantly observe and feel the drudgery of the same negative, desensitizing news.

With refreshing individualism spurring our decision making, we get to use our logic (what we know) and intuition (what our heart tells us) based on our own experiences (especially personal synchronicities) and truth seeking alone.

That’s called individualism. In depth, individualism helps you to rise above mass manipulation through making these discerning decisions about everything in reality. It helps you wisely breath and see things and people for who they really are and not what someone else wants you to see. It’s a world, an entire universe and beyond that’s finally seen wisely and humbly through your reliable glasses and your inner eye.

Idealism soon follows. Once you free your mind from the doom and gloom herd mentality, you give yourself a chance to view the world in the best light ever. You see nature and get rejuvenated with love and want to preserve it. You see people and long to reunite and want to help them through your beloved skill(s). You contemplate about God and you see Him in everything. Suddenly, it’s a friendly world. Life suddenly becomes more technicolor and vibrant. You see the world’s utopian potential especially when we help each other put our best foot forward through LOVE.

The third branch of American Transcendentalism is the divinity of nature. This divinity in nature is experienced when The Most Loving, The Divine (a.k.a. God or Source) is seen in everything and everyone. You realize, more and more, that there is The Overseer in control of everything. You see that the whole universe is in precise measurement, loving harmony, abundance and perfect orchestration at all times. Soon, you’re at ease, especially after doing all you could to contribute and surrendering…you become rest assured that everything is happening at the right time. Just like that, you are ready for whatever blessings are coming your way and know that whatever experiences are coming your way…you can handle somehow in helpful ways unimagined.

You are the energy alchemist that works with God on what you want to create with your inspired imagination; Your co-creation will pour peace and love into the goblets at the long, stretch of a table of beneficial human contributions: past, present and future. You know that this peace and love is backed by brilliant light and that will illuminate every shadow and darkness.

It’s our essence…

Suddenly, we’re the “modern day warrior” mentioned in the lyrics of Rush’s song “Tom Sawyer.” How? By combining all those branches of Transcendentalism: individualism, idealism and the divinity of nature. As you take care of yourself, others and work together with your community to make the world kinder.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American poet and philosopher, was the lead figure of the Transcendental Movement which advocated to save our sanity and souls. Like Emerson, Samual Clemens (aka Mark Twain) was also inspired to practice and preserve the key ideals within Transcendentalism (individualism, idealism and the divinity of nature). Mark Twain even wrote a novel called The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Briefly, its take-away is to experience life, learn from them, and think for yourself without the imposed ideals and beliefs of mass society; It’s especially important to make the intention of being your own truth-seeker, ask God for guidance (I ask God, at least, and highly encourage it), then use your own logic and intuition when making moral decisions of rebellion in a heavily biased, discriminatory and oppressive society. 

Besides mastering individualism, the novel (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) applies idealism in that love exists no matter how subtle it is within our hearts. As carriers of this love, we feel the need to be it, share it and reflect it out there in the world so the world will mirror it back to us. Nature is especially evident within Twain’s novel since its settings changed from the woods to traveling along the Mississippi River. As you all know, nature is God’s Nourishing Expression of His Love for us.

It brings me to finally sharing that Transcendentalism is especially evident within Rush’s Tom Sawyer lyrics that go:

“The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep,
Maybe as his skies are wiiiiiide….”
(Rush, 1981).

Love and life run so deep that they can’t be boxed and put on a shelf for later use. Love and life radiate so vastly. They penetrate every infinite unfoldment of existence (past, present and future) and pierce through the thickest blanket of darkness and make themselves known just like a sunflower growing from the concrete. Love is Abundant. Life, since our ancestors, is a seemingly endless unfoldment of humankind’s evolvement to be better on the inside more than ever.

Tom Sawyer drank from this overflowing goblet of love and saw his skies wide with it. Tom couldn’t help but love and also intuitively knew that everyone could tap into the same state of mind…

What’s Sufism?

Which brings me to the topic of connection. If we all woke up to Love and maintained that state of mind and showed kindness to all sentient beings, we would be more connected with each other and especially God.

Yes, connection. More specifically, is our connection to The Most Loving, The One Who we fill our empty cups with His Abundant Love. When you drink from this overflowing goblet of love, suddenly you’re wearing your rose-colored shades. Everything appears in the best light. You see the work of God in each person you meet and even each passerby. Suddenly, intuitively, you realize we’re all connected and we all yearn for the same reconnection to The Most Loving, The Divine.

Sufism talks about that a lot.

In a nutshell, Sufism is the inward dimension of Islam. It’s the roof over the five pillars (Tawhid (Declaring the Oneness of God), Daily Five Prayers, Fasting, Zakat (Charity), and Hajj (Pilgrimage). It brings soul to Islam through applying the love and remembrance aspect of God, the universe and everyone in it, and of course, ourselves, then to the universe and everyone in it, and God again and back to us.

After all, what’s the point of the forms of religion such as the prayer, for example, if you don’t even know your own neighbor? Knowing your neighbor is the loving spirit in any religion and especially Sufism.

To me, there’s no right or wrong way to go about it. It’s like an infinity symbol, where love reverberates through and to all and back to The Source.

Love is one of the biggest keys to Sufism since it takes love to make yourself better than who you were yesterday. It takes love to think in terms of we (soul) and not me (ego). It takes love to reach the state of spiritual excellence (tazkiyat al-nafs) and attaining a shining, luminescent heart (tazkiyat al-qalb).

Was Rush and Transcendentalism influenced by Sufism?

According to my intuition and logical research calculations, I say: Yes! Rush was inspired by eastern beliefs for sure and especially Sufism whether directly or indirectly or both.

All this is my reflection on the cross-background similarities about this mesmerizing topic. You’re free to do your own research and truth-seeking. Be your own Tom Sawyer. You decide. Looking forward to sharing our notes. Leave me a comment about this if you feel called to do so. Looking forward to collaborating!

In the meantime, keep loving, keep being your own truth-seeker, keep creating and keep sharing! This is how we triumph and have the last laugh…even if it’s in Heaven listening to God’s Big Jokes…it’s how loving saints and martyrs, who beat the drudgery, of life have the last laugh.

Keep the faith! I love you all! To your success always for all times! Allahuma Amen times infinity!



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