Saturday, August 8, 2015

Rumi - To be a Sufi

photo Antoin Sevruguin


 “To be a Sufi,
forget the past,
put it all away;
turn a brand new page,
rescue your being
from yesterday;
become a child
of the present age,
of youth,
of wisdom—
Never leave this
bountiful moment,
this eternal day.”


 



Ahmad al-Alawi - Layla



Full near I came unto where dwelleth
Layla, when I heard her call.
That voice, would I might ever hear it!
She favored me, and drew me to her,
Took me in, into her precinct,
With discourse intimate addressed me.
She sat me by her, then came closer,
Raised the cloak that hid her from me,
Made me marvel to distraction,
Bewildered me with all her beauty.
She took me and amazed me,
And hid me in her inmost self,
Until I thought that she was I,
And my life she took as ransom.
She changed me and transfigured me,
And marked me with her special sign,
Pressed me to her, put me from her,
Named me as she is named.
Having slain and crumbled me,
She steeped the fragments in her blood.
Then, after my death, she raised me:
My star shines in her firmament.
Where is my life, and where my body,
Where my willful soul? From her
The truth of these shone out to me
Secrets that had been hidden from me.
Mine eyes have never seen but her:
To naught else can they testify.
All meanings in her are comprised.
Glory be to her Creator!
Thou that beauty wouldst describe,
Here is something of her brightness
Take it from me. It is my art.
Think it not idle vanity.
My Heart lied not when it divulged
The secret of my meeting her.
If nearness unto her effaceth,
I still subsist in her substance.

 English version by Martin Lings



Friday, August 7, 2015

Jeff Foster - A cup of tea



Life is not on its way.
Life is not 'coming soon'.

Your life, your whole life, is here today. It is here in every breath, every thought exploding like a firework in the vastness of awareness. It is here in every moment of contact with a stranger, every sensation that sizzles in the body, every pang of longing and every burst of satisfaction. It is here in every moment of gain or loss, every failure or success, every taste of bliss, every instant of despair.

Life is not hiding. Life is not missing (for it is here even in the feeling that something's missing).

We are talking about your most intimate lover, your closest friend and companion, the unconditional love you were always seeking in time.
We are talking about the lullaby you always secretly heard in your private moments, the password that was always on the tip of your tongue.
We are speaking about the Unspeakable, singing a melody that only the heart can hear.

So let's go and have a cup of tea together, and watch the world go by in loving silence.




U G Krishnamurti - The Natural State




You wouldn’t touch this with a barge pole. 
This is going to liquidate what you call ‘you’, all of you –
 higher self, lower self, soul, Atman, conscious, subconscious – all of that. 
You come to a point, and then you say ‘I need time’.
 So Sadhana (inquiry and religious endeavor) comes into the picture and you say to yourself “Tomorrow I will understand.” 
 This structure is born of time and functions in time, but does not come to an end through time. 
If you don’t understand now, you are not going to understand tomorrow. 
What you are looking for does not exist. You would rather tread an enchanted ground with beatific visions of a radical transformation of that non-existent self of yours into a state of being which is conjured up by some bewitching phrases. 
That takes you away from your natural state – it is a movement away from yourself. 
To be yourself requires extraordinary intelligence. You are ‘blessed’ with that intelligence; 
nobody need give it to you, nobody can take it away from you. 
He who lets that express itself in its own way is a natural man.




from: The natural state

Ellen Davis - Seeking: Its Inherence, Beauty and Pitfalls

artist unknown


 That which is always and already That is innate and inherent, as well as that which moves towards its infinite self-experience and knowing. Moving into diversity of experience and towards self-knowing and self-realization in all its guises is the nature of the One in its Play in manifestation. This measurable, relative universe provides the opportunity for us to experience Self in relationship with itself. So we are at once always and already complete. Yet the nature of manifestation is to experience this and in order to do that there is a here to a there; a process, which leaves open the possibility for our seeing the illusion that we are other than what we move towards or aspire to... and that we can be more or less That. When we believe that what we are reaching for is other than what we are, we concretize our perceived separation from it and obscure the awareness of the divine suchness which is always and already innate in all. Adding on top of that the illusory notion of "enlightenment" as a measurement of realization ends up further obfuscating That which is innate and our birthright into something apparently unreachable, or, possibly reachable with exceptional grace and "hard work." In a sense it makes rare something that is very natural and ordinary and obscures from our awareness the always already suchness in all of life including the mundane.

~~~~~~~~~~

 
We feel a separation from what we aspire towards when we do not recognize ourselves as the same and one with what we are seeking.   The more that we 'seek' what we believe is other than ourselves, the more we concretize or reinforce the very illusions of separation that stand in the way of realizing our aspirations. This sense of separation is fed by our identifying solely through our individuation.  
Our Divine Nature calls to itself from within to be realized, which is such a beautiful expression of the Divine Will in action. Yet through our habits and illusions of separation it is translated like a nag that wants something it is not, which can then distort things.  
This distortion is compounded by our tendency to identify ourselves through the effort of our aspiration and then the need to invest more and more in that effort to validate our selves. When we have a vested interest in what we have built, we tend to continue to fortifying it with our beliefs. Within the momentum of that dynamic, non effort or stopping is not even a consideration because of the fear of failure, of the unknown, of non-being or of ceasing to exist.  Our actions and thoughts then become defenses against that.  Defending ourselves against the unknown is a path enmeshed in preconceptions and away from the realization of Truth. Our mental associations and representations of what we see further obscure or add story to what is.
 
"Not knowing" or not giving energy to mind and its constructions is a path towards getting beyond mind's limitations, but when aspirants deny or refuse Knowledge that comes through Silence and beyond mind so as not to give energy to knowing, they can stop a very divine flow and remove themselves from the very essence of the Truth of their being as the Allness that Is and Is Not, that Knows and Knows not.
Speaking to the Seeker in Conflict with Seeking
Trying to deny seeking is chasing your tail in one direction, and seeking for what you believe you are not is chasing your tail in another. Not allowing this innate aspect of yourself moving towards self-realization in form because of feeling that it will obfuscate self-realization is creating for yourself a double-bind.
You are at once "always, already" That and there is nothing that you can do or that you need to do to BE That ---- AND you are That coming to realize, know and experience self as the many faces of That in manifestation. If you allow both as they arise in your awareness you will not create division around it. My sense is that depression comes as a result of suppressing one and not accomplishing your ideas of another while judging yourself for it.
You are at once "always, already" That and there is nothing you need to do in order to BE That - AND you are always realizing Self through all of life. Realizing depression, Realizing joy, Realizing peace, Realizing sleep, Realizing unconsciousness, Realizing bliss, Realizing forgetting, Realizing suffering, Realizing awakening, Realizing something, Realizing nothing.
Can you find any place in your awareness which is undisturbed or unaffected by your seeking? Can you find that which is unperturbed by seeking or not seeking or what appears to be the conflict between the two and could include either or both?

~~~~~~~~~~

 
Seeking is an innate aspect of Consciousness as a force of play in this relative, material, space-time universe. Consciousness, the Divine, God, seeks to know and experience ItSelf in Its infinite diversity as and through us. Where it becomes a paradoxical bind in the experience of the seeker, is when what is seeking perceives itself to be not of the same substance in its essential nature as that which it is seeking. It is then when the seeking separates oneself further in experience and identity from that which one aspires towards.
It is like trying to deny the inherent nature of the Divine within manifestation to deny the essence which seeks for or moves towards more of itSelf. Every cell seeks to be realized. When speaking about "letting go", "stopping" and the "always already" unconditioned self without acknowledging this, we set up a paradoxical bind in our beingness which creates a tension and conflict when "doing" or the desire to perfect or achieve happens, even if it arises out of this essence which moves to realize more of ItSelf.
Essence seeks for more of itself or moves towards its self-realization in manifestation. In manifestation this "seeking" or moving towards is innate. There is nothing but That; all movement can only be That being itself and whatever direction we might perceive it going, it is That going towards itself, either in awareness or in ignorance. May it be in awareness.  All eyes open to awareness dancing itself. 



Miriam Louisa - Blessed are those who know nothing for certain

photo: unknown
 

blessed are those who know nothing for certain, whose curiosity keeps them beyond the claws of conclusion, who seek as an impulse of wonderment rather than for gain, who question everything the pundits proclaim as truth;

whose questions deliver them, willingly or not, to the fiery face of the Unnameable, and who find the courage to keep a “yes” alive in spite of terror; who come back speechless and trembling with gratitude

blessed are those for whom the encounter enlivens a capacity and a willingness to hold both hands out to the world (one to hold grief, the other, gratefulness) for their heart knows the two as one;

who, without choice, stand naked in knowingness; whose fulfilment is refreshed with every breath; who are quietly content (which is not to say inert or passive) in spite of all that life appears to heave at them

blessed are those who know these contented ones, who count them among their friends and neighbours, who seek them out for their simple wisdom, knowing they have nothing to spin or sell – nothing to bestow other than their crazy head-shaking heart-healing joy:

innocent – ingenious – immanent
 


Miriam :

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee - The Power of Attention



Read the full article: "Not Knowing, Non-Being, and the Power of Nothingness"
by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee 
HERE 

The Power of Attention

In order to work with nothingness, we need the right attitude, attention, and intention. We need the right intelligence. We need to remember that attention does not need something as an object. Rather, attention is a receptive state of being.

In Sufism, attention is subtly linked to intention, which is an attitude of mind, an attitude of being, which carries with it a whole mystical tradition of adab. Adab refers to “courtesy of behavior.” From a superficial view, adab might look like simple politeness or a prescribed way of acting. But in fact, adab is based on the relationship between the soul and God—the way the soul is before God. Over time, this fundamental inner relationship that includes humility, respect, devotion, and continual watchfulness becomes part of our daily pattern of behavior—our way of interacting with life, with each other, with the path, and with the Absolute.

Meditation can be a foundation for this kind of attention, but there is a danger to making what is a fundamental capacity of the Self a special “practice.” The contemporary Tibetan Buddhist Rinpoche Namkhai Norbu tells a story about a 13th-century Dzogchen master:

The great Dzogchen master, Yungton Dorje Pal, was asked: “What meditation do you do?” And he replied: “What would I meditate on?”

So his questioner concluded: “In Dzogchen you don’t meditate, then?”
But Yungton Dorje Pal replied: “When am I ever distracted?”

Attention has to do with the practice of witnessing, described in the Mundaka Upanishad through the story of the two birds sitting on a branch of a tree. One bird eats the sweet fruit of the tree while the other bird looks on, without eating. This mysterious passage describes the aspect of ourselves involved in life and the aspect that seems not to be—the part that simply watches. Spiritual practices like meditation help awaken this “witness,” what the Sufis call the shaheed.

Witnessing is not an abstraction from life, but rather a multi-dimensional participation, a way to be of service. At its deepest, this quality of attention participates in the remembrance of the Absolute on all levels. Ibn ‘Arabi calls the mystic “the pupil in the eye of humanity,” through which God sees His own world. Without human consciousness, especially the awakened intelligence of the heart, the Absolute is not known, does not know Itself. This is reflected in the primordial covenant, when the soul of the not-yet-created humanity was asked, “Am I not your Lord?” and they replied, “Yes we witness it.” We aspire to remember and live the soul’s covenant.

Witnessing encompasses both presence and absence, for it cannot take place solely from within creation. If the witness were solely in the created world, the witnessing would be veiled by creation. It would be like the bird focused only on the sweet fruit. Rather, part of the witness remains outside of creation—the second bird that “looks on.” From behind the veils of creation, it can see and know the Real throughout all levels of reality.

In Sufi esoteric science the different spiritual centers within the heart embrace different levels of reality, and these centers, or “chambers of the heart,” each carry a unique spiritual consciousness. Each center of consciousness witnesses a different level of reality, from the outer chamber, qalb, which awakens us to our longing for God, to the inner chamber of khafi, which witnesses the dark light of the primal nothingness of non-existence, and then beyond into the innermost chamber, which experiences only Absolute Truth. Witnessing is a way of remembering the Real, and reminding the Real of its own divinity, that it is “Lord.”

At certain times, this quality of inner and outer attention needs to become more active. Something in one’s life will call us to be awake in a new way. This call will be different for different people. It likely will not be what we expect, what we are hoping for, what we want. Something at work, something in an ordinary day, or a thought or hint of something … An insight in meditation, maybe even a scent in the air or a gust of wind across a field. Something in life has a need for one’s conscious attention—it might last a few seconds, or a week or even a year.

In these moments if one responds with the right attitude, the right intention, then one experiences an active intelligence that is both present and absent. One becomes a doorway. Something can be born into life that wasn’t there before; an aspect of the Absolute can come alive for the first time.

It is part of spiritual training to be present and watchful, prepared for these moments where the worlds come together. If one catches these moments when the levels of reality are aligned, when the doors of grace are opening, when all one has to do is pay attention and be willing to follow, then the whole of life—inner and outer—changes.

Such moments come in our individual lives as well as in our collective lives—times when forces in the inner and outer worlds are aligning to support change, moments that require our full watchfulness and attention. As Shakespeare writes in Julius Caesar,

    There is a tide in the affairs of men,
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.6

At this moment in our global history the tide in the affairs of men is turning. This turning, this evolutionary moment, needs our full attention. We can remember how to watch; we can remember how to catch these moments, how to see beneath the surface. Nothingness helps us be attentive. With one foot in nothingness, with one ear attuned to silence, we are infinitely watchful and undisturbed.




Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Hazrat Sultan Bahu - Merged in the Whole



"When the one Lord revealed himself to me,
I lost myself in him.
Now there is neither nearness nor union.
There is no longer a journey to undertake,
no longer a distance to reach.
Love, attachment, my body and soul,
and even the very limits of time and space
have all dropped from consciousness.

My separate self has merged in the Whole:
In that, O Bahu, lies the secret
of the unity that is God!"


 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sheikh Badruddin - O seeker



O seeker, know that the path to Truth is within you. 
You are the traveler. 
Going happens by itself, Coming happens to you, without you. 
There is no arriving or leaving; nor is there any place; 
nor is there a contained within a container. 
Who is there to be with God? 
What is there other than God? 
Who seeks and finds when there is none but God?




Nazir - I see Him and none other




   I knew nothing.
I did not know what to seek,
I did not know where to go.
Whom was I to ask, where was I to wander?
What path to follow?
What instructions to pursue whereby I might find my Beloved?

Seeking Him I reached the mosque,
But all I found were vain discussions on sacraments and ceremonials.

My heart told me to go to a seminary;
Maybe there I might meet my Lord.
But all I met there were noisy debates and scholars puffed with eloquence.

I was advised to go visit the temple.
I found nothing there but idols being worshiped and gongs being sounded.
Disgusted, I sought a stone to strike against my head.

For nowhere could I find that callous Beloved of mine.

Then I went on a pilgrimage to all the holy sights.
Maybe I would find Him there.
So I stopped at many holy places and bowed before many deities,
But it brought me no comfort.
And when I found myself helpless I left the towns and its temples to wander in the jungle.

In the wilderness I wept and shed hot tears.
I asked myself, "How long must I bear this agony of separation?"
But there was nowhere to go, no place to find shelter from my pain.

For days I roamed in the forest a poor man, a pilgrim, a homeless fakir
In the mountains too, I struggled.
I was empty, hungry~ thirsty-in a miserable plight, without a morsel to appease my hunger, 
without a drop to quench my thirst.

I laid myself out in a field, the burning sun was overhead.
My mind filled with the desire to see Him
But all was in vain-
The Lord would not show Himself to me.
I shed tears of blood that sparkled like rubies in the sands.

When I reached a state of total despair, hoping that death might rescue me from this pain, 
He, my careless Beloved,
Came to me.
Like a mother rushing to her sick child,
He came to me, sat by my side, and placed my head upon His lap.
Kind words came from His lips:

"Now see whatever you want to see,
I will reveal to you all the secrets of my heart.
Remember, first We test our lover.
We torment him, oppress him, and force him to shed tears.
Then We bring him to us.
When all his thoughts are of the Beloved,
We allow him to come near, shower him with grace, and hold him in our arms.
Thus he becomes perfect."

As these words reached my ears
I came back to life, gained consciousness, and was free of all pain.
Then I cast one look at His radiant face
And the mystery of all creation lay bare before me.
In one moment the good and bad actions of lifetimes vanished.

From separation I passed into Unity;
All the illusions of life disappeared like a phantom show.

Now, wherever I cast my glance, I see Him and none other. 
The Muslim, the Hindu, and the Jew Have all become the same to me 
they have all merged in the Glory of my one Beloved.

So says Nazir.




Source : Behari, Bankey Sufis, Mystics and Yogis of India. 
Bombay: Bharativa Vidya Bhavan, 1982, pp. 183-188  
 

Jami - True lovers



Happy is he who is able to escape from the lower self
and feel the gentle breeze of friendship.
His heart is so full of the Beloved
that there is no longer room for anyone else.
The Beloved flows through his every vein and nerve.
Every atom of his body is filled with the Friend.
The true lovers can no longer perceive
either the scent or the color of their own selves.
They have no interest in anything other than the Beloved.
Their heart is attached neither to throne nor crown.
Greed and lust have packed their bags and left their street.
If they speak, it is to the Friend.
If they seek, it is from the Friend.
They no longer take themselves into account,
and live only for love.
They, leave the raw and turn to the ripe,
abandoning completely the abode of the self.



 

Jiddu Krishnamurti - The book of life