- Forty rules of love Persian Sufi – Shams of Tabriz 1185-1248
How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame, it means there is too much fear and blame welled inside us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we.
The path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge and ultimately prevail over your nafs (self, psyche, soul) with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.
You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for him: in the heart of a true lover.
Intellect and love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advises, ‘Beware too much ecstasy’, whereas love says, ‘Oh, never mind! Take the plunge!’ Intellect does not easily break down, whereas love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.
Most of problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstanding. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language, as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.
Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is the best to find a person who will be your mirror. Remember only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.
Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for all that he has been denied.
Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to look at the end of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not be able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.
East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you’ll travel the whole wide world and beyond.
The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.
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- Prayer for our times
The Prayer is an excellent act, but its spirit and meaning are more excellent than its form, even as the human spirit is more excellent and more enduring than the form. For the human form does not abide forever, but the spirit does. In the same way, the form of The Prayer does not remain,but its meaning and spirit do.
From the book Illuminated Prayer Coleman Barks/Michael Green
You are a Christian because you believe in Jesus, and you are a Jew because you believe in all the prophets including Moses. You are a Muslim because you believe in Muhammad as a prophet, and you are a Sufi because you believe in the universal teaching of God’s love. You are really none of those, but you are all of those because you believe in God. And once you believe in God, there is no religion. Once you divide yourself off with religions, you are separated from your fellowman.
What is it that we really love? What is the stronger pull? Behavioral scientists believe that immediately after birth, we enjoy a happy blurring of the distinction between “self” and “non-self,” but that before too long in our life-trajectory, we pull our-selves free of such oceanic unity and we individuate.
It’s a fascinating new experience: Me! Years go by, life experience accumulates. We slowly discover that our self-entity exists within an atmosphere of aloneness and separation. Our first instinct is to break out of the isolation with a lot of grasping and pos-sessing—friends, lovers, food, cars, money, land, whatever. We try to dull the ache with entertainment, understand it with philosophy, or accept it in therapy. No matter. Nothing quite delivers the abiding wholeness we sense is really the way we ought to be.
The human shape is a ghost made of distraction and pain. Sometimes pure light, sometimes cruel, trying wildly to open,this image tightly held within itself.
“The mystics are gathering in the street. Come out!”
“Leave me alone. I’m sick.”
“I don’t care if you’re dead! Jesus is here, and he wants to resurrect somebody!”
An intuition is awakened within us of the original human experience, of a deep, effortless unity, not with things, but with the ocean of pure love-being within which they exist. A longing and a thirst…
The thirst in our souls is the attraction put out by water itself:
We belong to it, and it to us.
…and a new attraction is felt, a tidal pull toward something deep and unknown. Something shifts inside. Rumi says:
be like a fish on a beach moving toward wave-sound.
The Prayer and the teachings here are tools to nourish and strengthen this pull, this longing to return to the source…
We can’t help being thirsty moving toward the voice of water.
Milk-drinkers draw close to the mother, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, shamans, everyone hears the intelligent sound and moves, with thirst, to meet it.
These teachings are part of an ancient Way of returning. They go far back before recorded history. The Way is not “religion,” it is the root from which all religions grow.
Signs of this Way can be found everywhere, among all peoples. The Way exists to serve, and chameleon-like, it takes much of its external coloration from whatever culture or religion it finds itself in.
In the world of mystic Islam, the ones who embrace and transmit this way of returning, of knowing themselves, are often called Sufis.
Their “I” is not what most think of as “I.”
I am cloud and rain being released, and then the meadow as it soaks it in.
I wash the grains of mortality from the cloth around a dervish.
I am the rose of eternity, not made of water or fire or the wandering wind, or even earth. I play with those.
a light within his light. If you see me, be careful.
Tell no one what you’ve seen.
The “I” that so many have defended to their dying breath might be likened to a slightly unstable computer operating system. It’s got wonderful features, but it still crashes and needs regular upgrades. Ultimately it is nothing more than a swarm of charged particles, or rather, it’s only the pattern of charges, completely ephemeral, subject at any moment to error messages, erasure, viruses, random power surges . . . even unfixable crashes. The Sufi’s response to such a marginal exitence is simple: abandon the assumption that this program is who we really are. Marvelous things can now happen. We might identify with wider horizons—like the hard drive, or the processor. Or the network, the World Wide Web, the wide world, or finally, the great sea of being supporting everything.
This opening up of identity is the great work, and no effort in it is ever wasted. Those who find their way to the shore of this sea are ennobled and transformed. Those diving in discover they are no different from the sea. They were God’s secret. Now God is their secret
Dissolver of sugar, dissolve me, if this is the time.
Do it gently with a touch of hand, or a look. Every morning I wait at dawn. That’s when it happened before.
Or do it suddenly like an execution. How else can I get ready for death?
You breathe without a body like a spark. You grieve, and I begin to feel lighter. You keep me away with your arm, but the keeping away is pulling me in.
Where do we begin? The arts of starting out, of soul-turning, of returning to the vast bright waters of universal consciousness are all found in the realm of prayer.
A wicker basket sank in the Ocean, saw itself full of seawater,
decided it could live independently. Left the ocean, not a drop stayed in it.
But the ocean took it back
For God’s sake, stay near the sea! Walk the beach.
Your face is pale.
I am sinking in the ocean of this subject.
A man in prison receives a prayer rug from a friend. What he had wanted, of course, was a file or a crow-bar or a key! But he began using the rug, doing the Five-Times Prayer before dawn, at noon, midafternoon, after sun-set, and before sleep. Bowing, sitting up, bowing again, he notices an odd pattern in the weave of the rug at the point where his head touches. He studies and meditates on that pattern, gradually discovering that it is a diagram of the lock that confines him to his cell and how it works. He’s able to escape.
Anything you do every day
into the deepest spiritual place,
which is freedom.
What nine months does for the embryo
Forty early mornings will do for your growing awareness.
There is no single word in English that conveys the scope of the Arabic word Salat. “Prayer,” “blessings,” “supplication,” and “grace” are implied, but all fail to convey the Salat’s marvelous integration of devotional heart-surrender ‘with physical motion.
In Salat, our entire being is engaged in a single luminous event.
The Salat that we practice begins with the Miraj, the mystic Night Journey of . the noble prophet Muhammad. Called. from his meditation into superconsciousness, he ascends through the heavens and beyond to mingle and merge with the Lord and Creator, light upon Light.
Returning, he brings back the earthly forms of these celestials adorations.
The prayer is gifted not to one tribe or to one race or one religion but to all humanity, and we present it here as such, a treasure for everyone.
Moving with the Prayer as response to inner need draws one into the precious community of mystic lovers everywhere.
At the Call says the Book of Revelation,
leave your trading and hasten unto remembrance.
The Prayer lends a new life to the day, binding it into the rhythm of a sacred circle. Like a waterwheel that ceaselessly catches water out of a stream and spills it into a garden, The Prayer lifts us up again and again out of our preoccupations and sets us into a sacred time. The Prayer empowers us to put aside the ten thousand cares and realign to the unity and blessedness intrinsic to all things.
Be courageous and discipline yourself.
Work. Keep digging your well.
Don’t think about getting off from work.
Water is there somewhere.
Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that
is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there.
The Prayer is a deep psycho-logical force field to help us over-come our mole-like resistances to the light. The Prayer is an unfolding series of archetypal motions and gestures that appear in endless variation throughout all the devotional practices of the human family.
Salat is a remarkably compact and focused exercise. It gently returns our lives to “that which we really love” five times every day, and grounds that returning in the movements and knowledge of body-wisdom.
The body itself is a screen to shield and partially reveal the light that’s blazing inside your presence.
Following celestial law, the earth each day performs a complete turning. The light moves through five stages as the sun dawns, climbs to its zenith, descends downward in the slanting rays of aftemoon, sets in glowing colors, and disappears into darkness. For the Sufi, this cycle is a mirror of the human life span: our dawing into the world, our growth, maturation, decline, and death. In these five stages, the soul makes its journey around another sun that never rises or sets.
The Prayer invites us to awaken from the superficial self at these moments of the day. By aligning our devotional work with these natural times of power we start to move with the rhythms of God’s creation in a new way, attuned to the mystical correspondences between outer and inner and to the seasons of life.
Think of how PHENOMENA come trooping
out of the Desert of Non-existence
into this materiality.
Morning and night,
they arrive in a long line and take over
from each other, “It’s my turn now. Get out!”
A son comes of age, and the father packs up. This place of phenomena is a wide exchange of highways, with everything going all sorts of different ways.
We seem to be sitting still, but we’re actually moving, and the Fantasies of Phenomena are sliding through us like ideas through curtains.