Monday, July 02, 2007

MAGNIFICENCE

"The greatest thing that can happen to a human being is to become conscious of the magnificence of the meaningfulness of life." Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

Isn't that a wonderful statement? I could add, to become conscious of one's own magnificence! Imagine what it is like to suddenly discover that not only does life have true meaning but so do you!

One of the things that I find myself saying over and over to people is that the first step in becoming who you really are is recognizing that you just may be magnificent, glorious, wonderful and exquisite. The response I usually get when I say things like this is denial. "You can't possibly be talking about me – can you?" Well yes, I am talking about you. Isn't it interesting that the finest aspect of God's creation, the final result of manifestation, the being that, according to all scriptures, was given dominion over all of creation, normally sees itself as unworthy of its own magnificence? Wow!

Let's take it slow. There is no need to shift from unworthy to magnificent in one easy step. You can work up to magnificent.

I guess we all have some feeling of unworthiness at some point. I am convinced that it is the heritage of Judeo/Christian guilt that we constantly struggle with. I can clearly remember learning of the doctrine of original sin when I was very young, four or five, and wondering how it could be. After all I was just a little kid, I hadn't done anything terribly bad, except maybe defy my mother and steal a cookie or two and here I was being told that I was born a sinner. Wow! Another wow. What a trip to lay on a little kid. Not only was I a sinner I was also headed for hell if I did not toe the line. And, as you grow, you begin to discover that you are never ever going to measure up to the standard that is set for you. This is the typical cultural message which is seen in various forms all over the world but most especially in the West.

I have often wondered just how it was that the Europeans decided on this particular interpretation of the Bible. There must have been some kind of cultural imperative that said that unworthiness is the standard and rising out of unworthiness is only possible through sacrifice of the self to a higher authority – priests. That whole grim interpretation which ignores the message of Love brought by Jesus and assumes that the world is essentially evil has warped our reality. Now it is up to us to bring it back to where it ought to be.

I was reading an old book of Pir Vilayat's, "The Call of the Dervish." In it he says a very interesting thing. He says that, "We can only really know God by loving – and that is a very painful path, because it doesn't seem to be reciprocated: we go from abandonment to abandonment – and even through betrayal." He goes on to say, "You can only manifest the divine Being by involving yourself in the trauma of divine love."

Imagine - the trauma of divine love! I suppose the first step here would be to learn to love yourself unconditionally – despite your inclination to sin uncontrollably. Can you do that? It is definitely traumatic to think of yourself as consistently lovable despite your many flaws. Now, take that idea and turn it on its head. Imagine God examining His body, noticing the incredible number of flaws yet still loving unconditionally. That is the trauma that Pir Vilayat speaks of.

Your inclination may be to look outward to express this ideal of divine love, to look to your significant other – if you have one – or your children or friends or family or even a pop star. It is a whole lot easier to look to someone else, to idealize them and declare your love then it is to love all that you are personally. That's okay I suppose but I think that turning within is really the key here.

If you can do this for even a moment, then it is quite possible to extend this emotion of internal acceptance to the discovery of the absolute magnificence of life itself. This is where the potential of deep meditation becomes so very essential. As Pir Vilayat would say, one is catapulted into a state of glorification. Notice the word catapulted. It is not by an effort of the intellect or even of the will, it happens just because it happens. It's your turn, it's your time and all the effort that you put into your meditations bears fruit in the most unexpected way.

So often I am confronted with someone saying to me that what they are observing of the world makes no sense, how can all of these horrible things be happening in a Universe of unconditional love? It is so much easier to feel sorrow, pity, maybe some anger and finally self pity or despair because there is nothing to be done and we are trapped in an insanity not of our making. Yup, all true, that is a way to look at it. But remember that ideal – the trauma of divine love. If you can tap into that, even for a moment, everything that you know to be true suddenly is useless and the experience of reality becomes completely altered. Magnificent meaningfulness then becomes real.

I invite your comments.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir

5 comments:

Amidha said...

Musawwir, I remember our beloved Pir saying that if one could ever experience what love really is, one would be shattered in one's understanding. I find it is a shattering that can be both instantaneous and progressive, and one of the best ways to approach some realization of it is to imagine how we love our children: when my first child was born, I was overwhelmed by this tiny, magnificent being. Suddenly, I KNEW what it was all about. This little person was perfect in my estimation, and I knew immediately that I would lay down my life for her, with no questions asked. Murshid says that the parents are the first guru, the first teacher in a soul's life, and this is the beginning of the knowledge of the love God has for God's creatures, who realize God through that knowledge.

I remember in college humanities courses learning how that doctrine of "original sin" actually aided the church into becoming the control instrument of the people. It worked! But if we realize the opposite--as Pir said, that we are the very being of God--then everything changes.

Amidha

Sarala said...

What do you think, Musawwir, about realizing this magnificense in communion with nature? I'm thinking of course about my recent experiences at Bryce Canyon. I did practices to connect with the energy of the canyon - it was awesomely magnificent! I recognized this piece of creation as glorious, wonderful and exquisite (using your words to describe my experience) and felt those qualities reflected within me.

Or is this a cop-out? It's so much easier than trying to connect with the world of humans in this way, what with all of the "horrible things happening" as others often say to you. Can such practices with nature be significant, do you think? If only as 'rehearsals' for connecting with the trauma of divine love of humanity?

Musawwir said...

One of the major practices in Sufism is a sunrise meditation, if possible far from any civilization. Even if that is not possible you can find yourself merging with the sun and forgetting all that is around you. Do you think such a meditation would have a positive effect on your whole being? And is it possible that, having done such a meditation, you would feel differently about those around you, or humanity in general? Most especially would you feel differently about yourself?

Anonymous said...

Could it be that the feeling of unworthiness results from identifying one's behaviour/reactions/actions with the self? We may act or react in an unworthy way but the self thinks it is its actions.

Sorry, my english is not good enough to express my thought better.

Musawwir said...

What you say is exactly correct and your English is fine.
The self is totally innocent and believes what you tell it. If you tell it that it is unworthy then that is what it will accept and will adjust its view of the world accordingly. It's true that changing the way the self sees itself is a lot of work but, so what? You got something better to do?