Tuesday, April 07, 2009



"Strive to discover the mystery before life is taken from you. If while living you fail to find yourself, to know yourself, how will you be able to understand the secret of your existence when you die?" Farid ud Din Attar

What would you suppose is the mystery of life that Farid ud Din Attar refers to? Take a moment and consider. I'll wait.

Now, notice that your mind wants to find a reason, a channel, some form of rational examination upon which to focus. The mind needs to understand, to grasp ideas, to have logic and facts that make sense. As it happens, in this particular case, reason is the last thing you need.

I was just thinking that when I am writing these blogs I tend to go to a place that is outside of my normal rational self. It is a place that allows the truth of being to push through the rational mind in order to discover one's breadth. Or that is how I think of it when I am back in the rational mind. What is also certain is that, even though I may be able to access certain attitudes and ideas that seem quite subtle and elegant in their own right, I don't actually live that way. I spend my life walking around banging into things and wondering why it hurts, just like everyone else. Which means, of course; that I am searching too. I am wondering what the mystery is and whether or not I understand even a small part of it the same as you.

If you have truly been paying attention to your inner needs you may have noticed that the level of assurance of place and position is inversely proportional to your state of awareness. In other words, the more aware you are of the Celestial realm, the less sure you are of your place within it. On the other hand, I have seen many people in the spiritual business who seem to feel the need to assure one and all, most especially themselves I suspect, of their very deep knowledge and fundamental surety of their place within the scheme of things. I would like to think this is a stage of growth for them but all too often it seems that people are stuck, or so it seems to me. I suppose that this is very reassuring to those people who gather round them in that it gives a kind of anchor to the drifting psyche and allows a certain composure or ease of emotion. But real spiritual evolution is just the opposite.

I think I have told this story before but I will retell it for the sake of this discussion. It was some years ago that I was once again driving Pir Vilayat to Kennedy airport. We were chatting about this and that when he suddenly turns sideways in the passenger seat to face me and declare, "I am 75 years old and am just now beginning to understand what a Sufi is." Needless to say this statement thoroughly surprised me as he had been teaching Sufism for the preceding 35 years. But it stuck with me as a kind of benchmark. If Pir Vilayat can feel this way, constantly refining and discovering and challenging the self, well then I certainly can do no less. To me that is a true internal elegance. The constant questioning of one's self assessment is a sure route to a deep understanding of, not only the self, but also the greater cosmos. And it is probably the answer to the puzzle posed by Attar above.

I am convinced that one of the stages in development of self knowledge for a lot of people is the N word. No. Self knowledge is just that, knowledge of the self, which means that you get to have boundaries. Granted, it is a stage and there are stages beyond but it is an important phase to go through. At first saying no can seem quite harsh and unforgiving of those around you but, after awhile, you get used to it. It is all part of learning who you are and, most importantly, as I stated last blog, that you matter. I am not advocating being obstreperous just for the sake of it. What I am saying, however; is that it is very important to have a look at just what you do accept and see if it aids you or hinders you. It is one of the ideals that the counter culture of the sixties and seventies was struggling with. We didn't really understand what we were doing but we knew that there was something wrong with what we were being told and we were determined to reject it, whatever it was. As it happens we made some serious errors but we did get the ball rolling as it were. Now it is up to anyone who recognizes that there is more, to learn to go deep within and discover that place of magnificence that is the true self and bring it forth. Not with pretense but with truth.

Remember; Patience, Courage and Discipline. With these three ideas in mind, you will do very well.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir

1 comment:

Maggie R. said...

I have a feeling the search for knowledge of self, of one's true self, is neverending......

Love and Blessings....