Wednesday, June 17, 2009


"So for a system to change, one has to dislocate it and assemble it again in a new way."
Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

I know of this woman, a Presbyterian minister, who made a very pointed statement about the normal course of events for a spiritual group. I do not remember her exact words so I will have to paraphrase. She said when the founder of the group appears there is a lot of enthusiasm and deep dedication to the message he/she brings. Then his/her successor will tend to expand on the original message, going even deeper. When the third generation comes a distinct change takes place. There is what might be called a regression or a movement toward creating an orthodoxy. So the original message of freedom becomes one of rigid doctrine. Apparently this sort of thing is fairly inevitable. I suppose that what happens then is a shift toward devotion to the orthodoxy. This means that the sort of person who is, what we might call, a spiritual pioneer is no longer welcome.

I was reminded of this when one of my friends was watching me do the movements to a prayer. She told me that my movements, which I had learned 30 years ago, were no longer correct. She also told me that the prayer I was saying, also learned 30 years ago, had been changed and I needed to change how I said it. And, she also told me that two of the teachers I revered and had followed for the same number of years were not academic enough; which kind of shocked me since both have PhD's. But in listening to this I recognized what I had heard above. When someone starts telling you that how you are doing something is wrong, that is the beginnings of orthodoxy. It is also the beginnings of entropy for the group that is making this shift. Or so I believe.

In looking over the various definitions of entropy it would seem that they all mean essentially the same thing. When a system, the cosmos, or something mechanical or a political or social system gets to a place where no more growth is possible it tends to collapse in on itself. Here are the definitions if you are interested:

So, what to do? I remember feeling; I think it was last year or maybe the year before, that my home was being taken away from me. I did not understand what was happening and kept fighting against it. I would make comments on the leader's forum which caused all sorts of difficulty. Finally someone accused me of being a constant negative influence and called me a bunch of names, so I quit the forum. After all, from their point of view they were right. I came to realize that what was happening was a kind of heat death and I could not stop it. For that matter, why would I want to?

Everyone is allowed the right to choose freedom or orthodoxy. For many orthodoxy is really the only choice because it gives security and that is the preeminent need of the sub-conscious. To choose freedom means choosing insecurity and a bit of terror in your life as one is never sure of the outcome.
Pir Vilayat used to constantly emphasize that one must free oneself from conditioning in order to become who one really was. Yet what seems to be happening is a determination that tradition is the important thing and that what must take place is an acceptance of what is being taught. Or so it seems to me. I have never been comfortable with someone telling me that it must be this way or that way but that is what is being said. So, I guess I am homeless.

The longer I realize that I am homeless, the more I come to appreciate the truth of what Pir Vilayat once said to me, "now you will discover who you really are!" He said this to me after having given me an unusual initiation. What I have come to understand is that there is absolutely no safety in a group ideal. A person must discover their own ideal. As long as a person is relying on a group ideal to inform them they will always be less then they could be. Being with a group is fine but allowing the group to tell you what to believe is giving up your power. Yet, I also understand that it is a very powerful impulse because there is deep security in accepting the group interpretation of reality.
Spiritual Freedom is apparently a state of being that is not really suited to everyone even though Pir Vilayat called it the ultimate longing of the soul. There is such safety in the group that the group is extremely compelling. And people also want equilibrium. They want to know that there is total balance and that boat rocking is definitely not allowed. Unfortunately a system in a state of equilibrium cannot allow change and with no change death is inevitable. Spiritual Freedom on the other hand is scary.

When I first realized that I was becoming homeless it was very very scary. I felt a deep sense of abandonment. Now I realize it is a gift, perhaps the most precious of gifts. It is still scary at times since the system and the group that I had come to rely on is no longer valid to me. But perhaps that is how things need to evolve. It is a very human compulsion to give one's loyalty to an individual or to an ideal and when the ideal begins to seem too structured or fails us in some way we feel isolated and alone. That's the monkey brain I suppose. But we are much larger then the monkey brain. We are also celestial beings. And, as celestial beings, we are quite capable of the ultimate statement, spiritual freedom is the goal. As Ibn al Arabi has said, as paraphrased by Pir Vilayat, "When God created mankind God had to allow for free will, because to do otherwise would not have allowed for any kind of discovery." This quote is from my memory so please excuse any imprecision.

I just realized that I have not defined Divine Entropy. It's simple really. All things eventually dissolve, even ideals, into the Unity of Existence. So it should not be a surprise to anyone to discover that a large part of existence is in a constant state of flux. As one thing dies another grows. As it happens I believe that the age of spiritually superior beings is drawing to a close and an age of democratic equality is arising. It will not be easy because nothing dies without some kind of struggle and those who have come to rely on the existence of their spiritual superiority will need to let go. Some will, gladly, others will fight on til the end. All in all the world of spirituality is in for an interesting time.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir


Amidha Porter said...

Well said, Musawwir. A guide of mine said "groups are for people who need them." Inayat Khan pointed out that all of us, at one time or another, need groups, need narrowness, even orthodoxy. There's nothing wrong with that, but eventually, if it is a sincere orthodoxy, we grow beyond it, and then we're really in trouble: we may say we are comfortable not having a group, not having a leg to stand on...but ultimately, those of us who say we have grown beyond the orthodoxy have a far larger task, because there will be no one there but us to affirm our authenticity. We have to take responsibility for our own falseness....and our own truth.

Maggie said...

Good evening, Musawwir.

As an Oriental Medicine practitioner, I spend much time educating my clients. We talk alot about helping the body/mind/spirit maintain balance. Balance is not flows. Yin and Yang are always in a state of flux, never completely balanced. One does the things necessary to maintain that flow rather than doing something that will tip that dynamic balance too far in one direction or the other.

There will always be those that wish things to remain the same....comforting, but static. My preference is freedom: to discuss; to explore; to experience, learn and grow; to change.....

Love and Blessings!

Andrea said...

IMHO orthodoxy is a sign of fear of greatness. I lived in an orthodox islamic country and found this fear everywhere. Orthodox rules keep the followers small and narrow minded, prevent them from growth. On the other hand orthodox people have handed out the full responsibility of their lives to the mullahs, priests or whatever.

Allah akbar!

Anonymous said...

Matthew 6:5
"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

Matthew 6:6
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 6:7
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

Sarala said...

In Energy Kinesiology, we recognize that the farther we move into chaos in a session, the greater the healing/balance can be. Play it safe (orthodoxy) and you get a little bit of growth/change out of the session. Take risk (freedom) and the potential is limitless. Wash-and-fluff balances are easier on both the practitioner and the client, and everybody feels good from them. But the shift is just on the surface, and it doesn't last. Only when we journey together deeper into the 'dark night' can true healing and balance begin.