Friday, October 16, 2009


"When you can think of yesterday without regret and tomorrow without fear, you are near contentment."
Author Unknown

"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence."
Greek Platonic philosopher (396 BC - 314 BC)

I want to thank everyone for their responses, public and private. It is always good to examine our assumptions in the face of an unusual concept and the concept I posed is apparently unusual enough to evince some interesting commentary.
Several people wrote privately to me and one publicly and asked about the Christian concept of the perfect, all knowing God. It is true that God, in whatever shape or form you prefer, is in fact omnipotent and omniscient. God is also learning and curious and waiting to see how things turn out. It is the basic paradox of existence. It is also true that a paradox can be upsetting to the psyche. But see if you can get hold of this one. I believe it is extremely important.

Another thing that was asked was how we can examine our actions each day to determine the good, the bad and the ugly. I was asked if there is a practice or meditation that one can use to do this examination. Yes there is a practice; in Sufism it is called Muhasaba, examination of conscience. What you do is pay attention to your thoughts. So that when resentment or regret or disappointment appear you notice it. That is all that is necessary. The idea is to give actual attention to your thinking and emotions. When we think we generally do not give thought to paying attention to the thinking, we just do it. And much of our thinking is unnecessary. So, paying attention will give you the information you need to discover your own inner processes and begin to alter them.

I want to give a caveat here about the above instruction. It is not magic, it requires real effort. If you take it seriously you will notice moments of extreme discomfort as you struggle not to give blame but just to notice that you want to give blame, and so on. This is an interim phase that must be gone through as you train yourself to pay attention.

I mentioned resentment above. Resentment is a cousin of regret. It's not the same but it is related and can often be intermixed with regret. Pir Vilayat often said that the great barrier to realization was resentment. But he also said that there was at least one circumstance that he resented deeply that he could not shake. He simply could not forgive the person he resented. And he obviously had a pretty deep realization. So perhaps it is again a matter of being aware.

And that is probably the whole secret to all of these questions, awareness. The more you are aware of your emotions and modes of thinking, the closer you will come to a basic calm attitude about your life. And that, my friends, is exactly what the Pir was talking about when he mentioned becoming a co-creator. If you are calm, then all around you have the possibility to also be calm or calmer. If you are agitated and unsure and constantly waiting for the next problem to arise, well then that is what you create around you. Which means, according to this general theory that we are all part of God, that God is agitated and uncomfortable?

I find more and more that I much prefer to say The Intelligent Universe rather then God. God, as a word, has so much baggage attached that it ends up being useless. However, as members of the Intelligent Universe, we certainly do have the right to co-create. We are intelligent beings, participating in a Universe of unlimited ideas; therefore we might as well do something useful.

So, work on your awareness, notice what you feel, how you think, how you respond to those around you. Do not, I repeat, do not beat yourself up when you find something inappropriate. Just notice. In this way you will slowly change the patterns of behavior that seem so ironclad but are really just chimera of the mind.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir


NoorAllah Jan said...

Sometimes, I see within myself an attachment to regrets: either a defense mechanism to protect myself from getting or doing hurt again OR a form of self-loathing in disguise, i.e. a way to beat onself up. In the former, we learn hopefully not to reenact that behavior or situation and deepen our mindfulness. In the latter, the process of transformation is arrested until one finds the support to let go of this identification allowing another veil to drop from the core of being.
Good conversations, my friend! Love, NoorAllah

Anonymous said...

"If you are agitated and unsure and constantly waiting for the next problem to arise, well then that is what you create around you. Which means, according to this general theory that we are all part of God, that God is agitated and uncomfortable?"

I find this thought very challenging. It gives a whole new meaning to the creative force of collective prayer and meditation, doesn't it ? But conversely - what about the millions and millions of other feelings of all of humanity that represent as many similar but also opposite forces in all their different shades ? If God was absorbing and echoing all this, wouldn't he go nuts ? If humanity becomes more and more destructive, so does God ?

When I think of it, I realize that we all live with a more or less constant and more or less conscious turmoil of emotions and inner conflicts that can be extremely confusing and contradictory, putting us through radical mood changes. Practices like the one you described help me find my way beyond those moods and stay/become serene. For me they are more than just exercises, maybe they start as such, but ideally they eventually become a natural part of me, of the way I view life and myself. For me it has a lot to do with how I perceive reality, wether I look at it as being exactly what I see, hear, touch and feel or if I can accept the idea that what I see, hear, touch and feel is only one aspect and that there are at least as many as there are people and then I’d dare to say, even more than that.

So I will assume that God is just fine because He most definetely masters the art of awareness and serenity … in other words, if He is emphatic and absorbs and echoes our energies, He is also aware of their multiplicity and diversity and realizes they are His but not His. I believe He can hold on and let go at the same time. And just as I feel that, whenever I am being centered and aware of my moods and my choices, I can spread a balancing energy and contribute to a little bit of serenity around me, I believe that God does that on a much higher and much more intense level. And since everything is connected, I am also connected to this force, feed from it and into it.

Much love, Karin

Maggie said...

I am enjoying your blogs more all the time! The comments urge/push one's mind to stretch, as well.

Much love, many blessings;


Yafiah said...

Thank you for sending the link to your blog via stumble. I am enjoying it and will add to my blog rolls.