Monday, October 31, 2005


"Life is an opportunity, not only of accomplishing one's desires, but of fulfilling even the deepest yearning of the soul." Hazrat Inayat Khan

I just received an e-mail from my daughter telling me, and some few others, that her husband, my son in law, won the German Natural Bodybuilding Championships on Saturday. To me this is just amazing. When I tell people about him, or show a picture the reactions vary, from awe to repulsion. Awe because he did it and repulsion because how could he do that. What is interesting to me is how few see the dedication and discipline that he has put in and continues to put in to maintain this body. What I finally realized about Daron was that he is so competitive by nature that competing against anything but the very best is just not possible for him so he has to do this. His deep desire is to be the best. What is so very impressive is his absolute determination to fulfill this deep desire.
How many of us have vibrations within us that we acknowledge in some manner without really thinking of the source? There is an analogy that a friend of mine uses to describe this. He says that fulfillment of desire is linked to mastery. For instance; a young man has a desire to own a '57 Chevy Bel-Air, completely restored. He wants it so bad that he can taste it. So, he searches and searches til he finally finds a rusty hulk with no tires, most of its wiring in tatters, no windows and lots of rust. He gets a job to pay for the parts he needs, including tools to work on the vehicle and spends every spare moment restoring. At the end of two years of total dedication, he has a completely restored vehicle that is the envy of all his friends and, for him, an instant chick magnet. That is mastery and desire working together. What he has really done is followed through on a desire for mastery of his personal reality. And he succeeded. It is the same with anyone who wants something so ardently that they master a number of skills in order to succeed. What does all of this say about humans in general? Or, perhap a better question would be, what does it say about Divine intent?

"Man is born in a universe that is going on automatically and he is born helpless. It is true that the condition is such. But with what is the child born? He is born with a desire to do as he wills. This desire is the proof that there is freewill. a freewill which is put to the test under all the opposing conditions and influences which the woul meets through life. To rise above all the opposing influences and to give the fullest expression to the feewill brings about that result of life, which is the fulfilllment of the soul's coming on earth." HIK

Taking the above quote as a benchmark we can then extrapolate quite a bit of information. the first thing would be that Desire is an aspect of Divine intent. If we accept that Divine intent, or the Intelligence of the universe, is the motivation force for creation. And, if we accept that we are a part of the Universe and not separate from it, then our desires are also part of the Universe's or the Divine intent. Secondly, and this is a cornerstone of Sufi thinking, in order for the Universe to truly discover its intent, it must allow for free will. There must be an aspect of the Universe, us, which has volition and which can decide how it will respond to the Desire which seems to be an integral part of its existence. Finally, for our purposes anyway, a large part of our task is rising above the paradoxes of life, or totally embracing free will in a way that integrates all the forces and influences to create the most perfect response to life's conditions.

What do you think?

Love & Blessings, Musawwir

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


"The moment man realizes when to speak, and when to keep silence, he takes his first step in the path of wisdom."
Hazrat Inayat Khan

I wonder how many, when reading such things, wonder if they have every experienced the state being referred to. "Do I know when to keep silent," we think to ourselves? "How much of my life is wrapped up in reaction to the point where I really do not know how conscious my thoughts and responses really are." Or, how many, upon reading such things feel as if they are doing something wrong.
Sufism is hard. Pir Vilayat used to say that it was the hardest of the ism's. He would give various reasons for this but I think the real reason is that there are no rules. We try hard to create rules and doctrine because humans like them but there really are no rules. Really. All rules are cultural, created by humans to better allow us to live together. They may be couched in religio-political terms but ultimately they really are about cooperation and who gets to be in charge in different situations. This is a good thing as we need something like this in each culture. It is a good thing right up to the point that beings begin telling other beings that they are wrong, so wrong that they must be punished, not for some crime as in theft or murder, but because they are not conforming to the rules.
People who follow the spiritual path know this yet many still create rules, alternative perhaps but rules none the less, just because that is what humans do. What rules you might ask? One should be kind, one should never criticize, one must be humble, never fight, be thankful for whatever comes your way and so on. Take the above quote for example. It seems quite reasonable, wise in fact. So what will tend to happen is this phrase will enter into the mythos of those who follow the teachings of masters such as Hazrat Inayat Khan. Then these self same followers will begin monitoring other followers to see if they are conforming to this and other statements made by whatever master is being emulated. Then a thing that all mystics dread begins to happen, doctrine gets formed. It may be unwritten but it will be there.
There is one thing that irritates me no end. (By the way, I demand the right to be irritated) That is when you are having a discussion with someone and they stop the conversation cold by saying, "Pir Vilayat said........or Pir Zia said.........." If you cannot muster up your own arguments bringing the Pir's into it does not make you any better or any more knowledgable. Besides, as anyone who has been around any length of time should know, the statements of the moment are in the moment, not for ever and ever. Something said in a state of deep meditation is not the same as the same thing said in normal consciousness. Which should cause you to wonder about the many scriptures and their accounts of the speeches and homilies of the various prophets.
So, how does one know when to follow the rules? You don't. What you do is seek your own authenticity. If, as Pir O Murshid states above. you find yourself with a compelling sense that silence is best in some situation that would ordinarily call for discourse, then you understand. If you are intellectually telling yourself the above then it isn't yet true for you. And that, my friends, is the real key to the spiritual life, authenticity.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir

ps: Please, please never say "Musawwir said'. I cannot imagine a worse fate then to be quoted in support of someone else's opinion.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

“All surrender to beauty willingly and to power unwillingly.”
Hazrat Inayat Khan
“If thou desire the presence, union with God Most High, from him be not absent;
When thou visitest thy Beloved, abandon the world and let it go.”
The word surrender, in English, has some very definite connotations, none of which are warm and cuddly. Surrender brings up images of domination by a superior force and of being compelled into an action one would rather not take. That is in English. I understand that other languages do not necessarily have this problem. A friend of mine, who is Japanese, tells me that her language has two words for surrender that are not interchangeable in usage, one being much as I have described and the other acceptance of love’s enfoldment. It would not surprise me to find that other Eastern languages make some distinction like this. We must, however, deal with what we have and what we know and I only know English, which is why the use of the word has always sent a slight shiver up my spine.
Maybe this whole concept of surrender is easy for you, if so I applaud your understanding, me, I never liked the idea. Whenever I would hear someone speak of surrender, surrender to the Beloved for example, my immediate reaction always seemed to be, “There’s no way I’m doing something I don’t understand.” The words, surrender to the Beloved, do have a certain poetic appeal I suppose but to me it sounded like conceding power to whoever this Beloved character turns out to be. Which is exactly correct as it turns out but I had the connotation wrong. It is the problem of language that causes these little logjams in our thinking. To the mystic words always have at least two levels of meaning. The first is the use the word has in the empirical world wherein it is used as description, identification, etc. and the second is the use it is put to in attempting to describe the indescribable world beyond reason. Within this latter world or state, surrender takes on a whole new dimension.
The two paragraphs above are excerpts from another chapter of The Sovereign Soul. I have been giving a lot of thought to surrender of late, still trying to puzzle out just what it is. There is a definite physical sensation that one can have when one surrender’s to Love’s embrace. I do not mean “hot and bothered” either. I am talking about something quite different. Surrendering to our physical instincts has a certain charm I suppose and certainly a definite purpose but surrendering to our higher states of being is what is in question in this instance. The former is well known, the later not so much. Surrendering to the Beloved in Sufism has some very definite meanings.
I am going to make a kind of thumbnail sketch here and then leave it to you to fill it out. Love is the outcome of the Divine Intent to know itself. Love causes creation but then, in order to recognize itself requires a Lover, that’s us. The Lover then needs an object of
adoration to focus his attention upon, that would be what we call the Beloved. Therefore Love creates the Lover out of need for recognition and the Lover creates the Beloved out of devotion and the need to love something, to express the Divine Intent. A kind of Celestial cause and effect.
So perhaps you can see how surrender fits in here. Let’s see what people come up with.
Love & Blessings, Musawwir

Friday, October 14, 2005

“There are some, the closer destiny brings together, the further are their hearts thrown apart; and there are others, the further destiny throws apart, the closer are their hearts brought together.” Hazrat Inayat Khan
Every so often someone will ask me what I think of as ‘the destiny question.’ Usually it is a question about the nature of destiny such as does destiny or fate actually exist? But what is really being asked is, “Am I okay? Am I doing the right things?” or something of that nature.
When one studies this idea, what we call destiny, one can perhaps begin to see that a great deal of Destiny is in fact the condition of the world. For instance a person raised in the US will have a very different outlook on life than a person raised in the Caucasus. They may even be born on the same day, have close to identical astrological charts but still their attitudes will be very different, what they think is possible will be very different.
My very best friend on the whole planet, besides my wife, is a woman who lives in Vienna Austria. One could say that we met purely by accident. I happened to see her name on a news group that I occasionally looked at and right away noticed that she has, or had, it has since changed, the same spiritual name as mine. I wrote her a personal note, we started corresponding and found that we have much in common. Further than that we discovered a kind of sibling love that became deeper the longer we talked. Eventually she and her husband visited us in New York and the love became even deeper. I think we both feel much better about the world knowing that our spiritual sibling exists. In fact I think that we are able to support one another and aid our individual spiritual lives as a result of having found one another. To me the question then is, what prompted her to write her note to the news group, something I found later she would not ordinarily do, and what prompted me to scroll down far enough to find her name and send a note. Destiny? Fate? There is no question between us that we are connected at a soul level and this prompted our discovering one another. It simply had to be. And, as Pir O Murshid says above, the distance serves to bring our hearts closer together.
That is just a tiny example of how things really work. In our limited perspective we want to ascribe these things to all sorts of magical reasons or simple coincidence. Gosh this could turn into a whole chapter in my next book. Destiny is a very deep study of the interrelationships of the Soul, Divine Intent, Physical Conditions and many many other factors.
Let’s see what we can come up with.
Love & Blessings, Musawwir

Friday, October 07, 2005

This world is a house of mirrors, the reflection of one is mirrored upon another. In this world where so many things seem hidden, in reality nothing remains hidden; everything some time or other rises to the surface and manifests itself to view.
The concept of the Palace of Mirrors runs all throughout the deeper teachings of Sufism. Briefly stated it says that all things reflect all other things all of the time. This is a simple statement, not many words at all yet it has enough depth to keep a person occupied for their lifetime attempting to discover all of the permutations of such a statement. And, as Pir O Murshid says above, nothing is hidden. Now that is a scary thought.
We are so used to having secret thoughts, hidden desires and clandestine acts and attitudes, that we keep from even our closest friends, that the idea of all things being open and known is a bit difficult to want to accept. Additionally the thought that All Things reflect All Other Things is kind of complex to wrap one’s mind around. There is a good answer to these thoughts, don’t think.
Now that we have solved that………………!
Seriously, these concepts, and that is just what they are until they become reality for you, these concepts are best felt, not thought about. One cannot really think about everything-everywhere-all the time, there is too much, too many things. Does a star reflect a worm? Does the flea relate to the Crab Nebula? We can maybe understand stars communicating with one another if we accept that there might be come kind of consciousness there and maybe we can even think about the atoms that comprise a star interacting but it is difficult to think of those atoms also reflecting, mirroring, us. In our normal conscious state we tend to focus on either our personal problems or the task before us. The idea that all things are in a constant state of interaction can be a stretch.
My friend Raqib asked that I say something about the last sentence in the previous blogs quote from Hazrat Inayat Khan, which was, “The difference between consciousness and the soul is that the soul is like a mirror, and the consciousness is a mirror which shows a reflection in it.” I had to think about this a bit myself. The way it might be thought of is to see that the soul is part of this constant interaction with all things, it is within Unity where everything is everywhere and has no need to describe or to focus on a particular thing, such as problems or tasks. The consciousness on the other hand must focus and therefore it creates a reflection to focus upon. This is another example of the two basic states of awareness that mystics constantly speak of, Multiplicity within Unity vs. Unity within Multiplicity. This thought can then lead to the question, why? The answer of course is, because. There are very elaborate metaphysical explanations for all of this. The great metaphysician Muhiyuddin Ibn al Arabi wrote over three hundred books of explanation many of which are available in translation, some of which I have read. They are exciting to decipher and lots of fun to think about but eventually a person must come to their own understanding.
The Universe exists. As Intelligence? Perhaps. What is certain is that we have existence within The Universe. What that means to each of us and how we explain our own existence is also up to us.
Tell me then what you feel. Do you occasionally feel the pull of The Universe? Or is this all a strange and unimportant area of exploration. Can you get to a place of no-thought? Does that even have meaning. I look forward to your comments.
Love & Blessings, Musawwir

Monday, October 03, 2005

“Intelligence and soul are not two things; it is only a condition of the Intelligence which is the soul. The Intelligence in its original aspect is the essence of life, the Spirit, or God. But when this Intelligence is caught in an accommodation such as body and mind, its original nature of knowing then knows and that knowing Intelligence becomes consciousness. The difference between consciousness and the soul is that the soul is like a mirror, and the consciousness is a mirror which shows a reflection in it.”
Hazrat Inayat Khan
The other day I took one of those on line IQ tests. Around 50 questions, mostly problem solving. At the end I hit enter and waited for my results. Imagine my surprise to learn that my IQ had increased exactly one point in the 42 years that had passed since the last time I took an IQ test. No, I am not going to tell you what it is. That does not matter so much as what I have been thinking about intelligence.
As some of you know, we have two children living with us, an eight year old boy and a girl almost three. Now it has been a very long time since either Majida or myself has had young children to deal with on a regular basis so it has been an interesting time remembering old, hard won, skills. In fact we have both noticed that we are a lot better at it this time for having had some practice and a bit of time to assimilate. But that is not what I wanted to speak to. What I have been noticing is the difference between innate intelligence and acquired knowledge. I suppose this will be no surprise to any parent that pays attention that children have deep intelligence. What they lack is acquired habits and what we think of as civilized behavior patterns. And of course there are developmental things going on, motor skills, social skills, that sort of thing. I suppose a social scientist type person would be able to catalogue all of these things but the parent just observes and deals with them as they come up.
What does all of this have to do with a spiritual essay? Well go back and read Pir O Murshid’s quote above. The Intelligence, Aq’l in Sufism, exists and imparts its existence to the soul. The soul therefore is an aspect of Divine Intelligence, perhaps acting as a kind of agent. The Intelligence, in its role of soul, when manifesting creates for itself a means of expression as well as a means of accumulating knowledge, Alim, thereby becoming something greater than it was or at least different. And we get to participate. It fact we might see our consciousness as the interface between Divine Intent as manifested in Aq’l and physical reality. I am mentioning all of this in order to perhaps get a bit of perspective on our personal problems and to see what is really taking place as opposed to our individual ego driven point of view. So what I would like is some comments about the above. Do you ever feel this deep intelligence kind of lurking behind the scenes? Do you sometimes wonder how you know things? Let us see what we come up with.
Love & Blessings, Musawwir