Saturday, February 25, 2006

Growing Into Your Purpose

Thursday I gave my very first book related talk.  It was not that different from other talks I have given except that now I have a product to point to and that apparently makes me more legitimate.  It is probably natural enough that people want some sort of evidence of a person’s effectiveness and the acceptance of one’s manuscript by a publisher is certainly a type of evidence.  I have known this for some time, knowing this was part of my motivation to keep going with the manuscript – a minor part but I was aware of it.  

One of the very first things that my publisher said to me was that it was all well and good to write something which was unique, interesting and spiritually valuable but, if you don’t get out there and sell it, you cannot expect people to feel your energy in the ethers and come flocking to your door – you have to get out and sell.  This told me that – no matter what a persons deep inner truth – still they must engage the world on its terms.  Which isn’t to say that one cannot push against those terms but they must be paid attention to on some level.  

I think there is this tendency in people to assume that, when they discover something deep or make some alteration in their life that is difficult or profound for them, others will instantly recognize it and honor it.  Nope.  In fact it seems to be just the reverse.  I have seen many people over the years take on some sort of discipline or energy and then expect others to just fall in line and accept or run to them for advice.  As if the world should totally alter itself just for them.  It doesn’t work that way.  It would be nice if it did but it doesn’t.  

The tendency in spiritual type people is to assume that everyone sees their bright shining visage, recognizes them for the brilliant light they are and falls at their feet begging to be given The Word.   I admit to thinking this early on, though I soon realized no one was paying attention.  What we need to realize is that we need two things, skill and some kind of documentation.  Just because you have had a deep experience of light does not mean that you are equipped to teach it or transmit it.  If you know, or think you know, that you are meant to be a teacher then it is important that you figure out just how it is that you are going to incorporate the needs of the world with your insight.  If you insist that the world conform to you, you will be disappointed.  

Instead you might accept that your experience or experiences is just the beginning of a long journey which is leading you to an unknown destination.  In my case I always knew that eventually I would have to do something to give me the legitimacy to do what  I believe I am meant to do.  It took awhile, thirty years, but it finally came together.   So, as one of my young friends says, remember the “P” word – Patience.
Many Blessings, Musawwir

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


“Is fear inherent in the soul, as you said the angels feared the contact with the body?
Fear is a shadow cast upon the light of the soul. And of what is that shadow? That shadow is of something that the soul does not know, something that is strange to it. For instance, take a person near the water who has never learned to swim; he is not acquainted with water, he is not at ease, there is his fear. Another person gets rid of that feeling of strangeness, he knows his own power over the water, he has no more fear. Therefore, fear comes from ignorance. As everyone fears to go in a dark room when he does not know what is there, so the soul in entering the body of clay naturally is frightened.”  Hazrat Inayat Khan

Sometimes people do things that I simply do not understand.  I try to understand but it is not always possible.  And then I get it, they are afraid.  Which is totally understandable.  From the paragraph above we could extrapolate that we begin our journey on the Earth in fear, the fear of the unknown.  I have a very clear memory of that moment when my soul decided to take the plunge and enter into manifestation.  Don’t know how I have it but it is there.  I remember the emotion mostly, one of terror and excitement – wanting the experience yet afraid of the unknown.  That emotion seems to always be there just at the moment of a spiritual breakthrough of some sort.  It is there every time.  Isn’t it strange that we come in with the very emotion that we must constantly face?  
Pir Vilayat often talked about this moment of terror that one must go through before any breakthrough.  He also was fond of saying, “A breakdown can often aver itself into a breakthrough.”  The second part of that was always an explanation about how one must push through the fears that accompany the breakdown in order to discover what it is hiding.  Another thing he was talking about at the end of his life was that if a person does not push through then they go backwards.   I think I feel like a yo-yo.
What seems to happen for most of us is that we will get right up to the point of almost wanting to push through, we will feel that breakdown, that despair or deep disappointment or however it manifests.  We might act it out in some way, causing difficulties for all the innocent bystanders.   And then we back off because we are afraid of the fear, the memory we have of that deep terror/excitement state that precedes the breakthrough.  Then, if Pir Vilayat is to be believed, we go backwards for a time and have to do the work - that got us to the breakthrough place in the first place - all over again.  Yo-yo’s indeed.  
As near as I can tell, this is the way that it is.  If it is any consolation to you, everybody seems to have the same problems.  Maybe knowing it is this way will ease the stress somewhat.  At least you will have a clue what is happening even if you can’t stop the cycle.  
Many Blessings, Musawwir

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I had the most wonderful experience the other night at Tai Chi class.  I don't know how much people know about tai chi, I am assuming not much for most folks, so I will explain.   Tai Chi is a form of Chinese martial art that is practiced very very slowly.  Perhaps you have seen it on TV.  What I practice is called the short form and has 37 different positions, each one flowing into the next.  At the beginning there is a position called raising hands.  Basically you stand square, equally balanced on both feet, hands at sides and work toward totally relaxing your body.  The idea is to balance your joints so well that you need no muscle tension at all to stay erect.  I had heard my teacher talk about this before but it had not really made sense to me.  One of those things that we do not really hear until we are ready to hear.   Anyway, at each class the teacher will pick out one very small part of the form to work on and this past Monday he picked the beginning.  And he was talking about this balancing act that one should work toward.  I listened and worked on what he was saying.  I guess I pulled it off because there came a point where my hands started to naturally rise without any effort on my part at all.  I could feel the energy lifting my arms, the Chi flowing from the ground to my finger tips and raising my hands and arms directly in front of me with no muscle effort from me at all, at least I could not feel any.  To tell you the truth it felt almost like a LSD experience from my youth, it was that intense.  After class I told the teacher what had happened to me.  He was excited to hear it and asked me if it felt freaky, which it certainly did.  So now I have felt something rare and profound and quite different from deep meditation.  A new experience.  I have been glowing ever since.  What is so cool is knowing that there is still more to be revealed through life experience and the effort a person expends if they want to keep learning.  I think that was the most comforting and exciting thing, to know there is more, not just intellectually but in reality.
I think it is true that even when we have a life altering experience we tend to think that it is an isolated thing and that we will probably have to base our life’s work on this single experience.  Near death experiences are probably the most extreme example but there are many others.  Having an intense romance when you are 20 is another, as we are sure no one ever had a love like we are having and we are convinced it will go on and on forever and ever, amen.  Religious or spiritual experiences fit into this category.  And apparently also experiences one has while practicing a martial art form.  I have had many such experiences throughout my life and each one seems to be the apex of what is possible and, each one is a surprise.  
What is true I think is that as long as a person continues to push beyond what they believe to be their limits, even if only imagining that something is going to happen, something will happen.  My experience in Tai Chi class was a total surprise to me.  It was scary and fun at the same time.  I guess if I had not already had many spiritual experiences it would have been really scary and might seem much more important than it really is.  Never the less it did remind me that more is always possible.

Many Blessings, Musawwir