Monday, December 11, 2006


”Is our coming on earth ruled by a law, or does it happen in a haphazard way?

This very subtle problem is very difficult to explain. We are helped by understanding the meaning of accident and intention. They are two distinct things. It helps us if we try to discover what is hidden behind accident. Then we come to the intention in the scheme of the working of the whole.

Everything has a purpose, nothing is an accident; but to our mind there is accident. So accident exists for us like a shadow. Neither has shadow a real existence, nor has accident. Nothing is really accidental, but as the idea of accident goes on, it attracts accidents more and more. For instance, a person may wander for six months in Paris without finding a thief, but for a thief it will not take six hours to find one, for the law of attraction works. There is a verse in the Qur'an which explains this very well: 'Not one atom moves without the command of God.'

Intention is behind every activity, and the intention which we do not know, we call accident." Hazrat Inayat Khan

Traditional Sufism has a basic practice or mantra that is common to all orders. In Arabic the words are La Ilaha Illah 'llah Hu. A literal translation into English is No Existence Except God – Hu is translated as Presence. The way it is normally expressed is Nothing Exists Except God and God's Presence. Every Sufi order, and there are many, use these words, though in many different ways. Often they sing or chant the words in a singsong fashion. Some orders repeat them slowly and rhythmically and all think about them. In addition to this practice, most orders have other spiritual practices that they do, some simple, others quite complex. All however have as their objective the unveiling of the personality and the transformation of the being into whom they are becoming.

In all the years that I have been a Sufi it was never really all that important to me where these words came from or why they seem so real to me. For a person raised as a Muslim they are the essence of their faith or they should be. For someone raised as a mid-western Lutheran, they are just strange syllables that have no meaning in and of themselves but seem to have some effect on my consciousness, or maybe I am imagining it. Never the less, when I first heard them and struggled to repeat them correctly, something magical seemed to take place within my being. What I came to understand was that this is intent.

As Hazrat Inayat Khan says above, things may seem like they are accidental but accidents are really the shadow of intent. Imagine for a moment that it is possible to know the mind of God. This is clearly not possible but let's just pretend that we have a limited access. Does God see accident? Does the Universe in its constancy see accident? Even if one subscribes to chaos theory, random acts still breed distinct results that have an effect on the whole body. It is as if the body needed a certain result and created it. Therefore, by definition, the distinct result demanded the random acts in order to manifest.

Pir Vilayat used to frequently quote some French philosopher, whose name escapes me, who said something that he very much approved of. The pull of the future is much stronger than the push of the past. Pir Vilayat was using this phrase to explain to people how their future being was asking them to perform certain acts and concentrations in order to enable the manifestation that was already in place in the future self. Tricky stuff to think about because what if you do not do what the future self is asking of you? Does the time line split? Does the future self then disappear or does one part of you that did what was asked continue to create the future self, while another part of you, which denied the pull creates a totally separate self in another Universe? Science Fiction authors have made a lot of hay out of this speculation and that is fine for them, for ordinary people it simply means do it or not. If you do it, the future self manifests, if you don't it doesn't. On a much larger scale it would appear to be much more purposeful. The larger the sample, the more likely it is that the future self will enlist the past in the futures manifestation. In other words, for an individual it is a matter of individual will, for the whole of humanity it just happens. The big question individually is whether or not you will participate or stand back and watch someone else understand Divine Intent.

Now, if La Ilaha Illah 'llah Hu actually has validity, then all that we are is an expression of Divine Intent. Ibn al Arabi, the great Sufi metaphysician, noted that in creating humans God had to allow for the possibility of being surprised by his creation. So free will is an important aspect. However, there does seem to be movement in a direction that feels like the pull of the future. Just the reality of world wide communications tells us something very important. Humanity has a deep desire to understand itself. So? Are you in or out?

Love & Blessings, Musawwir

Sunday, December 03, 2006


"If it were in the power of the person to make another believe, then every great soul that came to the world would have made the world believe in him and his word. Belief is according to the power of one's self-confidence. You find the tendency to trust in a brave man, in a wise man, and in a great man; the tendency to doubt and disbelieve you will find in the weak and insignificant man, who does not know what he believes. This shows that he who trusts himself will trust all, and he who does not trust himself cannot trust anybody. The trust of the person who trusts another and does not trust himself is an illusion; his trust is not alive. It may appear as strength, but it is a weakness. He holds onto something he does not know, and it seems trust. A person who cannot believe in himself cannot believe in a friend. How can he who does not believe in another believe in God, who is beyond the comprehension of man?"  Hazrat Inayat Khan

Trust is hard or it seems hard.  We live in a world that uses disappointment as a main measurement of reality so trust seems an illusion at best.   A friend of mine looked up trust in the dictionary.  She found at least 8 different meanings which I just read back through.  None of them mention courage of self as Pir O Murshid does.  So there is a ninth meaning.  This friend did say that it is the sort of thing that actually defies spoken or written definition, that words actually complicate what is essentially a basic principle.  I agree with that up to a point but, after I read some of what Pir O Murshid had to say, I feel that there is more.  

Just for a moment, as you are reading this, ask yourself if you trust yourself.  It seems quite simple.  Do you trust yourself?   Everyone would want to answer yes.  But, going by the quote above do you have a tendency to believe or do you expect to be deceived or tricked or made a fool?  This is a very subtle point which might bear examination.  Humans always have a choice, it is built-in, the choice comes from free will.  So when a prophet or a great being comes and tells of what is possible, humans have the right to accept or reject the message.  Since the message will always be something new or seem that way in any case, the automatic reaction of most people would be distrust.  On the other hand, there will also be those who will see the message as something which will save them and by save I mean to relieve them of their earthly burden and alleviate them of the responsibilities which are naturally theirs.  In between are those who see the messenger for what he/she is, and that is a conduit of Divine blessing and forgiveness who none the less wants his/her followers to first and foremost know themselves.  
Taking all of that as a given, then it would seem that to trust someone is an ongoing discovery of self.  The deeper a person goes into the self, in a somewhat relentless manner, the more a person is forced to decide whether they are worth the trouble of trusting.  I suppose this would mean that to truly trust another a person must first of all value themselves.  

There is another factor as well.  It is even more subtle.  What you are trusting is that the person or people before you will act in a manner appropriate their true spiritual development.  You do not expect a tiger for instance to not eat a lamb, that would be expecting way too much of the tiger and would go against its nature.  Nor should we expect a naturally suspicious conniving type of person to suddenly become honest and forthright – again, that would be asking way too much.  We can however trust them to be themselves.  We can also do something a bit more interesting, we can trust that all people have a capacity to expand their consciousness.  They may not want to, they may in fact resent the whole idea that the trust is there.  When you think about it though, perhaps you can see that this is the true message of the prophets.  They stand apparently aloof and apart, imbued with an understanding of humanity that seems impossible to emulate.  Never the less they all have said, in one way or another, "You too can do this."  That is the trust of a great man as Pir O Murshid has said.  

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir