Monday, January 25, 2010


"At the imagination of the spiritual ideal, many people are very afraid, as someone is afraid on the top of a high mountain when looking back on the immense space. It makes them fear, because they have always seen narrow horizons. The wide horizon has an effect which gives them a shock."
Hazrat Inayat Khan

If you are really paying attention to your own spiritual life surely you have noticed that the tendency is to become complacent and accept what you know is spiritual truth. It seems to be unavoidable. We also tend to shape our spiritual ideals in a way that is acceptable to us so that there is no confusion or difficulty. It doesn't seem to matter the depth of a person's realization, at some point we will decide that we know and cease to explore. And, as near as I can tell, the smarter a person is, the more likely they are to do something like this. I suppose because a smart person is convinced that their horizon is vast while a less smart person may realize that they still have things to learn. This is a totally non-scientific observation mostly based on my own journey.
As noted in the last article, I just recently figured out that it was okay to be smart. Having realized this I also had to admit that I always knew it but was afraid that others did not. Which is kind of reverse egotism I suppose. That said, I also realized a few other things. And one of them was exactly what Pir O Murshid stated above. I was sure that a vast horizon was mine but I was wrong. My horizon was/is severely limited to my idea of how the Universe sees me and how I relate to it. That was a very creepy feeling to realize I had severely limited myself. Now I have to think how to explain.
One of the things that is very important to understand about spiritual work is that it is totally okay not to know. In fact, the state of awe is one of those places that is fundamental to spiritual pursuits. That's easy to say, being there is something else entirely. I just saw a live theatre version of Mark Twain's "The Diaries of Adam and Eve." Clemens makes a very interesting point. In the story, Eve defies God and takes the apple. Clemens points out that Eve, in her total innocence would not really relate to 'Forbidden'. What could that mean to her? She had nothing to compare it to. So she takes the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and mankind is born. Without her innocent discovery of pain we never would have existed, according to Samuel Clemens that is. In the same way, in our sophisticated knowledge we are also innocent of true wisdom. As long as we limit our selves to what we are sure we know then we are separating ourselves from the true source of being and demanding that our peculiar version of reality be acknowledged. In other words, as Pir O Murshid says above, we are afraid. That's what I mean by creepy. Here we are all self satisfied and thinking we know what we are doing and whammo, some kind of revelation of transformation happens and we have to start all over again. Who wants that? Not me – yet I keep doing spiritual practices and doing the inner work. But I have to wonder over and over if I have slumped into complacency. It is very worrisome.
For people who are spiritual guides another aspect of this is recognizing that we often do not take our own advice. All too often I have been in conversation with someone, gave them really good advice that they found useful and then realized that the advice I gave was for me as well.
All of this has a singular meaning to me. You might find some other meaning but to me it says we are all struggling to find that place of interface between Unity and Separation. There is no doubt that we find ourselves in a constant state of separation. The evidence before us is testimony enough. Unity on the other hand is elusive and, as has been stated many times, it is all consuming once found. As Pir O Murshid states above, when I truly think of the spiritual ideal, I get scared. Letting go of separation is scary. On the other hand, when I can push through my fears, Unity seems so very beautiful.
This fear we all seem to experience is really a kind of poignant reminder that our beings and how we relate to the Universe and our immediate environment are always going to feel uncomfortable at some level. Apparently that is how it is supposed to be. This discomfort is our signal that we are doing something right.
So, challenge your complacency, demand the discomfort especially if you are responsible for others. Our journey is barely begun and the unveiling of humanity's potential still awaits us.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir

Monday, January 18, 2010


"The mind is not only the treasure house of all one learns, but it is creative by nature. The mind improvises upon what it learns, and creates not only in imagination, but finishes its task when the imagination becomes materialized. The heavens and the infernal regions - both - are the creations of the mind and both are experienced in the mind."
Hazrat Inayat Khan

One of the more important aspects of doing hypnosis work is freeing people from self imposed limitations. Often these limitations are deep in the sub-conscious and the person is not even aware of them. However; the fact that the person has sought out a hypnotist or some other kind of healer is a sure sign that the person knows something is off and they are probably ready for the next step. The question then is, what is it?
Obviously we do labor under some limitations. Our bodies must breathe occasionally in order to maintain themselves. If we do heavy work we must take in more calories in order to replenish the energy expended. And so on. All of this is obvious. What is not so obvious is the many limitations we impose on our minds in order to feel comfortable within our environment. They are not obvious because to us they seem normal. If you think about it, it is a pretty long list but I am not going to elucidate them, I am just pointing out that the list of accepted limitations is there; you can probably create just as extensive a list as I can. Instead I am going to ask you to pick the single most common limitation and have a look at it within yourself. What is that? You may well ask. As anyone in the healing profession will tell you it is lack of self worth.
Look back at Pir O Murshid's statement above and think on that while also noticing any sense of unworthiness you may have. It is truly amazing what the creative aspect of our minds can do. They accept a value and then they materialize it. I do hope that you understand that an all powerful dictator is coming from exactly the same place of unworthiness as a casper milquetoast. They are both wallowing in unworthiness but just manifest it differently.
I was made very aware of this tendency within us the other day when talking to a friend about my own creative impulses. I was babbling away when I suddenly stopped and realized something. I realized that, after all these years, I had finally accepted, more or less, that I am smart. What a relief! To just accept that you are capable and that what you say might actually be useful to others. What I had not really realized was just as I stated above – the assumed limitation was quite hidden. So, when I realized I was smart I simultaneously realized that for years I had felt otherwise. And, I realized a substantial part of how we seem to be built stays in hiding from our conscious selves.
So, what is the next step?
There is no single answer but there are many things one can do. Modern culture is partially based on the understanding that all of what is continues to be revealed. We understand that discoveries are possible even probable so why not also understand that what is within us can also be discovered, unveiled, exposed to us. The instant you decide that a hidden limitation is only a very thin layer covering something magnificent, that is the instant that awakening truly begins.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir

Friday, January 08, 2010

How the relationship changes both

"Friendship is a word which we all use in our everyday language, and yet it could take one's whole life only to realize its meaning. However learned a person may be, however pious, spiritual, or experienced, if he has not learned the nature and character of friendship he has not learned anything. This is the first and the last thing we have to learn." Hazrat Inayat Khan

There is something that I always tell people who ask me to be their spiritual guide. Well, there are several things, I have a list, but one of the things is that, just like any relationship, this relationship will change both of us. I also make it really clear that asking questions, any questions, is not only allowed, it is encouraged. As a result of this, some of my students take it upon themselves to keep me in line, so to speak. I do not object to this either. I used to as I was following the traditional model of the guide/seeker relationship, but I soon found that did not work for me.
Most spiritual teacher/student relationships tend to be traditional; or so I have observed. I have done no polling about this and am only going by my personal observations.
When a person is given the responsibility of being a spiritual teacher it is natural for them to emulate the model that they have before them of their own teacher's behavior. In my case the model was Pir Vilayat. He had a certain style probably necessitated by the huge number of people that he had initiated over the years. Also his basic training would have been in the Indian model of Guru – Chela relationships. The Guru is the teacher and is above all judgment. The Chela is the devotee and his/her job is to be totally devotional. Since Chisti order comes from India, it is not surprising that this is the model, more or less, that we use. To his credit, Pir Vilayat did often state that he did not want to be seen as or treated like a Guru, but it happened none the less. He did instruct his representatives to maintain a kind of distance between themselves and the students and to make sure that we kept a more or less aloof attitude. This was not said specifically but the message was clear. That was okay for him, he had this automatic regality about him that told you without a word being said that you were in the presence of a King. For others it tended to be something put on that may or may not have really fit. The problem, as I see it, with this model is that it is difficult for the teacher to admit to the student that the teacher also is affected by their interaction.
I have noticed in my own evolution as a guide that I am becoming less and less worried about appearances. And that is what the Guru/Chela model really is, an appearance of some kind, a sort of comfort zone where everyone knows their role. This works I suppose as long as everyone agrees but hard feelings arise when someone disagrees.
All too often, in this budding culture of Western spirituality, have I seen damage done because of the attempt to impose an Eastern model on our sensibilities. Why do I say budding? Because we are still trying to figure out just how we are going to do it. For the past century or so those of us with a need for a deeper spiritual experience have been struggling to integrate Eastern knowledge with Western secular attitudes. At times we go way overboard. In India it is fine for a person to don a saffron robe, in Des Moines it is silly looking. There is an impulse, I suppose, to display evidence of one's affiliation by the uniform but it really isn't necessary. Using some kind of uniform is not necessarily a bad thing but it does separate you out from your fellows in a kind of arrogant manner, as if you are somehow better because of your uniform. You may not feel that but others will so why do it? I think it may be that we are slowly coming to the realization that it is the inner work that is important and not how you are perceived by others.
Perhaps it is evident by this point that the evolution of Western spirituality is still going on. Where it will end, if it does have an ending, is still an unknown. What I firmly believe however is that it will become more and more a cooperative partnership between teacher and student. Yes it is true that the teacher often has technical knowledge that the student does not have. Yes he/she will also have access to intuition that the student has yet to develop but the words of Pir Vilayat about one's guide continue to reverberate within me and I have to believe he meant exactly what he said.
In regards to finding one's guide he always used this phrase, "To see yourself in another yourself who is better able to manifest that which you already are." How much more clear would we have to be to see that all the guide is doing is helping you to access what is already within you. And, in the doing, the guide will also find spaces within him or herself which are also opening, manifesting, unveiling. It is a cooperation.
I suspect that this line of thinking bears more inspection. So I would be glad of any input that may come from my readers.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir