Thursday, June 4, 2009

I still exist!? - A note on self-transformation


O son, this posting, just like all others are a reminder for myself too. And this 'myself' has been bothering me. During a consultation with my guru, he had said 'I am still seeing Ezza! I am still seeing two!' Woe unto me, woe unto this stubborn 'I'.

O Ezza, "if you could get rid of yourself just once, the secret of secrets would open to you. The face of the unknown hidden beyond the universe would appear on the mirror of your perception." - Rumi

O Ezza, "you will never be able to realize the truth of this work (sufism) until you acquire one of two qualities: either you become so utterly oblivious of people that you perceive only the Creator, or you become so utterly oblivious of your own self that you take no heed and have no fear of any perceptions which others have you." - Tustari in Attar: Tadhkirat

"Realize that you know nothing and you are nobody. It is no easy thing to attain this realization. It doesn't come with teaching and instruction, nor can it be sewn on with a needle, or tied with a thread. This is a gift from God and a question of whom He bestows it on and whom He causes to experience it." - Abu Sa'id

Yes, it depends on the grace of God, but being on the path, removing syirik khafi (duality) is mandatory. I follow my guides like a locomotive, they are in front, they have reached the destination and so will, I eventually, bi-iznillah.

The goal of self-transformation is to remove all the veils between us and God. The final veil is the "I", the sense of separateness we each carry. To remove this is far from easy. Ask yourself, "How can I take "I" out of me?" The great Sufi philosophers insist that our sense of individuality is an illusion, that there is only one Reality, which is God. So self-transformation is to remove all illusions, including the final illusion, self, in order to experience Reality. Those who see Sufism as a path of love say the same thing in other words. For them, the goal is for the beloved, lover and love to become one. Most of us believe that we are basically all right as we are. We just need a little more money, a little more love, a little more free time - then we will be just fine. The Sufis believe that this is far from truth. We all need fundamental change; we need to hatch into a whole new level of being. Unless we recognize the deep, transformational nature of the work we need to do, we are fated to waste all our efforts. We have developed the psychology of the chicken when what we really need is the psychology of the egg. The metamorphosis of caterpillar into butterfly is a particularly good metaphor for self-transformation. At a certain point the caterpillar feels impelled to wrap itself in a cocoon. Immobile, it begins to dissolve. There is no sense of a marvelous new life that is coming; there is only the dissolving of the old, and the deep fears that accompany this. The caterpillar literally turns into a kind of goo, and only from that annihilation of the old form can the magnificent new form of the butterfly emerge. - James Fadiman & Robert Frager

O Ezza, when will you be like Bayazid? A man came to the door of Bayazid and called out. 'Whom are you seeking?' asked Bayazid. 'Bayazid,' replied the man. 'Poor wretched! said Bayazid. 'I have been seeking Bayazid for thirty years, and cannot find any trace or token of him.'

Oh...shall I cry like Hallaj: "Between me and You there lingers an 'it is I' which torments me. Ah! lift through mercy this 'it is I' from between us both!"

Over a hundred Sufi masters have discoursed on Sufism. But all of them professed in the end what was first proposed in the beginning. Their expressions varied but the gist was one: 'Sufism is abandonment of affectation.' Now there is no worse affectation than your 'youness' since whenever you are occupied with selfhood, you are held back from God.' - Abu Sai'd

O son, what else can we say other than la ilah ha ilaAllah. There is no god but Allah. La ilah ha illAllahu yabqo robbana, wayafna kullu ahada. There is no god but Allah, He is baqa (Ever-enduring) and everything else is fana (annihilated). Only He exists, while "I" am gone...

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