Posts with category - Advice & Wisdom

Unite in the Ocean of Love: Don’t Harm the Lovers of God

Dear lovers,
When we travel the path of Love,
When we connect on the level of the spirit,
Do our differences in fiqh really matter?
Let us look beyond our forms,
Beyound our physicalities
Beyond methodology of law
Beyond the realm of labels
And unite in the Ocean of Love.

There is so much unnecessary bloodshed and violence in the world; just to name a few: Burma, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, etc.
We all love the same Being, let us unite in this Love. When we look with the eye of Tawhid, we see Oneness, One Love, One God, One Spirit, One Universe. When we look with the eye of multiplicity, we see insignificant differences.
We should think before picking up the weapon, “Am I killing another lover of God?”

No Comments

Reflections on the Divine from a Beautiful Writer

I recently had the honor of meeting an amazing writer, who goes by the initials of NAD. I wanted to preserve his reflections, since they are utterly beautiful and touching, and cause the mind to enter into another dimension of thought:

“The beauty of creation is a reflection of the majesty of its Creator, while the majesty of creation is a reflection of the beauty of its Creator. You are the mirror upon which these reflections appear. The more you polish your self, the more you’ll see the center in what’s left and right, you’ll be a crossroad between east and west, and you’ll know beauty and majesty all point to a singular Grace. Mirror images aren’t identical but they are symmetric when held together. What appears to be an opposite that contradicts something, may in reality just be a reflection that balances it. Be patient, and give yourself time to register and reinterpret the images you encounter. ‘And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.’ ”

“God’s artistry is dynamic, it’s always in Flux. He fashions and refashions the same thing according to an infinite array of possibilities but always maintains the singularity of Truth through Beauty. No two days are a like. The sky will never look the same twice. It looks different every second as it is forever being made whole. It’s a masterpiece that’s always complete, and yet, by His grace, always in the process of being made more complete. Gray skies and clouds don’t make a day ugly, they merely manifest another attribute of His divine artistry. The trials and tribulations we face individually and as a community, the evils we lament about, and the tragedies we fret over aren’t obstacles to stop us in our tracks. They’re hurdles made to be jumped over so that we learn more about our abilities and potentials. Each one is a brushstroke from The Supreme Fashioner’s unparalleled and endless depths of talent that further completes the masterpiece that is you, and that is also us. It may not always be sunshine and clear skies, but remember, even sunflowers need the rain and shade from time to time.”

“It’s amazing how every single snowflake is unique. Each one points to the infinite creative power and knowledge of God. There is more knowledge manifest in one snow storm than there is in all books written by man. Each snowflake is itself a Divine Revelation, a manifestation of the Word of God, of the Quran. When we see these flakes falling we may think them to be insignificant because they’re so small, yet we also realize that if these seemingly insignificant specs were to band together and amplify each other’s purpose, they could literally bring our day to day life to a screeching halt. When snowflakes stick together they become interpreters of the infinite knowledge within one another. They function as letters and as words. They form words, then sentences, then paragraphs, then books in a bilateral process both individually and collectively and internally and externally. They become the context clues for each other in a Divine statement of God’s Divinity, Unity, and Oneness. God tells us His story on the pages of the present moment, in His book of creation, at a speed we are unable to comprehend or appreciate. Though we may miss the craft in His peerless eloquence and expression, let us pray to understand the moral behind the story. May we understand, accept, and live by the fact that we are all like a snowflake. Full of immense, limitless, and deep knowledge by virtue of being momentary figments of the All-Knowing’s reality and mere utterances of His Divine speech. We must stick together in order to extract the infinite knowledge that lies deep within the patterns of our fabrication. We must stick together if we’re to make a difference in the day to day happenings of the world. We must stick together if we’re to make the world stand still and admire its own beauty. We must continue to be manifestations of La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur RasulAllah.”

1 Comment

Mindful Drum Meditation

Yesterday I attended a workshop at the Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Center in Manhattan. The teacher presented the different maqams (scales) of music in the Islamic world. She also taught us basic drumming techniques, which can be used on the daff (frame drum), darbuka, or rek. The teacher was a deeply spiritual individual, which made the class more lively and touching than many other drumming workshops that I have attended. There were about 9 students in the class – thus making the class intimate and cozy. We also had a session of mindful drumming, which was one of the most powerful meditation experiences I ever had.

Recently I made the intention to learn to become a meditation guide because of the happiness and benefits that it brought me and for others. However, something about regular meditation wasn’t enough for me. It lacked movement (as well as dhikr). I wanted to incorporate movement in my meditation, thereby allowing the peace reached within meditation to penetrate into my entire physical being. This is how I felt while participating in the mindful drumming. Imagine sitting in a circle with people playing the same rhythm on their drum as you, at the same time. The reverberations are powerful; they permeate throughout the room, bounce off the walls, and penetrate into our hearts. I felt immense healing and happiness – more than I felt in regular meditation. The vibrations of the sounds had a healing effect on my soul. We also stood up during part of the session and swayed with our drums. We were taught to “inhale and exhale” with our drums. During inhale we could kneel close to the floor, during exhale we could stand up and extend our drum into the sky. It was the perfect combination of movement, rhythm, music, and meditation. It was perfect. All praise to God! Now I have expanded my intention to be a mindful meditation coach. I want to be a mindful drumming meditation coach, and incorporate dhikr into it as well. May God facilitate what is best and with the most ease, and allow me to benefit others!

No Comments

Be Silent, God will become Manifest

“There are two kinds of silence: firstly, silence of the tongue, which consists of not speaking of other than God with other than God … and secondly, silence of the heart, which consists of refraining from all thought occurring to the soul that concerns any created thing. The one whose tongue is silent, even if his heart is not, lightens his burden. When someone’s tongue and heart are both silent, his innermost consciousness becomes manifest and his Lord reveals Himself to him. The one whose heart is silent but whose tongue is not speaks wisely. The one who possesses neither a silent tongue nor a silent heart remains under the domination of Satan and opens himself up to become an object of ridicule.”

—Shaykh Ibn al Arabi

No Comments

Words of the Elements (poem by Rumi)

“A whole afternoon field inside me from one stem of reed.
The messenger comes running toward me, irritated:
Why be so hard to find?
Last night I asked the moon about the Moon, my one question
for the visible world, Where is God?

The moon says, I am dust stirred up
when he passed by.The sun, My face is pale yellow
from just now seeing him. Water: I slide on my head and face
like a snake, from a spell he said. Fire: His lightning,
I want to be that restless. Wind, why so light?
I would burn if I had a choice. Earth, quiet
and thoughtful? Inside me I have a garden
and an underground spring.
This world hurts my head with its answers, wine filling my hand, not my glass.
If I could wake completely, I would say without speaking
Why I’m ashamed of using words.”

-Mawlana Rumi

These are the main interpretations that form in my mind when I read the poem:

The narrator is looking for signs of the existence of God through the elements of the visible world (moon, earth, fire, wind, etc.)
While the elements’ reactions to witnessing God are phenomenal and cause some of them to step outside their normal characteristics (the wind desires to burn and the earth is usually quiet and thoughtful, but it announces the great energy it has within: “Inside me I have a garden and an underground spring”), none of these answers are adequate enough to fulfill the curiosity of the narrator, and thus the narrator has wine pouring into his hand but not into the glass with which he can drink and satiate his curiosity and understanding of God. The words uttered by the elements are not enough to describe the majesty and reality of God.
I think that the poem is also alluding that the narrator needs to look at the “invisible” world instead of the visible world to find these signs. If the narrator looks within his own self, he will find the answers that he is looking for, for the human being is the microcosm of the universe, and the only creation that can fully reflect the attributes of God through his polished heart. The wind, fire, earth, etc. all emanate qualities that already exist within the human. I also think that the “glass” mentioned in the end of the poem can be a symbol for the heart, and that the words uttered by the elements are beautiful, but not enough to fill his heart. In conclusion, while it is excellent to look for signs of God in the visible universe around us, it is also just as important to look within and contemplate His Reality in the invisible world, and also to understand that words are not sufficient enough to explain His Reality. And it is perhaps better understood through experience that is felt.

And God knows best.

No Comments

What Qualities make up the Successful Employee?

Great article that describes the qualities that make up the successful employee. Not surprisingly, many of these traits/characteristics are within the muhsin (sincere believer/lover of God):

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/do-you-have-right-personality-successful-dr-travis-bradberry

They’re willing to delay gratification.
They can tolerate conflict.
They focus.
They’re judiciously courageous.
They’re in control of their egos.
They’re never satisfied.
They recognize when things are broken and fix them.
They’re accountable.
They’re marketable.
They neutralize toxic people.

No Comments

Rumi on the Night of Power

if you stay awake
for an entire night
watch out for a treasure
trying to arrive

you can keep warm
by the secret sun of the night
keeping your eyes open
for the softness of dawn

try it for tonight
challenge your sleepy eyes
do not lay your head down
wait for heavenly alms

night is the bringer of gifts
Moses went on a ten-year journey
during a single night
invited by a tree
to watch the fire and light

Muhammad too made his passage
during that holy night
when he heard the glorious voice
when he ascended to the sky

day is to make a living
night is only for love
commoners sleep fast
lovers whisper to God all night

all night long
a voice calls upon you
to wake up
in the precious hours

if you miss your chance now
when your body is left behind
your soul will lament
death is a life of no return

-Rumi

No Comments

Fasting is an Expression of Freedom

Fasting is an expression of freedom.

Freedom from the routine patterns and habits of everyday life.
Freedom from the enslaving urge for food, drink, and sex.
Freedom from instantaneous gratification.
Freedom from the opinions of others regarding the status of our stomach, tongue, and limbs.
Freedom from our lower selves and ego.
Freedom from worldly attachments.
Freedom from indifference to Divine bounties.
Freedom from mindless and profitless chatter.
Freedom from empty hearts into hearts brimming with awareness and love.

I choose freedom, do you?

Here is a relevant hadith on fasting and the removal of veils at the time of iftar (meal of breaking fast):

“Prophet Moses said to God:
‘O God! You have granted me the honor and privilege of talking to you directly, Have you given this privilege to any other person?

God replied, ‘O Moses! During the last period I am going to send an Ummah (community), who will be the Ummah of Muhammad (pbuh), with dry lips, parched tongues, emaciated body with eyes sunken deep into their sockets, with livers dry and stomachs suffering from the pangs of hunger. They will call out to me (in du’a). They will be much closer to me than you. O Moses! While you speak to me there are 70,000 veils between you and me but at the time of iftar, there will not be a single veil between me and the fasting Ummah of Muhammad (pbuh). Oh Moses! I have taken it upon myself the responsibility that at the time of iftar I will never refuse the du’a of a fasting person!’”

No Comments

Separation

Every pain of separation we feel from those we love on this earth, is just a tiny speck of the type of loss and pain we should feel in our separation from God. The loss of a loved one is a microcosm of the macrocosmic loss of union with God. The joy of Paradise is really a joy of reunion with the Ultimate Beloved.

No Comments

Emptiness

“The bird that escapes from the trap of its ego has no fear, wherever it may fly.”

The dagger of hurt pierces you.
You tell the dagger that you deserve it.
It came under the permission of God.
Emptiness.

People look down upon you.
They desire not to be in your presence.
You think, they have found the Divine attributes within others
Let them enjoy the presence of God,
Manifested through the goodness of others.
Emptiness.

You envy the good in others,
the warmth, the exuberance that attracts.
You turn the envy into admiration of God.
You marvel at the beauty God places in others.
Emptiness.

Your parents ridicule your incompetence.
You accept your flaws and take their ridicule,
As a way of God correcting your adab.
Emptiness.

You admire the physical beauty in others and think,
“How beautiful must God be?”
Emptiness!

You admire the knowledge of others and think,
“How wise must God be?”
Emptiness!

You revile in your state, lowly before God.
You admire the fullness and unmatched power of Him.
You forget your own state, as you contemplate His.
Emptiness!

If you desire wealth of soul, seek emptiness!
If you desire happiness, seek emptiness!
If you desire company, seek emptiness!
If you desire wisdom, seek emptiness!

Empty yourself of your selfhood!
Empty yourself of your ego.
That foul creature that seeks praise, fame, popularity.
Empty it!

Remove the ego from your soul.
Forget yourself and surrender non-existence to God’s existence!
Be the moth that catches fire in the candle flame,
Burn yourself so that you reach height within the Flame!

Free yourself of the filth of this world!
The burdens of desire, ego, and self-worth.
Empty yourself, and you will find freedom!
“Die before you die” so that you are alive!


Life after death.
Calm over strife.
Finally, peace in emptiness.
______________________________________________________________________________________________
“The bird that escapes from the trap of its ego has no fear, wherever it may fly.”
“The world is like a mirror displaying Love’s perfection. Oh friends! Who has ever seen a part greater than its whole?”

These are two lines amongst thousands of Rumi’s poetry that Professor Chittick translated in his book, “The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi”. Chittick divides the content of his book into three sections (dimensions): theory, practice, and attainment to God. This is similar to Iman, Islam, and Ihsan, yet Rumi is specifically focusing on “theory, practice, and attainment to God” within the dimension of Ihsan. Thus, there is form and meaning (multiple dimensions) within Islamic esotericism itself.

The first quote above infers that the source of suffering arises from man’s own ego. Satan may tempt and whisper to us, but men commit sins and suffer from their own selves and state of mind. A person who is easily offended by the words of others places a lot of value on his/her own self-worth, when in actuality; we are worth nothing in comparison to God. Sensitivity is an attribute of the ego, and mankind will be happier if they accept the ridicule of others and humble themselves. The second quote downplays the world view of dualism and dichotomy. Everything, including opposites (mercy and wrath) is a manifestation of God’s oneness. The beauty in the world of multiplicity acts as a mirror of the Beauty of God. Thus Rumi warns us not to be deceived by beautiful parts, but by the Beautiful Whole that is the source of them.

I wrote the above more than 6 years ago, and posted it now. =)

No Comments