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Afterglow

It is so easy to squander peace, crush it beneath habituated frenzy.  Sufi Master Adnan Sarhan often said, “If you are in a state of peace, stay there.” A good reminder. This year, after the Summer Movement Monastery, I am content. I could make a list of reasons why but I know that these happenstances are simply concurrent with a more fundamental experience of self. In Sufi, we talk about maqams—stations. There aren’t many of these but each one is a pole around which the seeker turns, looking, feeling, sorting the unreal self from the Real. Ridha—contentment—is for me, a very subtle, almost inscrutable sensation. It is not dependent on my outer circumstances—my career, my relationships, my family, even my personal goals. The feel ridha in my core. It is the opposite of neurosis that is so much a definition of personality, it plagues one all the time, coloring and dictating actions while being largely invisible. My contentment is the opposite of that.

The Sufi training way is to thoroughly immerse oneself in the Moment so that personality, where wearisome redundancies are inscribed, wears down, scrubs down. Staying in the Moment loosens us from our personality’s tight grip. What is there? Existence. This is a full feeling.

The two weeks since the Summer Movement Monastery, have been both slow and fast. Ric was here. That was delicious. Before he arrived, I had looked out on one beautiful mesa vision after another, wishing I could, by sharing it, fasten it to the wall of my memory like a pinned butterfly. Alone I’d see passages—moments passing, passed. Then, after Monastery, Ric stayed and we described to one another the light moving over the evening, the zing of flies, the humming birds jousting, the heat then the edge of cool encroaching on the night. We laughed. He’d note something that escaped me and vice versa. We enlarged upon the Moment, moment by moment, and when we weren’t noticing, we would pad our conversation with thoughts and discussion of thoughts. I felt large waves of contentment eddy up. Okay, so this might simply be the way I feel love with Ric, but I could feel love. It was—it is—unhurried. It swills around and through me. Ridha is an arrival in what has always been there for me but it was on the other side of the very cruel glass wall that was me, my personality, my desires, my fears. There are maqams about these. Sufis know what it is to be human as well as divine.

 

 

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    2 Comments
    1. John (Cadillac) asked me to say a bit about maqams. These are stations — or levels– in Sufism of personal development along the spiritual path. Queries that a seeker engages in.

      Here is one definition:
      (Arabic: “place of residence”), a spiritual stage that periodically marks the long path followed by Sufi mystics leading to the vision of and union with God. The Sufi progresses by means of his own self work and through the help and guidance of the masters (sheikhs). In each maqām the Sufi strives to be released from all worldly pull and to seek an ever-higher spiritual level.

      September 10, 2012
    2. John Cadillac #

      Queries that a seeker engages in.

      That is personally relevant.

      Thank You

      September 10, 2012

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