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Soul Killing or Soul Developing?

There are only two directions in life: Soul Killing life and Soul Developing. Each is a choice. Each takes a long time. One is mostly passive while the other requires effort. Though Soul Killing is smooth slide into Lethe, it is littered with clues. You get heavier and heavier. Poison seeps into your pores, drips liquid lead into your tender lung sacks, hardening and stilling their swell. You hardly breathe. You can barely move in your flesh tomb. So you grind to a halt. Or run maniacally away from yourself. Busy busy. Your heart slams and rattles ever more weakly against the dungeon wall of you. Your body is one tremendous clue: if you hate it, if you feel numb to it, if you barely know you have it, and if you even exist thinking of your body as “it”, you are in Soul Killing.

Soul Developing is a conscious act every step of the way. You don’t stumble on it. You turn toward it, embrace it. Soul Developing is industrious, but not frantic. If it is sometimes difficult, it also surges with delight. You wing over the field. You sing. You spin in the wind. Even when you wallow in your darkness, tumbling, lost and horrible, you know you are moving. You are moving. You are not stuck. You can feel your body and breath. You can feel who you are.

How to Know
Who wouldn’t chose the Soul Developing? The difficulty lies in discerning what action leads in what direction, because experiences tend to masquerade as their opposite. Happiness that is transitory ego can seem so holy. What a trap. And the frustration of patient enduring can appear as dark cement yet it is the mystery unfolding. Or maybe not. How can you know? If you mull this in your head, you risk becoming blinded by righteousness. Look way in, deep deep in beyond your mind, for discernible Truth. We Sufis learn, over time and through training, to include mind, body, Heart, and the Mystery.

As a Sufi Guide, I don’t know the answer to your dilemma, but I do know how to hold your feet to the fire of the practice and the patience of the Path while identity cracks, illusions disperse, and you enter your Truth. I know practice and Path are transformational, and though you are the one giving birth to your transformation, I’m aware that you could use a little help to make things go as smoothly as possible. I’m a midwife. I’ve been through many births—inside myself and beside others. I am dependable, knowledgeable, undeviating. These days, I feel like part midwife, part volcano. I live in a fire pit, smoldering, waiting for the zohar—the spark—which is a person who wants to transform. I wait for the Zohar. Then the volcano.

Special, Not Special
You are special. But you aren’t special. We are each special in that we have opportunity. On this Path, we work to become aware of the motion and breath that we are, moment to moment. We become this one breath now, this lifting of the hand. We become the turn of the head, the blink of the eye. The Byzantine self falls away and the Moment floods in. The beginning and the end of all time, and the experience of Beyond Time.

Awakening in the Moment is something anyone can do. Any heart that awakens has begun the Path. Any heart that hungers—called himma, or spiritual longing—is seeking the Path. You have only to choose and to arrange the responsibility of your life. Prioritize. Will you be Soul Killing or Soul Developing?



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    1. Dunya, New Year’s Blessings. And thank you for this post. Having just had a nice crack in my identity open up, this was a welcome read! “The crack is how the light gets in”–I kept repeating and repeating that to myself all through the Christmas season. A small death, so a truer self can emerge. God willing.
      Love, Mary

      January 4, 2013
    2. Kimberly HdM #


      For the New Year did you resolve to read my mind? Using different words I have been wrestling with how to feed my soul with spiritual food and stop treating my body as a burden. What a wonderful post to read. God willing, you should start calling me “Sparky.”

      January 4, 2013
    3. David Hammond #

      Please speak more about the Zohar. And amen to what you are saying hear. Sometimes the himma in me gets buried under layers of habitual constraints and small fears and not enough dancing.

      January 4, 2013
    4. Wonderful to hear from you all ~
      Mary, it sounds like a strenuous season; I like the adage about cracks and light…
      Kimberly, you are a word wizard! Yes, your project is utterly worthy. It deserves you, and I want to hear how it goes. Perhaps see as well.
      David, I hear you. And on’t you think this is truly just about prioritizing? Habitual constraints — a good phrase. I wonder how you would feel if you just put dancing/moving/breathing higher on your list.
      Doing my practice — a decision, not rocket science, nothing to figure out, just doing it — seems miraculous to me. I go from hopelessness into being human. A salubrious ‘habitual.’

      January 5, 2013
    5. Sheryl #

      It’s funny how things come just when you need them. Thank you Dunya for you words and inspiration.

      January 5, 2013
    6. Nancy Raymond #

      I just stumble into this page. I live in Washington, DC area and the beauty and wonder feels the being.
      Is there anyone in this area that can guide me in knowing more about it?

      July 17, 2013

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