“You’re beginning to see how much of your life has been wasted seeking personal gratification, going from one path to another, avoiding the truth more often than committing to it” (The Mysterion). These lines felt like cold water being splashed over me as I sat contemplating the purity of my attention and the state of my soul.
In January’s monthly meditation, Camille Ana offered the following questions:
1. Who are you?
2. What is my essence?
3. Why have I come here and where am I going?
4. Where is my Origin?
5. What am I involved in right now?
6. To what must I turn my face?
I reflected on the familiar past and the predictable future that govern my inner world. This mind-body clinging to the unhappy “known,” stuck in the cause-and-effect cycle where I’ve believed outside people and events have “effected” my inner state. Yet, over the years there have been moments of purified attention. I recall one Ramadan, when the physical emptying and daily remembrance starting with an early morning vigil and cycle of heartfelt astaghfirullahs lightened the load of habitual thinking. Feeling so absorbed in Allah, there was a deep state of tranquillity and deep desire to serve those around me.
In last October’s monthly meditation, Dede recommended being aware of 11 cycles of breath throughout the day. For this one, this simple exercise continues to reveal the deep entanglement with her nafs-progammes. Given the miracle of our breath-limited lives, gratitude to Dede’s reminder that, “if these breaths are breathed unconsciously then we are only nominally alive, but we want to be consciously alive…. Each breath has a potentiality to be a vehicle to awaken consciousness within and to bring forth the latent qualities of the Divine buried in the depth of our being.”
Alhamdulillah for the Mysterion School. The first session helped in understanding the importance of purifying our attention and its effect on the soul and beyond. Dede reminds us how the soul is perhaps our truer identity, more essential than the body. “Within the context of Sufi metaphysics, “soul” can be understood as the result of the union of self and Spirit. Spirit is our innermost consciousness (Ruh)” (The Mysterion). We’re also reminded that this indeed is our work: “Sufism, tasawwuf, means ‘the process of purification’… polish the mirror of your heart, be thankful in every circumstance, be aware with every breath.”
Physicians of the Heart shares:
Ya Quddus – The Purifier requires us to take leave of what we cling to, in order to experience intimate union. Al-Quddus allows the spiritual traveller to transcend the lower self and keep going towards the One. It is a force that constantly cleanses us from the conceptual mind and its differentiations. It is continuously purifying our experience of the world through inward intimacy and union with the absolute. What is constantly moving towards Allah is al-Quddus.
Dede informs us that the self that only has an intermittent, weak relationship with Spirit will be more forgetful and easily distracted, and he encourages us to imbue ourselves with Spirit to sustain awareness and intention. For this one, the disconnection from this inner being, which has impacted the digestion of the human experience, has come to light in recent years. Having grown up with worshipping the God outside, I can only hug our teachers in deep gratitude, for the direction to commune and discover for oneself the Ruh within.
Knowing this is simple but not easy, Dede and Ana’s reassuring guidance for our souls is a blessing indeed.
The spiritual teacher is very familiar with the ploys of the false self, how it interferes with peoples’ spiritual intentions, distracting and subverting them. Yet without giving priority to such intentions, there is little chance of transforming the false self and developing the soul. The remedy for the insincerity of the scattered self is himma, the spiritual resolve to focus all of one’s faculties and efforts toward attaining intimacy with Allah, the union of self and Spirit.
You ignorant of the marrow, deceived by the skin,
be aware. The Beloved is at the centre of your soul.
The essence of the body is sensation
and the essence of the senses is the soul.
When you transcend body, senses, and soul,
all is Hu. There is only Hu.
From zhikr to the 99-Day Program, from the Wird to turning and prayers such as the “Inner Ablution”, or my favourite prayer of the Prophet’s, “The Light Prayer”, the blessings in this tradition are immeasurable.
Over a decade ago, Dede had asked, “Which Name of God is best associated with salah?” The answer was Ya Nur, the Essence of Light, which provides continual spiritual nourishment for our soul. Interesting to note that hell, naar in Arabic, has the same root as nur and is the “burning heat… lacking in light” (Physicians of the Heart).
Deep gratitude to this month’s theme which has renewed the desire to empty, increase remembrance and purify the attention, trusting fully in “there is no power nor strength but with the Divine” (The Mysterion). Alhamdulillah for the gentle, loving and firm guidance of our teachers, and blessings upon this community for the mirroring, friendship and love. May each of our hearts through God’s Grace, the intercession of our Prophet (pbuh) and with the beauty and light from this path of purification, allow us to realise Mevlana’s guidance on each soul’s potential.
Be empty, give your lips to the lips of the reed.
And when like a reed, you fill with God’s breath
Then you’ll taste sweetness.
Sweetness is hidden in the Breath
that fills the reed.
Be like Mary – by that sweet breath
a child grew within her.
[The Pocket Rumi, trans. Nevit Ergin with Camille Helminski]
~ Tazeen Dhunna is a mother of two with a media and finance background. She has been part of the Threshold Society since 2008 and currently presents on spirituality, healing and growth and coaches clients in media impact as well as transformational life coaching.