A beloved dervish asks:
I wonder how I can deal with the resistance in me to do my zhikr. I haven’t been able to find the core of this resisting part and what it is telling me. It keeps coming back. Could you help reflecting on this or do you have any suggestions on how to deal with this? I yearn to apply the sword of discipline to myself and to offer fragrance of roses to others. Any suggestions for names to do dhikr? For strengthening the will to practice?
It is a reasonable question: If zhikr is essential to our well-being, why do we not yearn to do it more and more? But as Mevlana says:
How could someone who is, himself,
like a straw in the wind of desire,
discern the oppressor from the oppressed?
First deal with the oppressor in yourself,
your own frenzied ego.
[Mathnawi III: 2434-2436]
The practice of zhikr is meant to tame that frenzied ego which always has its own list of “to-do’s”. As much as these urges seem interesting and even necessary, in the end they will not be accomplished any more effectively or beautifully if we have wandered far from our own souls.
O heart, stay with the pain that is a remedy.
No groaning; endure longing without complaint.
Stamp your foot upon your own desires.
Train the dog of ego. Let this be your sacrifice.
What seems to be a pain (becoming still and quiet) is, in fact, the remedy. The compulsive desire nature, with its mental and physical energies, is like an untrained horse that reacts to a saddle and rider. This is normal at first, but the benefit of training will be realized more and more. The “remedy” will be experienced as an inner opening, a peaceful spaciousness in which we sense a relationship with the Divine. The heart may even express its willingness to receive whatever guidance the Divine has to offer us. Simultaneous with the zhikr there is the feeling of being open to guidance and inspiration.
As the positive results of this practice accumulate, resistance will diminish and the feeling of a deep vibrant center of our being will emerge. This vibrant center will bring doing and being into balance and make all our doing more harmonious. Eventually we will realize that the deeply-centered state of zhikr is the “straight path.” What begins as a disciplined daily practice will more and more be experienced as something like the physical state of balance; being out of balance will be more obvious to us, and the process of rebalancing through remembrance will be “second nature.”
Spiritual practice will bring doing and being into balance and make all our doing more harmonious.