Unlocking the door into true Being’

This sohbet begins with Shaikh Kabir telling the story of how he came to the Mevlevi tradition and developed a cherished relationship with the city of Konya, which he likens to a ‘battery charged with baraka’.

Mevlevi gatherings in Konya present an opportunity to share the joy of the path and to intensify the ways in which the lovers of Rumi draw on the tradition for a process of transformation. Every such encounter is an awakening, helping us to fulfil our responsibility to create love and beauty and radiate these qualities to others.

A way of looking at spirituality and the nafs is to imagine you were locked in a room with someone who never stops talking. This person is you, or rather your nafs. Its chatter is based on fear or desire. We need to find a way out of this room, to enter the rest of the mansion and beyond. There is a whole state of being that is not tied to this talking. The work of spiritual transformation begins by developing the ability to leave the room, to ‘move into spaciousness’, outside of our self-concepts and expectations, and listen to a different music, the silence in which words arise, in which the meanings of Revelation can be heard, and in which we experience a relationship with the Divine. Thus we experience the hidden treasure which is deposited in the core, in the essence of ourselves. Presence means giving the mind and the emotions a rest, through meditation

An aspect of this is awareness, the ability to know what is needed in every moment. We need a balance between being, doing and loving. Being – being aware – is not passive. We should be asking ourselves, is more loving called for at this moment? Being should involve doing – we need to reflect on the creative Names of the Divine, khaliq, bari’, musawwir. One of the things we are shaping, fashioning, proportioning is our own lives. There is an incredible freedom in that.

We can also play a part in shaping society. Loving relationships flourish in real inter-personal contact; large, centralised organisations provide a bad environment for this. We all have some responsibility for creating community, creating an individual life with all its relationships, including productive economic relationships. We can focus on our local economies, consider how we spend our time and what we spend it on, what we invest in, and how to create alternatives to the prevailing process of centralisation in which people will have more direct responsibility and direct human relationships to each other. To do this with a spiritual dimension and to take responsibility for every aspect of our lives, that is ‘bari’, that is manifesting the Divine on earth. But we need to make the best of any work situation to enhance every aspect of our lives to reflect the beauty and sensitivity which come from the Divine.

We make choices about the direction of our lives. Two passages from the Qur’an which are particularly relevant here are Sura Al Leyla; ‘for those who choose the good, We will ease their path to bliss’ and Sura 8:53 ‘we do not change the circumstances of a people unless they change their inner selves’. Destiny loves effort; if we are destined for something the effort will be there.

We need to awaken capacity for conscious choice. It was said of Mohammed (pbuh) that his heart never slept, even when his eyes were closed. This is the result of a cumulative process of choosing love, choosing presence, choosing freedom, until finally there is no choice any more, it just ‘is’. At this point our will is ‘a beautiful loan to God’ – we can attain to a state of being without will, but in a divinely controlled way.