In the Rose GardenMeetings for Sufi meditation, self-discovery, and healing
“…the sun is always in its sphere. Yet, if a blind man cannot feel or perceive the sun’s attitude, his lack of sensation does not mean that the sun does not exist or that it is standing still in its place. If the blind man’s handicap is removed, he has no right to chide the sun for not existing in the world prior to that or for not shining on him before, because it was always constant in its motion. The change will have been his, not the sun’s.”
— Shaikh al-Maqtul Shahab ad-Din Yahya ibn Habash Surhawardi
This is what spirituality is all about: opening our eyes to see what is, removing the “handicap” we have grown to be so accustomed to almost from the start of this life. And how does that happen, how come we don’t naturally shake off the fog of the illusion but instead remain trapped within a knockoff of the life we could have been living?
The reasons are, literally, close to the body. Our perception is the key. It is the way we get used to use our senses, and the misplaced and mismanaged activity of our mind that we call thinking, that are the culprits. Through our senses we learn to perceive the world as an assortment of unconnected things and processes, and ourselves as separate from each other and from the world that we see, hear, touch, which is the reality we trust to exist. Not just our brain, but our mind quickly gets habituated and begins supporting this indigent worldview.
And straight after birth we begin trying to find fulfilment, peace and love in the outside world, but never feel like we have found enough, that we are living fully enough, or that we are being loved enough. And this condition of ours is absolutely no surprise: the “outside world” is that of perpetual change, so how can we find anything at all in it that endures the tides of time?
And yet, we keep looking, and keep looking… all in the wrong place – simply because everyone else does, and so we do, too. That is the way of living that we are told is normal. And at some point, usually quite early, we agree to such a life; we give up hope that there could be something altogether different, something dramatically better.
We might even read lots of books on spirituality, yet we don’t feel that we ourselves will ever be able to reach that enduring state of expanded consciousness, that incredible aliveness that they tell us about. We begin thinking that the spiritual awakening, enlightenment, is somewhere “out there,” “far away” and that it is for some special people… and we are simply not that.
And that is not true.
As you are reading this, you are, very likely, a human. And if you are, guess what that means? We all have a “place” inside, that of the profound stillness. So vast, so deep… like an ocean, only unmoving. Always present, we can’t make it disappear. We can only learn not to notice. The good news is that we can also unlearn.
Is it easy to get in touch with it? Well, it is, if you just want to come with a visit. It will require some time and effort to settle in there, because the magic of this perceived world is very strong. The main thing though is that it is definitely, absolutely possible.
And then, step by step, we can move into a very different life.