• November 1, 2019

    What is the point of zikr?

    Zikr is for the Absolute. It is our service to our origin.

    Why would the Absolute need something from us?

    What I am about to say is my understanding, from my own experience. This may mean nothing to you. But perhaps hearing this will be like what the Buddhists claim when you hear the dharma, that it reaches in and changes your orientation.

    Creation serves the purpose of the Creator. Imagining otherwise is like the sheep assuming that the shepherd and the paddock are for their benefit.

    What did the Creator wish to accomplish with creation? The Creator’s purpose was to know and love all the possibilities within Himself. The universe is an exercise in His Self-discovery.

    What does that have to do with us?

    We are a part of His Self-discovery. From Himself was everything made, because in the beginning there was nothing else. In creating us from Himself, He entered into Creation and became subject to the same laws He had established for His creatures. From the limitless, He became limited.

    If we sleep, He sleeps within us. If we wake up, so does He, or at least that portion of Him that sleeps in us. In other words, the Absolute fell in love with His Creation, He became identified and ceased to be awake.

    Of course, the Absolute also remains in His original state outside creation.

    The people who believe in God think He is all-knowing and all-powerful.

    He could be, if He wished. The evidence is otherwise. The evidence is that He has agreed to limit Himself in order to experience His Creation. This is disturbing to those who look for some ultimate, reliable perfection to rely upon.

    We have an urgent task to perform which is of great value and we do not know if there is anyone else to do it. The question is, can the Absolute awaken in His creation and thereby realize His aim of discovering Himself? Can His Splendour enter the mundane world? In Zikr, it is possible. We can invoke aspects of His Being and reflect them to Himself.

    Within His Creation, He experiences the suffering of His creatures. We can offer relief through mutual adoration. The relationship is reciprocal, based on mutual dependency.

    We humans are the active but limited side of infinity. By remembering our origin, we can restore His unity and redeem the unforeseen consequences of creation. We remembering who we are, we can remind Him of Who He is. That is the point of zikr.

    Is this what you mean by the Work?

    Yes. This is my understanding. In zikr, I remember this. In ordinary life, I do not. Is my life really mine to do with as I please? Or is there something more?

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  • April 15, 2019

    I cannot know you
    As you know yourself
    Can I know myself
    As you made me,
    And exhaled me
    Into your creation?

    Your universe is the framework
    I clumsily embroider
    With broken understandings
    Keep patience
    As I fumble to recite
    The words of your text

    Reach into my life
    Show me where our meanings meet
    Where small gestures may reveal
    The sacrifice you make
    Sustaining your creation

    I cannot change
    The way of this unfolding
    The pain and the loss
    But can I find its meaning
    In the spaces and moments
    Where we meet
    And behold together
    The mystery of Being

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  • April 4, 2019

    I get the impression that service to the Absolute…what Gurdjieff called world maintenance…is not supposed to be the same thing as service to humanity. I’m uncomfortable with this. I think dedicated service to humanity is the best we can expect from ourselves and is really service to the Absolute.

    Let’s begin by asking ‘who do I serve?’ This is not a theoretical question. I cannot serve beyond my understanding. Do I understand what it means to serve humanity? Do I understand what it means to serve the Absolute?

    Do I ‘love’ humanity but have very little patience for human beings? Do I really have any connection to humanity unless I know my own humanity…what I share with all others of my species?

    These questions point to the absolute importance of first undertaking work on self. I do not know my humanity. I do not know myself. I have all sorts of ideas about humanity and the ideal of serving it, perhaps by working with the poor or the sick. I would like to think I can alleviate their suffering. I would like to think I can change the world.

    But I fail to see that I am unreliable, that my motives almost always serve my ego. I fail to see that I must begin at the beginning, by knowing myself impartially, which changes me and my relationships with everything and everyone.

    I think it is possible to commit to serving people in our life…not ‘humanity’ but rather actual human beings…and use that commitment as a means for observing self. Take on work for others in order to work on self. Perhaps you think that this is too self-focussed but how can you expect to change the lives of those around you if you do not work to change your own? In this way, service to others supports your work on self.

    As for service to the Absolute, this is not for everyone. It is not an aim I can adopt for myself. Do I have a sense of His Existence? Do I feel His Presence calling me to Himself? I think it is not for us to know the meaning and value of our service to the Absolute but, as the Sufis say, He knows best.

    As always, the use of traditional pronouns in English does not confer a gender on the Absolute Who is beyond all such distinctions and differences.

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  • November 30, 2018

    Do I see how I fill up my life? Do I see how my time is stolen from me by habitual ‘doings’?

    Can I stop the momentum of my life and make room for communication with the Absolute?

    Each of us needs to find a way to invoke higher emotion in order to enter into communication with His Endlessness. Have you found yours?

    Could I recommend that you consider glorification?

    What is glorification? It’s a profound pleasure…praise, adoration and joy all rolled into one. The great thing about glorification is that it has no place whatsoever in ordinary life. Nothing merits glorification except the universal being. Therefore, I have not learned how to fake it. It has another advantage. It seems to me that the universal being likes to be remembered in this way…it brings out the best in Him…so He participates with pleasure.

    Beware of the standard prescriptions. I hear some of you say that you must learn to be thankful for all that you have been given. This is a frequent refrain in most spiritual schools. Has anyone here figured out how to be thankful? Can you turn it on when you think it is appropriate? Unfortunately, most of us can. I frequently pretend to be thankful in situations where it is socially expected. Furthermore, most of my thanks are directed at people and that’s just not the same as His Endlessness. But your experience may be different.

    I think every human has a note or tone that derives from the Absolute…His calling card to Himself, placed in you. There are many such qualities but there is probably one that you are most able to invoke because it is innately you. Following someone else’s direction on what this is for you is not likely to work.

    We do not make room for the Absolute if He is just an idea. Can you find something in common with Him, an inducement, a dart of pure pleasure which supports a relationship?

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  • July 20, 2018

    By this I do not mean work on self, which is preliminary, to bring me to the point where I am reliable. I mean something else, the Work.

    Can I speak to you about the Work? Describing the Work is not the experience of it. The experience involves a completely different view of what life is for…that it is not about my personal aims and satisfactions, not about changing the world for the better. It is not about anything familiar.

    At this stage, what I say may enter you only as an idea. Ideas have value if they undermine your habitual view of things. What is obscure and confusing, what cannot be grasped now, becomes clear when the haze of self-interest has been lifted.

    The Work is Work for the Absolute. It begins with an understanding that there is something the Absolute needs from us, which in turn suggests that the Absolute is not all-powerful and perfect the way He is described in religion. How could this be? Let us try to think about this.

    Perhaps the Absolute was perfect and all-powerful before time began but He was unknown to Himself. Desiring to know His own Nature, He made the Creation as an expression of Himself. From what did He create? Why, from the only one existing, Himself. The only One entered the Creation by becoming the Creation itself, accepting limitation as the price of self-discovery. He became the possibilities within His own Nature and therefore, at least in part, became less than perfect.

    Having identified with His Creation, He sleeps within it as do we and all who identify with other than their own essence. At the same time, He never ceases to be the Absolute.

    What does He need from us? First, He needs us to be, and to realize in our life, the qualities He has manifested in us as His creation, so that He might know Himself. Each of us is a unique mirror in which He could regard Himself. For this, I must learn not to live for myself. I must learn to let Him into my life, allow Him to participate. As I begin to see His gifts in me, they become available also to Him. I see myself in Him as He sees Himself in me…a mutual regarding or mushahida.

    He sleeps within the Creation. He sleeps within me. If I awaken, the Creation awakens and the Absolute awakens.

    There is something more we can do for Him. Accepting the limitation of Creation imposes immense, unending suffering upon the Absolute. All the suffering in the world is His. His agony is unendurable yet must be endured. Did He know this would be the result?

    Mr. G wrote in his first series that the aim of this Work is “to have the possibility of consciously taking part in diminishing the sorrow of our Common Endless Father.” Can we who are His creatures accept some small measure of His suffering and feel compassion for Him and His Creation? Can we, despite our suffering, love Him, praise Him and glorify Him, which, it is said in our tradition, provides some small measure of temporary relief for Our Common Creator? This does not mean to seek out some new or special suffering…there is more than enough already…but rather to meet the suffering that comes my way with objective compassion for myself and Him.

    You might ask, if this is true, why He prolongs His suffering? Could He not wind up Creation? Reverse it? Or is He so immersed in the love of His Creation, and so caught in the shocking facts of His self-disclosure, that He needs the help of those who Work?

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  • January 10, 2016

    You say we should deepen our love. How are we to do that?

    I think perhaps you did not quite hear what I said. What I said, or meant to say, was ‘may our love be deepened’. This is a prayer, a request for something that I cannot bring about for myself. Love is not something I can generate or command.

    In our work, there are four transformative energies that humans can participate in—sensitivity, consciousness, attention and love. Each stands successively above the other. Love is the highest of them, beyond everything that we can manage or control. Love has the power to change us fundamentally, to redeem, even to resurrect. By comparison, all other agents of change are diminished.

    Love is governed by its own laws and answers to no one. Nonetheless, there are certain actions which may help to bring love into us, if we are courageous enough to wish for this.

    Can I remember the feeling of being loved? Perhaps this memory can be quickened by attention, enabling me to call upon love with a similar voice.

    Love is received in the heart, the organ of feeling. An open heart, a broken heart, accommodates love; a hardened, embittered heart does not. The suffering and sacrifice of ordinary life can reliably supply all the heartbreak we need. Can I accept it without resentment or self-pity? Can I patiently clear away the psychic structures, needs and identifications that define me? They take up room that is needed for love.

    Can I reduce my need for other things?

    Can I make myself attractive to love? Love seems to prefer the humble, the simple, the sincere, the unassuming, the undemanding.  Observing self objectively, I may come to these qualities naturally. Knowing self reduces self-importance, which love does not favour.

    Can I learn to care for someone more than myself? You may think that caring comes from love but I think it is often the other way around. Learning to care for another brings you to the doorstep of love. Making another more important than yourself is agonizing but potent magic.

    Consider that you may have access to a feeling that can introduce you to love. Compassion and longing may serve although they lack the risks that accompany love. Some of the ancient heart-gestures that are now all but lost may also bring you to love, such as glorification or adoration. If you somehow have access to these, you are well on the way.

    The greatest love is love of the Absolute. Love of others can be a preparation for this love. But love of the Absolute is also unlike any other love. This love is found through the experience of being loved unconditionally, as only the Absolute can love. It begins with being seen.

    One more word of advice: accept no substitutes. Sentimentality is not love. Affection is not love. Know love by its combination of pleasure and pain, sufficiency and insufficiency, sorrow and joy.

    Related Post:

    Love – Jan 1, 2016

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