• August 15, 2019

    When entering the hall of a great king, it is only necessary to remember one thing. That one thing may be humility, sincerity, loyalty or simply the need for the king’s presence, but whatever it is, it must be remembered fully, for it is your gift to him.

    Do not think it is necessary to be more than you are. What is asked is that you be who you are. In a world so fully dedicated to pretense, illusion and deception, there is nothing more powerful than this.

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  • May 21, 2019

    Zikr is a journey. To remember myself and then to be remembered by my origin, I must be able to move from one place to another. You could say it is a journey within myself but this suggests it is subjective, psychological. In fact, the journey is through invisible spaces which are nonetheless experiential in sensation, thought and feeling.

    I begin in my personal space. What is this space? I am at its center and it is arranged around me, contracted around the impressions of the day, my concerns and my aims which are held by my attention in the form that I recognize as me. I am a form which organizes the limitless into something small.

    I sense that I am sitting. I sense that I am breathing. I hear the sound of my voice. The sound becomes more resonant with repetition. I enter the present, which is no longer a personal space.

    I hear the group, not only my own voice. I become synchronous with the group. We breathe together. Now the group becomes the sounding, a blending of many. There is joy and pleasure in this participation which no longer requires my assertion. My breath becomes more subtle.

    The words alter the group and its location in space. How is this possible? Perhaps it is like the tuning of an antenna. The journey enters a new place where there are sensations and feelings I do not know in my personal space. It is as if I look around and see that I am in a different country, far from where I began. But the differences are subtle, not available to ordinary perception.

    I fall more deeply into the zikr. It becomes my request to enter His space, where we may have our meeting. In His sovereign space, I am at the edges, seeking admittance. He is the center. My passport is submission, as much as can be managed. What remains is something resembling an aspect of Him.

    As Ibn Arabi asks: “Where were you and where was I when we had our meeting?” The journey is towards a meeting. His charity is great for He does not insist that the meeting take place on His terms. We go as far as we can go. The further we go, the more of Him. “I saw you at some distance,” He says, “and I came running to meet you on the way.”

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  • February 18, 2019

    A group is preferred for zikr. There is no comparison between zikr performed alone and zikr in an experienced group. There is much more room for higher manifestations in a group if the members are self-effaced. There is more emptiness to be filled, more invitation, more need.

    Can the members of a group come without expectation? Can they come without engaging each other in a personal way, offering homage to the time and place, not each other? Can they abandon past and future?  Likely they have nowhere else to be. They agree to be there in the simplest way, without artifice or ambition.

    There is one who ‘leads’ the zikr. Does this one have faith in surrender and willingness to be led? Is there any another way?

    Zikr is both invitation and response. Who is summoner and  summoned? Who is answer and answered? Who remembers and who is remembered? This is a subtle dance, the steps are small, a little shy and very dear. How intimate this effacement.

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  • February 9, 2018

    Zikr is never the same twice. Sometimes, as I begin, I am looking for the openings in that moment. Where can I begin the journey towards Him? What is the first step?

    Last night was not like that. He was there before me, waiting, ready to entice, delighted to join in, happy to help.

    Sit. Can I sense that I am sitting? He was sensing the sitting, inside of my sensing. Was I sitting for Him, so He could sit? I was conscious of being in His Presence. He was conscious of Himself in me. Was I looking for Him, or was He looking for me, or looking for Himself in me? I spoke the words of the Invocation and He seemed to enjoy them immensely.

    I was praying for His pleasure. He was at play in the sound and the rhythm.

    Then I felt that I was facing Him. My face was my original face, neither young nor old. His Presence was the sun on my skin. I remembered myself as I have always been.

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  • November 25, 2017

    Do you know that you spend most of your time and energy being lost?

    I have a menu of lost enterprises. I can get lost in my thinking, lost in my business, lost in conversation, lost in watching television.

    When I find myself, I experience a moment of irrational joy and a surge of energy. Ah yes, here I am in the real world. Emaho, as the Tibetans say, absolutely amazing.

    Finding myself is spontaneous. In that moment, I have no agenda, nothing to change. I see it as complete agreement, no reservations.

    Now, I am going to suggest to you another feature of this state of finding. I mention it hesitatingly because, although I wish for you to look for it and recognize it, I do not want you to adopt this as a goal. Because the irrational joy of the state is intimately connected to its spontaneity. What do I wish you to see? That this state has an immediate sense of orientation; it is this which accounts for the experience of finding which is so different from being lost.

    By orientation I do not mean the points of the compass or the four directions. I mean an inner sense of orientation, as if you are facing something. If you are able to sense this quality of facing, and stay with it for a few moments, it may reveal something to you. First, what you are facing is indefinable, mysterious, but this lack of form is not at all uncomfortable.

    Second, the irrational joy of finding yourself, there and then, clearly and exactly arises from contact with this indefinable something. So, the moment of finding contains you, this other and a wonderful connection which expresses joy.

    Now, you could say that you have remembered yourself and that would be partly true. But it would be just as true to say you have been remembered. There are two sides meeting, acknowledging and completing each other. In no time at all, without words.

    I think it is very likely you have had this experience. Perhaps you can even recall it. Being human, we quickly forget and become lost again.

    Many times over the years I have challenged you to find evidence of God in your life. Thoughts and theories are not evidence. You may reject the very idea. That doesn’t matter either. The existence of God does not depend on your acceptance of it. The evidence is in the subtlety of human experience without any required reference to religion or theology. All it requires is to enter your own experience and perceive it, with fresh eyes and fewer preconceived ideas.

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  • February 24, 2017

    Why do I begin zikr with an apology that is tinged with remorse? Because an apology takes me far along the road of friendship.

    What am I apologizing for? Forgetting. Forgetting what? I apologize for forgetting my relationship to my origin.

    Why do I forget? It is always the same. I lose myself in my life, my identifications, preferences, wants…clinging and averting as my lord Buddha says. The Sufis call this ghaflah, ignorance or heedlessness.

    How do I know that my apology is accepted? I know when my arrogance and self-importance are lifted from me. These are the qualities that cause me to forget. When they are lifted, I remember.

    You may think that the effects of a sincere apology are due to your own efforts. I assure you this is not the case. You must consider this most carefully. I need an outside agency to move me from my state of ignorance. Can I change my state as I am? Can forgetfulness remember? Can I think my way out of my disconnectedness? It is not possible.

    The reality that I aspire to is subtle. It exists outside the narrow boundaries of myself. In zikr, the boundaries are erased. Can I who am bound erase them? Or is it that, as I apologize, they are mercifully removed?

    In the state of forgetting, I am in pieces, pulled in many directions. In zikr, I am aligned, every cell brought into resonance, allowing essence to penetrate. Then I am remembered by another, whose being I share.

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