• September 12, 2019

    The way was prepared by thousands of such nights. But tonight’s zikr marked a transition. The aim was to feel the exquisite intimacy of remembering and being remembered, to find again my relationship to Him, to experience the mushahida, the mutual regarding that unfolds in His presence. But not this night.

    Something more was asked. As we took our places in the circle, it was clear that we were being held by strong hands, supported by our lineage but also great beings who form the spiritual hierarchy…Muhayamin, the ones who protect us here on earth. We were not there to meet Him. We were there to do His work.

    The world is increasingly out of alignment. The connection between earth and the higher realms has been broken. We invoked Him as Restorer, that all might find their correct place and that the links might be restored. The zikr was for Him and for us.

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  • August 19, 2019

    It was there from the moment we entered the zikr chamber, there waiting for us. A gentle, all pervading kindness, felt in the heart and sensed in the eyes, a lightness of being and generosity to all.

    In ancient times, when the nature of kingship was still understood, it would have been the duty of a real king to invoke this higher emotion for his subjects. The feeling of beneficence is that of a blessing, of being blessed, without reason or favor, simply because it is a mark of the divine nature. It gives rise to a quality of contentment unknown to us in ordinary life.

    Many and varied are His ways. At every moment, He assumes a posture by which He can be known to us, a quality of His Being, but only if we set aside what we think we know and find Him in our sensing and feeling. Tonight it was beneficence.

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  • 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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  • August 6, 2019

    There are very few sacred spaces left on this earth, it seems to me. What is a sacred space? It’s a place where the veils of ordinary existence are thinner and it is more possible to engage and penetrate the subtle worlds of feeling and meaning which are so easily hidden by worldly engagement. The ancients built temples for this purpose, to create or shelter such valuable places where real prayer and invocation could occur.

    Perhaps you are aware of such a place. The question then is can you enter it? Can I pass through the doorway? Special efforts are required.

    This is why our zikr often begins with questions. Can I be here? Can I sense my body? Can I sense my breath? Can I relinquish my connection to the past, to the future, to any other place or time, or any relationship, other than to the zikr chamber and the circle of friends within it? If my attention remains intentionally or unintentionally on other times, places and people, I will not be able to pass through the narrow entrance.

    The way itself is very broad but the entranceway cannot accommodate any baggage. He who is within demands our full attention and presence.

    My entry is by way of humility, submission and apology for having forgotten. These are the secret keys that open the heart and show me where to step, even though I have broken my vows a thousand times.

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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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