If A Blow Comes To You From Heaven

Peace, one and all…

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If a blow comes to you from Heaven,
be alert to a gift of honour after it;
for He is not the King to slap you
without giving you a crown
and a throne on which to rest.
The whole world is worth only a gnat’s wing,
but a single slap may bring an infinite reward.
Slip your neck nimbly out of this golden collar
that is the world, and take the slaps that come from God.
The prophets suffered those blows on the neck,
and from that affliction they lifted their heads high.
But always be present, attentive, and ready in yourself,
youthful one, in order that He may find you at home.
Otherwise He will take back His gift of honour,
saying ‘I found no one there’.

Masnavi 6.1638-1643

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Less Than A Dream Or A Breeze

Peace, one and all…

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Put the world and its adornments
aside, the world which weighs
less than a dream or a breeze.

Do you expect it to be faithful?
It’s just waiting to run away.

Don’t wish for things
as brief as these,
things even the Sultan can’t hold on to.

We took our worries with us,
those imaginary companions,
when we could have been with the Friend.

Balance the books yourself,
before someone does it for you.

Kill your compulsive self,
lay it on the stone slab for washing,
so that before death surprises you,
you’ll be in the right hands.

Whoever asks you what you believe in,
kiss their hands and feet,
show them the answer.

Yunus, a straight way seems right for you.
Join with Truth now, resurrect with Truth.

Yunus Emre

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A Single Sigh

Peace, one and all…

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You are the Sun of All Being
and I am naught
but the smallest particle of dust,
and yet,
I feel the warmth of Your life-giving hand

You are the Breath of All Life
and I am naught
but a passing sigh,
whirling and dancing
at Your blessed threshold

I whirl and whirl and whirl,
in love-struck awe;
even when I lay down to sleep,
in my dreams I dance before You
in a garden made of light

Beloved, You are
and I am naught
but a single heartbeat,
a single sigh of
Eyvallah!

River-Bride

Envisioning ‘And He is with you wherever you are’

Peace, one and all…

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‘And He is with you wherever you are’ (Quran 57:4)

He is with me, as I gaze out over these hills and valleys. He is with me as I stare in awe at the beauty of the night sky. He is with me, here in the deepest recesses of my heart, owner and shaper of every ‘I’ and ‘me’ and ‘mine’. He is with me, as my living humanity arrives in each new moment, His freely given gift to and in me.

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He is with me in the depths of my soul, at the very roots of my unique individuality. He is with me there, in that space, as that which makes me most fundamentally what I am. He is with me, as I am with Him, whether ‘I’ am aware of it or not. He is with me as I walk the many roads of this world, standing here by my side, and also within the centre of my heart.

He is with me wheresoever I go and whatsoever I see, the Ever-Faithful Companion, the Ever-Loving Friend, the Solid Ground of All That Is

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Ramadan Day 13: The Temple of His Nature

Peace, one and all…

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The Cosmos envelops you
with respect to your corporeal nature,
but it does not do so
with respect to the immutability of your spiritual nature.
So long as the domains of the Invisible Worlds
have not been revealed to him,
the creature in the Cosmos is imprisoned by his surroundings
and confined in the temple of his nature.

Ibn Ata’illah, Hikam 246

As I read this particular aphorism I am struck by the space and openness of the opening lines.  Although our corporeal selves are enveloped by the Cosmos (which is not a negative thing), our spiritual selves dwell beyond this visible, sensible world.  Our spiritual selves are ultimately free of these restrictions.  If that is so, then we have the God-given power to shape our own lives.  We don’t have to live in ways we find unhealthy, unhelpful and destructive: we can change the course of our lives.  We can surpass our limitations.  We can transform them.  I am reminded of a powerful Quranic verse here:

‘Indeed, God will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves’ (Quran 13:11)

The second half of Ibn Ata’illah’s powerful aphorism explore the other dimension of action.  We have been given free will and the ability to choose.  As we strive to harmonise ourselves with the Divine, we are more fully able to actualise those parts of ourselves that have hitherto remained dormant.  The more we let the Divine move within us, the more fully ourselves we become.  As we have seen in earlier aphorisms, real humility is what opens this door.  It is sincere humility that allows us access to ourselves.  As we begin to do this, the Realms Invisible begin to open before us, and we can leave our earthbound limitations behind.  The more we let go of ourselves, the more fully human we become it seems.  Otherwise, we experience creation as a prison, and our time here as a kind of imprisonment.  I know I have certainly felt this way at times.

The last line holds another clue, I feel.  If we can make real our humility we can see ourselves for what we truly are, a temple. If we can approach the Divine within this temple of ourselves, we can move beyond it, out into the wide open space of All That Is.  Our created natures are God-given gifts, and so not therefore evil, the trick it seems is not to identify what we are most essentially with the temple we find ourselves praying in.

May the Beloved help us and heal us all.  May we all find true humility, true human being.  May all who pass by be blessed.

Ask olsun,
Abdur Rahman

Abdal Hakim Murad: Heart Surgeon

Peace, one and all…

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A series of talks on practical aspects of spirituality, by Abdal Hakim Murad.

Reconnecting the Heart

Preserving the Tongue

The Vice of Pride

Ask olsun,
Abdur Rahman

O Holy One and Sustainer of My Life!

Peace, one and all…

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A beautiful, beautiful prayer by Saint Ephrem the Syrian

O Holy One and Sustainer of my life, give me not the spirit of inaction, murmuring, lust for power and idle talk.
But grant unto me, your servant, a spirit of integrity, humility, patience and love.
Yea, O Holy One and Sustainer, grant me to acknowledge mine own faults and not to judge others.
For You are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Ask olsun,
Abdur Rahman

Contemplating ‘Everything Is Perishing Except His Face’

Peace, one and all…

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‘Everything is perishing except His face’ (28:88)

Every single thing I own will one day pass into another’s hands. Every single thing I will ever achieve, will one day find its place within the grave. Every single thing I am will one day pass out of existence, like a candle extinguished at the arrival of the dawn.

Every thought will vanish. Every desire will fade. Every possession will leaveme. Every ability will disappear. This used to fill me with dread. But as I encounter this prospect here, in this new moment, I find my heart comforted. Wherever I go, I am not that. Whatever I possess, I am not that. Whatever others believe of me, I am not that. Whatever I believe of myself, I am not that. If I am not those things, if I am no thing, then I can become all things, I can become any thing.

Ask olsun,
Abdur Rahman

Everything is Perishing except His Face

Peace, one and all…

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O my soul, all things fall apart,
and all that once seemed mighty
is laid low in the end:
‘Everything is perishing except His face’.

Every unhelpful deed will fade away,
and every obsession will dissolve.
Every addiction shall burn itself out:
‘Everything is perishing except His face’.

Every tyrant will fall,
as every king must return their crown,
and every rich man his wealth:
‘Everything is perishing except His face’.

I sing a song of redemption,
of hope and of an end to suffering.
I sing of release from every bondage:
‘Everything is perishing except His face’

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