This Way of Poverty

Peace, one and all…

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This way of poverty is a way in which you attain all your hopes.  Whatever you may have longed for will certainly come to you on this way, whether it be the conquest of armies, victory over your enemies, capturing property and subjugating people, or superiority over one’s peers, or eloquence in speaking or writing, or anything else. When you have chosen the way of poverty, all these things will come to you.  Unlike other ways, no one who took this way has ever complained.  Out of a hundred thousand who took contrary ways and struggled along, maybe one did reach his goal.  And even that one was not completely satisfied, because every way has its own twists and turns long the path to the goal, and the goal can only be attained by means of those twists and turns.  That way is long, full of pitfalls and obstacles that arise because of those twists, which may end up blocking one’s arrival.

However, when you enter the world of poverty and practice it, God bestows kingdoms and worlds upon you that you could never have imagined.  You become embarrassed by what you had longed for before. ‘Oh,’ you cry, ‘How could I have sought such a mean thing when such a wondrous thing existed?’

Here, however, God Most High says, ‘Although now you no longer desire such a thing, and are now disdainful of it, yet it did once cross your mind. Yet you turned away from it for Our sake.  Our generosity is infinite, so of course, I will make that, also, easily attainable for you’

Mevlana, Fihi ma Fihi 39

Impermanence is Your Only Truth

Peace, one and all…

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O my soul, remember
‘Everything is perishing except His face’.
Impermanence is your only truth,
so hold fast to it.

Wherever you settle
you will one day leave,
and whenever you greet
you will one day bid farewell.

O my soul, be not afraid,
neither be sorrowful overmuch,
‘Everything is perishing except His face':
What an excellent homecoming that is!

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Ramadan Day 15: The Permanence of Sanctity

Peace, one and all…

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The permanence of sanctity does not necessitate
that the attribute of human nature be nonexistent.
Sanctity is analogous to the illumination of the sun in daytime:
It appears on the horizon but is not a part of it.
Sometimes the suns of His Attributes shine
in the night of your existence,
and sometimes He takes that away from you
and returns you to your existence.
So daytime is not from you to you,
but instead comes upon you.

Ibn Ata’illah, Hikam 248

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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

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