Wake Up Already

Forgetfulness is the mark of this world. What is the use of seeking that which is forgotten when the only way of finding it is to remember?!

What we have lost is not to be found in the world, for we are in the world precisely because we lost. World is the face of forgetfulness.

World is that which makes forget. To see the truth, that is to remember it, we must look away from the world.

Lost in the world we lust for the world. We are found only when we lose the lust.

The God that we seek, the God of all religions and philosophies, is an all too worldly God. The God that we had is the one doing the seeking. God, too, sank in forgetfulness when He looked at the world. God forgetting that He was God thinks He is man seeking God.

Oh, you deluded God! Drop your world-stories and wake up already.

That seeking always fails is because we are seeking around this world-square that which is also seeking us. We are chasing after something, and we know not that we are chasing after our own shadow. And yet, though seeking doesn’t find, not seeking doesn’t find either: Truth is found not by our seeking but by waking up to our seeking.

“The face of truth is concealed by a golden vessel.” *

*Isha Upanishad

The Parable of The Naked Man

(The image is the famous Hubble Ultra-Deep Field.)

We often demand miracles as proofs for the transcendental origin of the world; but in demanding so we are blind to the miracle in the fact of being and the act of demanding. Our mundane preoccupations eclipse the sense of wonder inherent in each moment and its content; and we take for granted the strangest of all things, that the world is.

We take the scientific descriptions as causal explanations, as if science really explained the why of being and becoming! We look for miracles inside the world but fail to see that the very being of the world is itself the most obvious miracle, the ground of all miracles.

The miracle of Being is something beyond the scope of all rational inquiry, for reason itself must first be before it can know, and hence itself remains always a mystery.

The parable of the naked man: “God is With You”

Once upon a time a skeptic scholar surrounded by his pupils bumped into a naked man dancing and singing the names of God. They asked him, “What is wrong with you?”

The naked man said, “God is with me.”

The scholar mockingly said “If God is with you, then why don’t you perform a miracle for us!”

The naked man replied, “Yes sirs, I shall perform a miracle for you.” Pointing to a stone farther away he said, “You see that stone over there! I can move it from here.”

The scholar and his students became curious and demanded the naked man to do as he had claimed.

The naked man walked to the stone, moved it around, and came back to where he was standing and said, “Done.”

The crowd laughed at him; the scholar said “That was not a miracle you fool; you were supposed to move it from here but you walked there.”

The naked man said, “Exactly sir, I walked there, and that is the miracle. From here I can move a bigger thing called the body and with it I can move everything else. I will and it moves. If you cannot see the miracle in that, then you are the performer of a bigger miracle: You can doubt the self-evident and deny the most obvious; even I can’t do that. Indeed God is with you too,” said the naked man and continued dancing and singing.

[Note: I like to add this point about the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field which shows billions of galaxies spread out in boundless space: I have heard people say that this image makes them feel so insignificant. But we must understand that if we feel insignificant it is because we can feel the significance of the image and the infinite greatness implied in it. The image is just a small piece of paper. Both the greatness and the littleness that we experience come from within ourselves, hence preexisting all creation. This is how the macrocosm is reflected in the microcosm transcendentally and primordially.]

The Real Fall

Adam and Eve took a bite from the tree…, and hence The Fall.

Did they fall out? Fall in? Fall through? Fall short? Or Fallujah?

No. They did fall: They fell asleep, dreaming of transgression and expulsion, of life and death, of losing that which cannot be lost. God is tearing his throat to wake us up; but alas, the apple has a long half-life.

My dear Adam and Madam, you are still in the Garden of Eden. Can’t you smell the fragrance from the tree of life?!

The original sin is the forgetfulness of one’s original blessedness 

The Flux of Revelation

You must go into isolation, into silence and solitude, where you can get a glimpse of your essence.

See that with regard to the phenomenal world you are the vessel and not that which is in the vessel. The world happens to you and before you. World is that which is continually experienced, but you are the experience itself. Being the vessel and of divine essence the phenomenal world is revealed to you according to your orientation and anticipation. The content takes the form of the container. If you consider yourself to be a mere psycho-physical entity in a meaningless cosmos, then that you shall be and live. If you see yourself as embodied spirit in the divine kingdom, then that you shall be and live.

See that your instantaneous experience of the phenomenal world is itself an instance of revelation. This world, the world that includes all sciences and religions and galaxies and gods, is a world constantly appearing to you, and it appears according to the sense and significance by which you anticipate it; that is, according to the form that you assume. We are immersed in constant influx of revelation, experience itself being the primordial form of revelation. This you of which I speak is that sole dweller of the void. It is always there, for without it nothing is. If you, your mundane, psycho-physical you, doesn’t see or feel the essential you it is because you are all-pervading. It is so present that we fail to detect it. But when we see it we have already become it, and then we know that “I am the only thing that exists.”

Let There Be God

Of all our human traits and capacities none is closer to and more worthy of God than our silence, for any act or utterance takes away from the inexpressible splendor of truth.

The essence of spiritual life is about becoming so little and quiet that nothing but truth remains to be seen or heard. Thus, spiritual living is more like sculpting in which man must take away from his gross form rather than add to it until the intrinsic beauty of the latent form shines forth of its own accord. Each one of us is such marble stone that should be lessened and refined by ourselves until our divine form is unconcealed.

Our way toward the essence, toward the Divine Ground, is a way of detachment par excellence. Everything that adds to our mind and tongue subtracts from our soul and heart. The way toward the essence is not through the attribute.

Nothing makes us closer to God than our silence and solitude.

The Last Veil

Between man and truth lie only his own ideas and expectations of truth.

One who is obsessed with endless talks and descriptions of truth, the truth which is by nature inexpressible, only adds more veils to the path toward truth. Language which works by way of concepts and conceptualizations is precisely that which lies in between us and truth.

Truth is a matter of direct experience rather than excessive reading and reasoning. Reading and reasoning which is a possibility of human mind and language and which makes sense only against the background of conditioned knowledge can only produce a personal and biased version of truth. Nothing is father away from truth than the talk or truth, for to talk truth is not to experience it, and to reason about truth is to delay a direct perception of it. Reason is by nature discursive and indirect while truth is gasped only in an intuitive and direct manner and not in any other way. This is of crucial importance particularly for those who are used to chasing truth and spiritual experience in the lives and words of others, be it spiritual and intellectual giants or not. Listening and reading is of help no doubt; but it must have a negative role in that one should realize at the end that “even that was not it.”

Although all formulations of truth have a relative import in the plane of human existence, namely all of them being attempts at expressing one and the same inexpressible truth, however all such formulations are pure and simple false in the face of the Absolute itself. Truth is not something to be thought or imagined or arrived at by sheer reasoning. Truth is only to be seen directly with one’s own eyes, eyes that will be opened only at the moment of confrontation with the truth. Thus, everything thought or imagined  or reasoned about truth cannot be it and must be discarded sooner or later; it cannot have any resemblance to truth whatsoever, for thought, imagination, and reason are operative within the sphere of human possibilities, while truth dwells exclusively and in principle outside this sphere. In other words, one can see the truth if and only if one has already outgrown one’s human form and content, and hence has witnessed the extinction of one’s ego which is much more intense and destructive experience than anything comprehensible in human terms. Anyone who has not felt the pain of total extinction and annihilation has not yet known or experienced it. After all, that which ultimately faces the truth and sees it directly is no more a human person but the truth itself, for only infinity can contain infinity; only God can know God. The human receptacle which is by nature mundane and finite is not a vessel that can contain the infinite and the absolute truth; this human phenomenon is not a vessel at all no matter supreme its intelligence or spiritual powers, for its very existence is the hardest veil and the most difficult one to pierce.

Human being is in principle the very veil that conceals the Absolute. Our humanity is the first and the last and the only veil to be torn apart before a direct vision of truth is made possible. Thus, no amount of human effort, whether spiritual or intellectual, can bring about a direct perception of truth, for anything pertaining to human sphere is by nature a veiling force with veiling influences. It is with this understanding that total renunciation is prescribed as the direct path to the heart of truth. Even those who choose different paths must at end come to the total renunciation in order to face the beloved. But true and effective renunciation, whether partial or total, is not about facing away from the material world and despising what is worldly. In the face of the truth the spiritual is as mundane and veiling as the worldly and the material. After all, religion and spirituality like wealth or anything else are possibilities within the world and not outside it, and hence they are as worldly as anything else in this world. A wealthy materialist who creates jobs for a hundred humans in this world or puts a smile on a family in need in this life is much more spiritual and Godly than a corrupt Pope or guru living off people’s donations while praying and lying in their face and molesting their children behind their backs with a promise of better lives in another world. The distinction between the spiritual and the material is only a human creation for the benefit of the religious elitists. The total renunciation that takes us to the feet of the beloved has nothing to do with the world and its objects, for as we emphasized above what keeps us away from the truth is not anything but ourselves, our very humanity, our own ideas and expectations of truth and God, the crooked veil that we are.

Total renunciation is not a leaving of the world but a leaving of one’s own ideas and expectations of the world which includes a leaving of our own ideas of God and truth; of course this cannot be done by the fainthearted or one who is emotionally or intellectually invested in religion and spirituality. The face of the truth is for a few to see, for most men and women prefer what they like rather than what is. As simply put by Jack Nicholson: Not everyone “can handle the truth.”

Total renunciation which is perfect objectivity is the highest ideal of mankind and the only means by which he/she can attain to truth as it is in itself. In other words, one attains to a direct perception of truth precisely when one has let go of all ideas of truth, of all that one knows or has heard of it, of the search for truth, for to seek truth in any way is at once to miss it. This is the known peculiarity of truth which is hinted at by mystics many times: To seek it is at once to miss it.

One who longs for truth but doesn’t know anything scriptural or intellectual about it is closer to it than the chatterbox of truth. This peculiarity is exactly what makes direct perception of truth a difficult task; it is difficult and almost impossible precisely because it is so unbelievably easy and straightforward to see it. Truth is so close to us that we always miss it. To seek the truth is like trying to bite our own teeth. To seek is to go, but truth is always where we are standing, for only truth can seek the truth; only truth can seek itself!

The situation of people seeking the truth by going outside themselves and looking in the lives and words of others is like the ironic situation of people who are running all over a globe looking for its poles, little knowing that every point on a globe is a pole; everyone is standing on a pole.

It is a well known fact by all mystics that the realization of truth, which is a matter of direct perception, comes precisely at the moment where they realize that the seeker, the sought, and the way are one and the same and have always been so all along. Bayazid Bastami, a renowned Muslim mystic living in the 9th century perfectly captures the situation in the following words:

“The truth of which we speak can never be found by seeking, yet it is found only by those who seek it.”

The inner meaning of this saying is that the goal of spiritual life is not something to be found in a place, be it in thought or imagination or mind or in someone’s words or in reasoning. Truth is nowhere to be found, for it was never lost to begin with. There is nothing but truth; there is no seeker, no path, no world and no beings; truth is all that there is and it is forever inexpressible.

One cannot find truth; one can only become it, and this is possible only because one was never anything but the truth. Again, one cannot find the truth; one can only see that one is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. The human state is the self-forgetfulness of the truth. One cannot find the truth; one can only remember it, and this remembrance is not a human kind of remembrance; it is a seeing of a new kind, a seeing that is at once a remembering with the highest degree of certainty and self-evidence: Truth is the transcendental seeing of the nothingness of man and world. That is why nothing of the world, whether its reasoning or chanting or imagining, can bring us any closer to the truth; any movement in this mundane world, whether of body or mind, is a movement away from the truth which is transcendental and inaccessible by all human ways and means. As Rumi says, to see the truth, the beloved, in this life you must “die before you die.” This death before the physical death is the same as the total renunciation.

Despite the all-pervading and transcendental nature of truth, and though it is not found by seeking it, only one who longs for it can see it at the end. Thus, the true seeking in the spiritual path is not seeking in the literal sense of the word, for truth is neither outside us nor inside us. The true seeking is in fact a longing for a direct perception of truth. It is this intense longing that brings about such direct experience.

Thus, longing for truth in silence and solitude is the true path instead of outwardly searching for it, worst of all reading and thinking too much about it in terms of the opinions of others, for what you read is someone else’s experience; it is their interpretation; it is what they see and not what you must see. The only exception is what one learns from a guru who has realized the truth for him/herself and has had disciples and many years of experience teaching the way to serious aspirants within the framework of a revealed tradition. Such rare teachers are devoid of egotistic motivations and refrain from too much talk and lecture about the nature of truth, for they can impart knowledge by a glance or a gesture. They too know that the real guru, the true guide, is the inner Self of man: You will eventually see what is right in front of you precisely when you let go of seeing the world through the eyes and ears of others, precisely when you realize you need nothing outside yourself to see or know the truth directly. Even if we get inspirations from the outside world, we must always return to ourselves where the ultimate confrontation will take place. Everything others say about the truth becomes a veil if we fail to realize that “even that was not it.”

Wake Up! Remember Who You Are

I am not something that exists. I am not something that is known, nor the knower of anything. I am not someone who can be free, nor someone who can be happy. Instead, I am the very condition for the possibility of the existent, the known and the knower, the free and the happy. To be more precise:

I am existence itself. I am knowledge itself. I am freedom itself. I am happiness itself.

As knowledge of a defect does not make the knowledge itself defective, I too am untouched by all defects and imperfections though I may witness them day and night.

As knowledge of misery does not make the knowledge itself miserable, I too am free from all misery and lowliness though I may witness them day and night.

As knowledge of bondage does not entail the bondage of knowledge, I too am devoid of all bondage and ignorance though I may see nothing but them.

As knowledge of mortality does not make the knowledge itself mortal, I too am immune to all death and decay though I may witness them day and night.

I am perfect and pure, wise and immortal, free and happy, blessed and beautiful, for I am forever untouched by all that is unlike my nature: I am the Transcendental Witness.

I am the “I” in all of you. Remind yourself this truth: If you are bounded and miserable it is only because you say so.