The topic came up during a midsummer night conversation with a sweet and sensitive spirit, the idea that a purely contemplative philosophy is only the dark half of philosophy, and that a philosophy in its most developed and concrete form must be committed to responsible action in the world. This should be, above all, the final form of any mature spiritual philosophy. A religion or spiritual tradition immersed and lost in contemplative attitude, limited only to monastic or purely meditative form, in other words an armchair philosophy and a cave-bound spirituality, is a halfhearted dogmatic philosophy. Contemplation, however indispensable to the evolution of the Spirit, should be but a stage for concrete action in the world.
Philosophy changes the world by changing the man or woman who philosophizes. But philosophy, the greatest of all goods, is capable of being the greatest of all evils, for it can imprison as much as it can liberate. It can submerge the philosopher by sedating him, by removing him from the sphere of change and action with the false promise of truth and immortality. No one has been so acutely aware of and cautioned us against the perils of such philosophies and spiritual practices more than Friedrich Nietzsche, the demented soul who adored the “Yes-sayers” and despised the “nay-sayers.”
Philosophy must proceed and make way with a hammer, with the rushing forth of the spirit into, and not out of, the world, and with an unstoppable vitality and all-inclusiveness rooted in Ataraxia.
It is essential in the archetype of the hero to return from his retreat to its fortress of solitude, from the mountain like Zoroaster did; he must return with a divine love and tranquility to lift up the shattered spirit of the last man, to lead him out of the cave, or to become a bridge for the becoming of the new type of man. Only in his return the hero becomes full and concrete prior to which he is nothing but an inactive and unrealized ideal.
Before the moment of spiritual realization man is an abstraction, a sleepwalker and a blind drunkard at best: It is by this very realization, in Ataraxia, that he/she becomes real and concrete; and it is again by this realization that he/she is bound to return; and He returns, knowing that Samsara is Nirvana.
God, i.e. that ineffable Ground of all things to which the word alludes, can surely be seen and realized. This ground is not found as long as one is seeking it in the form of an object of consciousness, for It is Itself the source of that objectifying subjectivity that animates all things from behind the veil that is the seeking subject.
God is not found by seeking, for It is the finding itself: It is the will by which one seeks and the light in which one finds. The revealer of all things Itself remains forever concealed.
However, God, the Ground, can be seen and realized though in a manner incomparable to ordinary cognition subject to the trifold differentiation of the knower, the known, and the knowing. Compared to the seeing that sees God, our everyday seeing is sheer blindness.
Knowledge, whether discursive or unitive, has a form proportioned to its content. As knowledge of the relative world is itself relative, knowledge of God, the absolute and the infinite ground of reality, is absolute and infinite knowledge. Since the supreme principle of all things transcends the conditions of time and place, the consciousness that apprehends it is also unconditional; it is an eternal and universal knowledge that brings instantaneous and infallible liberation.
In seeing God, one does not acquire new knowledge but rather realizes the Ground, in the form of a shocking recognition or perhaps a transcendental and permanent déjà vu, as one’s true Self, an essential self stripped of all relative content, of individuality and personality, and in general of conditional existence.
The seer of truth is truly immortalized which by no means implies a prolongation of individual existence but rather freedom from individual existence as such, for he/she has realized within himself the identity of immanent time with transcendent eternity. In light of this supreme realization he comes to know that what is real in him has never stepped into the river of finitude and temporality but that he has been all along but witnessing all this from the throne of infinitude and eternity.
Seeing God is the self-realization of the Unmoved Mover.
In the words of our Sufi master Bayazid Bastami, “I went from God to God, until they cried from me in me, ‘O thou I!’”
The Void swallows that which is like it, empty and transparent. In that blessed moment what is above snatches from the claws of time what is below and hands it over to eternity.
Oh pole-seeking inhabitants of this imaginary sphere! It recedes as you seek It.
My Being stands, like Muhammad and the circle of friends, before this captivating tale of becoming begun.
Neither human nor angel am I! I am a pure gaze of no origin. I am the seer in all eyes and yet no eye can see me. I am one without a second. How do I bear this eternal solitude! In the whole of this existence no one is found but Me.
My Beloved has come again,
I am light again, light as a feather whirling in the gravity of my Eternal Beloved;
My heart beats again on hearing the familiar echo of Her footsteps;
She is near and the smell of Her colorful perfume is throwing me in ecstasy again;
Tonight She has approached me from a direction unbeknownst to this world;
She has returned from a point at once infinitely far and infinitely near.
My Beloved has come again,
I have beheld those dark, bottomless eyes, the eyes that steal the hearts forever;
With borrowed eyes I have gazed into the abyss of infinite love;
I have been absorbed into Her Prakriti,
Oh my Love, this heart knows no master but You;
By your grace I have been humbled into that blessed Oblivion but this time I like to be that playful child in the shore of your boundless beauty; my Beloved, let us just play.
This wavering raft can’t withstand even a glimpse of Your blinding face, so let this affair be as it is from behind the Veil of Time; let me be soaked in Your majestic traces but gaze not in my direction, for Your piercing stare shatters me to the bone.
My Beloved has come again,
I am overcome by this fountain of joy; I am Majnoon tonight;
Tonight I am transformed into Her harp again; Oh my Beloved, let Your fingers wound the lifeless fibers of my spirit so that I may sing again the songs of heart’s eternal Eden
Oh, the Hidden Treasure, the Animator, The Possessor of my states, how beautiful is your sound and sight! How intoxicating is Your merciful breath to a heart in spiritual poverty!
Water finds the thirsty, rain finds the crop; abundance seeks scarcity and scarcity abundance,
But my Beloved! I am not thirsty, neither lacking; I am thirst itself. So my Love, come my way, because my union with You is in my annihilation in You,
But devour me not; let me gracefully and slowly dance my way into your Supreme Sakina
Oh, My Beloved has come again