When a spiritual teacher-turned to the West she incorporated a Jungian model of psychological transformation to help the wayfarer understand the work of “polishing the heart.” Carl Jung gave us a model of psychological transformation that is based upon the Western psyche. He understood the processes of inner transformation that happen on the spiritual journey, and expressed these processes in a contemporary terminology.
Each in our own way we are drawn to God. Each in our own way we make the journey from duality back to oneness. There are many different Sufi paths, reflecting the different needs of wayfarers. Some are taken into the arena of their heart through music and dance, while for others silence is the only way. But underneath there is the one note of the soul’s longing for God, the cry that comes from the depths of the heart and reminds us of our real Home, of where we truly belong. Every Sufi path awakens this cry and helps us to follow it. The heart’s cry is a golden thread that leads us through the maze of our own psyche as well as through the distractions of the world.
Longing takes us back to God, takes the lover back into the arms of the Beloved. This is the ancient path of the mystic, of those who are destined to make the jour-ney to the further shores of love. Why we are called to this quest is always a mystery, for the ways of the heart cannot be understood by the mind. Love draws us back to love, and longing is the fire that purifies us. Sufis know the secrets of love, of the way love takes and transforms us.
They are the people of love who have kept alive the mysteries of divine loving, of what is hidden within the depths of the human being. Since the beginning of time, long, long before they were called Sufis, the people of love have carried this wisdom for humanity. Sufism is the ancient wisdom of love, a wisdom that is as free as the sunshine.
Sufis belong only to love, and in their essence are free of the constrictions of outer form. Just as love has no form, so Sufism is “Truth without form.” At different times Sufism appears in different outer forms, according to the need of the time and the place and the people. But under the clothing of the mystic there is only the oneness of love, a oneness that cannot be limited or constricted. The heart has many secrets, and its greatest mys-tery is how it can contain the wonders of God.
The bean is the meeting place of lover and Beloved, the place where the lover dissolves into love. Those who are drawn into the arena of love, of a love that carries the fragrance of what is Real, can learn from the Sufis. They can follow the footsteps of these pilgrims of the heart, this band of lovers who have tasted the sweet-ness that was before honey or bee. Sufis tell us of this journey, and their maps outline the stages along the way.
Their wisdom of love is alive and belongs to those who have been awakened by love and need to find their way back to their Beloved. Sufis all sing the one song, that of lover and Be-loved. The Beloved looks into the heart of the lover and ignites it with the spark of remembrance, with the call for the journey.
This spark becomes a fire that burns us, that empties us of everything except love. Through the fire of love we come to know the essence of love, the greatest secret hidden within every cell of creation. Finding what we really are, we become lost in the mystical truth of humanity, that there is nothing other than God.
The lover longs to burn in the fire of love until he is empty, so that his Beloved can fill his heart with the wine of divine remembrance, with the taste of nearness, with the intimacies of love. He calls us to Him and we turn away from the world back to our Beloved, so that He can reveal the secret He has placed within our hearts, the wonder of oneness, the innermost union of lover and Beloved.
As mystics we burn with the fire of divine love that He has ignited within our heart. He calls us to Him and we respond, turning away from the world, turning away from our ego, to the deeper mystery hidden within the heart. And we make this journey, this sacrifice, because it is His will, because He has looked within our heart.
In the outer world we are so caught in duality, in separation from God, that we don’t even know how we hunger for oneness. We have forgotten that we be-long to God and that He is our own essential nature, the core of our being. But there are those in whom this memory is awakened, and, like the moth attracted by the candle, they are drawn into the fire of love, the fire that will burn away their own separate self, until all that remains is love. The Sufis have been known as the people of the secret because they carry this secret of love, the one-ness of lover and Beloved. Inwardly the cost of realiz-ing oneness is always oneself
The physical world is only a veil of separation.
There is a Sufi saying that nothing is possible in love without death (meaning dissolving the ego)
“When Truth has taken hold of a heart, She empties it of all but Herself! When God attaches Himself to a man, He dissolves in him all else but Himself.” The Sufis call this process of dying to oneself fanâ (meaning annihilation).. In the fire of love we are burnt, and through this burning the ego learns to surrender, to die to its own notion of supremacy. In this ultimate love affair we die to ourself, and this death (dissolving the ego) is a painful process, because the ego, the “I,” does not easily give up its notion of supremacy.
The path of love is a fire within the heart that burns away the veils of separation, emptying us of ourself so that we can come to experience our innermost state of union. The Beloved ignites the spark that becomes this fire because He wants us to come Home, to make the greatest journey, the soul’s journey back to God. He wants us to know our true nature and to share with us the secret of His love, His hidden face. The mystery of “He loves them and they love Him” is so simple, so pure, so much a pail of us and yet so easily forgotten. Sadly, in our culture we look for complexity and forget this primal mystery hidden within our own heart. Yet this is the mystery that the Sufis have long understood, the secret they hold in trust for mankind.
Sufi figure, who represents direct revelation. Mystics are not satisfied with hearing about God, with listening to other people’s experiences; they are driven to realize God as a living reality within their own heart.
When the mystery—of realizing that the mystic is one with the Divine—is revealed to you, you will understand that you are no other than God and that you have continued and will continue…. Then you will see all your actions to be His actions and your essence to be His essence…. There is nothing except His Face “whithersoever you turn, there is the Face of God.”
If knowledge does not liberate the self from the self then ignorance is better than such knowledge.
Massconsciousness is a design of ignorance. Ignorance is a safety valve for the rulers beacuse they can easier program yje masses with more ignorance.
Rumi knew how precious is this fire, this burning within the heart:
It is burning of the heart I want; this burning which is everything, More precious than a worldly empire, because it calls God secretly, in the night.
We all come from God, but when we are born into this world we forget.
The spiritual journey begins when this latent memory is awakened. For some people this is a gradual awakening that brings with it a sense of dissatisfaction. Your job, your friends, your relationship are no longer quite enough, and yet you don’t know where to turn.
For some unknown reason life no longer answers your needs, but you don’t know why. Maybe you take a vacation, try a new career, decide it is a “mid-life crisis.” But the dissatisfaction remains. Then possibly some-thing prompts you to begin to look for a spiritual path, find a deeper meaning to life, search for a teacher. The ancient journey of the soul has begun, a stage that the Sufis call tauba, the turning of the heart. This is when the journey from God becomes the journey to God.
But the Sufi has always known that it is our long-ing that will take us Home, as Rumi simply expressed: “Don’t look for water, be thirsty.” Rum? knew the importance of longing, of having this inner thirst for God. Longing is the direct connection of the soul with its source, the link of love that runs between the Creator and His creation.
Yet to acknowledge this need is very difficult for many people because it involves a state of vulnerability, and we are conditioned against being vulnerable. Longing awakens us to our own need, a need which we can never satisfy, and so we become infinitely vulnerable, exposed to this need. And longing also carries the pain of separation, the primal pain of the soul separated from the source. So why should we embrace our longing, live this sorrow?
One Sufi prayed “Give me the pain of love, the pain of love, and I will pay any price you ask. Give the joy of love to others. For me the pain of love.” He knew the power of longing, how longing opens and purifies the heart and infuses us with divine remembrance. Long-ing is the heart’s remembrance, the heart’s conscious-ness of separation. Longing will take us into the arena of love, a love that will burn and transform us, empty us of ourself until all that remains is our Beloved.
Spiritual life is a giving of oneself to this need for God. He ignites the fire of longing within the heart, and our work is to let it burn. We can try to deny our longing, to run away—”I fled him down the nights and down the days, I fled him down the arches of the years”—to escape our own heart. Or we can give ourself to this primal pain, to the soul’s need. We can become the wood for the fire of His love.
We can honor the depth of His longing to be reunited with Himself within our own heart. To live the heart’s longing for God awakens us to our state of separation. Longing is the pain of separa-tion, the pain that is underneath every other pain. And with this pain comes the awareness of Him from whom we are separate. Longing is the heart’s remembrance of God, and as we live this longing, so we remember our Beloved. Longing turns us back towards God, and our tears wash away the veils of forgetfulness. Remembrance is one of the most basic Sufi prac-tices. With His glance He awakens our heart with the memory of union, and the work of the mystic is to bring this memory into consciousness. The path is a means to help us remember God, until one day our heart does not allow us to forget and in our consciousness
The spiritual path requires the complete stilling of the mind, and for this meditation is necessary. In order to have real spiritual experiences we need to stop the thinking process, for it is the mind that cuts us off from love’s oneness and the infinite ocean of nothingness. Going beyond the mind, we enter the inner dimension of the heart, the meeting place of lover and Beloved.
When we become familiar with this meditation we no longer need to use the imagination. We just fill the heart with the feeling of love and then drown any thoughts in the heart. Emptying the mind, we create an inner space where we can become aware of the pres-ence of the Beloved. He is always within us, but the mind, the emotions, and the outer world veil us from Him. He is the silent emptiness, and in order to experience Him we need to become silent. In meditation we give ourself back to Him, returning from the world of forms to the formless Truth of the heart. Drowning the mind in the heart, we offer to Him our own consciousness, that spark of His Divine Con-sciousness which is His gift to humanity. So many won-ders and so many evils have been enacted with His gift of consciousness. But to make the journey back to God we need to return this gift, this source of our illusion of autonomy. Each time we go into meditation we sacrifice our individual consciousness on the altar of love. In so doing we give space for Him to reveal Himself.
Through love we still the thinking process and give ourself to the infinite emptiness that is beyond the mind. Of course it takes time to be able to still the mind, to drown in love. This is the practice of a lifetime, but gradually, day by day, year by year, the mind learns to be left behind. We become familiar with the emptiness in which there are no thoughts; we drown gladly, knowing that we are taken beyond ourself by love into love.
Necessarily there are times we can meditate well, and times when the mind refuses to be stilled and keeps us captive. But meditation practiced regularly is a doorway into the beyond, through which we receive the deep nourishment of another dimension. Sometimes in meditation we may receive a hint or other guidance, because when the mind is stilled we have more direct access to the Self. But what is more important is that for a certain time each day we focus inwardly, we make ourself available to what is beyond this world.
Once the mind is left behind, an instant is the same as an hour, because time belongs to the level of the mind. But it is deeply refreshing for half an hour or more every day to put aside every thought or con-cern, and allow His infinite emptiness, His limitless nature, to take you where It will. Retreating from the world and from oneself as a daily practice becomes more and more important as one tries to live in the presence of one’s Beloved while being involved in everyday life.
Every wayfarer has to face the darkness within, what Carl Jung called “confronting the shadow.” Unless you face your own darkness you cannot purify yourself, you cannot create a clear inner space for your Higher Self to be born into . Jung said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” Then he humorously added, “The latter process, however, is disagreeable and there-fore not popular.”
Many of the initial challenges faced by the wayfarer involve accepting and loving her own rejected self, and doing battle with the nafs, the Sufi term for our lower nature. However, one of the difficulties of using traditional Sufi terminology for inner work is that the Eastern psyche is structured differently from ours in the West.
Eastern are much closer to the collective, the family is much more central to their lives, while in the West we have a more developed individuality. This is the immense value of Jungian psychology. Carl Jung gave us a model of psychological transformation that is based upon the Western psyche. He understood the processes of inner transformation that happen on the spiritual journey, and expressed these processes in a contemporary terminology.
When a spiritual teacher-turned to the West she incorporated a Jungian model of psychological transformation to help the wayfarer understand the work of “polishing the heart.”
“Confronting the shadow” is the first step on the psycho-spiritual journey, followed by making a relationship with one’s inner partner, the animus or anima in Jungian terminol-ogy, and then entering the archetypal realm, the world of the gods and goddesses. This psychological map leads us further, into the dimension of the Self, “that boundless power, source of every power, that lives with-in the heart.” But finally psychology and Sufism part, because psychology aims at living a balanced life in this world, while the mystic leaves behind the ego, becoming lost in love’s infinite oneness.
“You can only possess the teacher when she turns into a basket of bread and wine.”
What if you don’t have a teacher? How do you find a teacher? Once again the spiritual reality is quite different from our preconceptions. You don’t find a teacher, the teacher finds you. Through our aspiration and inner work we brighten the light within us, and when this light is strong enough it will attract the attention of a teacher. It may appear outwardly that we read a book or hear about a teacher, but spiritual processes always begin on the inner planes and then manifest on the physical.
The teacher opens our heart to love and gives us the sustenance we need for the journey.
It is not always easy “living in the two worlds.” Meditation may open your heart to another reality, but you have to keep your feet on the ground.
So often we look for the key of our life, for what will give us meaning, outside of ourself. We look with the harsh light of rational consciousness. But the Sufis have always known the secret that the key is within our own heart. The path of love gives us access to this key, which opens the door of the heart, the door that separates us from our Beloved. Once we step through this doorway into the arena of His love for us, love takes us.
Working on ourself, practicing remembrance and meditation, we clear an inner space for our meeting. Then He draws us to Him. Silently, unexpectedly, our Beloved comes to us and dissolves the veils of separation. The experiences of the soul are so intimate they can hardly be spoken, but we come to know that we are loved completely and absolutely.