Q: While on the Sufi mystical path, what exactly is it you learn? How is this learning different than other learning?
From the mystical perspective, the physical world or world of forms is supported by the world of spirit. The physical world is an extension of this unseen, spiritual world and the physical exists so humanity can fulfill their individual higher destiny. Each traveler enters the world of physical forms for many reasons. Yet each reason is connected to the higher destiny, and the traveler ‘fumbles around in the dark’ unless he or she learns to connect with the Higher Reality. The ladder which has been extended is religious teaching and spiritual learning. The mystical path and spiritual learning is the inner heart of religious teaching. On an inner, spiritual level, all the great religions are one.
According to the mystic, humanity suffers from ‘world sickness’ and mystical teaching exists to help provide the cure and help the traveler see reality. Most people live their entire lives attached to ideas, possessions and other people. These things to the exclusion of others fill their consciousness. While it is good to be concerned about the things of the world and involved in making things betters for others, there is a point where this investment leads you away from the higher, lasting reality. A balance must be maintained between the physical and spiritual.
In this endeavor, it is a matter of degree and attitude. With the proper guidance the traveler learns to participate in the world and withdraw attachment from the world, inwardly. While the traveler may go to work everyday, work hard and try to help others, a part must remain ‘sacred’ and attached to the Light.
For most people, their world view is composed of preconceived ideas, beliefs and emotional reactions to situations. Part of the purpose of any culture or society is to formulate a set of guiding principles, which are taught to its member who then form an affinity with these beliefs: guiding to a large degree their daily life.
Over time, these beliefs and principles, if the culture or society is to thrive, grow stronger and become operating principles. Rarely are these operating principles challenged by the people who follow them. Yet these beliefs are subject to deterioration and ‘hardening;’ failing to be updated as necessary. Also some of these beliefs may have been instituted as a way to control others or limit the potential of specific groups. When this is done it is rarely stated that this is a driving principle.
From the mystical or spiritual perspective, it is precisely this set of operating principles which needs to be pushed aside or suspended momentarily to let other ideas and impacts in. Most often it is this everyday, conditioned self that is the door and stands in the way of seeing what is actually in front of you, and prevents the higher, spiritual impulse from being perceived.
Beyond Everyday Assumptions
Gradually the spiritual traveler learns to examine assumptions, in order to see exactly what is present, not what is believed to be present. By temporarily suspending the conditioned, everyday self, the traveler learns to see the reality of the situation and what is beyond the situation.
In order to do this, one has to understand when ideas and beliefs have been engineered (indoctrinated) or when they are inherent to your higher needs and the needs of others. Keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with having a specific view and looking at events in a particular way. This view becomes a hindrance only when it prevents other things from operating, or you do not find it adequately explains how you look at the world and feel. Part of you knows, there must be something more; a higher spiritual reality.
Within the framework of religious teaching, we find many systems that state we are the only true path; striving to impose their will/view on others. Yet other paths exist. In this situation, is it a matter of indoctrination or belief; as opposed to not seeing the true, higher potential of the situation?
As a spiritual traveler, learn to go beyond your everyday assumptions; True Reality is waiting inside you.
Register for my upcoming retreat weekend atop Bangor Mountain, in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Kirkridge Retreat Center on Sufism & Enlightenment, May 30- June I, 2014. For information scroll down to program listing: http://kirkridge.org/programs/upcoming-programs/. Then click on Detailed Information for full program highlights.
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