The secret of Sufism is to shift from the vantage point of our personal point
of view to the Divine point of view. Very simply. our being is made up of two
poles of consciousness: the individual, personal self and the Divine, higher self.
It is at the pole of the personal dimension of consciousness that we experience
constraint and limitation. While we may think that our circumstances are the cause
of this frustration, the real source lies in not being aware of our higher self.
Thus, the goal in meditation is to reconnect our personal self to this transpersonal
dimension of our being.
The culmination of the soul's journey of awakening is not just returning to
its original state. Instead, it is how the soul has evolved through its passage
on earth: what meaning has been extracted from its experiences; what archetypal
qualities have unfolded as a result of the immense difficulties it has endured;
and the unique way each soul's unfoldment has contributed to the evolution of
the Universe itself.
Conscious evolution is humankind's final frontier, the ultimate freedom
sought by humanity since the dawn of time. Thus the challenge seems to be one
of overcoming the fear of the unexplored territory that lies ahead, and
finding the courage and optimism to illuminate the spiritual dimension hidden
within our nature. For it is the intuitive, radar-like quality of this
transcendent faculty that will help to guide us through the darkness of the
unknown - illuminating our minds and awakening our hearts to the splendor of a
We think that the world is our prison - whereas the prison is our way of
thinking and feeling.
As we view our problems the the eyes of the Universe, or God, we come to
realize that what we think is our problem alone is the suffering of existence
that is shared by everyone. It is as if we have been participating in the
drama of the Universe - yet all we have been able to think is "Why is this
happening to me?"
We cannot free ourselves from our identification with our individual self
unless we open ourselves to the infinite dimension of the power of the sacred.
Spiritual awakening is shifting from one perspective to another, until we
finally glimpse meaningfulness where our mind could not perceive it before.
The higher and broader the perspective, the more inclusive it is.
The consequence of linking one's thinking and awareness with the thinking
and awareness of the Universe is that it brings about a dramatic change in how
we see life - jumpstarting individuals out of the limitations of their narrow
thinking patterns that continue round and round in the usual deep ruts.
Every time you confront a specific challenge or problem in
life by contemplating what it is that the Universe is asking from you in
response - whether it is cultivating the quality of forgiveness, for example,
or wisdom, truth, or courage - it is as if you have declared your wish to be
of service to the Universe by actuating one of its Divine Qualities in your
Training oneself to see from the Divine point of view is key to
understanding the essence of Sufism: it is the "global compass" that offsets
the personal vantage point, the "true north" orienting one's direction in
life. That is why Sufis aim at downplaying their personal view in order to
espy the Divine point of view.
Meditation and contemplation are the training grounds for this practice.
Here, we become adept at learning to shift our consciousness from one
perspective to another - moving between individual consciousness and cosmic
consciousness, somewhat like the graduation of perspectives contained within a
hologram. For example, you could think of the Universe out there as "other"
and separate. Or, conversely, you could imagine that the starry Cosmos has
converged itself as your body and is looking at itself through your eyes.
It is the meaning - not the letters - that shine through the words of a
book or text. So the mind, stripped of the distraction of transient thoughts,
is infused with an inborn sense of meaningfulness. This transcendent faculty
appears only when one has given up trying to sort things out in an habitual