Monday, 30 July 2018

Sufi Mindfulness: Ibn Arabi - What the Seeker Needs 2


Extracts from a classic text: Book of the Quintessence Concerning What Is Indispensable For the Spiritual Seeker (transl. - Tosun Bayrak) Muhiyy ad-Din Ibn 'Arabi
1-Observe your mind constantly
What is essential for you is to be heedful at all times, to be attentive to what comes into your mind and your heart. Think about and analyze these thoughts and feelings. Try to control them. Beware of the wishes of your ego, settle your accounts with it.

2-Be constantly aware of the divine presence
Have conscience, shame, in front of Allah. That will be a motivation to make you heedful. You will then care about what you are doing or saying or thinking, and the thoughts and feelings that are ugly in the eyes of Allah will be unable to settle in your heart. Your heart will then be safe from wishing acts not in accordance with Allah's pleasure.
 
3-Be in the now, attentive and focused in all that you do
Give value to your time, live in the present moment. Do not live in imagination and throw your time away. Allah has prescribed a duty, an act, a worship for your every moment. Know what it is and hasten to do it. First perform the actions He has given to you as obligations. Then do what He has given to you to do through the example of His Prophet. Then take on what He has left you as voluntary, acceptable good deeds. Work to serve the ones who are in need.
 
4-Do all actions with devotion, as if each action was to be the last
Do everything you do in order to come close to your Lord in your worship and prayers. Think that each deed may be your last act, each prayer your last prostration, that you may not have another chance. If you do this, it will be another motivation for becoming heedful and also for becoming sincere and truthful. Allah does not accept good deeds done unconsciously and insincerely as readily as deeds done in consciousness and sincerity.

5-Cultivate cleanliness as a spiritual quality
Cleanliness is an order of Allah. Keep your body and your inner self clean at all times. […]

6-Cultivating high morals is essential
Above all, what you need is high morals, good character, proper behavior; you must identify your bad features and rid yourself of them. Your relationship to whomever you come into contact with must be based on the best of conduct - but what this means may vary with conditions and circumstances.
 
7-Adapt your behaviour so as to avoid harming others and doing the most good
Whoever neglects a single item of good behavior is considered to have bad character. Men are created different from each other. Their levels are different. Good behavior and character are also in different levels. Behavior is not a form. It is not to act in the same way on every occasion towards everyone. You have to consider each case, each person, in accordance with the circumstance and. the need of the person. A good rule to remember is that if a thing is done to bring salvation, truth, comfort, and peace to others, to oneself, and to as many people as possible, protecting them, eliminating pain and hardship, it is good behavior - on condition that it is not done for personal benefit, but for Allah's sake.[…]
 
8-Constantly strive to improve your behaviour
Proper behavior is the means by which an intention becomes a good deed. Therefore it is the greatest capital in the hand of the seeker. The proof is the word of the one who was brought with the most beautiful character, the last prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), who said, "I have been sent to perfect good behavior."
 
9-Be forgiving and unselfish
Allah says in the Holy Qur'an: And the recompense of evil is punishment like it, but whoever forgives and amends, his reward is with Allah[....] (Shura, 40) The religious law says that you may choose to demand your right or you may choose to leave it. Choose to leave that which is due to you and forgive, instead of punishing, so that you will be counted among the compassionate, the peaceful, the righteous, whose rewards are promised by Allah.
 
10-Avoid getting angry over personal wrongs
It is also within good behavior to be angry and to seek to punish when this is justified by the religious code. Anger and its manifestation are one of the great sins if aroused by wrongs done to you personally.
 
11-Be compassionate, gentle, and generous in all your interpersonal relations
Treat well those who are dependent upon you: the people who work for you, your children, your wives and husbands, your mothers, sisters, and friends, the animals in your care, the plants in your garden. Allah has given them into your hands to test you. […]Show love, compassion, delicacy, generosity, and protection towards those who depend on you - and in fact, to everyone. If you wish His compassion and protection, remember that you yourself depend on the One, the lord and owner of all and everything.
 
12-Be cautious with reckless and wild people
Do not seek to be close to the heedless, to the ones who are slaves to the desires of their flesh. They take hearts away from the light of truth and throw them into the dark hole of heedlessness, as they did with their own hearts. If you are placed with them in the same time and space, then face them and advise them. If they turn their backs on you, it is because they do not know their fronts from their backs. Do not stab them in the back. Be the same way to them whether they turn their faces to you or their backs. Then they may like and respect you and perchance they may be attached to you and follow you.
 
13-Constantly strive to progress spiritually
Do not be satisfied with your spiritual state; advance. Advance ceaselessly, without interruption. With firm intention pray to Allah, the Ultimate Truth, to bring you from the state in which you are to a state beyond it. In every state, in every move, while doing a thing or while being inactive, be sincere and truthful. Be with the Ultimate Truth. Do not ever forget Him. Feel His presence always.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Through the Gates of Gold Chapter 4 The Meaning of Pain, Part 3


The first thing to do is to gain the power to stand firm, to remain still, to have confidence
The first thing which it is necessary for the soul of man to do in order to engage in this great endeavor of discovering true life is the same thing that the child first does in its desire for activity in the body, — he must be able to stand. It is clear that the power of standing, of equilibrium, of concentration, of uprightness, in the soul, is a quality of a marked character. The word that presents itself most readily as descriptive of this quality is "confidence."
 
To remain still amid life and its changes, and stand firmly on the chosen spot, is a feat which can only be accomplished by the man who has confidence in himself and in his destiny.
 
Otherwise the hurrying forms of life, the rushing tide of men, the great floods of thought, must inevitably carry him with them, and then he will lose that place of consciousness whence it was possible to start on the great enterprise. For it must be done knowingly, and without pressure from without, — this act of the new-born man. All the great ones of the earth have possessed this confidence, and have stood firmly on that place which was to them the one solid spot in the universe. To each man this place is of necessity different. Each man must find his own earth and his own heaven.
 
If we try to remove  the effects of pain and not the causes, we simply alleviate it or drive it to less visible planes.
We have the instinctive desire to relieve pain, but we work in externals in this as in everything else. We simply alleviate it; and if we do more, and drive it from its first chosen stronghold, it reappears in some other place with reinforced vigor. If it is eventually driven off the physical plane by persistent and successful effort, it reappears on the mental or emotional planes where no man can touch it. That this is so is easily seen by those who connect the various planes of sensation, and who observe life with that additional illumination.
 
The different sensations are only different sides of the center of the personality
Men habitually regard these different forms of feeling as actually separate, whereas in fact they are evidently only different sides of one center, — the point of personality. If that which arises in the center, the fount of life, demands some hindered action, and consequently causes pain, the force thus created being driven from one stronghold must find another; it cannot be driven out.
 
Pleasure and pain both have their purposes in the human function; it is by merging them together that peace is obtained.
And all the blendings of human life which cause emotion and distress exist for its use and purposes as well as for those of pleasure. Both have their home in man; both demand their expression of right. The marvelously delicate mechanism of the human frame is constructed to answer to their lightest touch; the extraordinary intricacies of human relations evolve themselves, as it were, for the satisfaction of these two great opposites of the soul.
 
Pain and pleasure stand apart and separate, as do the two sexes; and it is in the merging, the making the two into one, that joy and deep sensation and profound peace are obtained.
Where there is neither male nor female, neither pain nor pleasure, there is the god in man dominant, and then is life real.
 
To prove the existence of the Gates of Gold means to search for reality, which is man’s greatest need.
To state the matter in this way may savor too much of the dogmatist who utters his assertions uncontradicted from a safe pulpit; but it is dogmatism only as a scientist's record of effort in a new direction is dogmatism. Unless the existence of the Gates of Gold can be proved to be real, and not the mere phantasmagoria of fanciful visionaries, then they are not worth talking about at all. In the nineteenth century hard facts or legitimate arguments alone appeal to men's minds; and so much the better. For unless the life we advance towards is increasingly real and actual, it is worthless, and time is wasted in going after it. Reality is man's greatest need, and he demands to have it at all hazards, at any price. Be it so. No one doubts he is right. Let us then go in search of reality.
 
Stand in the place where you live
Now face north
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven’t before

Now stand in the place where you work
Now face west
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven’t before

If you are confused, check with the sun
Carry a compass to help you along
Your feet are going to be on the ground
Your head is there to move you around

Monday, 9 July 2018

Theosophy Basics: Blavatsky on the Number Seven 2


Chapter 9 of Isis Unveiled 2, is full of interesting information on the number seven, so a second post on the topic seemed pertinent:
Read the hymn by Dirghatamas.
"TO HIM WHO REPRESENTS ALL THE GODS."
"The God here present, our blessed patron, our sacrificer, has a brother who spreads himself in mid-air. There exists a third Brother whom we sprinkle with our libations. . . . It is he whom I have seen master of men and armed with seven rays."**
And again:
"Seven Bridles aid in guiding a car which has but ONE wheel, and which is drawn by a single horse that shines with seven rays. The wheel has three limbs, an immortal wheel, never-wearying, whence hang all the worlds."
"Sometimes seven horses drag a car of seven wheels, and seven personages mount it, accompanied by seven fecund nymphs of the water."(411)
With every ancient people, the Creator, or Demiurge, was placed over the seventh heaven. "And were I to touch upon the initiation into our sacred Mysteries," says Emperor Julian, the kabalist, "which the Chaldean bacchised respecting the seven-rayed God, lifting up the souls through Him, I should say things unknown, and very unknown to the rabble, but well known to the blessed Theurgists."( Julian: "In Matrem," p. 173; Julian: "Oratio," v., 172.) In Lydus it is said that "The Chaldeans call the God IAO, and SABAOTH he is often called, as He who is over the seven orbits (heavens, or spheres), that is the Demiurge."( Lyd.: "De Mensibus," iv., 38-74; "Movers," p. 550; Dunlap: "Saba," p. 3.)
One must consult the Pythagoreans and Kabalists to learn the potentiality of this number. Exoterically the seven rays of the solar spectrum are represented concretely in the seven-rayed god Heptaktis. These seven rays epitomized into THREE primary rays, namely, the red, blue, and yellow, form the solar trinity, and typify respectively spirit-matter and spirit-essence. Science has also reduced of late the seven rays to three primary ones, thus corroborating the scientific conception of the ancients of at least one of the visible manifestations of the invisible deity, and the seven divided into a quaternary and a trinity.
The Pythagoreans called the number seven the vehicle of life, as it contained body and soul. They explained it by saying, that the human body consisted of four principal elements, and that the soul is triple, comprising reason, passion, and desire. The ineffable WORD was considered the Seventh and highest of all, for there are six minor substitutes, each belonging to a degree of initiation. The Jews borrowed their Sabbath from the ancients, who called it Saturn's day and deemed it unlucky, and not the latter from the Israelites when Christianized. The people of India, Arabia, Syria, and Egypt observed weeks of seven days; and the Romans learned the hebdomadal method from these foreign countries when they became subject to the Empire. Still it was not until the fourth century that the Roman kalends, nones, and ides were abandoned, and weeks substituted in their place; and the astronomical names of the days, such as dies Solis (day of the Sun), dies Lunae (day of the Moon), dies Martis (day of Mars); dies Mercurii (day of Mercury), dies Jovis (day of Jupiter), dies Veneris (day of Venus), and dies Saturni (day of Saturn), prove that it was not from the Jews that the week of seven days was adopted. Before we examine this number kabalistically, we propose to analyse it from the standpoint of the Judaico-Christian Sabbath. (417-418)
When Moses instituted the yom shaba, or Shebang (Shabbath), the allegory of the Lord God resting from his work of creation on the seventh day was but a cloak, or, as the Sohar expresses it, a screen, to hide the true meaning.
The Jews reckoned then, as they do now, their days by number, as, day the first; day the second; and so on; yom ahad; yom sheni; yom shelisho; yom rebis; yom shamishi; yom shishehi; Yom SHABA.
"The Hebrew seven Hebrew text, consisting of three letters, S. B. O., has more than one meaning. First of all, it means age or cycle, Shab-ang; Sabbath Hebrew textcan be translated old age, as well as rest, and in the old Coptic, Sabe means wisdom, learning. Modern archaeologists have found that as in Hebrew Sab Hebrew textalso means gray-headed, and that therefore the Saba-day was the day on which the "gray-headed men, or 'aged fathers' of a tribe, were in the habit of assembling for councils or sacrifices."( "Westminster Review": Septenary Institutions; "Stone Him to Death." )

"Thus, the week of six days and the seventh, the Saba or Sapta-day period, is of the highest antiquity. The observance of the lunar festivals in India, shows that that nation held hebdomadal meetings as well. With every new quarter the moon brings changes in the atmosphere, hence certain changes are also produced throughout the whole of our universe, of which the meteorological ones are the most insignificant. On this day of the seventh and most powerful of the prismatic days, the adepts of the "Secret Science" meet as they met thousands of years ago, to become the agents of the occult powers of nature (emanations of the working God), and commune with the invisible worlds. It is in this observance of the seventh day by the old sages — not as the resting day of the Deity, but because they had penetrated into its occult power, that lies the profound veneration of all the heathen philosophers for the number seven which they term the "venerable," the sacred number. The Pythagorean Tetraktis, revered by the Platonists, was the square placed below the triangle; the latter, or the Trinity embodying the invisible Monad — the unity, and deemed too sacred to be pronounced except within the walls of a Sanctuary. (417-418)
The Heptaktis is not the Supreme Cause, but simply an emanation from Him — the first visible manifestation of the Unrevealed Power. "His Divine Breath, which, violently breaking forth, condensed itself, shining with radiance until it evolved into Light, and so became cognizant to external sense," says John Reuchlin. ( "Di Verbo Mirifico.") This is the emanation of the Highest, the Demiurge, a multiplicity in a unity, theElohim, whom we see creating our world, or rather fashioning it, in six days, and resting on the seventh. And who are these Elohim but the euhemerized powers of nature, the faithful manifested servants, the laws of Him who is immutable law and harmony Himself?
They remain over the seventh heaven (or spiritual world), for it is they who, according to the kabalists, formed in succession the six material worlds, or rather, attempts at worlds, that preceded our own, which, they say, is the seventh. If, in laying aside the metaphysico-spiritual conception, we give our attention but to the religio-scientific problem of creation in "six days," over which our best biblical scholars have vainly pondered so long, we might, perchance, be on the way to the true idea underlying the allegory. The ancients were philosophers, consistent in all things. Hence, they taught that each of these departed worlds, having performed its physical evolution, and reached — through birth, growth, maturity, old age, and death — the end of its cycle, had returned to its primitive subjective form of a spiritual earth. Thereafter it had to serve through all eternity as the dwelling of those who had lived on it as men, and even animals, but were now spirits. This idea, were it even as incapable of exact demonstration as that of our theologians relating to Paradise, is, at least, a trifle more philosophical. (419-420)
The Chaldeo-Babylonian tablets recently translated by George Smith leave no doubt of that in the minds of those who read the inscriptions esoterically. Ishtar, the great goddess, speaks in column iii. of the destruction of the sixth world and the appearance of the seventh, thus:
"Six days and nights the wind, deluge, and storm overwhelmed.
"On the seventh day, in its course was calmed the storm, and all the deluge,
"which had destroyed like an earthquake,*
"quieted. The sea he caused to dry, and the wind and deluge ended. . . .
"I perceived the shore at the boundary of the sea. . . .
"to the country of Nizir went the ship (argha, or the moon).
"the mountain of Nizir stopped the ship. . . .
"the first day, and the second day, the mountain of Nizir the same.
"the fifth and the sixth, the mountain of Nizir the same.
"on the seventh day, in the course of it
"I sent forth a dove, and it left. The dove went and turned, and . . . the raven went . . . and did not return.
"I built an altar on the peak of the mountain.
"by seven herbs I cut, at the bottom of them I placed reeds, pines, and simgar. . . .
"the gods like flies over the sacrifice gathered.
"from of old also the great God in his course.
(422-23)

Monday, 2 July 2018

Top Posts of 2015


1 Theosophy basics: Blavatsky on the number seven
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/07/theosophy-basics-blavatsky-on-number.html

2 Book Review: Masters of Wisdom: The Mahatmas, Their Letters, and the Path - Edward Abdill
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/07/book-review-masters-of-wisdom-mahatmas.html

3 Blavatsky Interview - Paris, 1884
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/02/blavatsky-interview-paris-1884.html

4 The spiritual meaning of St-John's Day / Midsummer Day / the Summer Solstice
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-spiritual-meaning-of-st-johns-day.html

5 Blavatsky on the Tao and Taoism
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/02/blavatsky-on-tao-and-taoism.html

6 The Spiritual Meaning of Easter 1
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-spiritual-meaning-of-easter.html

7 Book Review: The Esoteric Papers of Madame Blavatsky - Daniel Caldwell
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/09/book-review-madame-blavatskys-esoteric.html

8 King Ashoka on Religious Tolerance - Rock Edict #12
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/02/king-ashoka-on-religious-tolerance-rock.html

9 Are there a specific number of reincarnations?
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/10/are-there-specific-number-of.html

10 Ibn Arabi on the Unity of Religions and Religious Tolerance
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/10/ibn-arabi-on-unity-of-religions-and.html

11 Geoffrey Farthing on Reincarnation
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/08/geoffrey-farthing-on-reincarnation.html
12 Blavatsky and the Kabbalah 1 : the Sefer Yetzirah
https://theosophyproject.blogspot.com/2015/01/blavatsky-and-kabbalah-1-sefer-yetzireh.html