Week 1

Rule 1
How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame,
it means there is too much fear and blames welled inside us. If we see God as full of Love and compassion, so are we.

Ok,so … The first week has been a disaster. I am actually laughing at my self. Why is it that we make these ‘commitments’ so serious that every inch of my body is incomplete resistance as a result of it!

Nevertheless, I have contemplated … What is God like for me? I am in a ‘split-state-of-mind’ so to speak. There is a part of me who knows and feels that God is the source of Good: beauty, creativity, kindness, smiles, and more. When I meditate, I sit in the silence and after a while – after my mental craze has subsided – I start feeling the presence of Good; the Loving Kindness, the Care and Love that is available for me (as long as I reach into it).

At the same time, God is also a negligent parent for me. I am angry with God and I am angry with myself. I look around myself and I also see havoc and mayhem. Ignorant people running the show and I feel victimized. I feel helpless. I need God to sort this out and make it right. I need ‘him’ to make this pain and anquish to go away.

But God, the God that resides in the silence does not descends and sorts things out. This God, is not the God. This God is a creation of the phantasies of a young child who was neglected and uncared for. A child’s plea for help who had grown up too fast and became resentful and demanding as a result.

The God I often see as myself is harsh and unforgiving. L:uckily, I am also aware of the God who lives in the silence; the Loving and Caring God who walks with me, cares for me, hugs me when I sleep; who appreciates me even when I hate ‘Him’.

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Weekly Contemplations

Week 1 – Rule 1

40 Rules of Love – My 40 week journey of LOVE.

As I was looking for some material for contemplation during the Christian Season Epiphany that lasts until the 1st March this year I ran into a book called 40 Rules of Love by Elif Shafak (find the book here).

At first, I thought that Shams Tabrizi wrote a book – which is very unlikely – and started to look for his ‘rulebook on Love’. Since he was a rather particular Sufi mystic, I thought,  that he might have left some notes behind. Well, nothing like that. The book – see above – is a fictional story that does, however, include 40 rules on spiritual Love that were supposedly filtered out from different quotes and writings that is now credited to Shams. 

Who was Shamz Tabrizi? He was a 13th century mystic, Rumi’s teacher and companion. READ this beautiful summary on Shams life and his impact on Rumi.  HERE (CLICK)

I have not read the book yet. But I will as part of my 40 week journey on LOVE. I love these so-called ‘rules’. They are thoughtful and deep. It reminded me how much we are glued to the phantasy land of rom-coms that tell nothing about the Truth of Love. They do not make it real or even believable. But there is a kind of Love that is beyond warm and fuzzy emotions and fantasies, a Love that Rumi and Shams wrote so beautifully about. We spend countless hours trying to find our soul-mate in another person and we fail to see that the Love we are so desperately searching for is right there within us. It has always been there, all the time. Personally, I think it is important to find the true meaning behind the word ‘LOVE’,  understand it and experience it as a spiritual quality.

So, as a result, I decided to find my own meaning and experiment with Sham’s LOVE. Every week, from the second week of January, I will contemplate/meditate  – and I kindly invite you to do the same – on one of the ‘rules’ of love that is credited to Shams. Find the first one below. I would be happy if you shared your finding with me!

Rule 1
How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings to mind mostly fear and blame,
it means there is too much fear and blames welled inside us. If we see God as full of Love and compassion, so are we.

My Path to God by Shams Tabrizi (CLICK)

Shams intro

Who was Shams -al- Tabrizi?

Well, if you search the NET to find information on Shams you will be disappointed because there isn’t much information available on him neither is there a Wikipedia page on him. His entire existence is encapsulated in being once the teacher and companion of Rumi, the famous Sufi mystic and poet.

Below, you can read about him in terms of his relationship with Rumi.

There are many legends describing the meeting of Shams al Tabrizi  and Rumi in Konya.

Rumi’s meeting with Shams-al Tabrizi  turned him literally upside down , after the mystical shock he experienced in his first encounter with a man gifted with such extraordinary esoteric powers

Shams was the spark that ignited the fire of divine longing within Rumi, awakening the passion of the soul, such that Rumi said of his life “I burnt, and burnt and burnt.” His time with Shams transformed him, and the love that was awakened still speaks to us now, so many centuries later.

It is known that though Rumi attained an excellent and honourable position among his peers, there was within him a sense of disquiet, of unfulfillment, of incompleteness, a thirst, a craving, a yearning, a desperate longing  for the unknown domain of the Most High. He knew he could not do it alone. He was in need of a spiritual Guide who can guide him  .As a result, we read that when Rumi and Shams first met, they were so enthralled with each other that they spent several months secluded together in the prayer-retreat cell.

In this particular Sufi path, the disciple tends to cultivate a kind of love for the spiritual Master within the heart, visualizes the Master in the heart or crave to be in his presence frequently. This practice is said to lead to very deep mystical experiences.

Rumi seems indeed to have been in this type of “passing away in the spiritual presence of the Master (fana fil-shaykh). He wrote thousands of verses expressing his spiritual love for Shams in his Divan. It is also said that in this path that if this closeness with the spiritual master (Shaykh) continues for too long, it becomes a barrier to “annihilation in God” (fanâ fî ‘llâh)  And Shams suggested to Rumi that he might have to go away in order for him to progress further. After Shams disappeared permanently, and after Rumi recovered from his loss, it is said that Rumi found Shams in his own heart. And in his last years, Rumi composed thousands of couplets (The Mathnawi) in which he describes many unitive mystical experiences.

This is very much like “annihilation in God” after “annihilation in the Spiritual Guide.” The “death” of the ego is central to the mystical path, this “death” reveals the essential union of lover and Beloved.

It would be necessary to understand here that in Sufi poetry, the word “lover” means being “ a lover of God “and in Sufism the mystic seeker is considered as the lover and God as the Beloved.

Fana is ” annihilation “ The sufis say that you need a spiritual  guide on the mystical path. The guide or master is someone who is surrendered to God and is able to help the wayfarer make the transition from the ego to the Self. In surrendering to the teacher, fana fi Shaikh, the disciple learns to surrender to God.

Source – Facebook

If you want to learn more about Shams, there is a wonderful autobiographical book called Me and Rumi by Wiliam C. Chittick – see more here (click)

Shams

Why don’t you plead to God?

Wake up in the middle of the night, get up, and prostrate yourself twice.

Need!

Put your face on the ground, and rain down tears. The heart is greater than heaven and the circling spheres, so why do you constrict it with thoughts and whispering doubts!

Why should you make the pleasant world your narrow prison?

Happy is the one whose eyes sleep but whose heart does not sleep! Woe on the one whose eyes do not sleep but whose heart does sleep!

Do not grieve if the darkness becomes long. When the darkness becomes long after that, the brightness will be long. Lights are all friends of each other.

Even if it be after a thousand years, these words will reach those for whom they’re intended.