Friday, October 17, 2008

Searching for Bliss

Before creation Allah was alone and He is alone after He has created. All creation is the manifestation of the Light of Allah (swt) translated in our own perceptual world into concepts of energy and movement which originated and diverged from the initial source to form hierarchies of various complexity and density along the path of creation. Despite the hierarchy, all creation remains connected with the source.
In the case of the creation of man, 3 concepts define his relationship with his Lord. We learn from the Qur’an that after creating Adam, Allah (swt) breathed from His spirit into him, that He taught him the Knowledge of all the Names and that He took from Adam and his progeny a covenant of Rububiat (Lordship)- a mutually binding relationship of submission on the part of man and of care and guidance on the part of Allah (swt). As long as Adam dwelt in the eternal Garden, he remained united with the source of his creation in a purely spiritual state of gatheredness referred to as Bliss; his Knowledge of the Names remained a potentiality to be actualized…..until such time as he and his progeny descended into the lower world (Dunyah) where the possibilities of actualization of the Knowledge have been set. In the Dunyah, a physical form was added to the spiritual creation of man, so that he became a dually-formed being –his spirit (the soul) being his essence and his physical form the vehicle of his experience of this life.
Our physical form including body and intellect (mind) develops through the interaction between our nature and our environment to shape our unique individual experience of this world; all the while our souls which we refer to as our inner being are all identical. Similarly, everything in creation, tangible or intangible, accessible to our various faculties, perceptive or intellectual, all is endowed with an outer and an inner shape, meaning, and outcome. In turn, this physical-spiritual matrix is subjected to continuous forces, which spring from the display of the Divine Names and which, along with our own choices, propel us on our path towards the Knowledge of the Divine. But we constantly yearn for our original state of gatheredness… Through the veils of dispersion which cover this original state, we innately are programmed to seek the Light which has created us, loved us and created love within us. Remembering and perceiving/ acquiring knowledge and reflecting upon our experiences are the processes which bring us back to our ancestral origin and which fulfill our task in this Dunyah.
Bliss results from our momentary contact with the Ultimate reality, the Truth, our Ancient Timeless Origin; it is momentary because we are subjected to constant change, and although we have the possibility of closeness to the Divine source in this world we can never attain IT completely. And again because of this innate disposition, we are driven to seek the traces of the Divine qualities which are displayed in full force in the Universe. Most often, we are attracted by what suggests those Attributes without understanding the meaning of the attraction and more often than not we get attached to the worldly manifestation, the outer form of an Attribute and fail to see that what we are seeking is the inner essence. Ideally, we will eventually be able to detach ourselves from our false goal, look deeper into the experience, understand our drive and see the One Hand that moves all…
Thus our search typically moves from the realm of exteriority to the interior, from the world of shape to that of meaning and from the repetitive experience of pleasures to the persistent single-minded search for the essence which we recognize when we reach a state of Bliss. But the outer is necessary as a door to the inner, form is the window on meaning.I
In our frantic search for our origins, no experience is more telling than that of romantic love….we become attracted by what mimics, is a shadow of, a simile of the Divine and we are thrust into a psycho-spiritual-physical and emotional state which includes powerful emotions, oceanic feelings of loss of boundaries, a sense of discovery of the innate benign meaning of the Universe, of the interconnectedness of all creation, increased creativity, energy and hope etc….This state resolves with time as we realize that the transient object of our love, because of certain qualities it possesses, had evoked our primordial Love but is not our true Love and so we move on looking further…The process is identical as we embark in search of beauty, power, wealth, intellectual achievement, creativity etc…
Despite our inborn potentiality, we are able to perceive the Divine qualities only in a circumscribed manner; this creates for us a semblance of contradiction in the state of the Universe which if we do not resolve by seeing the One behind the many, may leave us in a state of confusion and compartmentalization. Another characteristic of our perceptual ability is that we can only recognize things by comparing them with their opposites, absolute knowledge of something is not in our ability. In addition, the original dispersion of Light having created energy and movement, our situation is never static in this world: we move between attraction to what we love and repulsion from what we do not love, between the inner and the outer, form and meaning, always seeking an equilibrium whose source is our innermost identity, a state of inner contentment whose essential quality is that it is absolute, real and never changing as opposed to everything else that we experience in this world.


Marina Montanaro said...

Salam Dear Sister Dr. Hind. So moving. It reminds me of how Thomas Mann describes romantic love in Tonio Kröger: ..."dass er ja auch Hans Hansen ganz und gar vergessen habe, obgleich er ihn täglich sah." (..."that he had also completely forgotten Hans Hansen, although he saw him everyday."):Sob.:( And yet, every forgotten love is a step toward the One, inshallah. Tears and chocolate,

Sufiyya said...


I know that you know the multiple splendors of love. God bless.