Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu,Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen.Not any religion or cultural system. I am not from the east or the west,My place is the place-less, a trace of the trace-less.Neither body or soul.
I belong to the beloved,have seen the two worlds as one.
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Are Religion and Spirituality mutually exclusive?
I've so often heard
the expression from friends :I'm spiritual but not really religious.
For many of
us-millennial Muslims-religious rituals are an obstacle to
claiming our true spirituality. Dry religious texts and
adherence to literalism obscures Islam's mystical heart.
traditional religion has both esoteric and exoteric dimensions. The esoteric is
the dimension of universal truth, while the exoteric is the proper vehicle for
that truth specific to a particular civilization or culture.
religion that does not recognize the esoteric dimension in its own teaching(
Wahabism in Islam or materialism in general) that cannot see that the same
truth can be found in other forms, is in danger of losing the living Truth that
is the true foundation for the exoteric dimension, and indeed is in danger of
losing the foundation of civilization and culture itself.
had an esoteric core: early saying of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) point to an
inner spiritual mystery but the orthodox mullahs banned the inner, esoteric
aspect of Islam's teachings and the Gnostic sufic treatise
became forbidden heresy.
Sufism is very individualistic: It relies upon an individual's
direct, personal connection to God. Its foundation is -- passion. It
is spontaneous, malleable, and paradoxical. It is self-reliant, charismatic,
and brilliant. Spiritual experiences are rarely defined because defining them
would take one out of the experiencing of the moment, something anathema to the
Religion as a social structure,
on the other hand, is as thick as it gets. Religion is often so thick,
however, that it smothers spontaneity and individuality.It evolves in to dogma
and rhetorical quibbling( as it did so tragically with modern Islam)
. It struggles to see people as different from one another. Religious
doctrine or body of knowledge is meant to be accessible to anyone. It
does not rely upon one's individual inner experience of the divine or what is
“blind” has been used in the Qur’an, alluding to people who in spite of
having eyes, yet cannot see. Indeed they see the forms and the exoteric aspects
of things but do not see the esoteric meaning within.
(swt) points to this repeatedly in various verses in the Holy Book, usually
after a story, parable or symbolism:
there are lessons for those who can understand” or "there is indeed a
lesson for all who have eyes to see" or “if only they could understand” or
“if only you could see” or "we
detail Our signs for people who understand".
generally speaking Muslims are reminded in the Koran that humans can experience
and speak about God only in symbols. Everything in the world is a sign of God;
Ibn al-Arabi argued that humans have a duty to create theophanies for
themselves, by means of the creative imagination that pierces the imperfect
exterior of mundane reality and glimpses the divine within.
contrast, Sufism and its occult rituals are usually a way to help the
individual have a direct inner experience of the sacred. They are based upon
the understanding that there is a world of the spirit that is very different
than the purely physical world of the senses.
Sufism often involve specific spiritual practices that are quite
distinct from religious observances. These practices are a way to access the
world of the spirit--leading finally to awaken or be born into this reality
that is invisible to our physical eyes.
They remind us that we are
not just physical beings in a physical world, but that our lives and also our
bodies have a spiritual dimension. We are beings of light as well as flesh and
blood. There is a world within and around us to which we can have access that
is very different to the physical world.
In Sufism it is
described as a series of chambers within the heart--that just as we have a
physical heart we also have a spiritual heart which contains our divine
Yet the spiritual and physical worlds are not separate, but interpenetrate
and nourish each other.
that each of us has two sides to our hearts. Central to human greatness is our
capacity to carry two ideas in tension.
Spiritual life can take us
beyond death. In Sufism this is called "to die before you die," to
awaken to the world of light while still alive in this world. Then you know
that there is no such thing as death, or in Jesus' words in the Gospel of
"Whoever discovers the interpretations of these sayings will not taste
truth is at the heart of all religions, and yet it is also beyond the divisions
that plague our world. It is about the oneness, the love and the light that is
within us all, and to which as human beings we can have access. Spiritual
teachings and their practices can give us each our own individual experience of
this very human reality, help us to live in the light of this oneness rather
than stumbling in the darkness of so many divisions.