Universal In-Dependence Part 1

Thank you for Your Presence; my Awareness thereof, and Your Love!

I am present in the Presence of the One, All Aware, to make (“the required” or  “a voluntary”) conscious-connection of the (morning, mid-day, afternoon, evening, night, late-night, etc.), focusing my heart on the Qibla

To the One Aware alone, who’s even greater!

Transcendent and Glorious art Thee, and Yours is the praise; and blessed is Your remembrance; and beyond exaltation, Your majesty; and there is none Aware but the One Aware Alone.

We shelter in this One Aware Alone, in whose Presence is the Pleasure of all Love and Kindness;

From the misidentifying mind;

Rejecting its false ego, along with its devaluing debasements of every kind.

Residing in the Precious Presence of Pleasurable Awareness, All-Loving, Ever-Kind, we begin.

Celebrating and appreciating, we give thanks to this One, Aware of all that is with a peaceful mind;

Loving and Kind;

And thus we see every moment masterfully designed;

This Awareness we adore as aid’s only source;

Our guidance on a way noble and straight;

A way without taint, full of favor and grace;

Not of displeasure’s complaints, nor of those who deviate.

We acknowledge that there is none Aware, but the One Aware; and we affirm that Your messenger is simply a slave raising such awareness, by perfectly delivering and demonstrating this message of awareness.

To the One Aware alone, who’s even greater!

Be Aware, and experience Our Presence, The Pleasure of love, Ever-Kind!

Celebrating, appreciating, and giving thanks with a peaceful mind;

Experience this– Most Loving, Ever Kind;

Mastering every moment’s design.

This alone adore, as aid’s only source;

Your guidance on a way noble and straight;

A way without taint, full of favor and Grace;

Not of displeasure’s complaints, nor of those who deviate.

We have no “other” to worship– just Thee!

There is no “other”– just This!

This is Thee, and Thou art The Oneness of Absolute and Eternal Refuge! Oneness un-begetting and unbegotten.

There is nothing but Thee!

We meditate on Thee as Illuminating Generative Light; And upon all Your glorious attributes. These are Your Holy Names; and they are the basis of all that exists.

As The Source of All that Is, You alone are adored as omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, self-existent Conscious Being. Only You, who remove all ignorance and disturbance from the mind, are capable of purifying and sharpening all intelligence!

From the darkest regions of ignorance that which was thought to be the “i” was formed. This idea of “i” came forth, with the eyes of understanding closed tightly shut. With Your torchlight of knowledge You enlighten these eyes. In the light of this sight we bear Your torch.

I thank You for This, Awareness of Your Presence– The Present Moment, Now– as it is! I devote all to This, to facilitate Supreme Enjoyment; which is life’s highest pleasure. I thank You for the will to do whatever is required– confident of Your perfection– and the patience to persevere and endure to the end. I give all praise and thanks to You, O’Supreme Source of Being, mindful that such Conscious Awareness is Thy Saving Grace!

This is Love; to be deeply rooted in Your Presence; in Aware Appreciation of what is. I adore this!

Preparing to begin, I contemplate the day as it spreads before me. Directing my thoughts to You, O’Highest Consciousness, I relinquish any attachment to selfishness, dishonesty, self-pity, and the many forms of false egoistic fear. If disturbance, agitation, doubt, or uncertainty plague me, I pray to relax; seeking refuge in the inspiration of Your Presence, and guidance for right-thinking or action. I am thankful for the power to walk in Your Divine Understanding, as it is revealed to me—as well as Your gracious release from the bondage of self-will. Consciously aware, liberated from the delusions of self-seeking, and harmonizing my will to Yours, O’Highest Consciousness, I will do what is to be done today. Thus, I am free of the dangers and disturbances of self-centered fears, arising from the selfishness of the ego’s lust, anger and greed. Such liberation allows for better decision-making, and more efficiency. This absence of a separate agenda allows for a conservation of energy. Because I am not extending myself to arrange life to my liking, I remain serene, equipoised and full of vitality. For This, I give thanks!

I am as I am; one with all existence. Every day, every situation and even every breath continuously brings transformation, expansion, growth and development. This is so by the Grace of Peaceful Surrender. This is not something that my little “i” has done. Surrender is not an action of myself. It is a gift, for which I am eternally grateful! You have made it immanently accessible, by inspiring the cessation of struggle and action, through meditation. This has resulted in my ultimate return and reunion with You, O’Source of All Strength. By such Graceful Surrender You have freed me from the demands of a self-centered agenda; thus protecting me from the creation and harboring of errant views. Such liberation from the ego’s incessant commands allows for complete spiritual integration and transcendent unity, both internally and externally. By this sublime process You provide the freedom for me to exemplify meditation and meditative spiritual practices– and to join with others in this endeavor of loving kindness and peaceful surrender– by all means. I am now what I am meant to be — a divine trustee of creation and the Creator, embracing goodness, purity and light– emancipated from darkness, evil and negativity.

With life has come this opportunity, to submit the delusion of “I”, this idealized self, as a peace-offering; a sacrifice to serve as a refuge for all people, for this planet and for all of creation. I am accepting this divine mandate as my only worthwhile occupation, my reasonable service, and Your intimate and cherished trust. Thus is my illusion of self transmuted into a pillar of peace, presence and light. And this, not in any separate sense of existence, but in a stupendous and glorious display of Your Graceful Presence in each environment encountered. This is so whether at home, at work, or in spiritual gatherings. It is true whether interacting socially or professionally. It is the case at all levels of transaction, whether personal, communal, national or international. By the grace of such surrender, peace naturally exudes forth from it’s Source, affecting all who are in proximity. Nor, have You limited the scope or design of these results to any particular class or rank, but have afforded them to all who surrender. It’s not just a word. It’s not an idea or a belief. It’s a way to live and be in the world. Thanks to You, it is my reality!

–12SteppinSufi

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Why Would a Muslim Meditate?

The Importance of “Muslim Mindfulness”

The Quran is “The Reminder.” Our leader, the Prophet Muhammad, (A.W.A.S.), was sent to deliver a message. That message is “The Reminder.”

Of what are we being reminded? Allah says in His Holy Quran, “Remember Me and I will remember you” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:152). So, we are being reminded of Allah. But what does this mean– to be “reminded?”

To “re-mind” is to bring-back-to-mind. However, due to Allah being The Absolute Truth, He is primary. Therefore, rather than saying “bring-back-to-mind,” it is more appropriate and perfect to say, “bring-the-mind-back” to Allah. After all, The Holy Quran tells us, “We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:156).

This message delivered by the Holy Prophet, (A.W.A.S.), and the very purpose of revelation, is to bring our minds– indeed even our very souls– back to Allah!

What happens to the mind at this moment of encounter; when we return to the Presence of God?

The normal activity of the un-awakened mind in this world serves to veil our awareness of the Truth. However, the closer we come to Allah’s Divine Presence, the more our mind submits, becoming quiet. This allows for Allah to disclose Himself to the awareness of our still, awaiting hearts.

Recognizing in all humility that our finite mind can never fully realize the infinity of Allah we, nevertheless, inquire as to His nature and attributes. Our very profession of faith tells us, “La illaha illa’llah,” there is none to adore but the One to adore.

Of Allah’s many names depicting His unlimited attributes is Al-Khabir, The All-Aware. This could also be stated in the form of a testimony, “The One we are aware of is the One who is aware of, there is none aware, but He!”

So, our Prophet, (A.W.A.S.), is bringing a message to remind us to be aware of the One who is aware of us. Indeed, He is aware of everything in the heavens and the earth! He is Awareness Himself! And, we are to be aware of His Awareness– ever mindful– conscious of Allah as the only One to adore.

Why is this so important to Allah? The answer is really quite simple, and yet incredibly profound. God wants us to be aware of Him— our very source of awareness— in all His Majesty and Glory, simply because HE LOVES US!

Being All-Knowing, Allah is Ever-Aware of how we are created, formed, and fashioned– and to what purpose. We were created to worship Him (Surat -Dhariyat 51:56); to adore Allah. When we are aware of who He is we cannot help but fall down in prostrate adoration! He alone is adorable; which is to say, He is the only one worthy of worship.

Because we are made for such recognition through re-awakening our awareness, Allah knows there is no other way for us to be satisfied. Without an awareness of this awareness there is no possibility of peace or contentment—no hope of happiness.

To try to please a soul without Awareness of Allah is analogous to trying to please a fish without providing water. The only source of satisfaction for the fish is to be immersed in water. Likewise, there is no pleasure for the soul, except that he be immersed in the Awareness of Allah!

Ridwan’llah is the Pleasure of Allah. Our whole point and purpose of existence is to please God. It pleases Him when we remember Him. Meditation is one of the best ways to do this.

So, why would a Muslim meditate? Simply because, it is one of the best ways to please Allah!

How is a Muslim to Meditate?

Now that we can clearly see that it pleases Allah for us to remember Him through meditative practices, the question beckons, how is a Muslim to meditate?

As in all things we follow our Prophet Muhammed, (A.W.A.S.), who is the perfect example of how to be a Muslim in all circumstances. Let us take a closer look at how he received guidance.

When the Revelation of The Quran came to Muhammed, (A.W.A.S.), he had gone into seclusion. He got alone. So, we can initiate our practice by following his example. We find a quiet place to be alone.

The next thing we know is that the Prophet heard. To hear requires us to be listening; so, we get still and quiet. We simply remain in this awareness, waiting for Allah to reveal Himself to us, as He revealed Himself to Muhammed, (A.W.A.S.). We bow the mind and all its seemingly incessant activity to the Presence of Allah. In Islam we call this type of observance Muraqaba. It simply means to sit still in quiet observation.

Since we do not find ourselves elevated to the status of prophethood, we may want to prime our hearts and help to still our minds by calling upon our Lord, BEFORE attempting to enter into His Presence with Muraquba. We do this with a practice known as Tasbeh.

Tasbeh involves repeating various names of God, or phases of Truth. This is done in order to associate with and surrender to Allah in all His attributes. And, while this is usually done with the aid of beads, or counting on the fingers, there are no hard and fast rules. The Quran reminds us of the crucial activity when it says, “Call upon Me and I will respond to you!” Only those who are too proud would reject such an invitation (Surah Al-Ghfir, 40:60).

Are these the only ways we are reminded? No. In fact, all of Islam is a reminder to submit our own self-centered will to Allah. Our prayers five times daily are periods of reminding. These practices of meditation prepare the heart and mind for such blessed conscious connections. As we engage in Muraqaba, such periods of stillness are likely to calm our minds and raise our awareness. This allows us to develop a much deeper appreciation of one or many of the various aspects of Al-Haqq, The Truth.

If, during Muraqaba we are reminded of a particularly profound Truth, we can then further our meditative practice with Tafakhur (continuous contemplation). When this contemplation is directed towards the character of those who live this truth, such as the Prophet, the Companions, or our own teachers, this form of communion becomes known as Murabita.
 

Conclusion

 

In conclusion, a Muslim will meditate when s/he understands remembering Allah is what provides the power to surrender. Calling upon the Divine Names and attributes of Allah pleases Him. Thus, He is quick to respond to those who call upon Him. The response of His Presence brings a peace to calm the restless mind. When the mind is calm, one can see more clearly through the veil with the awareness of the heart.

When one looks in this way one is able to dive deeper into the contemplative depths of Allah and His associates. This practice then further empowers the process of surrender, allowing the practitioner to attain higher and higher degrees of appreciation for Allah’s Divine Majesty and Transcendent Glory.

With all this being said, perhaps we have been asking the wrong question. The question is not, “Why Would a Muslim Meditate?” The question is why would s/he NOT?

–By 12SteppinSufi

Quranic Writings (Beginning Surah #20 – TaHa)

Surah #20 – TaHa

We begin in the Precious and Pleasurable Presence

Of

The One Aware Alone, Loving and Kind

We have not sent this Reminder to cause you distress,

But only to awaken those who value God Alone.

Gradually is it revealed from the One,

Creator of the high heavens and the whole earth,

Owner of Mercy, and Established Presence of the Almighty Throne.

Presence of the heavens, and all the earth,

as well as what is between them and what is beneath,

All this and more belong to God Alone.

Whether you speak loudly or quietly, He hears all.

He even knows your secrets, and what is even more hidden than that.

There is none Aware, but the One Aware, to Him belong the most excellent names.

The Beloved’s Compassion

1) Out of Boundless Compassion,

2) The Beloved Reminds,

3) Creating humankind,

4) And teaching His Words,

[The Words that God teaches embody The Straight Way to His Pleasure and Tranquility– both here and now, as well as hereafter. By pleasing Him we know His Pleasure. Thus, we value knowledge of Him and what He loves. In this way God Reminds us of what He favors, and how to experience His favor. This chapter will repeatedly ask us, which of His favors would we deny? By acknowledging that all appreciation and thanks belong to God alone, we deny none of His favor. Hence, His Words– and the ability taught to human beings to use such words to reason, understand, and share such understanding with one another– are among the greatest favors of God. As such, it evidences His nature as One of Unbounded Compassion!]

5) [Like] The Sun, [representing our comprehension], and the Moon, [indicating our various moods]; measured by design.

[Because this Reminder is full of knowledge, it can be taught and learned. It’s knowledge exists in measured degrees, and can be known according to the capacities of the learners, with their varying degrees of sincerity, purity, and submission. To “know” with reason is one level. The knowledge of the heart, (and it’s accompanying loving yearnings), represent another. Even within each of these categories are multiple degrees.]

6) From the creepers to the trees, all in submissiveness are entwined.

7) And He set the Heavens high [a symbol of consciousness and it’s potential], with justice as the balance [between unity and multiplicity],

[From the animal appetites on the physical plane, to the accusing-self (i.e., the mental platform of duality), to the self that pleases God, all are balanced by the scales of justice. Most humans experience all three of these phases of consciousness, in greater or lesser degrees. The animal mind has virtually no knowledge. Hence, it suffers very few consequences. The accusing-self, on the other hand, recognizes the duality of multiplicity, but fails to harmonize into the unity of the reality. Subsequently, it is the phase of greatest suffering. However, even this suffering is a mercy, as it ideally and eventually leads to the self-realization of pleasing God; which is the highest of heavenly aspirations, or the supreme consciousness available to humankind. However, the transcendence of this awareness must be balanced in this realm of creation with the immanence of form– establishing unity within the appearance of multiplicity.]

8) So that you may not exceed the limits of the balance.

[This balance is set for us to practice the middle way of harmony between the unity of the Transcendent and the diversity immanent in the world of form. To “exceed the limits of the balance” is simply to deviate, or go beyond the boundaries of what is prescribed for existing in a quality of peace and true happiness, or even bliss. This is generally done by misuse or over-indulgence in the principle human drives of reason, lust and anger. Such error, or wrongdoing, darkens the naturally loving heart of the individual. If one persists in such a covering of darkness, eventually the faculties of “seeing,” (as in perceiving), and “hearing,” (with clarity of understanding), can be completely lost. In this way one wrongs one’s own soul by transgressing these limits.]

9) And moderate the balance with equanimity; causing no loss or diminution.

[The importance of “the balance” is emphasized by it being mentioned in three consecutive verses. This balance applies across all creation as well as the relationships among it’s many parts, including human beings. For humankind this balance is important both individually and collectively. The collective remains balanced by the enforcement of justice. Individually, the acceptance and application of mercy keep one in harmony. Of course, both justice and mercy apply to each category. However, the emphasis changes based on personal and social considerations.

Reason serves to balance the appetites of the animal mind, as well as the frustrations of the accusing self. However, reason also requires balance. Left unchecked reason itself degenerates into arrogance and deceit. However, a failure to reason results in stupidity and foolishness. The middle-way is to moderate the intellect with discipline. This facilitates the acquisition of useful knowledge, which matures into wisdom. Such wisdom is then brought to bear on the lustful appetites of the animal mind, setting bounds to curb it’s wanton lust, while avoiding degenerative apathy. When applied to the accusing self, such wisdom only allows correction leading to asserting the way of surrender, which culminates in God’s Pleasure. Living under such a harmonious governance brings a life of peace and virtue, richly invested with meaning and purpose.]

10) And the earth he has spread for all living entities.

11) Therein are delightful coverings from which to choose.

12) And they love these husks; though perishable, quickened as they are by My Spirit.

13) So, which of the favors of your Provider will you deny?