Thursday, August 8, 2019

Another case of much ado about nothing (reprise)



Many years ago I met a Sufi master whose profound understanding of Islam truly impressed me.

But before I continue with this story, let me state that almost all the Muslims with whom I have had close friendships have either been Sufis - or were gravitating towards a mystical interpretation of Islam. The mystical approach is experiential and private; whereas ritualistic religion is regulated by public behavior and therefore tends to be tribalistic in nature.

I find it impossible to have an intelligent conversation with fundamentalists of any persuasion - whether Muslim, Christian or whatever. This is because fundamentalism is antagonistic to intelligence. Wherever violence erupts over religious differences, fundamentalism is invariably the root cause. Brawn and brute force override brain and heart when independent thinking is suppressed.


Looking up the word "fundamentalism" in my trusty digital dictionary, I found this concise summary:

"Islamic fundamentalism appeared in the 18th and 19th centuries as a reaction to the disintegration of Islamic political and economic power, asserting that Islam is central to both state and society and advocating strict adherence to the Koran (Qur'an) and to Islamic law (sharia), supported if need be by jihad or holy war."

There you have it. Fundamentalism is basically an outward manifestation of ego insecurity. An entire tribe or nation can suffer from ego insecurity and seek refuge in hardline dogmatism and fanaticism. You could say it's a pathological condition and, as such, can be quite easily cured - once the hidden hand behind the reactionary forces is revealed and surgically amputated.

In every case you will find that the chief puppetmaster isn't even a believer. He cynically exploits the gullibility of the mindless mob and manipulates its collective pain-body through control of the mass media and law enforcement.


Coming back to my Sufi friend who enlightened me about the essence of Islam. He pointed out the significance of a triconsonantal syllable in Arabic and Hebrew which expresses peace, harmony and wholeness: the Arabic SaLaM and Hebraic ShaLoM are the commonest embodiments of this key to being truly muSLiM.
Sin-Lam-Mim (Arabic: س ل م‎ S-L-M; Hebrew: שלם‎ Š-L-M) is the triconsonantal root of many Semitic words, and many of those words are used as names. The root itself translates as "whole, safe, intact."
[Wikipedia]
Note that this triconsonantal syllable forms the root of the words "Islam" and "Muslim." This places the frequency of peace, harmony and wholeness at the very core of Islam and any sentient being that consciously aspires towards attunement and harmonization with the Whole of Existence is intrinsically Muslim.


When one has embraced the essence of Islam, no other rules apply. All observances, injunctions and rituals (specific to a historical and sociocultural context) immediately become irrelevant and meaningless and fall away of their own accord. As such, Islam in its pure, essential form can be said to be the ultimate guide to attaining cosmic equilibrium and liberation from illusion. This is precisely the teaching of wu-wei  found in the Tao Te Ching and it corresponds perfectly with the highest aspirations of Zen Buddhism. It also resonates effortlessly with the concept of yoga or sacred union with the Godhead or Source.

What about the name "Allah"? Does it have a special meaning? My learned friend explained that the word, written as Al-Lah means The Great Void - or The Nothingness from which Everything was born. In other words, Source.

Every Tibetan Buddhist aspires to return to and consciously merge with The Great Void. The Nothingness is a key element in Chaos Theory which postulates that Order (structured existence or an actualized state of being) emerges either randomly - or as a focused expression of desire and will from the Primordial Chaos (Infinite Potentiality). It all makes perfect sense to me.

The mystical understanding of Allah and Islam frees us from a narrow and limited distortion that can only lead to divisiveness and discord. Indeed, the way my Sufi friend explained Islam made me instantly receptive and I realized that this was truly a sophisticated philosophy with universal appeal and cosmic wisdom. No compulsion, no harsh and punitive rules, no exclusivity.


Alas, the crafty hoodlums who rule over unthinking mobs must of necessity opt for the most demented, inane and constricted interpretation of any belief system in order to have any control over the untutored passions of their flock. They will set up formal councils and academies to determine the parameters of belief and behavior and vigorously persecute (and even execute) anyone who preaches any form of "deviancy" from the orthodox doctrine.

We have seen what the Spanish Inquisition (which lasted from 1478 till 1834) was really about - the brutal and violent suppression of religious dissent and heresy for the benefit of a corrupt and greedy ruling elite. In this day and age we need a Malay Inquisition like we need a hole in the pocket.

Allahu Akbar! The Nothingness is All! So why so much ado about NOTHING?



[First published February 2010, reposted  5 August 2013 & 5 June 2016]


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

From Dragon Slayer to Dragon Rider ~ The Spiral of Conscious Evolution


Midgard Serpent by Alicia Smith

Mystics (and more often these days scientists too) speak of the planet as a living, breathing organism - a macro form of ourselves, actually. Gaia-Sophia, Pachamama, Lady Melina, Mother Earth are some of the names we call her. Just like us her body is a complex nexus of electrical circuitry and magnetic fields. Mountainous areas have long been regarded as sacred, with many serving as geodetic chakras where leylines or dragon paths converge.

Mount Meru as the electromagnetic axis of the world
During the last evolutionary cycle, Mount Meru (located in the Transhimalayan mountain range formed when tectonic plates collided) marked the spiritual axis of the planet. It was said to be where the head of the World Snake (or the Midgard Serpent of Nordic mythology) was located.

Then some 60 years ago (shortly before China invaded Tibet) the World Snake began to migrate, making its way slowly towards the Andes where its head now rests. The World Snake symbolizes the planetary kundalini or activated energy field; and all along its body you will find power spots and sacred sites. Often the serpent's body also marks the meeting of tectonic plates.

Earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis and flashfloods are signs of the World Snake moving. When it moves volcanoes erupt, the ground shakes, and our daily routines are enormously disrupted (and, yes, death may be considered an abrupt termination of our everyday reality). Sometimes entire cities and continents are destroyed. And we are reminded to take heed of the fact that our physical existence is precarious and never totally predictable. Indeed, we build our towns and cities on the back of a sleeping giant whose slumber can last decades, centuries, millennia... lulling us into the complacency of busyness-as-usual.

In the past humans have sought to slay the dragon in a quest to obtain fame and fortune (for where dragons sleep it is believed great treasure can be found). The dragon or World Snake represents the elemental, primordial reality from which all life as we know it emerged. We cannot kill it without ultimately killing ourselves.

When we awaken to the cellular knowing that the planet (and ultimately the galaxy and the whole universe) is an extension of our physical and metaphysical selves, and that life itself is fractal and holographic in nature, we will spontaneously become empathetic and compassionate and begin to resonate and consciously navigate with elegance and gracefulness, with masterful restraint and gentle wisdom.

Lord Vishnu relishing his own Dream of the Universe

We will opt to learn how to ride the dragon, rather than foolishly attempt to kill it. We will get good at surfing the electromagnetic waves. And we can begin to do so by becoming conscious, individually and as a species, of the cosmic context of our being; by paying constant attention to the bigger picture and looking up every now and then from our rice bowl (or plate of quinoa) and remembering we are indeed unique parts of a magnificent Wholeness, born from the active imagination of Vishnu, the Dreaming God.

Many of us will revel in the Cosmic Dream, losing ourselves time and again in the illusion of separation, entranced by the shadow-play of Maya. And some of us will identify with the Dreamer instead of the Dream, the Eternal rather than the Ephemeral. So that when the Dream is over, we can yawn and rub our eyes and put the kettle on and enjoy a hearty breakfast before imagining another universe.

Antares
26 April 2015

SONG OF THE DRAGON

[Originally posted 10 January 2017]