THE SUFI APPROACH TO ISLAM -
Finding Spiritual Healing and World Peace in these Troubled Times
 
THE UNIQUE MISTAKE: 
ASSUMING THE VEIL TO BE THE REALITY

For the benefit of my Beloved Students and the True Lovers of God (As-Salam - Peace, Al-lah! The One) everywhere, I wish to clarify concisely what has happened to the Muslims all over the world. In this, we will know, without doubt, what has happened and what we can do about it. 

The prophet said that if we are planting a date tree on the last day, to go on planting it. So we must continue our personal work of drawing closer to God in all events. Much of this work has to do with the spreading of peace as we have discovered it within our own hearts. This is done by offering our services to folks who are in need and know that they are in need. 

In this regard I invite sincere students to study and learn the way of surrender and to claim it and teach it as their own. There is no longer time for long lifetimes of devoted discipleship toward the attainment of mastery. I find myself reviving the ancient art of the Khwajagan Masters, instant recognition and transmission, which is to pass it along instantaneously to all who are ready for it. This is no idle claim. It is simply a verified and recognizable knowledge of reality, and, having discovered it, if I do not invoke it, teach it and pass it along, I would be abusing it. It would then be taken from me and given to others more worthy.

And such is the case with the religion of Islam. The majority have proven to be unworthy and as a result are being stripped of their dignity and honor on a daily basis. This unworthiness is manifest in their perpetuation of the unique (and common) mistake, that of affirming the veil to be the truth, and thereby veiling the truth. If it were not so simple it would not be so invisible. 

Justifying oneself as a man of religion is still self-justification, and self-justification is only necessary in one who has lost his connection with God. So rather than making it our religion to seek directly our connection with God, the which is evident "in ourselves and on the horizons" (Q), we seek to (belay) delay that and enjoy ourselves a little longer in this world of trouble, either seeking it or solving it. And we perform and justify that delay by claiming ourselves to be the guardians of religion, the point of which, by that time, we've truly lost. "Ho Ho, We're the keepers of the Gates and no man shall enter the Garden (of our dreams) except they pass by us. Ho, Ho! Ho Ho!" This is the very definition of delusion, and it is that against which all sensible people are warned. 

And why do we not seek directly our connection with God? Simply because it requires (only) the removal of illusion and illusion can be so pleasant. It is what we build our lives on. Seeking directly our connection with God is not the result of an outward action of acquisition. And the Holy Worship of Allah is being used for that very purpose. It is the hope of the ego that by doing "good" works and keeping itself intact it will survive the Day of Judgment and continue in its pleasure in the gardens of Bliss. Well, Bliss is an entirely different pleasure and can only be known by the death of desire.  Bliss is not the perpetuation or acquisition of desire, but its termination. 

And here again we encounter the perpetuation of "The Unique Mistake", that of mistaking the ego for the soul, assuming the veil to be the reality, and insisting upon it without any further investigation. It couldn't be that easy and it wouldn't be fair to Humanity if it were simply a matter of Allah entrusting a people with a religion and allowing them to go Scott-free in spite of their abuse of it. 

A connection cannot be "made", simply because it never was "not there" in the first place. It is our work, as prescribed in ours and all religion, to seek out and be true to our innate nature (Fitr), to love God directly from our bare and uncovered souls. It is from this work that all good emanates and all reality manifests. This work is called, among other things, "Self-Realization". It is the meat, the work and the point of the Sufi Path. 

I am a recognized teacher in this work. I have studied it all my life with the direct intention of earning that recognition. I teach both "the Work", which I call Sufism, and the Sufi approach to Islam. And let me clarify the distinction. "Sufism" is the "ism" (ironically the Arabic word for "name"). An "ism" is that by which something is known, called, invoked or named. So "Sufism" is a word, or name, denoting the knowledge and knowing of "the Work", or, "The Psychology and Inner Knowledge of Self in the Light of Truth in all Religions". 

Another clarification of the distinction between Sufism and the Sufi approach to Islam is this. Even though Sufism is most often taught within an at least nominal, and sometimes quite demanding, Islamic context, Sufism (Self-purification for the sake of knowing God Alone) CAN be taught and learned independently of any religious or linguistic affiliation. For it is, in its purest form, simply "Ma`arifat", or the knowledge of self-realization in recognition of the Divine. Now understanding this is the point of the "Work", and I do not want to have to explain the whole process just yet. Suffice it to say that if you read all of my writings you will know what I mean. 

However, even more difficult for some and also easy for many is this next concept. Sufism, this "recognition and awareness of God at all times", by virtue of being the point and goal of all religions, becomes a "new" religion, a "personal" religion, "the" religion, the "point" of every moment in life, in everyone who has mastered it. That's why permissions are granted for the starting of new Sufi Schools, and that's how and where the teaching and transmission of real religion has stayed alive. God is not "real" to you if He is not in your heart at every moment.

Religion is intensely personal. It should not be "inflicted" upon anyone. And that is the meaning of "la iqraha fi-d-Din", "No compulsion in Religion". But religion is practiced in some form or another by everyone. Even the "religion" of "no religion" is a justifiable religious practice. And often more right because of the logical and justifiable reaction that new people on the planet are having to the established rigidity and inflexibility of otherwise valid ideologies. 

Because of that, and because of the severe wounding done in the West from the horrible impressions of Islam left by the fruitless endeavors of terrorized Muslims seeking to terrorize the world and others in the name of Islam, I find it important to keep the healing practices, which I call the "work", or Sufism, separate from the teaching of religion and religious practices and focused on the point of knowing true self and thereby God and how to love Him. This point I consider to be requisite to a manifestation of love and gratitude, which, in my opinion, are the only real reasons for accepting the daily life and practices of Islam. 

It is our primary obligation to "know and love the Lord thy God with all thy body, heart, mind, and soul". And we are "hard-wired" for that. It is our "Innate" nature, like children are born loving their parents. Everything else is secondary. So for me, obligation as a teaching tool simply won't cut it. And investigation proves that there are deep underlying motivations for the acceptance of obligation. These motivations are for the most part unrecognized and therefore dishonored and thought of as dishonorable. 

Even though these motivations have mostly to do with the search for, or the repulsion by, love, I simply will not provide my students with a means for acting out their anger and hidden aggressions in the name of Islam. This, in my opinion, would be doing them, myself, and the world a great disservice. So I do not teach obligation except as an option. There are plenty of places where student may go who are in need of such an uninvestigated and unquestioning lifestyle. And I won't teach Islam to anyone whose intentions have not been purified by going through my "Sufi" school. Otherwise their intentions are wrong and they will reap punishment, not bliss, but only the amount necessary to show them what they need to know. This is an example of what I refer to as the "Spiritual Motivations" for "evil" deeds. And relates directly to the "Transformation of Sin into Blessing", which is a part of the "Conversion Factor" and the "Promise of Islam". (See the chapters by those names.)

And this is not to say that a whole hearted and willing acceptance of the secondary and outward disciplines of Islam is wrong, or will not lead to the desired goals as long as those goals are pure. It most certainly will, and it is the time-honored path of the religion and Islam. But the emphasis here must be on wholehearted, and I strongly suspect that that is where all the trouble lies. It is quite evident that in spite of all the claims and protestations to the contrary, a genuine sincerity is lacking in the hearts of the majority of children who were "forced" into being "good" Muslims. It could be that, in its place there is an artificial and defensive sincerity. And that due to a repressive and fearful upbringing, their questioning, rebellious side has never had the opportunity to exercise itself adequately and is champing violently (and "sub"-consciously, of course) at the bit to do so. That would easily account for the inordinate amount of willing violence that is being manifested by many of the radical "activist" groups.

Now many of my students will pass willingly without notice from the study of Self -purification and healing, to the study of religion and Islam. But I am always certain that they are of sound health and mind (i.e. fully self-realized) before offering them the opportunity to formally admit themselves into the Sufi school as students of Sufism in all its ramifications, including the study and learning of religion and Sufi practices. There are no obligations imposed, but the formal obligations are made available for their choosing. I continue to emphasize that the important point is and remains to be in the Love, with God, at all times, which they, by that time, will have learned to recognize. 

Translating "Ma`arifat" as "recognition" makes it very easy to teach the essentials of healing and self-realization first, and let them pick up the self-devotional fundamentals as they go along. 

To me, being a Sufi is like being a psychologist. It is practicable in any country, language, religion or walk of life. And being a Muslim means that I am Surrendered, as I should be, to God Alone and Directly, without the medium-ship of any person, group, book or theology. After 35 years, I feel no "obligation" to worship God, only a desire. This is the epitome of "self-responsibility", and it is this that the healers and psychologists in the western culture are discovering to be so crucial to true health and well being. It is the "whole" heart, about which the prophet said, "If it is sound, the body is sound. This is Islam, my friends. This is the "surrender" about which the poets sing. 

So the Sufi approach to Islam, which I maintain is the true point and purpose of the Islamic religion, is that of a wholehearted and enthusiastic acceptance of self, God, Love and Religion, with a simple, kind-hearted, acceptable* human maturation and up-bringing, accompanying a peaceful conversion of anxiety to bliss. And this is done only by first establishing peace in our own hearts, by making our Peace with God, and then by the work of spreading this peace and healing as our way of life. And this is the Sufi Way to teach religion and Islam.

*(See "Radhiyyatan, Mardhiyyah" as "completely accepting, completely acceptable")

The goal of so many Muslims nowadays is the fulfillment of secondary obligations without having first fulfilled the primary. But the hardest and most important struggle is against our own warlike, rebellious, destructive and hateful nature, which would rather find and destroy an "enemy" than find and destroy itself. But it can be done and it must be done if we are to fulfill our primary and only real obligation to Allah, which is to be a messenger of peace and healing unto all the worlds. And the singular and unique mistake that people make is assuming the veil to be the reality. 

Islam, the way of the peaceful Surrender, has not gone wrong but the people have been misled from the very inception of the revelation. There is No doubt that the Prophet upon whom be Allah's Peace and Blessing, was, and is in total Surrender to Allah (The One), as were the closest of His true followers and companions, Imam Ali being the first and leader of them. Akbar means not only more difficult and greater in magnitude, but also in importance. And it is this simple fact that has caused, and still does, the disruption of the peace, by those who would simply prefer to make war.

If war is Hell then that explains why the pits are full of people. And of course it is surrounded by the temptations of paradise, how else are we going to allure people into it. It matters not for what noble reason or cause one chooses war over peace, that one is still aiding and abetting in the creation of fire, and not, as he may be deluded into thinking, making peace through warfare. 

Peace is not "made" through war. Peace is discovered (in oneself). And a commitment to peace in your heart is a commitment to God and to Islam. It matters not what language in which that commitment is made. Peace with God is Made. War is war with God except it be the minimal necessary for the defense of self and homeland. Defense is always minimal (take the martial arts as an example of this) and does in no way justify an attack upon innocent people or the unlicensed and irresponsible waging of personal warfare in self-justification. Anger was prohibited by example on many occasions as a motive for killing. 


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