The Shadow Revolt is the incessant insistence on the part of the soul to wake up.
The reason that it is considered a revolt is that it always shows itself in a way that is endless embarrassment to or against the will of the personality of the individual.
And waking up is a bad thing in the mind of one who believes he is already awake.
Q. What is "the Nafs".
A. In the way of Surrender, the nafs is the soul in love that will do as it pleases, which will always be surrender, because it surrenders to Love. And its pleasures are the pleasures of Allah.
Disbelief in Love is disbelief in Allah and the root cause of religious oppression. For Love is the Essence Quality of Allah upon which He sent His Prophets "no difference is there between them", as a "Mercy unto all the worlds" (Rahmatun lil `alameen). It is the only Quality in which true Surrender (Islam) can take place.
And belief in love is not easy thing, even though we are surrounded by it. Belief in love implies accepting the battle against fear, and we were raised in fear. To make matters worse, the fear we were raised in was called love, and we think of it as such. "Feels like love to me", says the battered wife who knew in her childhood only beatings from her father.
A further example is the fact that the Prophet was sent as a "Mercy unto all the worlds", and yet very few people (of any religion) truly follow him by means of that example. That is why the Sufis say that their religion is Love. Without Love there is no Mercy. Without Mercy there is no Forgiveness. Without Forgiveness there is no Hope, and without Hope there is no Salvation.
Let me explain. The very salvation that the fundamentalists believe they are seeking is the salvation of their (true) souls from the enslavement of "this life", referred to as the "hayyat ud-Dunya". Or "the life of this world." That is why they believe (rightly) that they have to (live and good life and) die before they can see the realities of heaven. But life (in this world) was given to us so that we can truly fulfill our original intent, which is to know God - now, in this life.
And it is not the life of this world that is enslaving them, and from which they should seek freedom. It is the life of "their" world, their personal world of darkness and fear that they carry within their minds, the world in which there is no love (or only for them), and against which they are thoroughly defended and always at war. That is the true "dunya". Dunya means darkness, illusion.
Now you might understand more fully what I mean when I say, "Without Love there is no Mercy. Without Mercy there is no Forgiveness. Without Forgiveness there is no Hope, and without Hope there is no Salvation."
But they are resigned, yea more that resigned, to the blessings of this life, and in fervent expectation of more of the same in the next. And "only for them", because they are the true believers. And never will they seek death, the death of the ego that lives in them and perpetuates the illusions of individuality and separateness. Why would they want to seek liberation from a life the very living of which leads to paradise.
Again, unto them we can only say "And Peace be upon you, O companions of the right hand."
Be sure that you are the companions of the right hand, and "Make ye not mischief in the land".
Millions have gone before you in peace. Sso why, then, do you not follow their example?
You avidly advocate and prefer the choice of following a different way which your choose to believe is the "right" way. Why is this? It's not even the way of the thirteen hundred years of "orthodox" Muslims who came and went before you. Nay, you call it even more right than the way followed by the true people of peace before you. You even go so far as to say that they were wrong, and that you have it right, and better. Aha! An improvement you have made on the blessed religion of the Peace, the Mercy, and the Love. I see. You have taken out the Peace, and the Mercy, and the Love. You have turned it into a religion of conflict and domination, of hatred (for others, whom you perceive as your enemy, when your true enemy lies within you); of lust (for the things of this world which you deny yourselves, fearing, that you will do harm with them or that they will in some way harm you); and of jealousy (for the ease with which others live their lives).
And to this religion you seek to invite people, sincerely wondering why they choose to not accept it, and thinking badly of them for it, when all the while it is yourself you should be thinking badly of. But no. "We are the people of the right path, and few there are who will see it."
Qur`an speaks to this dilemma. "And they say, 'Why, we are the peacemakers', when in reality it is nought but mischief in their hearts" and "and when the desert Arabs come to yo saying 'we are beleivers', tell them "say not 'we are believers (nahnu Mu`minun), but rather say 'we are surrendered. (nahnu Muslimun - Muslims)' For (the reality of) faith hath not yet entered their hearts. "
So, students you are, professing arrogantly to be masters - to be in the knowing of all there is to know and preaching (rather unsuccessfully, I might add), your religion to the choir of people who believe as you believe. Thank God that you are not successful, for given your way, you would gladly oppress the people and turn to slaughter in the name of religion. Look what's taking place in Afghanistan at the hand of the Taliban (which means, by the way, "students".)
Disbelief in love causes the religion of (self) oppression, in which the Word Islam is translated as submission, and the threats of punishment and promises of reward are emphasized. In the philosophy of submission, which is equivalent to domination, the nafs is considered to be the soul in revolt, and it must always be controlled, and trained to obey. These people feel that they are using the enlightenment of their knowledge to control their commanding nafs (nafs al amarra) when in fact it is just the other way around. A mere questioning of their belief system is sufficient to raise their ire, which is a sure sign that they do not want the underlying validity of their 'religion', their form of self-control, to be challenged. This raises the question of "who is really in control here", for their control is controlled by that which they are always seeking to control. This opens for consideration the possibility that the true commanding nafs is the one that's doing the controlling, - and the oppressing, and the repressing, and the censorship, and the saying no to, the denying and rejecting of anything contradictory to its own understanding.
These reactions are all dominant qualities of the 'nafs al amarra'. And it is well know that without getting to at least the second stage, referred to in Sufism as the 'nafs al lawamma', and in psychology as the questioning self, where the ability to self investigate and to question the need for unwavering conviction is introduced, no progress into true self- understanding can be made.
They have it already. Just ask them. Its all in the book and the 'sunnah'. Nor do they want this kind of progress. Firm in their belief that they are on the right path, they condemn all else to the fire as innovation. Convinced that the way to the garden lies within the confines of their own minds, they are steadfast in their rejection and denial. How can you help such people?
The wanting of progress is called Himma. It is highly desirable in Sufi circles and considered the only necessary ingredient for success. Volumes have been written and said in praise of the search for this one quality. And their Himma has been cut out at the roots by religious training. Their superego is convinced of the superiority of its own belief (and why not? It's the Qur`an and the example of the Prophet, is it not?), disallowing contradiction and admitting only to like company. A perfect "one" in Enneagram study.
This is however the root cause of dualist thinking. And in this "dualist" thinking, it is the shadow that is considered to be the nafs al amarra, and suppressing it is desired. More than that, it is considered to be a religious obligation. It is the consciousness of personality that is considered to be the soul, and enlightened, by the grace of God, to the way of Islam. That is why the battle against the nafs - the "Jihad al-Akbar" (in all but the deepest knowing), is considered to be the battle against the soul.
The Sunrise in the West.
This is in sharp contrast to the ideas proven by modern understandings of the true psychology of spiritual transformation, and substantiated by the deep sufis. Called "The Work", in western parlance, the "Jihad al Akbar", or "Greater Struggle", is considered to be the effort expended toward the clearing of the very personality consciousness itself from all concept of duality, with the intention of eliminating all sources of resentment, hostility or repression that the personality consciousness might have against the soul. This leads to recognizing its very existence to be the source of defensiveness and hostility consciousness, and results in the cleansing of the soul, through total reliance upon God - which is what He wants from us - from any need for the defensive personality at all. Sufism is often referred to in Arabic as "Tasawwuf", or Purification of the Soul.
Such is the way of Surrender, or "Islam" and, due to the esoterics of Unity, which I have explained elsewhere, it can only be completed at the hand of a True Guide in the Sufi way. Not to be attempted at home, alone.
As you might notice, these intentions are at cross-purpose. In the attitude of duality, the intention is to eliminate, control or subdue its perceived enemy, and in the attitude of surrender the intention is to surrender. The people of the latter disappear, or go into hiding, and the people of the former continue to struggle with their illusion of success or failure in their attempt to dominate. Yet their enemy is always illusive. Like a shadow. You might say, they are shadow boxers. Competing with a ghost.
And even though they lay the heavy claim to being "the" Muwahids (Unifiers), they are indeed still among the people of separation and division.
In other words - the conscious mind of the established religious or self-satisfied personality, considering itself to be on the right path to salvation, does not want to hear anything to do with the concept of liberating the soul. For as far as he is concerned, that is the exact antithesis of his purpose and religious dedication. He is convinced that that which is within him is the "nafs", which wishes to do things in its own way, and which way would cause him to fall outside of the pale of his religion or chosen path. Such departure would "condemn" him to a lifetime of "happiness" in this world but send him (considering his ego to be his soul) to his damnation in the next.
This is the result of not understanding the true nature and Divine purpose of Surrender, that it is infallibly the true religion, putting one in touch with the direct and palpable Love of God, that will never end and will shine out for all to see, desire and strive for.
And it is, in reality, exactly like that. That’s why the standing motto of the Sufi Master is "Your worst fears are my heart's greatest desires." We must realize the implications of that truth before we set foot on this path. For it means the voluntary death and destruction of all that we believe is us. The ego fears for its own survival, both in this world, and considering it to be its own soul, in the next. And indeed, what it fears is exactly what happens. It fears its own death, which is inevitable anyway. But, it thinks and believes, that if it is "good" in this life, that it will be resurrected in the next to continue on in a garden of its own delights. There is no arguing with these people. Wish them peace and they will leave you alone to your "wanderings".
To a reasonable mind, however, the scenario appears to be quite the opposite. And indeed it is.
The soul knows that if the body does not wake up soon, it is headed for it own grave without ever having tasted the reality. In one analogy, it is said that the body will not know that it is dead when it dies, and this is a bad thing. It will not have tasted truth and not be prepared and continue to relate as though nothing were different except that all efforts and perceived realities will be even more frustrating than they were in the former life. It is said that the blind in this life shall be the blind in the next.
The reason for that is that this life was given and is the necessary vehicle for waking up. Without it, there is no means to learn what it is we were sent here to learn.
In many cultures the "shadow" is treated like a child in order for the "adult's" mind to comprehend and "deal with" its insistence. It is sometimes referred to as the soul child. But it knows, for it has not lost connection with its Essence. The Shadow Knows. It is also often referred to as our subconscious.
Why is the Sunrise in the West.
Because, the awareness of Reality is exactly the purpose of God's creation, and exactly the purpose of His revelation. His signs are in the Book, on the horizons, and in the selves. The people who reach this awareness through creation, are aware. And the people to whom the way to awareness was sent as a revelation and a confirmation, choose, as always, to use it to the advantage of their lower perceived existential selves, and to ignore the higher purpose for which it was sent. They even consider it a part of their "religious duty" to condemn as heretics those who choose to use the revelation for it's true intent. As a matter of fact, its true intent is a point of argument for those who would dispute and make differences.
Allah says very plainly in Qur`an that if the people to whom the message is delivered refuse to use it for its intended purpose, He will take it from them and give it to a people who will. And He says also in a hadith (religious tradition) that the last day will not come until the sun has risen in the West.
And that's why we simply say unto them, "and Peace be upon you, O companions of the right hand". (Qur`an).
In Peace and