By Anuradha Azeemi
I was standing before a bakery. The smell of freshly baked bread filled the room. Before me in the display unit, was an array of different varieties of bread. Just as I began to make my choice of purchase and pointed at one of the displayed items, a friend who accompanied me whispered, “Do you know that this smell of fresh baked bread is not real and is diffused into the air through diffusers? How else can they maintain the smells consistently throughout the day, week, month and years? And also those samples of bread in the display unit, I hope you know they are fake?” I was astonished! I had experienced room fresheners in the fragrance of flowers and fruits, why did I never think smells of food could also be recreated as room fragrances? I stepped closer to the display unit and realized that indeed they were imitations. The artwork was so accurately matching the original bakes and treats that I began to admire the genius in the artists behind this work. As I began to ponder on what had created this illusion in my mind, which made me feel the fragrance and imitations in the display unit were real, I realized that I was in the tight grip and influence of my sense organs. My sense of smell and sight had created an illusory reflection of freshly baked bread in my mind. That false reflection within had blinded me to the reality before me. Is that not how we blind ourselves to reality in every situation? We assume that the thoughts we have cooked up in our heads as real and remain totally oblivious of the truth most times.
My friend then began sharing her personal experiences. She seemed happy that she was working on improving herself. She announced that she was unearthing and clearing a lot of stinking garbage and piles of filth from inside her. By ‘stinking garbage and pile of filth’ she was referring to the negative emotions, experiences, belief systems she had stored within her. I listened to her, silent. Later on when I was on my own, I began to contemplate on the metaphor she had used to define her internal status. ‘The pile of filth, the garbage that stinks.’
This pile she was witnessing inside of her was an illusion too was it not? It was just like the illusory smell and display of baked items at the bakery. Only in this case it was a negative illusion. I drew up a fair conclusion that this illusory storehouse of memory, experiences, emotions inside us are nothing more than a distraction set up by our senses to delude our focus from our real existence as soul.
So what are we setting up against ourselves everyday? What is it that we deliberately create between, what we think is ‘Me’ and that which is our ‘True identity’? It was true they are nothing but an illusory decaying heap of stories. We then become obsessed about cleaning the heap of negative stories that we imagine lay before us. And express our wish to come out of everything, ‘Clean’. We even declare our helplessness of progressing in life until we have wiped our slate clean. The soul is hidden behind this ‘pile’, which is nothing but an illusion woven by the satanic thoughts within us.
When these thoughts disappear the heap miraculously disappears. This seemingly hard to penetrate field of action and memory is plugged into a nagging negative thought for its existence. Once we pull the plug off the negative thought pattern, the projection of garbage/filth that needs cleaning is turned off and we are in direct view of our pure selves. We are left exclaiming at the end of it, “How did those stories just vanish into thin air as if they never existed? How did the person who affected me so much stop affecting me as if they are non-existent?”
Many a questions then poured themselves into me. Why is every human being trapped in this self-indulgence of negative thinking? Why is man constantly weaving a web of disaster for himself? Why is man, creating a barrier between his false and true self? The answer crept in after a while of silent sitting with the questions. It was the addictive doer syndrome! It was the desire to feel accomplished. The need to say ‘I did it!’ The need to feel successful and triumphant.
Imagine a scenario where you have transformed an unusable room into a beautiful, clean living room. Would you not brag, “I cleared off all the mess and see how beautiful it looks now.” The desire of praise and approval, applause and laurel, makes one want to accomplish more. If cleaning up mess makes one feel accomplished then the formula of successful living seems simple to man.
Create mess = Clean mess = Win appreciation
And thereafter man traps himself in this cyclical disaster of never ending stress and distress.
What then is the antidote to this corrupted thinking pattern and how could we lead God Conscious lives?
Here are a few incredible learning that I found surfing through the ocean of wisdom of our beloved Murshid, Sufi Saint and Spiritual Scholar, Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi.
Everything is Him
The first pearl of wisdom is to remember at all times that Earth and heavens and everything in between are created from the Noor (Divine Light) of God. Everything comes from Him to us, and what we do unto others is unto Him. If everything is from Him, then where is the need to store memory of anyone or anything within us except the memory of God? In that case there would be nothing but happiness within us. And if what we do unto others is unto Him, we would never dare to harm or hurt another being and be in perfect harmony with everything.
That which changes is not real
Notice what affects you and see if it is subject to change. That which changes is unreal. The person or thing or situation that you dealt with is no more the same, since they have changed from the time you dealt with them last. Who you are meeting or dealing with today, is totally new. Since a person you dealt with in the last moment does not exist in this moment and is completely anew, who are we upset with? Who are we fighting against? That which is non-existent? It is like trying to catch a drop of water we encountered in the constantly flowing river. You never see the same water twice as its constantly flowing and changing.
If what you are thinking about is not before you in the present moment, it does not cease its existence, it only means you are unable to see it. While your eyes are veiled to it, someone else may be seeing it. What is subject to change in anything is only its material existence at different levels, that is, physical, mental, and emotional levels. But there is something that remains unchanged at the core of existence in every creation, that is the Noor (Divine Light) of God. If we learn to focus on the core in each being, we experience the fragrance of God in all.
Follow the Actions of the Prophets
The third pearl of wisdom eliminates all confusion in the matters of action and inaction. If the Beloved Prophet has done it, do it. If the Beloved Prophet has refrained from doing it, refrain from it. If one would absorb the life of the beloved Prophets of God, one would not need any other reference for approved and disapproved behavior. When one lives life in alignment with that of the Prophets, one can only expect to experience closeness to God. And friends of God feel no fear, nor grief.
The only task is to choose between what is Rehmani & shaitani
God is orchestrating the whole show. The only decision-making He has submitted to us is to exercise the awareness He has bestowed upon us and choose right over wrong. The right is approved by God and is Rehmani. That which is disapproved by God is shaitani frame of mind. In every moment one only has to focus on one question “Would this action of mine make my Lord, God happy?” And we are fitted with an automated system of promptings of consciousness that gives us the most accurate reply every time. It whispers to us the right and forewarns us about the wrong. When life has been designed to be so simplistic and is automated, we hardly have anything to worry about.
When it’s too much effort you are out of faith
What is in compliance of God’s will is always easy and effortless. When too much effort goes in steering the wheel, you are trying to live life as per your desires, forgetting your faith in the God Almighty as your caretaker. The life of believers is not always easy, but they never complain as they see all of it coming from God. The non-believers remain in non-acceptance of what comes their way creating a life of distress for themselves.
The solution to this is self-negation and placing faith in God as our caretaker. That which is in accordance with God’s will and pleasure gets executed with ease and joy. For HIS will is the only command. When one is not putting forth resistance to what God wills from us, then one is not attached to what one wants or desires, for HIS desire becomes our desire. HIS will becomes our will. And those who are committed to executing only HIS will, encounter success and happiness in everything they do.
Relationships that do not lighten your heart are misaligned
Relationships that do not bring you closer to God are a farce. Interactions that leave you feeling negative and emotional are under the satanic influence. That which leaves you heavy, sad and distressed is an encounter with the satan within the person and unleashes the satan within yourself. People filled with Divine Light only make you lighter, happier and blissful. Those who are aligned to God, make you want more of life, assist you to contemplate on God, elevate your spiritual status. Spending time with them leaves you with pleasant memories, no matter how tough the situation in your life, they help you focus on the positives in it. Men of God, make you silent, contemplative, confident, happy and friends of God. Focus on building relationships with those who have established a connection with God, the rest of all mankind is work in progress.
Notice your dreams
The next profound learning is to watch your dreams. If they are positive, despite your physical life during the daytime seemingly in shambles, you are mentally aligned to God. However, those who lead successful and rich materialistic lives but are engaged in negative dreams are far from God. A memory of a happy dream can keep one happy for an entire day. Dreams are by large a very strong parameter to access how we lead our lives through the day and rectify it.
The ‘I’ spends time polishing the walls of the prison.
An attempt to fool the visitors into believing, that the prison is a beautiful mansion.
An assumption, that, we are here to live forever.
Foolish ‘I’! What you strengthen is your own tenure of exile.
Your body is no mansion, it is a mere prison for your soul.
The imprisonment tenure; is determined by the fixed number of breaths.
Stop wasting time, find your soul within the prison walls,
Spend time apologizing for the disobedience with your Lord God,
Lunge towards HIM, that’s the only way to break free!
It’s not too late at any point of time dear ‘I’,
As long as you realize, you are not the prison wall, your body.
And that you are the light called soul within it.