Ride The Wave

In sum, all that there is beyond the epistemological limits of the worldly sciences from an intellectual standpoint are gnostic knowledge and mysticism. The realm of truth is synonymous with the realm of Gnosticism and mysticism. And the aim or the basic truth of gnostic knowledge and mysticism is spiritual realization. In turn, spiritual realization is completely intertwined with the annihilation or reformation of the ego while in a state of seclusion and solitude, the difficulty of which cannot be overstated. As Rumi said: “One who breaks the lines of enemies is an ordinary lion, but the one who breaks his own ego is the real lion.”

When one suggests in modern terms that one should drop their “baggage” and “deadweight” and that a person should be empty of everything except for the “essence of existence,” what this implies is that one should empty themselves of the ego, for it is the ego that brings misfortune and trouble. As the Holy Quran states: “None is secure from God’s scheme except the people who have lost everything and are in total want.”

Hence, as the Islamic mystic and scholar Abdul Qadir al-Jilani wrote:

“The first goal of the mystic path is the cleansing of the heart, and the first action necessary to achieve this is to deny the ego and the flesh their futile and vain desires. In seclusion, with silence, meditation and continuous remembrance, one’s ego is reformed.”

Desire for money, power, women, and fame all stem from the ego. And while being deprived from these things can be a huge trial or test for an individual, having these things is an even bigger trial or test. During a divine revelation, it is purported that God told the Prophet Muhammad that if a person going through deprivation and hardship is patient and perseveres, they would come under the protection of God. When the Prophet asked what is meant by “protection,” the response from God was: “By not giving the person wealth and children.”

Without the ego, these aforementioned desires and excesses would cease to exist, and one would essentially be free from the angst and misery resulting from these desires and excesses. Thus, as the Prophet Muhammad said: “Fame and that which it brings is a calamity, and to turn away from fame and seeking approval from others and that which they bring is a comfort.”

Once the ego is annihilated or reformed in a state of seclusion and solitude, knowledge and wisdom inevitably flow through the individual which has annihilated or reformed the ego. As Abdul Qadir al-Jilani wrote:

“When one is lifted to [the level of annihilating the ego], one’s heart becomes like an ocean. The shape and color of that ocean do not change with the little cruelty and torment that men drop into it. The blessed Prophet says, ‘Be like an ocean whose appearance does not change, but in which the dark soldiers of your ego drown’ – as the Pharaoh and his armies drowned in the Red Sea.”

He added:

“On that ocean, the ship of religion floats safe and sound; it sails upon that great ocean. The spirit of the one in seclusion dives into its depths to find the pearl of truth, brings to the surface pearls of wisdom and coral of grace, and spreads them abroad.”

One could perhaps conclude these aforementioned points with a short poem:

God created servants wise and understanding

Who leave the world, the abode of afflictions.

They take to the sea where waves are their only trial,

Where good deeds are ships on which to ride the waves.

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