Conducting the Ultimate Quest
“Discovering the light within us is the ultimate quest. This means connecting the seen and the unseen; the boundless and the bounded and the rewards are the ability to refer to the inner zone of perfection, contentment and bliss.”
How do we conduct ourselves to ensure we stay on this path?¶
By stopping misconducting ourselves. In truth, there is only the Light, before us, after us, within us. By ‘truth’ I mean, if there is anything that is constant and forever, it is that Light, which manifests in these infinite varieties of shadows, consciousnesses, memories, desires and so on. We are - in every way - led by this Light and misled by its shadows.
Mercy and the eternal love emanates from that. It is only denial and hate which emanates from us when we look at the shadows. As we discussed earlier, every movement in this existence is based on Divine Love, and emanates from it, though it may manifest in different forms. As a child, I want to attract what I consider desirable and repel what I consider undesirable, so I become greedy. I become angry. I display all of the lower tendencies and emotions. But, once I begin to groom myself, then my desire and greed for attraction becomes modesty. I can say, “It’s enough now”. You have enough; get on with the real project, which is to reconnect consciously with the Light which is connected to you anyway, though you may not yet know it.
Modesty emanates from grooming the tendency of attraction. Courage is the groomed tendency of anger, of repulsion, of chasing and accusing others. From that courage emanates all the other virtues of tolerance, putting up with the others, manliness, forgiveness and so on. When you have courage and modesty, you begin to open up - inadvertently - the doors of wisdom. You become a wise person, which simply means that you do the right thing, at the right time, in the right way. You are not a fool, who may have a good intention, but is seeding the field in midwinter or at a time when there is no rain.
As you gain wisdom, the intellect grows. With that comes retention and higher, subtler intelligence, along with openings into the unseen in terms of creativity, which requires a subtler intellect not only based on reason and rationality. If these elements of the lower self are groomed as we mature, then justice becomes manifest in the person. One of the main successes of the West - in fact - is that sense of justice, or fair play. Fair play implies that, even though you may have the upper hand, you do not apply it fully. Give the other people a chance; be tolerant.
Justice is that the Absolute source of justice allows us to misjudge, cause injustice and yet we are still acceptable.
It seems like most of us want to stay children?¶
Absolutely, and they do. The society and its entertainment and film industry, and your “friendly” bank will help you do so. That’s why there is very little spiritual content in the societal sense. There are many more individuals who are beginning to awaken and desire gnosis or enlightenment, but in society at large, the mainstream has taken on the dimension of an avalanche.
How do you know if you’re doing the right thing?¶
You have no doubt any more! In that, you are constantly aware of the zone of doubts, but you know that it is the only thing you could do, nothing else. You have no regrets. You don’t go back and forth in your memory. There is nothing else you could have done. This is, in fact, one of the meanings of the infallibility of prophets or messengers: they could not have done differently in their circumstances.
But, if you look at historically, and analyze it in your own way, then you may say, “He was at fault.” But, if you were him, in those circumstances - and enlightened - you could not have done differently.
That requires a high level of intellect and wisdom. But, for the person transforming from child to adult, how do you know?¶
It’s difficult: I try to avoid them [laughs]. There is a lot of hit and miss and a lot of mistakes, which is why we say, “God is All-Forgiving.” In reality, your soul forgives you. You have many, many chances, provided you constantly go back to the zone of your ultimate objective. Then it is all washed off and all is alright. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes, provided your radar is locked onto that objective.
But, if it is all haphazard - as in most cases: “Why not? We’ll go here!” or “Why not this?”, “Why not that?” - then it never ends. It is all a diversion which leads to destruction, under the name of entertainment. It is killing time; it is killing yourself, rather than giving you more light.
What techniques can we employ? Are prayer and meditation important?¶
Definitely. In fact, we are constantly given opportunities to reflect through difficulties, failures, grief, and depression so that we turn to the other side of it and see the meaning.
Prayer is an immense platform for basic humility. The less self-image and self-concern you have, the more you have light-concern and inner awakening. But, the more you have identified with this role, the more you become only that role, so you have locked yourself into that limitation and there is no oxygen in you for the limitless to emit its light. Therefore, the lower self becomes so separate from the soul that there is a breakdown.
The breakdown of any system, like a nervous breakdown - or even suicide - is an aspect of that. You have identified so deeply with the roles and the lower side that the higher side is almost disconnected: there is no longer any recharge. Prayer - if you plug in - recharges your self, reconnects it to your soul and your heart becomes clear. These are all techniques of unifying humpty-dumpty [laughs]. Really, we are all like that. An aspect is ridiculous, but the origin is sublime.
Once you have connected them, then you have the two oceans in you: the eternal and the ever-changing.
This can seem like a trade-off of a life of pleasure and happiness for one of abandonment and deprivation?¶
Trade-off is the right word, but not towards deprivation. It is about transcending pleasure into joy. Transcending limited, short-lived excitements into overflowing bliss. It is a trade-off and we are programmed to move from the transient to the eternal; from the frivolous to the perfect and ever-lasting. If you remain only with pleasure, then it never ends: you are always just moving from one facet to another and you think it is different, but it is short-lived and you know. Every person knows whether they are content or not.
Ask people to what extent are they truly content, not content because of some thing. You see, if you are content because of some thing, then you will be discontent when that thing is removed. Or, that which gives you pleasure now may give you displeasure later. I can’t trust that! I want to have access to a constant situation which is forever available; from me, by me, through the mercy of the One who made me and made all of these different creations.
You become godly, in a sense; you do not become God with the implied spiritual pomposity. You become simply, consciously illumined. You were already illumined before without knowing it. Now you know it. And you know its shadow, and you live by the two, through the courtesy of the One.
How can turning away from self-interest lead us to abundance and prosperity?¶
It will work well if you move on from the lower trend of seeking profit and power, to the knowledge of the All-Powerful. We are all seekers of wealth - boundless wealth! - and if you stop and reflect on the limitations of the outer possibilities, then that can lead you to the inner meaning of the zone of wealth. Profit and power are initial steps - there is nothing wrong with them - but you will never be satisfied by outer wealth, because you will never be able to decide on what is enough.
We are all seekers of infinite power, infinite wealth, infinite bliss; reliable beyond any possibility of change. We are all seeking the perfections of the soul in a zone which is like a kindergarten, which leads us out after we realise that, in this zone, you cannot attain absolute wealth, power or mercy. Yet you know there is an Absolute zone, because we can compare it.
Why is the Absolute not intuitively and instinctively part of everything we do?¶
It is. By instinct, you know that you are not happy. By instinct, you know that this is not enough, that you are not totally content, that you are not ready to leave this world. If you are not ready to leave this world, then you are not qualified to take it, because it will take you. The two go together. If you are ready to abandon it, then you have access to the abundance of it. Then it doesn’t matter - longer life, shorter life - because you know that Life is forever. This phase of it can be long or short. It doesn’t matter. Death will not frighten you.
If It is present in every human being, can this be done by anyone, or everyone?¶
Sure. Otherwise where is God’s mercy? The potential is for everyone, all the time. The condition is to turn away from that which is not. That which is, is. It is wrong for us to think that we are getting closer to God. You can’t be closer to what is closeness itself. You can only go further away from the shadows which are distant reflections of God.
Turn away from that which is not; that which has always been is. It is selection, a trade-off.
Why has the path of enlightenment often been referred to as mysterious and mystical?¶
I think this word is often used by people who are often ignorant, or who want to maintain a certain elitist position. They frame it as a mysterious, mystical, secret thing - an exclusive club to which you have to be admitted. My answer to that is, “Where is God’s generosity to everyone, at all times?”
The truth is that it takes energy and determination and passion, though most people remain in the zone of the lower familiarities; the basic animal tendencies of just eating, shopping, blaming, accumulating, stealing, and lying. They don’t have enough love for the higher in them because they haven’t tasted it. There is no mystery in knowledge. It’s just that it is currently unknown.
As for the question of logic and reason: you can take logic to its final end and, after that, it is supra-logic: another zone which is beyond reasoning, beyond the mind, beyond the limitations of the intellect. It is the zone of lights and delights, to which our experiences in this world are the equivalent of the tip of an iceberg. There is so much in the unseen and the unknown. This world of ours is a tiny, little reflection of different aspects of the unseen.
Once that taste is developed, then you are hooked by it, from yourself. People call it “the divine calling” or vocation, though all of it is to do with the natural tendency that was always there but had not been allowed, or given the opportunity, to grow. It’s like a seed: it has the potential to fruit, but if you put the seed on a rock for ten years, nothing will happen. The potential is there, but you must give it the water of love for knowledge and delight in the openings of new horizons of consciousness so it will grow. The fruit of it is self-knowledge: that you will know, by yourself, at the time you need to know. Just turn away from ignorance, and don’t allow the shadows to depress you.
In summary, what can one do practically to implement all these ideas?¶
You can constantly shift your desires and identifications towards the higher, towards the abstract, towards the subtle and the durable.
There is nothing wrong with you taking any worldly pleasure, but then move that into another zone where it can be more durable and long-lasting. Consider any good relationship - if you desire to maintain it for a longer period in a higher domain - then you are getting towards the source, which is in you and him and her; it is where we all unify. It is where union is.
My advice is constantly to move from the gross towards the subtle, because that is more durable. Once an energy has manifested, it is a specific manifestation, whether it is a fridge or a fan. However, maintain the electric power itself, and you’ll see it contains all the possibilities. The fridge and the fan meet where the power is, before it has manifested.
My advice - to myself and everyone else - is to look at the source behind the attributes, and look at the attributes behind the actions and manifestations. You will find the unifying factor, called the Divine Cosmos. Wherever you look is the manifestation of the Divine. Whatever has come is by He Who has made it come and to Him it returns.
The other easy formula is “be willing to abandon and let go”. We are hanging on air, so why not remember that the breath which goes in may not come out? Then every minute becomes fresh. It is not morbidity. That fear becomes an incentive to live the moment fully. If you have lived the moment fully, you have lived eternally.
In grooming one’s self, what prescriptions must be followed?¶
Again, it’s part of the map: there are the normal limitations and the limitless that has brought about this world. I, as a person, must accept and adhere to limiting factors, prescriptions, the prophetically-revealed teachings, and - in the case of a Muslim - the Qur’an and the boundaries it prescribes. The more I adhere to the bounded and limited, the more the limitless begins to shine and inspire me.
My job and duty is to accept limitations and the short duration of this life with humility and, if I can do so and use it as a platform to view what is shedding light upon this life, then I have access - inadvertently - to the limitless.
The prophetic prescriptions of prayers on time, or fasting, or going on pilgrimage are - in every way - designed for me to see the value and meaning behind the ritual. For example, behind the ritual of fasting lies my desire to be self-sustaining and independent of food or other things. Going on pilgrimage is the same: abandoning everything and moving towards this communion or meeting with the Divine Who is present everywhere, though in this case there is also a specific time, a specific place and all other believers in the Islamic faith present.
These practices are thus limited in the outer sense, but they open up vistas far, far greater internally and thus give us satisfaction. The satisfaction comes from admitting my limitation! I forget, therefore I have to be reminded to go down and accept and obey. Then I will find more and more the meaning when transcending the limitations of it. It is necessary for any practitioner to adhere to a system: you can’t say that anything goes and everything is alright and all is free. It’s not. Eventually, people end up chasing their own mental image of freedom, which is the very thing that is imprisoning them!
In this realm or dimension of existence we are talking about, there is no Absolute freedom. The soul is already caught in the realm of the world and this world - my world, my image, my ego - must yield to it. As it yields to it, the world almost becomes insignificant and I can begin to feel the freedom and limitlessness of the soul and the One who made it. The less there is of “me”, the more there is of the light which is illuminating me. Therefore, these practices of limitation and adherence, constant night vigils, meditation in various forms are all important to transcend the limitations that “I” am used to.