Monday, March 18, 2013

Tawhid

 From time to time, as readers know, I return to the masthead for this blog in order to expound the Dharma regarding this question a different way. I return to this question again and again, because it has, for me, at least, extraordinary dimensions, and represents not just a statement, but an inner work that takes a lifetime to approach.

There is no I; there is only Truth. The way to the Truth is through the heart.

Ibn Arabi might be taken as one of the principal sources for the statement; then again, when this particular piece of work was given to me, I had never heard of him. We could simply assign its origins to understandings that arise directly from Islam; yet Islam is definitively an Abrahamic, hence, perhaps paradoxically, essentially Judaeochristian—religion; and yet as we shall see it also has roots that extend directly into the territory of yoga.  Perhaps expounding these connections will help readers understand more fully what the direction this space takes consists of.

The Islamic theological concept of tawhîd, the acknowledgement of divine unity, is a haqq, or Truth, upon which all other truths are based. The statement that there is no I, there is only Truth is a reconfiguration of tawhîd which recommends itself for its brevity. In encompassing the essential question of Self and Truth folded into a single entity, it contrasts the two and reflects Truth as the higher of the two principles; Self, in other words, being an expression of Truth, that is, Self as an emanation of a higher principle which is, in fact, transcendent and beyond the purview of man's comprehension. This particular iteration of the question of "I" takes it well past any formalized concepts into the metaphysical territory of both Meister Eckhart (annihilation in the absolute Will of God) and Buddhism (dissolution of the ego into the Void.)

In the eyes of both Al 'Arabi and islamic philosophy, the idea that only Truth (haqq) exists is a fundamental premise. Although all other existences can be acknowledged, they are to the last existences by proxy.

Islamic philosophers understand the search for Truth as "basic to the quest for wisdom and the happiness of the soul;" and indeed this is true, because only through Truth—reunion with the essential nature of the Divine—can man fulfill his duty to God.

In Koranic terms, the heart is understood as the locus of awareness. The heart occupies a location in the center of the spine in Yoga, bridging the divide between the three lower chakras and the three upper chakras; it stands, in other words, in exactly the place Jeanne de Salzmann and Gurdjieff placed man's consciousness, "between two worlds." While this can and must be represented as the inner world and the outer world, it also represents the two worlds of the upper and lower stories in man's being (which are equivalent, by correspondences, to the three levels of Heaven and Hell which mirror one another in Swedenborg's cosmology.)

So the heart is the yogic seats of man's consciousness, the entity that is supposed to bridge the two levels. The way to the Truth is through the heart because there is no other path for the lower levels of existence to pass through to a higher level without consciousness; and hence the way to the Truth is through the heart because the heart represents awareness.

The awareness that needs to be awakened in man is the awareness of Self; but not the nearly endless dysfunctional versions of self invented by ego. This awareness is an awareness of God, or what is called deiformity.

Opening the heart can have a range of various esoteric meanings; among others it means opening to consciousness; but this is a consciousness entirely different than any we generally conceive of. All religious ecstasies consist of various degrees of opening the heart; and there is more than one kind of opening of the heart, just as the heart is not a single thing, but an entity of dimensions that extend well past any conventional limits of space and time, or other territory delimited by the conceptual mind. To open the heart is a passage through consciousness; and this passage is unique to each individual. The passage through consciousness is the Way which is narrow. A rich man can't pass through it because nothing of a man's ordinary self can pass through the heart.

Gurdjieff's path was preparation for this kind of inner work; his whole school is meant to prepare a man or woman for this passage by bringing them to the necessary point of awareness. His school stripped the activity of the nearly innumerable subjective trappings it acquired as the result of the action of the many religious traditions over thousands of years, and reduced it to its most essential actions and understandings.

And what we have in the blog masthead is this essential purpose of man, reconfigured in the most concise manner possible.

By now perhaps readers have intuited that I didn't think this statement up myself; and of course they are right.

May your soul be filled with light.



6 comments:

  1. Lee, Thank you for your tireless efforts. When I was five or six years old a mantra came to me, and I believe it says essentially the same as your masthead, in different words, but succinct. I said it over and over for several years, especially when seeing "other people" It read:

    "I AM the same I AM as you are, when you say I AM"

    The ONLY difference is conditions; if I had been born into your body by your mother at your time and place and conditions, I would BE you. Completely, substantially and fully; I WOULD BE YOU. Not like you, not a doppelganger but actually you. The only thing that exists is relationship.

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  2. If I was you I'd be you? But I am not you and not exhangeable with you...

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  3. or in other words, even at the moment of conception I am not you and never will be

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    1. Paul,

      I first want to thank you for your denying my comment and for giving your reasoning. I know you to be a long time student of Mr. Gurdjieff's ideas, teachings and practices. That's is as much as I do know about you.

      A few questions: G said that human conscience is the same in each person and is the representative of the Creator. That it is the "spark of the creator in each of our subconsciousness".

      And the I AM within each of us; are they not the same?

      I AM THAT AM was the name given to Moses as the name of God.

      I understand your statements and believe them to be the other end of the same stick. There is truth to the fact that I am not you nor are you me and within ancient thought there has been the dilemma of the Purusha (Person); as to whether there are many or only one, making the human species into a kind of bee-hive where the only "Person" is in the aggregate. This "argument" has been going on for thousands of years now, especially within Indian Philosophy.

      What are your thoughts about the "I AM" and the submerged "Conscience"? Are they the same or are they different "I AM's", and about true "Conscience", are there more than one? Is your underlying conscience differ from mine? Is your "I AM" different from mine? Or at that level are they the same.

      There are Siddhis (Powers/Perfections) which result from Yoga and one of them is reputed to be the ability to enter another being and know everything that they know and think, feel and sense. Is this verifiable? Or do you think it a hallucinatory event?

      Respectively yours in the work,
      -Richard

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  4. Dear Richard, I can't write at this moment but will try to respond a little soon. Btw, I don't consider myself a 'gurdjieffian' and have not been involved with a group since the mid 80's. It was an interesting experience. Just one thing for now - the 'siddhi' you refer to is a metaphysical impossibility....nevertheless we do have a 'common father' but that does not make us exchangeable - either before or after biological 'death'.

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  5. Paul,
    I do not want to turn Lee's blog into a forum for discussion. If you wish to reach me use lloyd206@aol.com. Your view is valid, so there may not be much to discuss. -Richard

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