Monday, November 17, 2014

A divine knowing

 This morning, I am struck particularly by the difference between an inner knowing that comes from the Lord and is Divine, and the knowing of my own reflection and my consideration.

Ibn al 'Arabi Points out that this is a critical question; the rational faculty is forever capable of error. In the al-Futuhat-al-Makkiyya (The Meccan Revelations)  he writes,  

Since the Sufis saw the mistakes of those who employ consideration, they turned to the path in which there is no confusion so that they might take things from the eye of certainty..." (Chittick, The  Sufi Path of Knowledge, p. 166.)

Now, this essay and these passages emerge from my own reflection and consideration, but they are influenced by this eye of certainty, which touched me last night in a way that reminded me once again—and (I hope) forever—that true knowing and true understanding of the Divine spring from sources beyond my own Being.

 It is only the touch of such understanding, which comes not from the mind but from Being itself, that contains this eye of certainty within it. It isn't subject to my rational consideration; and although I can inhabit it and perhaps even accept it, I am unable to fathom it — that is to say, it has depths unavailable to me. It is in my sensation of those depths, of themselves, that the certainty arises of the Divine source from which it springs; and, like the surface of water reflecting light, my own Being stands as a thin layer between these absolutely Divine sources above, and the material truths which receive them below.

In this way, the heavens are whole; and the ocean is whole beneath it. I myself am like a skin that lies between the two.

Revelation is given in order to impart understanding; and in humility, all that can be done is to accept. Even the direction that it points in may well be unknown; for the directions are not of my own manufacture, nor can I know what they lead to. In this way, I can inhabit Being and see through this eye of certainty, in which the only certainty is Being itself; how it unfolds into the material is indeed unknown, and this, as well, is entirely correct:

 God has mentioned nothing worthy of reflection and declared nothing productive of heed or connected with reflection without there being correctness along with it... (ibid, p. 165)

I might say that in moments like this, the scales fall from my eyes and I see that I am blind.

There is no path other than submission in the midst of action of this kind; and the action is always inward, in which a command based on love alone leads me forward.

Everything is dependent on my obedience; and yet I am the devil. Why Grace and Mercy continue to flow into broken receptacles is a mystery that only God Himself can never answer; and perhaps this alone is the greatest sign of His magnificence.


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