Being free…

Freedom is yet to be benchmarked. No onaqshbandi sufi orderne can claim “being” free, yet one can claim “feeling” free. The only way to feel free is to compare it to another state. One feels “freer” but not just free. It’s like wanting so badly to go to the bathroom, and once the business is taken care of, one feels free. But it’s not freedom, it’s the feeling of being freer than what was more suppressive.

The freer one gets, the more mediocre past freedoms will sound. Then you realize freedom is from within and you start bringing back everything past you threw away in the name of freedom, because you walked the path and you know that freedom is illusive.

That’s why ritual is beautiful. Ritual is home of the disillusioned. You try to find freedom by breaking down social codes, by venturing into the unknown, by throwing away discipline, only to find yourself back into the realms of discipline and ritual, praying five times a day, sitting daily on your own to do Zikr (recitation of Allah’s names & prayers).

There is great freedom in stillness, in being able to let go of the whole world while you are locked inside a room. There is great freedom in being married to discipline. There is great freedom in submission to The One, Allah, the Most Beloved, Most Glorified, may Your Name be my Compainion, dead or alive.


About 50% Syrian

What is identity? I was raised Arab (of varying origins), with a Syrian mother, and Moroccan, Lebanese and Tunisian great grandfathers and grandmothers. I always felt 50% Syrian, and this percentage mattered to me more than anything else. Love of my life, my late Sufi grandmother, is Syrian... all her bedtime stories were about her life in Damascus. Damascus is where the heart dwells.
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3 Responses to Being free…

  1. Yaak says:

    Good choice of subject.
    We are are only bonded by our silly minds. Ironically, our mind is the only ferry there is to take us to the bank of freedom.
    In the first sentence of the last paragraph you seem to hit the nail on the head. The great sage, Patanjali, had it all in a few words, “Still the ripples of the mind.”

  2. 50% Syrian says:

    You know what’s really puzzling me lately… I’m reading in Ibn Arabi that everything in the univesre is a reflection of Allah’s essence. I’m not sure if this sentence is “accurate” and whether this is only my understanding of it, maybe that’s not what he meant.
    But if we assume it’s right, then maybe the ripples of the mind are also a manifestation of Truth, although they are illusion.

  3. Yaak says:

    Faith doesn’t lend itself to arguments. I normally rest my case when God pops up in discussions of spirituality. It may sound like athiesm at times, but you may see it as (metaphorically) extracting milk teeth only to give way to the more real and durable ones.
    Trying to understand Ibn Arabi and many other sufis in the context of prevailing Islamic thought and tradition is agreeingly baffling. (The Sufi thought failed to mainsteam in the Islamic world because of the oil-backed Wahhabi influence. It is much more appreciated in the West and tolerant cultures – Thomas Merton as one example.)
    Understanding, per se, is not that essential to spiritual experience. In Zen, novices are presented with nosensical or paradoxical questions, called koans, to challenge his/her habitual way of reasoning. The answer, however, is always transcendental and illuminating.
    Ibn Arabi would have been more direct and straightforward had he lived in a more tolerant world. His heavy reliance on symbolism has, as he hoped, helped save him from a unanimous act of “takfir”.
    Back to your question, it makes more sense to say that the whole universe is a reflection of our mind. Without this mind, there will be no universe, nothing. When we still the ripples of the mind we become closer to seeing beyond Maya (illusion), or seeing the rope in the rope, as opposed to the snake!

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