Read Part 1 here
Suhrawardi is quoting here from the Koran… “God, the divine Being, is not stingy with the unseen.”That should be our motto: God is not stingy with the unseen. Guidance abounds. However lost we might become individually and as a society. The way forward exists. The only real danger to us is if we should roll up the carpet of striving if we should block the movement of thought, close the door of revelations terminate the path of visions. That is the danger. The divine vision is generous.
I know that innumerable souls do ask these questions. We do ask ourselves, where are we going? I have undertaken incarnation to be part of the great drama of life’s unfoldment and I find myself year after year becoming jaded, cynical, depressed, but suddenly there is a glimmer of a memory of the purpose which brought me to earth, and also the anticipation that I shall leave this planet, sooner or later, perhaps tomorrow.
And then I will ask myself, what did I come to this world to experience? To experience and have I experienced it? And what did I come to offer? What work of my hands will I leave? What message will I have, will my life have, sent? We are constantly inscribing our signature on the tablet of nature.
What is that signature? What is our vision of the good, of the possible, that our life enacts, and embodies brings into reality. Imagine the privilege and and responsibility that we endowed with will have the power to alter reality.This whole mad experiment of life on earth is not something that we are merely the bystanders to. The direction it takes depends upon my, your, our volition. And the opportunity is not an endless one; we have a number of days. What do we want, what do we really want when we have left this earth. What life do we wish to have moved on from? What kind of planet do we wish to have served?
There have been times in human history when these questions have been asked, and human beings have come together to step outside of the narrow conditioning of one’s own immediate experience and to seek to embrace and gather together the fullest extent that one can encompass of the whole gamut of life experience on earth, moments when humans have gathered together to sum up the epitome of human knowledge, of human experience.
This has taken at times the form of a house of wisdom In Baghdad, the Bait al-Hikma which gathered together the insights of mathematics and in fact produced algebra. The insights of the ancient sages of Mesopotamia, the insights from as far as Hindustan, to gather together and sum up the quintessence of the human experience. In Alexandria such an effort was made. In Fatehpur Sikri such an effort was made.
Now today we are here in the country that is a microcosm of the world, the fusion of innumerable cultures, but all too often we drift tasting this and that, billions and billions of dollars are allocated to aggressive military strategizing, And all of the resourcefulness and creativity that exists lies in wait to be galvanized to be put to the service of coming together As human beings concerned with the future, What are the spiritual traditions, the cultural traditions of the planet that are our true heritage. What is the way forward?
As a small contribution to this great enterprise some friends and I have begun to form a house of wisdom. We use the name Seven Pillars, which refers to Sophia, lady wisdom, who speaks in the book of Proverbs and says I have built my house. I have raised my seven pillars. I have spread the table.
It is an invitation from wisdom to come together, in dialogue in collaboration to look upon the challenges and opportunities in our individual lives and our collective lives and to seek the answers that come from the heart of the human experience. Our growing house of wisdom has four special areas. One of these, the first of these areas is cosmology. There is a need to re-conceptualize and re-experience our place in time and space, our relationship with the environment. The environment has become a resource, rather than a source, and a resource that we have exploited far beyond the limits of sustainability. We are driven by our constant anxiety and distraction to consume to accelerate and rarely have we the capacity to experience our relationship with nature, with the elements, with other species, in a truly vivid living manner.
So cosmology has to do with re-visioning our inter-relationships, overcoming the boundary of our false consciousness of separateness. Can you image how different our experience would be if rather than opaque skin, we were born with transparent skin. We would watch ourselves breathe. We would watch the air enter us and leave us. We would watch our breakfast. It would no longer seem that we are separate. We would feel ourselves to be a vortex a whirlpool, within the matter of the earth, drawing in substance, orchestrating it, configuring it organically and then substance is released, returns to the environment
We are a vortex in the oceanic surface of the planet, and experiencing this directly, completely, reframes our sense of identity and our awareness of the life around us and it is all life around us. We have resorted to this very unfortunate word inanimate the inanimate, and we suggest, we imply to ourselves that stones, clouds, the ocean, is inanimate, without anima, without soul, but it’s all soul, and that is the message of sufism, matter is spirit Matter is the crystallization of Spirit. And materialization is God’s spiritual path.
Our spiritual path as physical human beings takes us back into transcendence, but the one who awakens out of the solitude of infinitude, of eternity that one’s spiritual path, the Real one’s spiritual path is billowing out rippling out in degrees of manifestation, crystallization, form.
The study of biology, the study of how this universe pours itself forth by autopoiesis, self-organization. Beauty crystallizes in ever new forms, increasing differentiation and at the same time, increasing communion between the different parts at its organicity. We belong to an organic whole. And our body is a microcosm of the whole. That is the profound discovery of the mystic, that one feels the ocean surging in one’s veins, the sunlight glinting in one’s eyes. The whole universe surges in this very body to occupy this body, for us to be here now enrobed in flesh. This is the ultimate mystery.