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Chapter 5  -  Welcoming Divine Presence

Steps toward consciously welcoming Divine Presence into every aspect of one's life.

Inviting Divine Presence into Your Life

Consciously invite the Divine Presence into your life! The wonders of Divine Presence are always available to everyone, but Divine Presence will not force itself on anyone. We are free to be asleep. We are free to be ignorant. We are free to be selfish. We are free to be as foolish as we choose. And we pay heavily for such misdeeds and lack of understanding. Yet the Divine Presence is always there, just waiting for us to awaken from our slumber.

In order to enjoy a life of love, harmony and beauty, one must align one's outer life (worldly life) with one's inner life (spiritual life). In other words, the most pressing need of mankind today is to re-unite body and soul.

The wonders of spiritual life will not be fully embodied in one's own life until one awakens to the presence of Divine Presence and allows it to be the very foundation upon which every aspect of daily life is built,  thereby bringing the wondrous blessings of love, harmony and beauty into every situation. Life should be a joyful journey, and living in harmony with the ideals of Divine Presence is the key.

If you do not yet feel that wondrous Divine Presence deep within, then (for the time being) simply strive to allow your life to be centered around great ideals such as loving-kindness, generosity, compassion, gratitude, and joyfulness. Whenever anything else arises, calmly observe whatever has arisen without undue reaction, and return as quickly as possible to embodying those great ideals such as loving-kindness, generosity, compassion, gratitude and joyfulness. In this simple manner, one can gradually begin to reprogram the sub-conscious mind, and thereby more fully live in harmony with the Divine Presence.

Be Beautiful!

In every moment of every day, the central theme of Divine Presence is simply this: Be Beautiful!

Each of the beautiful attributes of mankind, such as loving-kindness, generosity, compassion, grace, and joyfulness, all arise from the wondrous Divine Presence which exists in the calm pure depths of the heart.

The beauty which any individual exhibits truly glorifies the Source of Beauty, and will hopefully invite others to turn, in their own way, toward that same Source, like moths toward the flame.

What does it mean to be beautiful?

To be beautiful is to let our thoughts, words and deeds bring Divine Presence into the world.

To be beautiful is to greet each and every being with grace, with love, with compassion, with joyfulness.

To be beautiful is to see the ever-present Divine beauty everywhere.

To be beautiful is to express joyful gratitude for all that we receive.

To be beautiful is let the Divine radiance of your inner light shine upon all beings without any of one's own hindrances or preferences whatsoever.

To be beautiful is to expect nothing in return.

That which is truly beautiful always arises from the depths of your own loving heart. That is, you will be most beautiful when you are living in harmony with your own highest ideals and greatest aspirations. One cannot be an expression of true beauty when trying to be like someone else. Follow your heart! Follow that Divine Spirit of Guidance deep within you! Be beautiful in your own way!

 (see also http://wahiduddin.net/views/be_beautiful.htm ) 

Spiritual Equality

The present moment brings spiritual equality to all beings by means of the Divine Presence. It's easy to see that we're not all equal physically, but spiritually we are all equal. Even the poorest or seemingly most unfortunate person has the same spiritual inheritance, the same Divine Presence, as everyone else.

The innermost being of man is the real being of God; man is always linked with God. If he could only realize it, it is by finding harmony in his own soul that he finds communion with God. All meditation and contemplation are taught with this purpose: to harmonize one's innermost being with God, so that He is seeing, hearing, thinking through us, and our being is a ray of His light. In that way we are even closer to God than the fishes are to the ocean in which they have their being.

The Unity of Religious Ideals, Hazrat Inayat Khan

Even someone who is might be considered to be poor in terms of worldly standards, is blessed with that one gift which is more valuable than all the treasures of this earth: the wondrous Divine Presence.


Blessed (in spirit) are the poor: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Gospel of Matthew 5:3


The Divine Presence shines equally upon everyone, yet it is our own personal choice whether or not we reflect that divine light into the world. If one does not allow the various attributes of Divine Presence to flow freely into the world, then one find that daily life is filled with the conditions that arise when those attributes are obscured.

For example, if we block the divine flow of loving-kindness, then we experience anger. Or, if we block the divine flow of compassion into this world, then we experience hatred. Oh dear friend, please look at your own life, and realize that wherever there is a difficulty, that difficulty is due to some portion of the Divine Presence being obscured by your own lack of awareness.

For example, if you want to experience peace in your life, you must change whatever in you is obscuring the flow of peace. If you want to experience loving-kindness in your life, you must change whatever in you is preventing the flow of loving-kindness. One good way to begin to remove whatever is obscuring the flow, is to deliberately give. Give peace, give love, give understanding.

Point of View

The essence of the path to lasting happiness is the changing of one's point of view. In order to arrive at enduring happiness, living a fulfilling life of love, harmony and beauty, it is necessary to shift one's viewpoint from the self-centered view of the ego to the all-inclusive, ever-loving view which is found in the pure, calm depths of the heart.


How can one explain spiritual progress? What is it? What is it like? Spiritual progress is the changing of the point of view.

Sufi Mysticism, Inner Study, Hazrat Inayat Khan


When one's viewpoint changes from the old self-centered egoic point of view to a new point of view based upon Divine Presence, it is as if the world has changed, it is as if one has been reborn into an entirely different world.


Being born again means that the soul is awakened after having come on earth, and entering the kingdom of heaven means that this world, the same kingdom in which we are standing just now, turns into heaven as soon as the point of view has changed.

Is it not interesting and most wonderful to think that the same earth we walk on is earth to one person and heaven to another? And it is still more interesting to notice that it is we who change it; we change it from earth into heaven, or we change it otherwise. This change comes not by study, nor by anything else, but only by the changing of our point of view.

The Smiling Forehead, Hazrat Inayat Khan

Equanimity

When the calm and serenity of the Divine Presence fills one's life, there is no compelling need for anything else, and a state of equanimity naturally arises wherein one is fully aware of all that is happening, yet one remains even-minded, calm and secure no matter what happens. When one lives with equanimity then praise and blame, like and dislike, are all the same.


Equanimity is characterized as promoting equipoise towards beings. Its function is to see the equality in beings. It is manifested as quieting like and dislike. Its proximate cause is seeing the ownership of deeds thus: "Beings are heirs to their deeds. Whose, if not theirs, is the choice by which they will become happy, or will be free from suffering, or will not fall away from the success they have reached?" It succeeds when it makes like and dislike subside.

Visuddhimagga 318, Buddhaghosa

Equanimity is not a state of being anesthetized or numb to life, but rather it is a state of heightened awareness wherein all of life is embraced and welcomed regardless of the outer appearance.


Those who have come in sight of the Truth, after beholding the beauty of the Truth, do not care to see anything else. They cannot look with love and yearning at anything else. For them, God becomes the only Beloved, the only thing that exists. That is their state in both worlds. That is their only purpose.

Secret of Secrets, 'abd al-Qadir al-Jilani, tr by Tosun Bayrak


For the one who is open to Divine Presence, equanimity arises when resistance departs. And, for one who enters equanimity, all that remains is pure awareness of what is, without aversions, preferences or  judgments. In such equanimity one is blessed with direct experience of Divine Presence.

Ease of Being

In order to be truly engaged in one's own purpose, the little self, the ego, must be an instrument of Divine Presence, used to serve the Divine Presence, allowing the Divine Presence to become manifest in this world.

royal_easeWhen the ego is in harmony with the will of the Divine Presence, then everything happens with great power and with great ease. Simply put, the ego must serve, and be in harmony with, the Divine Presence. Only then will one's purpose be fulfilled.

One of the best ways to evaluate whether or not you are acting in harmony with the Divine Presence is to notice if your thoughts and actions produce a sense of stress or a sense of ease. When one is employed as an instrument of Divine Presence, everything is done with great strength, compassion and kindness, yet all is done with utter ease.


In the morning, the one who does not understand will
   consider what he will do,
      while the one who understands will
          consider what the One will do with him.

Ibn 'ata 'illah 


If you detect undue complexity, stress or worry in your life, that is a sign that your life is being dominated by the ego. If you find that you are living with simplicity, power and ease, that is a sign that your actions are in harmony with the Divine Presence.


If religions seem complex, they have been added to. In every case, what was brought by the prophet was simple, and it was expressed in his personality and his life. It is that influence which has remained for centuries after they have passed away. It is not the literature they have left; most of the literature is from their pupils. It is the simple truth shown in their personalities, in their lives. The error of this day and age is that we cannot understand the simple truth, the truth as it is manifested everywhere.

Sufi Mysticism, Hazrat Inayat Khan


There is no greater sign, and no more certain sign, of Divine Presence than being fully engaged in the activities of life and all the while demonstrating loving-kindness, tranquility and ease of being.

Strive to simply drop from your life any thought or any activity which does not bring loving-kindness, tranquility and ease of being into the world. Ease of being is perhaps the single greatest sign that one is on the right path, and is in harmony with Divine Presence.

Living in the Present Moment

The past is gone, and the future has not arrived. Any time other than the present moment is not here now, it is only imaginary. All that matters is what you do, what action you take, in this moment. It is impossible to take any action at any time other than "now".

Whatever you do in the present moment will determine what you receive in the future. That is, the harvest that you will reap depends upon the seeds that you are planting in the present moment. If you want a different harvest, then you must plant different seeds, and those new seeds can only be planted in the in the "now".

If you want the Divine Presence to fill your life with the love, harmony and beauty that are your birthright, then it is necessary to spend much less time in the mental realms of past and future, and spend much more time in calm awareness of the wonders of the present moment.


How long will you keep pounding on an open door
begging for someone to open it?

Rabi'a al-'Adawiyya

Gratefulness

We live in the midst of an ever-changing world. Nothing on the earth lasts forever. By divine command, every form will change and be transformed into something else. Our family, our children, our friends, our home, our nation -- nothing can stay the same forever, everything comes into being, stays for a while, and is then transformed into something else.

To us, it may appear that there is "death", but in reality, there is only the continual transformation from one form to another. Life does not die, life cannot die, it simply moves from one form to another. Everything on earth will change from its present form to some other form.

There is no point in resisting the changes. Change will happen whether we like it or not. There is a great plan underway, a plan which is beyond our understanding. We can choose to accept what happens, or we can resist what happens, but we cannot stop the changes.

In the face of all the changes which are inevitable, we should take time to notice, and be thankful for, everything in our life which is pleasing and comforting. Oh, such splendid gifts we are given, and so often we take them for granted, taking little or no notice. To have eyesight, to have arms or legs, to have a friend... These too shall pass, so take time to rejoice for all that we are privileged to enjoy in the present moment. In some other moment, all of this will be gone. Celebrate, sing your song, dance your dance, and take time in each present moment to offer sincere thoughts of  reverence, awe, and gratefulness.


Be grateful for whoever comes,
   because each has been sent
      as a guide from beyond.

Jalaluddin Rumi, tr Coleman Barks


Before you ask God for what you want,
     first thank God for what you have.

Talmud, B'rachot 30b

Humbly Align Yourself with Divine Presence

If you truly want to be an instrument of the Divine Presence, then take some time each day to welcome the Divine Presence into your life. There is perhaps no greater way to move the troublesome ego toward humble submission than to kneel, bowing down in humility, giving thanks for all the good you've been given, and asking (in your own words) that you may be an instrument of love, an instrument of compassion, an instrument of beauty in this world. 

Such a prayerful attitude, filled with sincerity, humility, and longing is highly effective at bringing all of the various components of one's own psyche into harmonious alignment, thereby directing one's own will power and sub-conscious energy toward being an effective instrument of Divine Presence.

 


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Wishing you love, harmony and beauty,
    wahiduddin

Oct 27, 2008