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    Rising Above Opposites...

          ... Perfecting the Heart

Many of life's most overwhelming problems are caused by misunderstanding. And one of mankind's chief obstacles is the ever-present conflict between the pairs of opposites such as good and evil, love and hatred, or peace and war. These conflicts are often rationalized and accepted as simply being the opposing forces in this world of duality... but what if they're not really opposites??
For example, consider light. In day-to-day thought we may consider light and dark to be opposites. But they're not really opposites. Light is the presence of a certain type of energy and darkness is merely what happens when that energy is not present. Darkness only exists when the flow of light energy has been blocked or obstructed by something. That is to say, darkness is only a shadow, a place where the light has not reached.
So, rather than having opposites, what we actually have is simply the presence of some quality, or the absence of that quality.

The same is true of hot and cold. We may consider them to be opposites in our day-to-day life, but they're not really opposites. Heat is the presence of some specific energy, while cold is the lack of that energy. Cold only exists when something blocks the flow of heat energy into that place.
The long-held belief in two opposing forces is really not what is going on here. There are not two opposing forces, but rather One Principle which is either flowing freely, or which has been blocked.

Duality is the means by which our minds learn to distinguish between things, but duality does not apply to God. God is One, and has neither opposite nor partner. God continually radiates beneficent qualities such as Love, Harmony and Beauty into our lives, and it is our choice whether to welcome, receive and acknowledge those qualities, or to block and obstruct them.
What then are we to say of good and evil? Or love and hatred? Or war and peace?
Evil is not an inherent quality, something lurking about, ever-ready to engulf us at each moment, but rather evil is merely the condition that exists when Goodness is not flowing freely into some area. Evil is only a shadow, a place where Goodness is not flowing freely.

In ancient times many have tried to help the imagination of those who sought goodness by teaching them belief in Satan, saying that God is all goodness and Satan all badness. This was in order to explain to those who could not understand where badness came from. In reality badness is only the shadow of goodness; and as a shadow is non-existent so evil is nonexistent.

Rather than focus our attention toward struggling and fighting against the shadow that is called evil, we should instead direct our efforts to understanding and removing the obstacle that is preventing the free-flow of Goodness. It is not that we should accept or welcome any evil, but rather that we should strive to allow the Light of Goodness to shine into every situation in order to eliminate the evil shadow.

Jesus taught that struggling against evil was not the correct approach, but rather that only the Light of Love could remove the shadow that we call evil.

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

Gospel of St. Matthew 5:38-41

Hatred is not an inherent quality of life, it is simply what happens when something has blocked the flow of Love into that area. And, similarly, war is not an inherent quality of life, but rather it is only the result of an obstruction of the flow of Peace into an area.
The petty self, the ego, the head, strives to make matters complicated and this idea of duality is delightfully complicated, allowing it to be conveniently used to blame undesired actions and events on other people or non-existent forces. But when we look more closely, the old ideas begin to fall apart, and we have a clearer vision of the root of the most common problems of mankind.... the lack of the free-flow of an essential energy, an essential Divine Quality.
When viewed from this standpoint, one no longer needs to fear "evil", but rather one should simply strive to discover and remove whatever has blocked the free-flow of Goodness.

Likewise, one no longer needs to fear "hatred" but rather one only needs to strive to understand and correct whatever has blocked the free-flow of Love.

Clearly this viewpoint leads to new solutions for many age-old problems. There is no point in battling a non-existent enemy. There is no point in pointing one's finger toward a non-existent force. Struggling to subdue and overcome a non-existent external adversary does not lead to any useful solutions. We must focus our attention on removing or finding a way around whatever is obstructing the natural flow of Divine Grace.

Now we see that there are two basic conditions: perfection, wherein the Divine Grace is freely flowing through us; or restriction, wherein the free flow of Divine Grace has been stifled. The former we call goodness, the latter we call evil.

The ultimate adversary is not something outside of us, but it is our own resistance and obstruction of the free flow of Divine Grace.

In Aramaic, the language that Jesus probably spoke, the root of the word Satan (s-t-n) refers to an adversary, something that opposes, something that resists, something that impedes. Satan is merely a name that we have given to the obstruction that we have created, as if by naming it we could pretend that the adversary is separate from us and is not our own fault. Each person's ego is the creator of his own Satan.

The Aramaic root of the word Devil (a-k-l) refers to something that devours or consumes. I've certainly noticed in my own life that those moments when I am being my worst and and just thinking about "poor me", that such thoughts are all-consuming and leave nothing available for anyone else. Indeed, it is our own selfishness, our own self-centered thoughts, that create the Devil that devours our goodness, not some separate, external force.

A never-ending Divine Outpouring of wholesome essential qualities such as Love, Harmony and Beauty arrives fresh and new in every moment, showered upon us by our Creator. We can either choose to welcome and radiate these glorious qualities or we can put up barriers to oppose and block them. We are the only barrier, there is no one else to blame.

We are free to turn our backs on the Divine Outpouring and suffer the consequences, or we can turn toward the Light and welcome all that Divine Grace is offering to us.

O, friend! Nobody veils you, but yourself.
In your path there is no thorn or weed, but yourself.
You said: Shall I reach the Beloved or not?
Between you and the Beloved there is nobody but yourself.

Awhadoddin Kermani

When the Almighty Ever-Lasting One creates anything material, there is always a trinity involved: the Source, the Manifestation, and the flow of Energy that interconnects the Source with the Manifestation. To the Sufis, this trinity is often expressed as Love, Lover and the Beloved. In Christian terms, the trinity is often expressed as the Father (the Source), the Son (the Manifestation) and the Holy Spirit (the Energy, the Means, the Essence, the Consciousness that interconnects the Source with the Manifestation).

Regardless of what we may choose to call these three elements of the trinity, every manifestation is produced and sustained by the flow of a certain type of Energy. If that Energy flow is impeded in either direction, then the manifestation of some part of our life will be altered or destroyed.

Bear in mind that the light and the life that goes out from you to the object are quite as important as that light which comes to you from the object. Therein lies the great mystery of the trinity in all things: the knower, the thing to be known, and the power or light or knowledge which connects them.

Githa I, Sadhana Number 1, Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)

Health, happiness and loving-kindness are the natural conditions which arise when Divine Grace is freely flowing in both directions between the Source and the Manifestation. Unwholesome conditions such as disease, unhappiness and hatred arise only when the free-flow of the Divine Qualities such as Love, Harmony and Beauty has been impeded or blocked.

Thus, the task at hand for all manner of healing, whether individual, societal or planetary, is to remove or bypass the barriers and blockages which impede the free-flow, in either direction, of the ever-present Divine Qualities such as Love, Harmony and Beauty.

For mankind, the chief barrier and/or blockage is the ego, that self-centered impression which has been created through the selfish reasoning and rationalization of the head. The downfall of mankind is that the ego pretends to be the Source, and blocks the free flow of energy from the true Source. Through such self-centered thoughts of one's own greatness and self-sufficiency, mankind cuts himself off from the very Source upon whom he depends.

It is nothing but our own misunderstanding and selfishness that prevents us from experiencing the full glory of the Divine Grace that is arriving in every moment.

God speaks to everyone, not only to the messengers and teachers. He speaks to the ears of every heart, but it is not every heart that hears Him. His voice is louder than the thunder and His light is clearer than the sun - if one could only hear it, if one could only see. In order to hear and to see man should remove this wall, this barrier, which he has made of his self. Then he becomes the flute upon which the divine player may play the music of Orpheus which can charm even the hearts of stone; then he rises from the cross into the life everlasting.

Mankind rises above the ego only when God, the true Source, is fully recognized and humbly honored.  When one puts God first, others second, and self the least of all, then the ego has been put into its proper place as a servant, not a master.

To do this requires a shift in thinking, from being dominated by the foolishness of the self-centered head, which analyzes, divides and isolates, to being awakened in the glory of the selfless loving heart which welcomes, unifies and connects. In mankind, the ego, the head, is the organ of isolation and division, while the heart is the organ of connection and unification.

The ego tries to prove that it is whole, complete, successful, independent and powerful, but alas, it is not.

The first and foremost interconnection that we must cleanse and purify is our connection to all of creation. There are two steps required to purify this interconnection: First, the acknowledgement that there is a Source and second, the sincere, loving admiration of that Source. To do so, the self-centered ego must bow down in submission before the Almighty.

Then, as the impediments and blockage are removed from that most crucial interconnection, one must strive to cleanse and purify the interconnection to all of mankind, and to all of God's creation.

Jesus taught us how to overcome the ego:

The Lord our God is One Lord, and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Gospel of St Mark 12:29-31

The gentle, loving heart that loves God, accepts all that God gives, and selflessly radiates loving-kindness toward all of creation, has opened itself to the highest ideal, perfection of the heart.

The Goodness, Wholeness, Perfection and Love of the Almighty is constantly being showered down upon each and every person in every moment, yet it is not being received due to our own veils of selfishness. If only we will set our own self-centered ego aside and receive the gifts, all of these glorious gifts are ours in this moment!

The perfected one is such a pure, clean, flawless mirror that God, who is Absolute Beauty, sees His own Self reflected.

Lubbu al Lubb, The Kernel of the Kernel, Ibn 'Arabi

When the human heart is purged of self-centeredness, it becomes polished to mirror-like perfection, accepting all that is directed toward it, and responds by reflecting and radiating all the glory, wonder and power that is received from the Source. When such a mirror-like heart receives the blessing of the radiance of God, then it reflects the likeness of that divine radiance back to God and into the entire world, and one's greatest goal is to perfectly reflect all that is being received. There is no greater peace, and no greater bliss, than this.

your sweetheart's face
is appearing now
change yourself into a mirror
and fill yourself to the brim

Fountain of Fire, Jalaluddin Rumi, tr Nader Khalili

Wishing you love, harmony and beauty,


posted February 18, 2005