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          ... and Awakening

Tears pour down and painfully confusing grief arrives with the daily news, painting a bleak picture of suffering in the wake of tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and wars. Such tragedies cause many questions to arise: Why has this happened? Where is this loving God? How could a loving God allow such a thing to happen?

We must do whatever we can for those who are suffering – the victims of these disasters truly need and deserve our prayers, our heartfelt sympathy and our steady support to help to relieve their suffering and to help them to recover. However, we may find that we too are suffering, and through the pain of our own suffering and grief we are invited to awaken, to learn from this situation and to become wiser and more understanding.

Our own anguish is caused by our own lack of understanding. As Hazrat Inayat Khan so frequently reminds us, "Every leaf is a sacred scripture to those who have learned to see." That is, the answers to our questions are right before our eyes, if only we will learn to be still enough, calm enough, loving enough, to receive the answers.

The root of all suffering and misunderstanding is the excessive attachment to this "I". Due to our obsessive identification with "I", the truth is clouded, or veiled, and that covering causes us to misinterpret what is happening. Life does not die, it only moves on to another place. That is, life is an on-going process of change, continually transforming from one form to another. That is the mystery and the nature of life.

However, what one sees always depends on one's viewpoint. The view from the bustling, jarring city street is much different than the view from the pure, clear air of the mountain-top. Similarly, in order to see see life differently, one must change to a different viewpoint.

All tragedy of life, all misery and inharmony are caused by one thing and that is lack of understanding. Lack of understanding comes from lack of penetration. The one who does not see from the point of view from which he ought to see becomes disappointed because he cannot understand.

from The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Volume XIV, Awakening of the Soul

Many books have been written to try to unfold this great mystery, yet it continues to be a great mystery. Books and words can give us clues, but they can never give us the understanding that we really need. The only way to truly understand something is to directly experience it for yourself.... so, perhaps if you'll come along on a brief journey into another realm, the realm of the soul, then you will begin to remember something that you have forgotten... come along and listen to a conversation between two souls, one of whom is on the way to Earth, and the other is on the way back into The Oneness... and perhaps you will remember that you too had a conversation much like this...

Are you coming back from a life on Earth?

Yes! I just left there.

I've heard others talking about life on Earth, but all of their stories have been entirely different. Can you tell me about that place?

Oh yes! Everyone has a different story about Earth, that is the beauty and wonder of life on Earth. It is a world of light and shadows, a place of contrasts, where each thing is known in comparison to its opposite, or in comparison to its absence. So, there is light and there is lack of light, there is happiness and there is lack of happiness, there is love and there is lack of love, there are endless emotions and senses, such a variety of fragrances and tastes, so much to see and to touch and to feel. Oh what a magnificent place it is.

But what is the death that everyone speaks of?

Well, on Earth each thing comes into being, then it exists for a while, and finally in some way or other its existence ends.... just like a circle.. we are sent out as emissaries of the Oneness, we enter into life, we live a while, and then we move out of life and return to The Oneness. Really, life never dies, it just changes its appearance. Life on Earth is a never ending parade of forms, coming into being, existing for a while, and then amazingly changing into something else... yet Life never dies, it just changes from one form to another form.

But some people have said that they died a terrible death! Why would they do that?

It looks dreadful, but it's really not all that bad. It's like a grand play. Everyone has a part to play, and even though we know that everyone will die, we never know just exactly how it will happen. The entire planet is an ever-changing construction zone, covered with volcanoes and earthquakes and floods and all sorts of ways that people can get killed. It is, all in all, a very dangerous place, and although the dying sometimes looks quite dreadful, and everyone gets quite caught up in the drama, I really must tell you that oddly enough, death is not really a problem for those of us who die, it is only the ones who live that suffer.

What do you mean?

Well, in my recent death, I was smashed under falling rocks. I was a monk, living in the high mountains. I was really quite surprised when my death happened. An entire hillside came down right on top of me and I was utterly smashed... or rather I should say that my body was utterly smashed. My body was in pain for a few moments, but then as I began the return to the Oneness, I realized that it was a truly wonderful adventure on Earth, and I would love to be able to go there again.

It sounds like a rather strange adventure, but you seem so full of light and happiness!

Yes it really is delightful. You'll come out of your life with whatever you have put into it. So, if you put in love and kindness and beauty, then you'll come out with love and kindness and beauty. Those who put in something less than that... well, they too will come out with whatever they put in. The more you give, the more you get! It is really wonderful!

But how could you enjoy a place where you got crushed under a pile of rocks?? Are you insane?

Clearly you haven't been there yet! Even a few moments of life on Earth are worth all of the annoyance and pain. Oh just to feel love.. to give love and to receive love, even for just a moment... oh that is so amazing... it is beyond words! The sights and sounds and feelings and fragrances of life are so amazing that it is worth any pain or catastrosphe to go there!

As you can tell, I've not been harmed at all by the whole experience, even after being smashed to death by a whole mountainside... and in fact, rather than being harmed, the whole experience on Earth was a glorious blessing If you get caught up in the drama and start to suffer, then just recall our conversation and recall how happy and whole I am after my adventure on Earth... it is so wonderful!! Even just a few moments of love, kindness and beauty on Earth are so exquisite that they are worth any price.


 updated 11 Oct 2005