Monday, August 27, 2007

Gifts - A Sufi Perspective | Anab Whitehouse

Mysticism concerning the issue of spiritual gifts | loans from God

A person who truly is in love does not spend time wondering what gifts the beloved will bring. All thoughts and anticipations concern only the presence of the beloved. To long for anything other than the beloved, is to bring into question the sincerity of one's love.

Spiritual gifts from God to the Sufs are in the form of various extraordinary powers. For example, among these powers are: healing; seeing the future; witnessing events hundreds and thousands of miles away; reading the Tablet of Fate, as well as writing new entries into that Tablet; breaking the norms or laws which usually govern nature; and telepathic communication (both sending and receiving).

There are certain people who hear about these sort of powers, and they begin to drool with desire to possess such abilities. They want to know where they can sign up. What these people do not understand is the Sufi path, ultimately, is no more about powers than it is about stories. To be sure, God does grant, through spiritual gifts, one or more of the foregoing capabilities to certain individuals on the mystical path. Yet, these gifts are, in a sense, incidental to the essence of the mystical quest.

From the perspective of Sufi masters, one could have a whole treasure chest of extraordinary powers and be missing the point of why one steps onto the Sufi path in the first place. The goal is God.

Powers are not the object of the set of spiritual exercises which constitute the Sufi discipline or methodology. The object of these exercises is to neutralize the aspect of self which, among other things, desires anything other than: to know God, to love God, to worship God and to serve God.

Sometimes powers are bestowed on an individual in order to test that person. In effect, the individual is being challenged by Divinity. Which does the person want more: powers or the Beloved? When the individual gets mesmerized and intoxicated with such powers, they lose their way on the mystical path. Powers, then, become an impenetrable veil between the person and her or his potential for fully realizing the presence of Divinity.

Human beings who get seduced by spiritual powers are cheating themselves. This is so because when the person becomes enamored by extraordinary powers, he or she is sacrificing intimacy with God for what amounts to very subtle ego gratification.

According to the practitioners of the Sufi path, true happiness, contentment, fulfillment, peace, satisfaction, identity and love can only be realized through spiritual intimacy with God. Powers are powerless to achieve any of this.

Powers, in and of themselves, cannot be used to rise higher spiritually. They have no capacity to do this. On the other hand, refraining from becoming entangled in the seductive allure which powers have for the ego, can help one, God willing, to make significant spiritual progress.

There are many practitioners of the Sufi path who, by the grace of God, have ready access to tremendous powers. However, they often do not utilize them. Within certain limits, they have the capacity to change things significantly, but, for the most part, they do not. They more or less leave things as they are.

There is something very deep here to which we ought to give considerable reflection. Having powers, is not the panacea we might suppose it to be. There are other principles which constrain the use of powers and, therefore, transcend them in the scheme of things.

God, in a sense, delegates some degrees of discretional authority to some of the servants of Divinity. Just as God has granted various people different kinds of talents and intellectual capabilities in order to fulfil certain spiritual tasks, so, too, God gives some people special powers that permit the fulfillment of those kinds of spiritual tasks which require special abilities.

This means some servants of Divinity become loci of manifestation through which powers are released in order to permit the servant to be able to fulfil certain spiritual duties which have been assigned to her or him. For instance, in order for a shaykh to be able to assist a devotee, the teacher must have considerable insight into the spiritual capacity and circumstances of the individual's life.

Consequently, one of the powers given to the shaykh by God is the capacity to read the life of the devotee like an open book. Nothing the individual has done in the past, or is doing or thinking or feeling now, can be concealed from the shaykh's Divinely supported gaze.

When an individual witnesses certain events which give expression to a spiritual power, the individual tends to be powerfully affected, if not nonplussed, by the occurrence. The ego is in a panic because it has just gone through something which pulls the rug out from beneath a whole set of assumptions about how things are supposed to operate.

The heart, on the other hand, is buoyed and intrigued by such an event. The heart has received some concrete confirmation which can be used in the struggle with the ego's disbelief and skepticism.

As a result, the initiate's faith becomes a little stronger. Some of the doubts begin to dissipate.

by Dr. Anab Whitehouse
excerpts only. read the full post
here.

credit: Sufi Amanesis
. Sufi Podcast by Anab Whitehouse
also read, Sufi Healing Traditions
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