Monday, December 01, 2008

a point where contradictions meet

There is a point where
in the mystery of existence
contradictions meet;
where movement
is not all movement,
and stillness
is not all stillness;
where the idea and the form,
the within and the without are united;
where infinite becomes finite, yet not.

- Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Indian Poet, Playwright and Essayist, Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

Those who have tasted mystical bewilderment, for them realizing 'the contradictions' infused in the mystery of existence is easier to see, discern and grasp than those who haven't. Those who haven't and lack the wisdom, their mind rebels at any slight trace of contradiction. For common folk all contradictions are confusing (its like someone who doesn't understand simple truth that a half empty glass is half full too), for mystics they are signpost of bewilderment (like the statement that Divine is both Zahir, Manifest and Baatin, Hidden).

The sufi ideal of hishtawwut or what is generally translated as equanimity, is a necessary precursor for arriving at the point where contradictions meet in our mystery of existence. Equanimity brings Tranquility as well. The station of equanimity (upeksa) is also a major teaching in buddhist path. In Maha-parinibbana Sutta Buddha teaches that one is to cultivate the seven factors of enlightenment: mindfulness, investigation into phenomena, energy, bliss, tranquility, concentration, and equanimity. Thanks to the 13th century kabbalist, rabbi Isaac of Acre also introduced the idea of hishtawwut into jewish spiritual lexicon from sufi teachings. Thus in Buddhism, Sufism, and Kabbalah, equanimity appears as a precursor to and expression of enlightenment, as a wonderful and necessary quality of mind and heart. The sufi term hishtawwut signifies that the adept has reached a spiritual space where he doesn't care at all what others might think of him - or how he was perceived in the world. Abu Sa'id Ibn Abil-Khayr said, "The Sufi is pleased with everything that God does, so that God will be pleased with all that he does." That is equanimity in sufi path.

It is again described by Rumi when he invites us to that space by saying: 'Out beyond the ideas of right doing and wrong doing there is a field. I'll meet you there.'

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 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.

Equanimity enables one to see the multi-facets of reality / truth through the apparent contradictions. When the soul earn enough maturity to enter the door of equanimity then the contradictions are no longer contradictions but they are essential construct of reality.

In the language of theoretical / quantum physicists it is like how the particle of light is both energy and matter. Depending on circumstance and observation light behave as waves of energy or packets of photons. Scientists by very nature has to be have equanimity to understand the reality of physical laws. Only when the scientist is unbiased and reach equanimity without any favor, they are shown the reality of contradiction.

Same applies to seekers of reality and truth (haqq). With more refined state of equanimity one's eyes of the heart become more sensitive to see the contradictions, paradoxes and thus one is no longer in resistance to life, its unfoldings by the Divine Will and enter into tranquility of self-surrender.

.. wa la tamootunna illa waantum muslimoona

.. and die not except in a state of self-surrender.
- The Quran 3:102

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