Archive Pages Design$type=blogging

Sufi Zen Koan from Alice in Wonderland

what you
would seem to be --

if you'd like it put more simply --

Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise
than what it might appear to others,
that what you were or might have been
was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared
to them to be otherwise.

- Dialogue of the Duchess, Alice in Wonderland

This statement from Alice in Wonderland written by Charles Dodgson under the pen name Lewis Carroll is such a zen-like koan that's pregnant with inner message on the mystical path, specially about the sufi adab (spiritual etiquette) or manner of living in the world, among common folk.

The sufi way doesn't recommend going away from people or living an ascetic life away from society, but to be exactly in the society, being useful to others yet living a life of complete turning towards One. To be among people, yet to be not caught with the people. To be in the world yet to be above it and this quote points exactly how to be in the world, with no pretension or egoic imagination to be different than those among whom one is situated to live in the first place.

Great Shadhdhuli saint and brilliant writer Ibn Atallah, may God be pleased with him, wrote in his Hikam, "Bury your existence in earth of obscurity, for whatever sprouts forth without having first been buried, flowers imperfectly."

On a more deeper level, the quote in Alice in Wonderland above speaks to what the sufis call living in sobriety that clothes or hides the inner state of ecstasy. Once a certain threshold is reached in the journey, its always better to "Be what you would seem to be."

Regarding this sufi adab and being in the world, Radha Mohan Lal, the sufi master of Naqshbandiyya Mujaddidiyya said beautifully:

"We sufis are lovers of beauty. Because we have renounced the world, it does not mean that we should look miserable. But neither do we want to stand out and attract undue attention. We do not wear special robes, because that might create a barrier between other people and us. We behave like others and dress like others.

We are ordinary people, living ordinary lives. We are smart with smart people, simple with simple ones, but we never give bad example. We will always lead a life of the highest morality. We will always obey the laws of the land in which we live; but in reality we are beyond the laws of men, for we obey only the Law of God. We surrendered somewhere; we are completely free!"

- Bhai Sahib, Radha Mohan Lal. the sufi master of Naqshbandiyya Mujaddidiyya lineage from India, may God sanctify his station.

The unsolved mystery

Caterpillar: Who are YOU?

Alice: This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. I -- I hardly know, sir, just at present -- at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.

paradox at the heart of it all

Zen master John Daido Loori of the Zen Mountain Monastery uses this in his teaching:
The caterpillar said, "One side will make you grow bigger and the other side will make you grow smaller"

"One side of what? The other side of what?" thought Alice to herself.

"Of the mushroom," said the caterpillar.

Alice looked at the mushroom, trying to make out which were the two sides of it, as it was perfectly round.

Qul: Huwa Allahu Ahad
Say: The Essence is One

The White Queen: Can you do addition? What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?

Alice: I don't know. I lost count.

One day a dervish was reading these two lines from Alice in Wonderland and burst into laughter and in ecstasy slowly tears rolled down his cheek. The question from White Queen spoke to his heart the primordial mystery and the response of Alice saying, 'I lost count' reminded the mystic state of being lost in bewildered state in the dazzling effulgence of One. What's one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one ... ?

What can you answer then but to say, I don't know! I am lost!

Wheresoever you turn, is the Face of One!



99 names abida activism adab adamandeveit advaita alchemy alchemy of the divine Ali alka Allah almsgiving americandiary anab antiwar art article ascetic attributes audio authority award bahai bahaullah bangla bangladesh baul bawa beauty bengali bhakti bible bill whitehouse biography blog book booklog book review bosnia breath bual buddha buddhism calligraphy carnival carolyn charity children Christ christian christianity Christology click comparative comparative religion compassion consciousness contemplative tradition conversation cosmology counsel creative creative thought creative thoughts crucifixion current affairs dante darshan death deception democracy desert spirituality destiny devotion Dhikr diary documentary donation download dreamwork DVD dying earth ecospirituality ego egypt eid end time enlightenment eschatology esoteric ethics event evil exegesis exergesis experience faith fast fasting feminine folk forgiveness fundraising ghayb gita globaloneness gnosis God golden sufi gospel governance gratitude guestblog guide on the path gurdjieff hadith hadra hafez hafiz haiku hajj haqiqat haqqu hasidic headscarf headscarves healing health heart hinduism history humanright humor husayn illusion imran-hosein in_quest_of_oasis inayat khan infographic inspiration integral spirituality interview islam islamophobia jesus Jesus Christ Jewish journalism judaism justice kabir kahlil gibran kenwilber Koan Koran krishna language last age law of attraction life link Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee love love. inspiration lyric mahmud shabistari maktub malamat mansur hallaj mary mary magdalene Mawlid meditation meditative quranic verse mercy metaphysics miracle miraj Mohammad mosque movie Muhammad music muslim mystic mysticism mysticsaint poetry mysticsaint prayer mysticsaint thought Nachman naomi naqshbandi nature news news. jesus tomb old age oneness origin original osho palestine paradox peace philosophy photography pir zia inayat khan pluralism podcast poem poem on God poetry poety poll porshee positive psychology poverty practice prayer presence present project Prophet Muhammad protest psychology qawwali question quote Quran quranic qurbani rabbi meir ben Baruch ramadan reality reincarnation relation religion Remembrance resource Resurrection retreat review roundup rumi sacred activism sacred geometry sacrifice saint saints saying sayings of Prophet science secularism self service Shadhiliyya shamanism Shamcher Shaykh Nooruddeen Durkee shrine Sidi Sikh social media sohbet song soul sound speedlink spiritual spirituality spiritual materials statistics story submission sufi sufihaqqu sufi healing sufi-infographic sufi podcast sufi poetry carnival sufis sufism sufism. hinduism sufism wisdom sufi tale sufi tariqa sufi wisdom surrender survey symbology tafsir tagore tantra tao teaching technology ted temple terrorism thelogy the secret thought thoughts time translation travel tribute truth unity upanishad vatican veda veil video view violence visit webcast wisdom witness woman workshop worship yoga zakat zawiya zen zen mind Zikr
Technology of the Heart: Sufi Zen Koan from Alice in Wonderland
Sufi Zen Koan from Alice in Wonderland
Technology of the Heart
Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago