Monday, April 20, 2009

Ignorant Addiction to Transcendence

1.
There is a profound ignorance and blindness in our worldview, embodiment and participation in anything we imagine spiritual (and in that matter religious). And this ignorance is our addiction to Transcendence while ignoring Immanence. And I mean not just theological, but in all aspects and dimensions as far as both of these two terms can be expanded. The term "addiction to transcendence" can be defined in many ways.

Addiction to Transcendence is keeping our eyes only to far and beyond while neglecting whats immanent right here, right now. Its neglecting the starving poor on the street corner and busying ourselves going to the mosque or church on an idle morning. Its about not thinking and caring for the poor homeless in the community while preparing a thousands of dollars worth of fancy pilgrimage. Its neglecting our opportunity to serve the divine already within the creation while fantasizing about serving God above the clouds with selfish 'buying into heaven' type so called religious rites.

Perhaps the addiction to transcendence and its result is well illustrated in one of the sacred tradition, found both in Christianity and Islam where God calls out on the Day of Resurrection of all soul saying: 'O children of Adam, I was hungry and you did not feed Me', I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was sick and you did not visit Me.' People will exclaim, 'How could we feed You, give You drink or visit You as You are Lord of the World!' God replies: 'Alas, had you fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty and visited the sick, you would have found Me with them.'

Hardly any one gets it to the extent Mother Theresa got it and picked up the sick, the abandoned and dying from the streets of Kolkata, India as she could see the suffering body of Christ in every person lying and suffering beside the road side. The Chishti sufis of India had the tradition of open kitchen to feed the hungry in their lodges because that was one of the most important service for them. Bahauddin Naqshband trained his disciples to build roads in remote places so that people could travel with ease, take the sick to treatment. That was his training of service. Prophet Muhammad taught his holy companions to go and bring atleast one hungry person before they took their meal so that they can get the blessing of breaking bread with someone hungry and poor. They would wait standing at the street corner until they found someone to feed before they could eat themselves and this was even when the host himself was living in abject poverty. Prophet taught simple selflessness by saying that food prepared for two is enough for three, food for three is enough for four. Such is turning to look out for the immanent and not being just addicted to transcendence.

The Unknown She, Hilary Hart, Golden SufiI was recently reading the book, The Unknown She by Hilary Hart, a student of the sufi path and one of the contributor in the book, Andrew Harvey's part really triggered the idea of this modern day crisis: our deeply rooted addiction to transcendence which has already caused tremendous harm to humanity in its lack of reverence to life and everything that is part of us. On one side we see extreme addiction to materialism for those who have lost in touch with their soul and on the side those who pretend to have a touch with their soul have a different kind of addiction which is a denial. For the second group, the addiction has slow poisoned humanity by turning them into extremely selfish beings, in the excuse of being religious or spiritual as is the case of our time.

I am quoting a portion from the book The Unknown She which are statements of Andrew Harvey and I hope to continue a series on this subject sharing my two cents. Your thoughts and ideas are also welcome.

2.
DESCENDING TRANSCENDENCE

"First you have to realize that everything you have ever been told about the divine is prejudiced by patriarchal distortions that define the divine almost obsessively in transcendent not immanent terms."

"The addiction to transcendence keeps everybody in a coma, tells you your emotions are too much, your desires are absurd and obscene, your passion for justice are naive. This addiction, in fact, is the ultimate heroin because it keeps you high, self-absorbed, and falsely detached."

"Supposing you told people the truth? Suppose you told people that the real use of detachment is only to help you fight for truth and love more purely? It is only so your love can become more intense and focused. What would you have then? You'd have an empowered human race that wouldn't accept anything it didn't know for itself as true!"

"Transcendence is the first real knowledge on the path. It's crucial, but then you have to learn about love. Don't you think that Jesus could have made all these transcendent junkies look like twerps? .. He knew that the only truth lay in serving and loving every single living thing! So you have to go down on your hands and knees and kiss every living thing. That's about service. About service and being slave. Its has nothing to do with authority, nothing to do with being enlightened. That's the patriarchal world! She's (Divine Feminine, Unknown She) bringing in a wholly different world in which the last really are the first. And there are no masters who aren't slaves!

The last thing Jesus tried to do was break people's projections on him by dressing as a female slave and washing their feet. Of course no one got the meaning of that, because it's too deranging. The Mother's world is too deranging!"

Cat Billy B, Shaykh's Cat"Suppose we see that eternity really is in a grain of sand? Supposing we see that a cat is a totally holy creature, incredibly wise, and instead of thinking of it as stuck on the lower end of evolutionary scale, we start talking to a cat, and learning from the cat the secrets of serenity and secrets of divine mischief?"

"Supposing we do reverse the whole human craziness and start listening to Her (The Unknown She, The Beholder of Womb of Compassion, Rahm, Rahma)? All of this stuff goes! The whole authority structure goes, the elite goes, the churches go, the mystical system with their prizes to the boys who play the game go. It all goes! And only She is here, radiating love between hearts, between all the hearts of all the creation, and that's what She's trying to bring here. Because from that will come the real harmony, the real community of all human beings."

3.
The value of service over our addiction to Transcendence and disillusion about being religious or spiritual by performing religious rites, saying prayers, turning beads or memorizing prayer manuals is greatly illustrated in a sufi work of 10th century Iraq: The animals lawsuit against humanity:

“One of the most touching stories in early Arabic history relates the tale of the Sufi from Baghdad, Abu Bakr al-Shibli (d. 945) who dies and was seen by one of his friends in a dream. On being asked what God had done to him, he said that he had been granted admission to Paradise but was asked by the Lord if he knew the reason for this blessing. Shibli enumerated all his religious duties - fasting and praying, performing the Pilgrimage and giving alms – but none of these acts of piety had saved him.

Sufis Cat in Coat
Finally the Lord asked him, ‘Do you remember the cold day in Baghdad when it was snowing and you were walking in your coat when you saw a tiny kitten on a wall shivering with cold, and you took it and put it under your warm coat? For the sake of this kitten We have forgiven you.’”

That's my friend what it means by turning to Immanent rather than ignorant addiction to transcendence. Sufi saint Ibn Ata'illah said "The best of what you can seek from Allah is what He seeks from you," and serving His creation with loving kindness (rahma) is what He seeks from us. May God open our vision and give us the strength to be in real service, here and now, while we still been blessed to breath in and breath out.


# Related:
. I Am in all My creation
. Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet | loving the creation for the sake of loving the Creator
. Stop Being So Religious | Hafiz
. Sacred Activism of Andrew Harvey

# Next Posts in the Series:
. Woes of Addiction to Transcendence
. Esoteric Dimension and Gnosis of Immanence

Cat on Green/ Photo: B, Yohosame Cameron
Pin It Now!

LinkWithin