Friday, March 26, 2010

initiation isn't about suffering, but stepping up | sharing of mystical dream

1.
Mystical dreams play a special role in Sufism. The function of these dreams is to illuminate the world of the imagination, an autonomous sphere of symbols and representations that is viewed as real, but as existing beyond the tangible, material universe. In Sufism, the world of the imagination is thought to exist in a state of suspension apart from physical reality. This dominion is much like an image reflected in a mirror which can be viewed three-dimensionally, although the image itself is not a three-dimensional object.

In their prayers, Sufi mystics often request to be given a dream-world spiritual chaperon to help lead them into the "way of the return." Sometimes these spirit-world aides are given somewhat arcane names like "Perfect Nature" and "Invisible Guide."

Active imagination is a term used by classical Sufis who represented a metaphysics of pure monotheism (tawhid) in which God alone is real, while the "I" that separates itself from this unified Reality is unreal.

The mundus imaginalis, or alami mithal, is a level of reality in which "meanings" are embodied as images that have a kind of autonomous existence. The imaginal world is an "interworld" in which visions, which are simultaneously meanings, are experienced by a psychospiritual faculty, the active imagination, or what Sufis would simply call the "heart." it is important to realize that this level of perception was reliably available only to those souls that were to some extent "purified". In its mature functioning it was certainly not a conceptual, intellectual, or merely symbolic experience, but a visionary one of the kind that many Western psychospiritual explorers touch only rarely in their lives, but which is the natural medium of mature mystics. It is not uncommon for a Sufi to ask another, "Did it happen in the tangible world or in meaning (mana)?" Whether the experience of the active imagination is in a dream or in wakefulness, it has the quality of profound significance.

- credit: Alami-Mithal: Autonomous World of Symbols



2.
I dream a lot and try to record my dreams in a journal.  This is a dream that has lingered in my mind for about a year now. Though it feels as if it is self explanatory it still lingers pretty clearly in my thoughts.

“There was water everywhere.  It was a flood. I could see water rushing around on all sides of an old dark clapboard house-like shack.  I was with a group of people. I am not sure if they were people I knew or not.  We all ran inside.

We stood in a large room and there were circles on the dark brown wood floor.  It was as if the circles were cut into the floor. A man stood in one of the circles. I began to become nervous as I realized this was an initiation and I was supposed to stand on one of the circles.

Everyone was silent and watching me. I didn’t want to participate. Then I thought “why not.” So I went and took my place in the circle I knew was mine which was behind the man and to his left. I wanted to connect to him to at least know I wasn’t alone. He did not look at me. 

I thought I should say something but he was silent and staring straight ahead so I said nothing.  I watched as the circle he stood in began to sink into the ground beneath the floor.  As he disappeared from site I thought I should be nervous and I wondered what it would be like to sink into the ground and I wondered if I was going to die - and I thought to die to what or where.

Then a thought flashed into my mind “I have done this before - many times before. I can do this.”  I felt peaceful as the circle I stood on began to sink down.  I sunk beneath the floor and into the ground. I could smell and see the dark earth. Then I glanced slightly upward and was surprised that the ground was not closing over me instead the circle I stood on began to rise.

As I came to the surface I had this sense of knowing deep inside. I suddenly understood and knew what it was all about… The thought that came into my mine was that the initiation wasn’t about suffering but about stepping up, taking the risk, and just being willing to do whatever it was that I was asked to do.

Then I woke up and quickly wrote it down.

- Shared by B., Traveler of Seerat al-Mustaqim, may Allah sanctify her travel and raise her spiritual station to a lofty height


3.
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
By the invocation of the mystical letters: Ta! Ha!
We did not reveal the Sacred Recital (al Qur'an) to you, to cause you any hardship.
Only to remind the reverent. A revelation from the Creator of the planetary and the heavenly existence.
The Most Gracious; He has assumed all authority. To Him belongs everything in the heavens, and the earth, and everything between them, and everything beneath the ground. Whether you declare your convictions (or not) He knows the secret (sirr), and what is even more hidden (akhfa).

- The Quran, Opening verses 
from the Surah of Mystical Letters Ta Ha


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