Saturday, December 24, 2011

Slinking whispering of mind and experience of alienation and separation

1.
One of the most common issue of the human mind is insinuating whispers which is also called chattering, casting of doubts, inner voice / dialogue of the self. Perhaps one of its extreme forms is a mental condition called voice hearing. There are many around the world who identify themselves as voice hearer and it is labeled as a mental illness. According to Mental Health Foundation of UK, "Hearing voices are still considered by psychiatry as an auditory hallucination and as a symptom of conditions such as schizophrenic disorders, manic depression and psychosis. The orthodox treatment is with major tranquillizers. These do not get rid of the voices." The related medical community and psychiatrist are very curious over this unsolved phenomena.

Ordinary human beings who don't suffer from any severe form of voice hearing are still subjected to chattering of mind, internal dialogues which are hard to get rid of. For the average person in every minute his mind is bombarded with many unintentional thoughts that continuously rise and fall. Thus developing the ability to go beyond this natural tendency of the mind and to be able to still the mind is encouraged in many spiritual traditions through practices such as meditation, observing the mind, through vigilant watching of the mind.


2.
Say: “I seek refuge with the Lord of humanity;
From the evil of the retreating whisperer -
Who whispers into the Heart of human being."
- The Quran, Chapter of Humanity

 
In the language of Islamic spirituality there is a term for the inner whispering which is called waswasah which literally means "sounds like whisper, rustle." It also refers to suspicion, delusion, misgiving. baseless possibilities that rise within the heart. In the 114th chapter of the Quran, man is taught to seek refuge from the whispering using the verse, "Min sharril waswasil khannas."

The word khannas is derived from khunus, which means to hide after appearing and to retreat after coming into view. Since khannas is the intensive form, it would imply the one who behaves thus very frequently. Now, obviously the whisperer has to approach man for whispering again and again, and besides, when he is also described as khannas, the combination of the two words by 'itself gives the meaning that after whispering once he retreats and then again returns over and over again to repeat the act of whispering. In other words, when once he fails in his attempt to whisper evil, he withdraws, then he again returns to make the second and the third and the next attempt over and over again. This is the nature of the inner whispering which plays hide and seek in such a way that the source remains illusive, ever retreating. When this form takes an extreme situation, this become a mental illness and there are cases where the voice hearer can no longer stand this phenomenon and might even be tempted to end his or her life. May God save us from such calamity and we seek refuge in God, the Sole Refuge.  

And if an evil whisper comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge with Allah.
- The Quran, 7:200

Seek help from Allah, the Most High, and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say: If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so, but say: Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your saying “if” opens the (gate) for the Shaytaan.” - Muslim, Book 33: Destiny, Number: 6441

… Allah does not wish to impose hardship upon you. Rather, He wishes to purify you; and to complete His blessings upon you; and in order that you may be thankful. - The Quran, 5:6


3.
Shaykh Ebrahim Schuitema of the Darqawi-Shadhiliya Tariqa who resides at Gauteng near Johannesburg, South Africa recently gave a talk in Singapore at a conference and there he touched on the Waswasah or the inner whispering. A highlighted version of the talk is shared here where he takes on how our mind's experience of alienation, loneliness and eventual suffering is caused by the judgmental mind and the waswas which cause separation and judgment. May we find the wisdom shared by the Shaykh useful and may Allah preserve him and accept his work. 

"That waswasah (whispering, chattering) of the mind creates our experience of alienation and of loneliness.

The fundamental character of was-was is judgment .

If you are walking down the road and even if you are looking at the world around you and you say "Boy, I am never gonna buy a car like that. That probably is not allowed etc."

This judgment that is going on in your mind continues to separate you, takes you, put you apart from the world. It creates a sense of boundary. Your internal dialogue is the source of your experience that you exist as an individual. That experience that you exist separately from the world is AN ILLUSION.

So, when you experience yourself to exist as a separate individual 'creature' you are cutting yourself off from the continuity which 'produces' you and 'sustains' you, moment by moment. To think that you exist distinct from the rest of the universe is crazy!

You are a collection of stardust.You are an orchestration. In fact it's stated that it has taken all events since the beginning of time to 'produce' your life. You are a weaving of this 'magical' set of circumstances by the Rabb to 'produce' your life now. All things that have happened prior to this moment had been necessary ingredients to 'produce' who you are now.

In the Vicinity of the Cone Nebula via Astronomy Picture of the Day

You don't exist as separate from the world. You exist as a 'knot' in a carpet associated and connected with
everything else. So, our sense that we exist as separate individuals is an illusion and it is an illusion that we sustain by our on-going commentary on life, our was-was, our internal dialogue.

We don't realize that every judgement that we make on the world, says or reflects more about ourselves than it does about the world. We also don't realise that with every single judgement that we make, sets us apart from and therefore alienates us and cuts us from everyone.

And if you look at someone and you say (internally) that, "Well I'm better than you!" or "you're below me!" You are making yourself distinct, you are standing above him. And if you do that all the time, if you're walking through the world with that spirit of judgement the whole time, you are just carrying you internal dialogue. You'll start experiencing stuff as being very alienated.

You have to understand that this idea that you exist as an individual is the source of your suffering. It presents you with an immense problem. If you say, "I am opposite to the rest of the universe. I am separate from it. I am different from it. I am cut off from it," - you are immediately confronted by the problem of that which is very small, confronted by that which is indescribably vast. Now, the nature of that which is very small in the face of that which is indescribably vast is overwhelming.

So while you experience yourself to exist as an individual, you're living in the face of vivid catastrophe.

You are living in fear! You are living in terror!

You are living in insecurities! You are living in discontentment!

You are living in conflict with the world around you.

There is a route to escaping this terror

There is a route to escaping this terror and that lies at not believing but knowing first-hand, experiencing of the same order like you can feel your legs on the floor now, of that nature. Experiencing that you are connected with everything else, that there is a oneness that you are being participating which is part of everything else. In other words, you aren't opposite to the world. You aren't separate from the world. You are intimately and deeply connected with it like your little fingers connected to the rest of your body. For your little finger to be frightened of the rest of your body would be nuts! Why would you have an interest in harming your little finger? It's part of you.

So in the same way, you are part of the 'continuity' that the entire universe is made. But in order to experience that, you gotta silence yourself so that you feel it! Feeling that Presence.

Feeling that silence is to become aware of the Presence of your Rabb. Your Rabb is the Genius. The Consciousness that sits behind this incredible super-universe (not in a anthropomorphic manner) 'producing' the extraordinary Command.

You are not a lonely, isolated individual that has to sort of pay your bond and thank yourself and look after yourself.

Shell Galaxy NGC 7600 / Image Credit & Copyright: Ken Crawford (Rancho Del Sol Observatory)

You're a child of the star. You are an 'offspring of the universe.' Every human-being alive since Nabi Adam a.s. was your parent. But for that to become true for you, you have to experience the silent, wakeful presence which is in every moment which connects all things.

That is the 'presence' of The Rabb. Within the silence and the quietness of the heart, the Zikr of Allah Ta'ala becomes tranquil and you'll feel how things are. You'll experience how things are. And the root of that experience is that the universe is my 'friend.' It is intimately interested and connected to me in ways that I can't even begin to describe.

May Allah grants us annihilation to Him. May Allah grant us success in this Path. May He grant us a speedy journey in search for one and bless all our Shaykhs and Shaykhans. May He grant all the Shaykhs and Shaykhas of all Tariqas Insight and Wisdom. May He bless and expand the influence of all Shuyukhs of all Tariqas. May Allah Subhanuwatala grant us nearness to Him and annihilation in Him."

May peace and blessings be upon the Messenger after whom no other Messenger came, and his family and his holy companions and the martyrs of truth.

You may listen to this part via video posted on Facebook through the links below:

* Watch and Listen here: Part 1
* Watch and Listen here: Part 2

via Zawia Ebrahim
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