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Personal Revolution for Spiritual Evolution | What do we need to make 2012 the year of personal revolution?

This moment is all there is

What is the meaning of this moment in time? Spiritual teachings tell us that time is an illusion and only the moment is real. And yet there are moments in our individual and collective destiny that offer a unique opportunity, a possibility for real change.

What is this moment in time calling for? Are we awake, fully attentive to the changes happening around us? Are we able to listen to the real need so that we can step through the door that is being opened?

- Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Sufi Master, Golden Sufi


We are into a new year of the Gregorian Calendar, into the much anticipated 2012. Mesoamerican Mayan Calendar suggests that a 26,000 years long great cycle is coming to an end and a new one begins at the end of 2012 (precisely on the winter solstice, December 21st). From astrological point of view:  observations tell us that there will be a rare galactic alignment during the winter solstice of 2012, marking it as a period in cosmic time (spanning across 18 years from 1998 to 2016 years zone) when it is said our solar system will be aligned with the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy. The Galactic Alignment is the alignment of the December solstice sun with the Galactic equator. This alignment occurs as a result of the precession of the equinoxes and repeats only once every 26,000 years, corresponding to the ancient Mayan long count calendar.

The cosmos is a book containing a primordial revelation
of utmost significance and man a being whose essential,
constitutive elements are reflected upon the cosmic mirror
and who possesses a profound inner nexus with the cosmic ambiance around him...  
- Seyyed Hossein Nasr

From mystical / metaphysical point of view: this is also a period of time indicating change in stage of human consciousness. Scholars of Mayan Calendar have also pointed out that the real feature of the Mayans - their mastery of cycles - was not rooted in time (alone) but marked by the measure of the evolution of human consciousness over time. Thus according to some researchers, the long count calendar system was established by the Mayans in ancient times to forecast or mark out the very transition points between world ages, end and transition of cosmic cycles. It is not just the Mayan Calendar, but also many mystics, spiritually sensitive human beings around the world have been sensing a shift during this very period just before the arrival of 2000 and continues to 2012.

A panoramic image of the Milky Way arching across the night sky as visible from earth

It is understandable that some of the noises around the year 2012 and phenomenon surrounding it are obviously attributable to media hype while others are simply conjectures - but we must not generalize everything collectively due to mis-information of an ignorant segment. The dooms day kind of prophecies around 2012 (and we have seen such things around 2000 as well) are the worst kind because it hijacks and mocks at the faith of ordinary people and ultimately aims to destroy 'the matrix of faith'. The truth is, when this reality as we know it will come to an end, when Resurrection will happen through the unveiling of a new reality, that knowledge is only with the Creator and it was not and will not be revealed to anyone. Human beings are only transmitted some symbolic signs, but not the exact knowledge of its coming. If anyone claims that he or she knows when the world will end, is either spiritually and religiously ignorant, or a deluder or an imposter.

Having said that, there is almost no doubt that many individuals have experienced real and tangible shift both within themselves, in their life as well as in the outer-world somewhere around and after the year 2000. The effect of the shift of cosmic age occurs over many years, sometime over decades and that's exactly what we have witnessed since around 2000. I personally know someone for whom dramatic shifts in life events occurred around 2004-2005, then serious Pluto transition (symbolizing death and re-birth in life) around 2008-2009 and that person is inspired to take radical directions in 2012 and in his life all necessary catalysts towards that radical change has been presented towards the end of 2011 and continues to unfold in 2012. This is not just one single random individual. I personally have been affected and have this deep intuition around this time window beginning sometime around 2000. I have also come across a number of deeply evolved spiritual individuals who are literally guided and inspired to take new direction in life during the year 2012. Some are taking bold decision of leaving their old jobs (even in this economically uncertain time), some are seriously taking vows to take on their dream projects in 2012, come what may!

Knowing how to look for the Signs

In the depth I saw ingathered, bound by love in one single volume,
that which is dispersed in leaves throughout the universe:
substances and accidents and their relations,
as though fused together in such a way that
what I tell is but a simple light.
 - Dante

Although the goal of sacred knowledge is the knowledge of the Sacred as such, that is, of that Reality which lies beyond all cosmic manifestation, there is always that stage of the gathering of the scattered leaves of the universe, to paraphrase Dante, before journeying beyond it. The cosmos plays a positive role in certain types of spirituality that any integral tradition must account for and include in its total perspective, which is not to say that the adept of every kind of spiritual path need study the pages of the cosmic book. - Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Our planet, our cosmos are like a Sacred Scripture, an Open Book, each elements of which are Signs. We being the beings capable of intelligence and higher degree of contemplative consciousness must first recognize the signs as Sign and then learn how to look and receive from them.

In an important article titled "2012- Being Awake to a Moment in Cosmic Time" Shaykh Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee gives example of the Moken who are sea gypsies of Southeast Asia. They are a very interesting people who live only in the moment, not caught like rest of us, in illusion of time who struggle to be present in the moment. The Moken have no word for time - and no word for worry in their language! With few possessions, these gypsies live in the moment, eating when they are hungry and sleeping when they are tired.

Shaykh Llewellyn writes, "When the tsunami hit in 2004, the Moken knew it was coming and how to respond. How did they know? "The Water receded very fast, and one wave, one small wave, came, so they recognized that it is not ordinary ... and then they have this kind of legend that passed from generation to generation about seven waves." Attention not only to the moment, the Moken were also attuned to their ancestral memories, and so they turned away from the shore and took their boats to deeper water, where they rode out of the tsunami. When asked why they survived and the Burmese fishermen perished, the Moke responded simply that the Burmese "saw nothing. They don't know how to look."

Shaykh Llewellyn asks at the end of his article, "Will we be like the Moken, attentive to the changes happening around us and thus able to access a deeper wisdom that knows how to respond? Or will we be like the Burmese sailors who were drowned by the tsunami because they did not see, because they did not know how to look?"

Allah does not change condition of people unless they participate in the co-creation

inna Allaha la yu ghayyiru ma biqawmin 
hatta yughayyiroo ma bi-anfusihim.

Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people
until they change what is in themselves / in their soul.
- 13:11, the Quran

One of the Divine Archetype Attribute is Creativity (taqwin). God is the Creator and this quality is bestowed upon man who is khalifa or the representative inheritor of God on earth. Thus Man is also the co-creator who has free will through which he /she participate in the unveiling of his or her destiny.

Yes, it may be true that the energy of 2012 might be pregnant with new inspirations for new vision and mission, yet one has to make the intention and the required effort to move that intention. Without the intentional effort, manifestation cannot happen. Without co-creation, Man fails his role and responsibility to be khalifa of Allah, image of God on earth.

If we are presented with all the signs of an accelerated time when not only progress in material, technological and scientific world are taking place at an unprecedented pace, but also happening for individuals - we must be prepared for allowing personal evolution of our spiritual transformation. That is the call of a responsible human being who is open to spiritual transformation. Spiritual transformation is understood here within the context of an individuals meaning system, especially in relation to concepts of the Sacred or the Ultimate Concern and in accelerated time, the meaning system itself will experience significant expansion.

Just as the sight of someone eating does not appease our hunger, so the spiritual practice of others, spiritual experience of others cannot satisfy our yearning, cannot help with our progress. So it has to be each individual to find it for himself or herself. It is known that on the Day of Resurrection the only lamenting cry every human being will cry out with, will be: "O my soul, O my soul," (ya nafsi, ya nafsi), which symbolizes the truth that at the end of it all, it is the personal progress and evolution which would be the most important. Just as life never asks us 'what we knew' or, 'how many things we memorized', but 'what we did' and 'how we acted in the very moment'; similarly on the Day of Judgment, in front of the Divine Judge, 'how much we knew' would be useless, rather 'how we acted', 'to what level we carried our highest self (the ideal self in our eyes)' - would be all that would matter. "Every self shall be held as a pledge for what it wrought" (74:38)

What do we need - to make 2012 the year of personal revolution?

Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.
- Alan Cohen

As we saw through uprisings around the world, which are signs on the outer world, that an energy of revolution has been passing over us. It is also potent time for personal revolution within the mind and heart. So in that spirit if we ask, "What do we need - to make 2012 the year of personal revolution?" what answer do we hear from within us? It is certainly an open ended question and it is you who can find the best answers for yourself.

Here are some of my visions for 2012 to facilitate personal revolution, eventually leading to spiritual evolution of individuals and collectives.

A) Listening to Heart Aches

It is an important starting point to find direction to transform everything we do into a sacred activity, an engagement of love. Heart ache refers to that subject, those issues which we feel the most passionate about, about that problem for which we feel ache in our heart. If we still ourselves and honestly look for our heart ache, we will find it.

And when we do, God shall give us maps to progress along the path to address that very heart ache. When we pay attention to our heart ache, the whole universe will conspire to help us, even the inanimate objects - for all listen to the Order that descends from the Most High.

B) Paying Attention to Dreams, Deep Inspirations

Extra ordinary dreams were once reserved for extra ordinary beings. Now dreams with very pregnant meaning and clear directions are simultaneously given access to many. The inspirations (bashara, glad tidings) send through these dreams, we must pay attention to them and act. The inspirations that is sent to our heart, whether its to travel to a far-away unknown land or to quit our life-less job that turn us into slave of money and corporates and instead start a dream project - we should hear them with the ears of our heart. The secret of joy is in paying attention to genuine inspirations within and following them up. These inspirations are lesser revelations that will be sent to guide individuals to evolve to a higher plane, 'to take the steep path' in the language of the Scripture.

Mevlana reminds us, "Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart." Follow your dream and trust me that this will be a very good time when the whole universe will conspire to fulfill your dream. Inshallah, God willing.

C) Creating Fellowship

Apart from paying attention to the inspirations unfolding within our heart, we must also be humble to join in fellowship of like minded and like hearted people. God willing, 2012 will be a year of returning to fellowship of light. For those with awakened faith, this will be the year of Ummah without Borders, Communities with no boundaries for the world is one without borders, has always been since the pre-historic age.

This will be very important. As you already know, 2011's greatest addition to collective human culture was Networking through Social Media. Silently it has become a norm and suddenly we have no way of going back. Social Media is very powerful tool for building bridges and creating fellowship. This does not mean becoming inactive and wasting time on Facebook, but this mean to use the tools given to humanity in our time to best use towards creating fellowship of like minded and like hearted people. To create something beautiful, like hearted friends need to come together. This is very important. The age of isolationism is long over or as the Native Indian Hopi Pir teaches, "The time for the lone wolf is over.  Gather yourselves!  Banish the word struggle from you attitude and your vocabulary.  All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we've been waiting for."

You can begin this fellowship in a very informal gathering at your own living room, inviting few friends or inviting few to join a pilgrimage together. Create a regular reading group, find a common spiritual teacher, gather together to read from spiritual scriptures and gather for remembrance. Pray and remember God together. There is a sacred tradition in Islam that advice to have association with those whose spiritual state and station (maqam) aspire you, in company of whom you are reminded of the eternal world, of piety and essentially of God.

I have this vision that 2012 will be a year of fellowship, more connectedness for individuals who are on spiritual path and taking up new creative projects; more and more disconnecting from sole materialism and reconnecting with dreams, visions, creativity and higher aspirations. This fellowship has to happen in the real world while the virtual world will act as communication aid. Like hearted friends must come together in common space, in small groups and start building circles where real sharing will happen and spiritual discourses will transmit further energy of collective inspiration. This will give rise to collective creative aspirations, translate into real Work in the outer plane. 

D) Returning to Ancient Truth and Wisdom

For the last few decades humanity has been going through many experiments which have failed us. Collectively we claim to be more civilized, having more power and more wealth than any time before, yet we have more people living in inhumane conditions, wars, famine, more stock piling of weapons and massacre around the world going on. We claim that we abolished slavery, yet in the name of human trafficking, sexual slavery, forced labor, child soldier, bonded labor - all of which in number represent more human slaves than any time before. We claim to have great knowledge, yet when it comes to relating to other human being, we show the most distrust and thus have the largest military spending in history among many nations. Come 2012 or not, we must return to our ancient wisdom else we are inviting collective catastrophe on humanity. The simple teachings of unity of humanity, compassion for others, caring for those who have the least - its time to make them as priority, not making money or how to elect the most greedy power hungry individual in our national election.

We must turn away from atheistic secularism which has given birth only greed, addiction to consumption, cheating and looting of the common people and sickening materialism. Secularism and desacralization of our world is only going to create more problem and would require using more valuable and limited resources to clear the mess, going to serve only the corrupt and greedy. The need to return to wisdom of our spiritual maters, our guides, our scripture can begin through small groups, and when a critical mass is reached this will have more influence on rest of the society. All spiritual traditions together, humanity has been given us enough guidance to be peaceful and happy, not the fake and selfish kinda happy, but real and everlasting peace and happiness. 

E) Correcting our View of the Reality

No matter what religious and spiritual tradition we are in, there is a possibility to re-orient our vision of reality according to the Truth. Almost all traditions and scripture speaks of the truth that this world must come to an end at one point in time and whole physical world will be re-transformed at the end of that cosmic cycle. It is as real as as our own impending last breath and death. All souls must taste death, similarly this created world also come to end and beyond that point, a new reality will be created and accountability and judgment will be established. This is truth. Let we not be deceived by the great deceptions of life and cover up the truth of reality. Unless we awaken to the realities of grand deceptions of the present life, we will not realize the urgency of our inner revolution and spiritual evolution. Unless we realize that we only have this life to harvest for the hereafter, our ego will not wake up from the slumber of heedlessness. Unless we realize that our breathes are numbered, sacredness of life will not be realized. 

Thus we must correct our view of the reality which comprise of the following truth: There is but One God. God is the giver of life and death and we all must die one day. After death, when the great cosmic cycle is ended by the Will of God, all human souls will be resurrected on the Day of Resurrection. Divine Judgment and Accountability will be imposed. Divine Scale will be brought forth where every single action is judged. Those whose scale of good action is greater will be admitted to Paradise, the Original Home for Adam, Mystically speaking, the Absolute Presence and those whose scale of evil action is greater might either be forgiven by God or will be denied Paradise and shall find himself / herself in Hell, which is the absence of God's mercy, the Absolute Absence. In every age God sent guides to humanity who are the Prophets and Messengers and they left Scriptures and Guidance and the Final Prophet is Muhammad and the Final Revelation is the Quran. After Muhammad no other Divine Informer has come and he is sent to all of mankind and after the Divine Revelation of Quran, no other Scripture is sent and it carries the completed guidance for mankind, blueprint to surrender to God's will. Surrender to God's Will is the ultimate and acceptable Religion / Path in the eye of God. Surrender of the soul to Divine Will is the most exalted station which is the ultimate goal of human spiritual evolution. 

F) Becoming Serious and Regular about our Spiritual Practices

If we are talking about personal revolution as a path to spiritual evolution, we must act. Inner revolution demands that we act for real. Thus for spiritual evolution within, we must return to religious and spiritual practices on a regular basis. If we find ourselves within the frame of a religion - the rituals, forms and movements of which we feel have lost its value, we must ask this question: are we still living in a religion that is dead, that is expired? If our heart does not find joy in those common practices, then we are to ask, are we following the right religious / spiritual path which can nourish our spirit? Divine Command operates in time in this world, thus Messengers and Guidance have also come through time. Unveiling of Divine Revelations didn't occur in flat world, it occurred in conjunction with time, in conjunction with evolution of human consciousness, and hence further and further Divine Messengers and updated mode of Guidance were sent to humanity. But all of them had the same thread and same message that God is One and we have come and shall return to our Homeland at the end of our temporal wayfaring in this world.

But for this conscious evolution to happen, forms must be preserved in which the unfolding can happen. Just as a bud needs protection when it unfolds, religious forms is the protector for inner spirituality to blossom. For this reason, real religious and spiritual teaching, practice, devotion is necessary. To forsake religious structure is a spiritual suicide and many religious path in the world now a days are void of spirituality is exactly because of this mistake. 

If we never knew how to pray, if we stopped praying, we must start those small practices and be serious about them. Spiritual wisdom tells us that those practices which are done regularly, never mind short / less elaborate are more effective than anything else. If we prayed only once or twice, perhaps our goal would be to make those prayers more soulful and if we never got up in the middle of the night which is the best time for contemplative prayer and meditation, perhaps we can incorporate that. For spiritual revolution this is must and we should also upgrade our knowledge about our own religion so that its inner mysteries and meanings are understood. An effort must be there to excel in our spiritual practices, what in Islam is called Ihsan. People might have imaan or faith, people might have certain practices of a religion, but without Ihsan, spiritual excellence - we are veiled from the joy and beauty of experiencing Divine epiphanies or Tajalli, Divine manifestation and joy of revelations that breaks within for those who are brought near to God in this very world.

May our supplications (du'a) be more real this year, may they come straight from our heart, even if that means inside a brief prayerful moment once at night or early dawn. May we learn how to converse privately to God Who is the Lover Ever Waiting Patiently to Listen to us. The joy of God's servants turning to God is tremendous and its reciprocity will feel our own heart as well with unbound joy of Divine Presence and good pleasure of God. May we be elevated to the station of what Quran describes as, "God is well-pleased with them, and they are well-pleased with God."

G) Traveling, Pilgrimage to Hearts

To travel in the outer world has always been one of the most common task for spiritual wayfarer because it serves a number of purposes. It widen the horizon of our mind and heart, it makes us realize our dependence and helplessness on God, it helps us see the diversity of creation and at the same time unity of humanity. Travel also often land us in the company of people of God. Travel outwardly relives the truth that we all are wayfarer in this world and ultimately our journey is to God. People of the East must travel to West and people of West must travel to East, literally. This will open unexpected doors, we will meet extra-ordinary friends and in the process we will learn things which no book or no amount of Facebook friends can teach or give us.

H) Learning and Understanding Another Religion from their Perspective

It is often the case that until we know about another religion, appreciation for our own religion never matures. And to learn and understand another religion must happen through the literature and spokes person with sound knowledge of that religion. We can not and should not expect that our Christian Pastor in our church or radio show can teach us about Sufi Islam or Zen Buddhism. Similarly for example books written by a Muslim must not be used to understand Hinduism. Buddhism must be learnt and understood through Buddhists, similarly Islam must be learnt and understood through Muslim. Once we seriously ignite the desire to understand another religion with the premise that all human beings are children of God and there must be elements of truth in every religion - wonderful alchemy will happen in terms of expansion of the heart and compassion for others. No person chooses his or her parents and most people follow the religion of their parents, thus we cannot be discriminating about other religions, as it is Divine Will that we come to adore God through many avenues, many traditions. As a poet says, "there are thousand of ways to kneel and pray on the ground."

I) Loving those who are Loved by God and who Love God in a More Higher Order than us

Love is the greatest force in the universe and for the inner revolution to be successful and accelerated we must actively seek those human beings who are loved by God, in the company of whom we are reminded of God and who themselves love God in a higher and perfected order than us. Whether we find them in the capacity of a spiritual master or spiritual companion, may we perfect our love for them. For a Christian to become a successful follower of Christ is to love Christ with a perfect love, similarly for a Muslim to become a successful mu'min, the love for the Messenger must supersede every other love and affection. It is the perfection of love for the Archetype Master in human image is the guarantee for the revolution of heart and evolution of spirit.

In loving a spiritual guide, who is the representative of Prophet Muhammad, our heart's capacity to love is increased and in human existence, the ladder of perfected love must begin by loving human beings. Only from loving fellow human beings for the sake of God's love and perfecting that love will teach us and prepare us to love God with all our mind, all our heart and all our soul - as it remains to be the greatest Commandment.

Making the intentions pure for finding those who are loved by God and who love God can be the starting point to find the right Spiritual Guide. If we are not prepared to meet our Guide, then the next best thing would be to find right spiritual companions who love God.

May the year 2012 be a blessed year for us all. May Allah, may God, may Ishwar guide us to the Truth.

Let us ask once again, what do we need to make 2012 the year of personal revolution? 

As Rainer Maria Rilke said, "Live the questions now," let us consider this as an open ended question and may we live in such a way that may the answers continue to come forth within us, with every breath, always. 

Sadiq M. Alam
Dhaka, Bangladesh
January 5, 2012 / Safar 11, 1433

# References:
Astronomy and Astrology 



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Technology of the Heart: Personal Revolution for Spiritual Evolution | What do we need to make 2012 the year of personal revolution?
Personal Revolution for Spiritual Evolution | What do we need to make 2012 the year of personal revolution?
Technology of the Heart
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