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Sufi/Tasawwuf yoga

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alef

Alif

A hair perhaps divides the false and true;
Yes, and a single Alif were the clue,
Could you but find it–to the treasure house,
And, peradventure, to the Master too.
My soul said, ‘I desire the mystic knowledge:
Teach me if it be in thy power.’
I said, ‘Alif.’ She answered, ‘Say no more;
If one is at home, a single letter is enough.’

Omar Khayyam

The grass and the trees, the rocks and the fields, everything that announces and anticipates, everything that can be seen as One, is Alif.

Creation is the beginning of something new, it is akin to the universal. The starting and the ending phase are unified. The more you advance on the way of knowledge, the clearer you realize that you are nothing compared to the powers that have created you. You must initiate nine beginnings on the way of knowledge before you begin. Only thus uniting in yourself enough efforts, you can acquire an axis that can help the fire of knowledge raise to the necessary level that will help set you free. Alif is the axis of knowledge, the predetermined perfection. Alif must not be rendered, it can only be followed. For Alif is the supreme teacher.

Alif is one, Alif is the form. The absolute, the perfect form. Only by moving, creating, studying, and believing, we can find our bearings on the way to understanding perfection. Thus all we need in order to know the One is earnestness and faith.

Earnestness and faith are the true source of the ability to progress on the way of knowledge. Earnestness and faith provide the seeker with the ability to create. However in order to consolidate your faith, you need knowledge that can overcome the barriers of vice and faults, that can free you from the pressure of your own Nafs (your lowly ego). Knowledge should deliver the seeker into a state of firm and imperishable faith.

To Man the true miracle is to understand and learn to control through knowledge. Only the wise can perform miracles (muajiza) for miracles are based on the mystery of epiphany (Kashf). The essence of the Universe, the essence of the one, can lead the seeker to the truth, for the One reveals purity, and purity reveals unity. Unity – the keys of the Master, the invisible keys of the Creator. He holds in his hands the knowledge of the primary principles (the original foundation).

From myself I’m a stone, but through You I am a gem!
Rumi

How can we understand the primary principles if we have not reached the state of naturalness in being? Only naturalness can fill and illuminate the wanderer with universal love. For without love – which determines the level of filling that we need to create the links and relationships – we can never achieve Truth. Only by filling we can achieve the form that provides us with the particular sensations of living. Only he who knows can find his place in life. Only he who knows the essence of things through the form, can use negation or certain confirmations as tools to acquire knowledge that can help him live in the present moment, preserving himself not by the laws of contradiction but by the laws of interaction.

Knowledge is what determines the essence of whatever happens, in other words it’s what helps you exist according to the laws of change and transformation, which can be described with a single word: alchemy. He who knows builds an inner support that helps him proceed to the following stage of knowledge, and not live in a closed circle of an uncontrollable existence. For knowing and living in knowledge are two very different things. And although the latter is impossible without the former, there’s a huge gap between the two.

Only when living in knowledge, we can truly think, truly talk, truly perceive, since everything becomes not simply an act of knowledge but an act of transformation. The entity must be created or else it will live outside time and the form. And any essence that is outside the form transcends into nonbeing and cannot be treated as knowledge irrespective of its quality.

The form is control over knowledge, it is based not upon preference and desire, but upon following and intention, on the things that help the seeker move in the direction set forth by knowledge. While moving, we are provided with the opportunity to make a choice, which helps us understand the nature of our Self and non-Self. Thus we free ourselves from the boundaries set by the form at the same time using this very form. This liberating can be achieved by understanding the nature of liberation, which is determined by the way, the form and by filling.

Be prepared to realize that all convictions arising from your surrounding environment are something insignificant, even if they were once very useful for you. They can become useless and actually be traps..
Baha-ud-Din Naqshband
Rumi

In this way liberation too becomes an act of knowing; however it is not limited to simply qualities and principles. True knowledge is the knowledge that affects the soul of the seeker, it may have a name or may not have a name. In other words, knowledge can be an element of movement during the period of acting, and an element of filling during the period of non-acting.

Alif is the fire represented by the unified form of the Universe, it identifies the unity with the necessity to live and move. It is the thing that has a form. Each act has a one, a beginning. It is linked to the common universal beginning, however it is still at the start of the way and is still unmanifested. The beginner on the way of knowledge identifies himself with the form, and this form should be absolute. However in order to express it in himself or in order to understand, he must go through the stations of his soul.

Studying the three forms of the sphere

alef

dhal

mim

Alif

Dal

Mim

alef

alef

alef

Standing like Alif

Sitting like Dal

Bending like Mim

 

The art of perceiving requires that you  absorb everything, study everything. However you should know that if you cannot position yourself in relation to the sound, in relation to the movement and your own thoughts, it would be difficult and even impossible to perceive and reproduce.

alef

Alif Sphere

Alif gives us the origin, the beginning. The origin engenders everything; however it cannot be expressed in words, we can only feel its presence (hadra). One should not study anything if he lacks the origin, the beginning should always be clear and it should be part of our every action. Without the origin there can be no faith. Faith must have an inner support. Because faith cannot be limited; it is by its very nature absolute. There are certain conditions of faith that predetermine its understanding. These conditions are concealed behind names. And although names also have their origin, it has a different set of tools for interacting, which are determined by the visible world. Our idea of the visible world is linked to our abilities to understand and be aware of the visible and invisible. And this requires discipline and spiritual striving.

 

ba

Ba

Time leads us on from door to door.
It purifies us when we leave.
Concealment in the name. Approach yourself!
Light is as pure as eternity.
Going forward we find infinity.
We are on the way!
Look at the sky but do not wait!
Go!

Shaaban

The station Ba is separation after unity (tafrika). Each true doctrine has a form that draws us ever nearer to the understanding of the soul. The spiritual is what determines whether you’ll fill yourself with the heavenly light (nur) or you’ll stay on the predestined way.

Knowledge as a materialized object on the way of the seeker is determined by the concept he follows in his search for the Truth. Sufi alchemy (alhimiia at-tasawwuf) is the art of studying unification through knowledge. The seeker of knowledge (salik) is a person who has ventured to walk the path toward unifying the external (zahir) with the internal (batin), and the internal with the external. However in order to reach a state of genuine transformation (Barakah), one must follow through all the way of knowledge.

The spiritual life of the Sufi is defined by discipline because he lives in a constant connection to God. Therefore the one who walks the path must develop in himself the conditions that will help him live in a state of spiritual discipline. These conditions are formed by constantly working on oneself, which helps attain profound knowledge of the internal.

The true way to knowing the mystical path goes through the method of training (Tadrib). The genuineness of the path to knowledge presupposes different manners of following (tarika), which are grounded on certain basic principles (hukuk al-tarik), established by the knowledge and the laws of the Universe.

Basic rules of behavior for those who walk the way of knowledge (Adab)

The seeker should follow the rules and decorum of the school he has joined. This is a set of particular norms and rules directed at understanding and demonstrating respect toward the place you’ve come to.

The basic task of this process of interaction is to preserve the rhythm of presenting knowledge. Bearing in mind that a large part of what’s happening remains inaccessible to the understanding of the beginner, the different stages of the way of knowledge require from him different tools for the sake of correctly understanding not only his surroundings but also himself in these surroundings. What’s most important here is that rhythm, that particular sequence of actions, which will help him perceive the events around him and not disrupt the already established order with his own conduct.

This is a kind of form that one must either conform to or disregard from the very beginning. Various schools have different attitude towards the way seekers interpret the behavioral rules or the school. For some it is absolutely acceptable to observe the uncontrollable actions of the seeker who is given complete freedom of action so as to be able to face himself and realize the uncontrollability of his own actions. This should eventually help him grasp his own imperfection and force him to leave the school. Other schools show no tolerance for such freedom and do not allow the seeker to cross the threshold of the school until the moment they see he’s ready to start his training. What’s also important here is that the time between the moment the seeker poses before himself the task of achieving something and the actual beginning of the practice might be measured in years, sometimes even a lifetime may not be enough. Moreover, being part of a school does not necessarily guarantee that the seeker will achieve something there. He’s yet to go through a long stage of preparation.

Preparation (Arkan)

This is the most critical and demanding stage on the way of achieving knowledge. True sciences (ilm) consist of a number of trends that determine particular combinations of actions. Sufi knowledge (ilm batini) is based on the spatial characteristics of the Macrocosm and includes both exoteric (ilm zahiri) and esoteric (ilm batini) knowledge. This implies that in addition to the studied subject, the studying environment, important are also the rhythm of studying and the time of studying.

Preparation is the period when one should not feign his faith and love, and should not have confidence that the knowledge he has achieved is in fact true. The genuineness of the knowledge depends not so much on the correctness or incorrectness of the path chosen, but also on your ability to absorb the knowledge provided on this path. This is really crucial! A lot of people display impulses for attaining knowledge, however unless they achieve persistence, this knowledge cannot become creative, which means that even if it is true, if it’s not fully understood, there’s always a chance that it may not be used properly.

A lot of people have tried to find the Truth yet have not really gone further that trying. The problem here is that carrying over their personal rhythm of consuming information, their personal lack of concentration, the seekers miss the main thing – preparation. Haste is replaced by waiting, waiting – by haste, and the striving, directed toward creating the conditions necessary for achieving profound knowledge, is not conducted properly.

To qualify for achieving knowledge, you must first necessarily pass through the stage of dutifulness. And if the person is already in a state of subjection to his emotions (as a particular form of dependency), before learning to listen, act, think, and simply move, he must position himself in the proper form. During the preparation stage the seeker should never forget about all these barriers.

Barriers on the path of the seeker

Haste

The inability to absorb the necessary amount of knowledge that requires to be understood and assimilated. Haste engenders thirst and a desire for having more, being more, standing higher than the rest. This leads to inattentiveness related to the inability to properly develop concentration.

Waiting (ta’hir)

Neglecting one’s activities, expecting that the external will start filling the internal. Relying on the external leads to irresponsibility. It leads to the inability to develop perseverance and discipline.

Desire (hawan)

The process of using knowledge, without properly understanding it, takes you even further away from the true way. As a result, instead of purifying the self we reinforce it and knowledge is subordinated by the already established qualities.

Illusion (hawajim)

When insufficient and improper activities are considered correct, both the effort and thinking are based on something that does not shape the process of development but instead simply nurtures the Ego.

Disregard for the principles of action (fatrah)

Until the moment the state of naturalness is reached, the seeker must follow the rules that help him maintain the order and discipline of his actions. If naturalness is dictated by the external conditions (nasut), it cannot be viewed objectively. Moreover it can be considered a ‘naturalness’ only with respect to the rules and laws, yet not with respect to the seeker. Various schools have varying norms of behavior however they can be generally reduced to a compendium of rules.

The attitude and perception of the teacher (Suhbat)

While walking the path, the seeker has to learn to perceive different forms of knowledge that cannot, unless properly assimilated, achieve the necessary internal unity (clarity). Important factors here are one’s responsibility, the ability to listen to the words of the teacher and to accept the fact that not everything can be fully understood and comprehensible, and therefore that each word, act, or action is inevitably dual in nature.

Here we must either accept everything that’s being said throughout the training process, or we must acknowledge that the student is not yet ready to interact with the teacher. Information and knowledge can be subjected to analysis. However if the teacher himself is being subjected to analysis, then the very teacher-student relationship is disrupted. By doing this the student is in fact questioning his own desire to learn, to understand what is being given to him.

When discussing this situation we are not in any way calling for a complete subjection combined with a total loss of control on the part of the student. We are talking about the attitude that will partition off the student from the teacher. No teacher will let a student approach him if the student is not ready, which means that the distance between them will always persist.

A lot of seekers, who live in ashrams and monasteries, believe that they are closer to their teachers and the teaching. This however is not true. Obliterating the external distance does not guarantee diminishing of the internal distance.

The internal knowledge (marifat) consists of a number of layers. There are five levels of knowledge in Sufi yoga:

Predisposition to perceive (isti’dad)

Based on the development of the effort of action in relation to one’s own Self. Revelation at the level of understanding actions (Kashfkayni).

Understanding what’s being taught (Al-furqan)

The ability to learn and use in the predetermined order the necessary knowledge that is at this stage the tools of training. This is the level that defines the training in relation to the predisposition (istigdad) and not the desire of the student.

The ability to learn and analyze (isti’dad ta’alluk ta’bir)

The ability to use the tools of the training. This stage is characterized by qualitativeness of actions. The student relies on the confidence (iakin) and the clarity of the actions, which is also supported by the already achieved level.

The ability to apply (‘akaba)

The ability to apply the knowledge and relate it to your own rhythm of development. This level is defined by revelation (kashf’akli) achieved with the help of knowledge.

The ability to unite yourself with knowledge and develop it (‘ilm ma’lum)

The ability to move and develop knowledge regardless of the form and the kind of this knowledge. This level is defined by reuniting with the Truth that discards the veils (kashf) on the path of the seeker.

Achieving naturalness (vasl)

The unity (vahda) that the seeker must acquire on the path to knowledge determines the process of achieving or developing spiritual strength, which is defined by the Sufis as divineness (baraka).

This stage is initially characterized by predominance of the internal over the external. This is also a period of true achievement, and once he’s gone through it, the seeker is prepared for freeing himself from external attachments, i.e. he becomes a dervish. The only thing that symbolizes his link to the external world is his hirka or his cloak, which is made from scraps and is a symbol of the pieces of knowledge put together in a single whole. The Sufi sews this cloak himself.

The seeker who has achieved the state of naturalness acquires access to reality (al-hakk) that allows him to express himself in accord with the phenomena and knowledge of the University. His every action is now charged with a particular meaning, linked to its origin. Naturalness helps the seeker to really understand the nature of the link between the personal and the divine. This period leads the seeker away from the illusion, from the discrete dependence on the external world, his lack of coordination and manifestation.

Naturalness is the first step towards achieving the perfect state of existence (alinsanalkamil). Judgments here cannot vary because this state is achieved by the body, the energy and the mind. These three levels define the state and the quality of naturalness. It’s especially important to identify the correct perception with the help of the brain (’akl), which in the state of naturalness can perceive and analyze true knowledge, instead of being lead by what plays the role of information and can be seen and treated as ambiguous.

Perception through the mind can be viewed as genuine only when it has achieved a unity in contemplation (vahdadashshuhud) that symbolizes the ability to simultaneously perceive, process and assimilate the activities in a single temporal interval.

This can be achieved by:

  • searching for True beauty (malakut) with the help of the doctrine
  • awareness of breathing (hush dar dam)
  • reunification (zikr)
  • pilgrimage (hadzh)
  • refinement of the heart (tasfiiat al-kalb)
  • the stations on the mystic way (makam)
  • ritual prayer (salat)
  • completeness (hatm)
  • disengagement (tadzharrud)
  • abstinence (vara)
  • the art of being (baka)
  • ecstasy (Tavadzhzhud)
vasl

Achieving Unity

(outer circle): The divine essence (Ghayb al-Ghaib)
The Holy spirit (Ar-ruh al-quds)
Angelic Realm (Alam-i-Malakut)
Realm of Humans (Alam-i-Nasut)
Realm of Power (Alam-i-Jabarut)
Concealed Greatness (Alam-i-Hahut)

(internal circle): Divine Reason
The stations on the mystic path (makam)
Disengagement (tadzharrud)
Pilgrimage (hadzh)
Ritual prayer (salat)
Remembering (zikr)
Refinement of the heart (tasfiiat al-kalb)
Awareness of breathing (hush dar dam)
Searching for True beauty (malakut)
Abstinence (vara)
Completeness (hatm)
The art of being (baka)

Searching for True beauty (malakut) with the help of the doctrine

The search for knowledge requires the use of a set of tools that can help the seeker to achieve a harmony of being. Unity of motion both in thought and in energy can be achieved by a number of different practices: equally suitable here are both ritual dances (raks) and the static positions during prayer (rak’at). Whether he’s making some kind of movement or sitting in a meditation position (murabba), the seeker must always demonstrate his attitude because everything plays an important role in achieving unity.

Practice is an element of listening that has its own essence and its content (dzhauhar). To learn the right handclasp (musafaha) and how to properly offer up his prayer to God, the seeker must learn to maintain a state of deep mental absorption, which cannot be achieved if the energy does not flow properly within the body or if concentration (fikr) is not developed well enough to allow him to watch over (muraqba) or observe the entire process. When the seeker achieves the state of unity, he’s considered to have reached a state of deep immersion in love and nothing can distract him or divert him from the path to the Absolute.

While being in the vicinity of True beauty (malakut), which is characterized by the state of unity, we must be able to remain in touch with ourselves and with the world. And although Sufi tradition does not define its practice in the form that’s typical for the western world, it takes this for granted, and considers it something that must be maintained at all times. Every kind of activity is a practice and should always involve understanding and awareness.

To transform every activity into a practice, the seeker should develop within himself:

  • Awareness of the body – the ability to control all action through the body
  • Awareness of the energy – the ability to control with one’s sensations and not surrender to emotions
  • Awareness of spirit – the ability to develop and strengthen concentration for the sake of disclosing the depth of knowledge

The three unifications developed in the process of practicing help to shape experience, awareness, remembering and the pause. Experience bears knowledge, knowledge – quality, remembering – preservation, and pause – concentration.

Awareness in breathing (hush dar dam)

Awareness in breathing is an important step toward knowledge and naturalness, which also helps the seeker maintain the process of achieving awareness of his own actions and thoughts. Breathing here should not be understood as the purely physical action but rather as a quality of filling and being (nafas). The seeker eventually achieves such a quality of breathing that comes from the depth of his heart (ruh). This is a breathing determined not by the acquired qualities but by the developed ones. When this internal breathing is achieved by developing an internal unification and by linking the personal with the divine, this is considered a mystical state (sahib-e hal).

Transforming his body and energy and strengthening his spirit, the seeker goes through various phases of awareness of breathing – from temporal breathing (sahib-e nafas) to spatial breathing (alh-I sara’ir). Each of these states determines the level of unity leading the seeker further and further away from the physiological understanding of breathing, determined by the link to the animal beginning (ruh-I haivani). Breathing should bring about a continuity of the change, which will help the seeker be in a constant state of ecstasy.

Breathing is directly linked to the heart and consequently controls man’s rhythm of life. It reveals the link of the seeker with the divine power that he realizes in the zikr (the formula of unifying the seeker with the divine power).

‘My only value is breathing.’ – said the arithmetic, firm in his faith. – ‘No looking back, no running forward, All I do is breathe.’
Haft Aurang, p. 33

Reunification (zikr)

Zikr training (talkin az-zikr) must be based on an understanding of naturalness. Zikr singers called munshid must create within themselves a proper attitude to this practice, and this is done with the help of particular exercises. Zikr is above all an awareness of yourself. Self-awareness is the only process that can guarantee a reunification of the external with the internal.

Zikr is a process of reunification based on the laws of rhythm that aim to help create the necessary concentration. Being a spiritual exercise (azakar) this practice requires from the person to maintain an inner presence combined with an external oblivion.

There are various different manners of zikr however all of them are based on the same formula. This formula consists in the ability to distill the energy in the process of zikr. Distillation is achieved by properly applying the zikr formula and repeating it as many times as needed until one achieves transformation, i.e. an understanding of the cycle. This understanding should be achieved by the state of the munshid.

Zikr is believed to be one of the most ancient skills developed by mankind. Zikr was formed as the first of all arts, if we do not take into account, of course, the visions, which were nevertheless a natural manifestation of the ancients. And while many zikrs are part of, first of all, the mystical experience, we must not forget that the force which is produced in the performance of zikr, has a single source. The power of this source determines the technique and manner of pronunciation of the zikr. And the more natural the source, the better the reunification.

According to the ancient tradition the time most suitable time for achieving a maximum reunification of the internal power with the external is Friday or the night between Friday and Saturday (zikr-hana ritual). This is the time when Venus, which is the natural conductor of human energy, is in maximum contact with the Earth. It should be mentioned that the conventional division of time, which is accepted in the civilized world, is only partially compatible with this one. However, taking into account the fact that in addition to the physical model of the world, we have also the energetic one (which is partially based on the physical), we can accept this correspondence and consider, for the sake of the alchemical process, the week as consisting of not seven but five days. In this case Saturday and Sunday are considered stations.

The efforts used in zikr are split into three paths – a lower path, a middle path, and a higher path. The lower one is performed by the abdomen, the middle path – by the heart, and the higher one – by the mind. Each of these paths creates or rather fills the formula and makes up a beat, a particular movement. Meanwhile the most important thing throughout all this is to preserve your concentration on the effort (fikr) so that the sound remains directed.

One of the risks in performing zikr is that one may fall into a state of uncontrolled ecstasy. Since ecstasy can be induced by various energy efforts one should be able to recognize the source of the effort or else instead of achieving reunification, he may achieve a state of destruction when the body cannot deal with the energy whose energy source remains unknown till the very end. This is why the practice works with the term genuine ecstasy (vadzh), which is considered to be the true source of enlightenment (hatratu).

It would be wrong to assume that every ecstatic experience can bring about enlightenment. This state – unless it has already become natural and constant – cannot be considered genuine and should be seen only as experience on the path of knowledge. This, in fact, applies to all Sufi practices – from the reading of scriptures to whirling.

.

vasl

Zikr

Pilgrimage (hadzh)

Pilgrimage, as a stage in the process of achieving unity, is an important aspect of the practice of the seeker. And even though it involves, above all, visiting special spiritual places (ziiarat), it helps the seeker to achieve, first and foremost, a state of unity with himself. While on the journey, the seeker can rely only on his personal qualities. He is alone with himself.

At this stage he can make a serious and objective assessment of himself, and meanwhile he can purify his spirit in this special spiritual place – a place that is filled with power.

The pilgrimage includes the following important steps with respect to one’s Self:

  • Remember why you are on the way (Hiss)
  • Remember yourself on the path (Nazar bar Kadam)
  • View your life from the side of the path (Hayat-babu’l abwab)
  • Cleanse yourself while walking the path (tanzih)
  • Strengthen your faith and knowledge (hakko l-iakin ‘iman ‘Ilm)

Refinement of the heart (tasfiiat al-kalb)

In Sufi alchemy the heart (kalb) is the repository of the spirit and the ruler of one’s power because – with its rhythm and its cycle – it controls man’s brain and energy activity. If we do not purify and refine our hearts we are actually activating our lowly human nature.
In order to preserve his heart pure and refined, the seeker must:

  • be truthful (sidk)
  • overcome himself (riidat)
  • be earnest (muhlis)
  • be virtuous (vudd)
  • be patient (istikrar)
  • be constantly in a state of self-improvement (tahalluk tahakkuq)

To be truthful means to try to understand the actions that you do, and analyze them in order to avoid turning into a victim of self-deception or uncontrolled faith.

To overcoming yourself means to remembered yourself and control yourself, in order to not be subjected to uncontrolled lower states.

To be earnest means to remember one’s nafs and to purify it.

To be virtuous means to always maintain your relationship to the world in a state of love. Virtue can not be temporary, as it is a qualityof the way, not its quantity.

Patience is a necessary condition for the accumulation of strength on the way of knowledge. Over time it becomes an integral factor in preserving the naturalness.

To be in constant self-improvement means to improve your nature and strengthen your spirit.

nafs

Variations of the nafs
1. Nafs al-mardhiya (the pleasing self)
2. Nafs al-radhiyya (the pleased self)
3. Nafs-al-mulhama (the inspired self)
4. Nafs al-lawwama (the self-accusing self)
5. Nafs-al-ammara (the animal self)
6. Nafs al-mutma`inna (the self at peace)
7. Nafs al-kamila (the perfect self)
8. Nafs al-insaniya (the personal self)

Stations on the mystical path (makam)

Stations are tools or keys that help you understand the process of improvement; they can be defined as the continuity of the way, or as a means of achieving and maintaining naturalness. Since we’re talking about stations from the perspective of unity, then any of the above-described actions can be considered a station in the context of understanding unity. It is important to understand not so much stations but rather the transitions (vakfa) between them that determine their interaction.

nafs

Alif Station

Dal Station

Ba Station

Jim Station

 

Ritual prayer (salat)

From the perspective of naturalness ritual prayer is viewed as a factor demonstrating that, with all the effort we use on ourselves, there’s always a power higher than us, a power that should be respected. Prayer is a direction, a remembrance, it’s the teacher of the seeker. It makes the seeker comply and submit to this compliance. Prayer differs in different faiths however its underlying principle remains the same. Prayer is an instrument of naturalness, which may be both manifested or remain hidden deep within.

Completeness (hatm)

Completeness is considered from the standpoint of naturalness as that which prevents the seeker from hurrying up or waiting. Naturalness is a condition in which one generates the other. In bringing our actions to a completion, we preserve our naturalness and prepare ourselves for the new act of learning.

Disengagement (tadzharrud)

To help the seeker understand unity from the perspective of seclusion (chilla) Sufi alchemy uses the forty-day retreat. The doctrine of human nature states that during this time the energy passes through five types of change. Therefore, this period is the minimal-cycle test for one’s persistence and naturalness. This secludedness may be achieved in a special place (rabita), or else the art of maintaining seclusion may be practiced while in the community. The criterion is total control, independence of interaction with one’s surroundings, and the ability to restrain one’s thought (baz gard).

Abstinence (vara)

Abstinence is the art of conduct, which does not simply put restrictions for the sake of preserving the unity, but creates the ability to control one’s time.

Abstinence should not oppress and it should not be equal to striving. It is a condition of existence that helps maintain the skill of interacting with time.

Abstinence enhances awareness of one’s own actions. Together awareness and abstinence are the tools for searching secrets. This is the best form of control over one’s actions, thoughts and energy. Abstinence enhances concentration and nurtures the spirit. It is a condition necessary for the self-seeker. It allows him to truly perceive the word, study the scriptures and writings (ta’lim) or to track his own moves.

The Art of being (baka)

The art of being is, in fact, the condition for achieving unity, when the physical, energetic and spiritual qualities (fana) are joined together. This mystical state is a state of ecstasy that requires from the person to not simply be but to be capable of being. The art of being is a trial of one’s power; for only power allows the seeker to be. Therefore, being is a unity that must be preserved so that it does not split into a plurality.

Ecstasy (tavadzhzhud)

Ecstasy is the ability to remain in a state of true reunification and to find fulfillment in it. It can not be regarded as a passive element of interaction because baka  is a result that must become a prerequisite for further development.

nafs

QALBIYYAH MALAKUTIYYAH
(Heavenly Heart)

LEFT SIDE OF CHEST

Child of the True Spirit
Latifah Qalbiyyah Muh’akizah
(Inner reflection of the subtle matrix)

RIGHT SIDE OF CHEST

Barzakh
Malakut & Nsaust
al-jismu-l-‘lradah
(Sphere of desire)

(left:)

  • Latifah Haqqlyyah (Essence)
  • Latifah Khafiyyah (the hidden)
  • Latifah Dhathu-s-Sirryah (Essence of the mystical)
  • Latifah Dhathu-s-Sirryah (Essence of the mystical)
  • Latifah Qalbiyyah (Heart)

Solar plexus
Sexual organs
Containers for cleansing

(right:)

  • Reflecting mirror/ pearl
  • Eyes Sight
  • Ears and tongue Hearing and speech
  • Latifah Ruhiyyah (Spirit) (Soundless chanting)
  • Latifah Sirryah (Secret) (Soundless chanting)
  • Latifah ‘Atifiyyah (Compassion)
  • Latifah Nafsiyya (Source of higher desires)
  • Latifah Nafsiyya (Source of higher desires)

Latifah qalabiyyah (Subtle matrix )
BARZAKH BODY

Reviewing the station Ba we have identified the key which, when used correctly and consistently, will lead the traveler to the path and will improve him along this path.

The station Ba does not reveal the knowledge, it only points to it. To the station Ba all knowledge is unified – from the simple postulancy to the ecstatic state. The station Ba is necessary for the seeker – to help him remember the correspondences and connections, and not to lose himself, while passing through the different stages of the trial.

nafs

Ba Sphere
Unity (Ahadiyat)
Light (Nur)
Perfection (Kemal)
Flaws (Hava)
Body (Tab)
Sacrament (Ahfa)
Gate (Babu)
Properties (Shakhsiyya)

The station Ba indicates to a certain extent the abstractness of knowledge because being informed in knowledge and behaving in accordance with it are two very different things. Knowledge is breathing, therefore all that is required of us is to learn how to breathe correctly. Until we transform the station Ba into three elements – action, breath and awareness, we can not act, breathe and be aware. Station Ba is only the knowledge of these actions, but not the actions themselves, we need this information in order to know the direction.

 

jim

Jim

Open yourself to the sound that fills the world.
Look how brightly Jim shines.
The Universe is one,
Your soul is one with the universe.
Open your eyes and let this vision in.
From an Ancient Arabic text

The station Jim is a space that collects and forms a unity. Everything is energy (qudra) however this energy has an internal energy and this internal energy has a source. Jim teaches us that the training cannot be superficial and that every piece of knowledge has its laws, it has its space. Developing an awareness and understanding not only for the physiological but also for the cosmological knowledge is a prerequisite for the realization of the alchemical process. The One can be built only once you have understood the spatial characteristics of knowledge! The Sufist physical and spiritual doctrine defines the meaning and the tasks not only for every single action and word but also for the organs (centers) that are viewed not only as parts of the body but also in their entirety. If nature has invested time in the creation of a particular organ, then this organ is a repository of not only vital but also of spiritual powers. Therefore until the seeker understands the meaning of all the parts of his body, he cannot be viewed as a spiritual object in the fullest sense.

Each of the bodily organs interacts not only with the rest of the organs but also with the cosmic powers. In the space we inhabit, energy moves in three directions, and interacting with each of them cannot be greater than experience.

Interacting with the three qudra is knowledge. Joining the three qudra we get the energy that helps us become one with the Cosmos, with the External. All spiritual seekers, irrespective of the doctrine they follow, should strive to achieve internal unification. The energy that makes up the structure of the energy body is determined through one of the energy centers (lataif).

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Centers (lataif) for transforming the Emerald powder

 

Location

Name

Transformed powder

State of being

Process of realization

Left side of the body

Qalb
heart

Yellowish-pearly powder

Rhythm established

Developing awareness of the principles and laws

Right side of the body

Rouh
spiritual energy

Claret-colored powder

Set of internal powers

Using the laws of change and development

Solar plexus

Sirr
purified energy

Silver powder

Changing quality

First stage of transformation. Acquiring additional energy.

Internal transformer
(
center of abdomen)

Khafi
transformed energy

Vermillion

Developing spiritual power

Second stage of transformation. Conditions for controlling the process of transforming the bodily qualities.

Green center
(
center of the chest)

Akhfa
distilled energy

Emerald Powder

Power of spiritual frequency

Third stage of transformation. Developing the initial conditions for controlling the interaction with the universal energy.

The basic task of Sufi alchemy is to achieve a state of spiritual purity which predetermines the development of the state of naturalness. However this is not the ultimate opportunity of the seeker.

Everything beyond remains hidden for the seeing eye. Therefore the task of the practical path is to provide a source for transformation, which is in fact the cinnabar (zinjifrah). The basic practice for acquiring zinjifrah is meditation (Muraqabah).

 

alchemy alchemy

Alchemical sequence

Muraqabah. The meditating position is built in accordance with the Macrocosmic laws

According to the teachings of the Sufi alchemists, the divine body is correlated with the whole universe (ittihad). Since man is created in His image and likeness, the human body, mind and spirit are subject to the cosmic laws and comply with them. The alchemical process consists of certain forms of efforts that achieve the task of internal change when done in a particular sequence.

nafs

The nine stages of transformation in alchemy

There are three alchemical efforts:

  • Fixation (quat-I-mutasarrifah)
  • Circulation (tanzih)
  • Rotation (rake)
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Fixation

Circulation

Rotation

Perfect form (‘ahsan taqwim) cannot be achieved without the alchemical efforts. The perfect form appears when the process of change flows according to the laws of spatial change, having a particular course, or sequence. The station Jim represents the necessary conditions for filling, it defines with its rhythm and vibration the process of conception which creates an opportunity for growth.

When the Knowing person follows the way of perfection, he gains spiritual strength. His body becomes a repository and is now called ‘the mysterious receptacle of the first level.’ When his energy becomes a receptacle, it is defined as ‘a mysterious receptacle of the second level.’ When his spirit becomes a receptacle, it is called ‘the mysterious receptacle of the third level.’

Alchemy is the secret of the way. Ancient Arab alchemists who developed the secret of the Sufi doctrine – which allows the person to free himself from the external dependencies on the way that destroy or weaken the spirit – have built a system of knowledge, based not on denying the external, but rather on approaching the inner self. Thus, we have acquired knowledge of the parts as well as knowledge of the whole. Everything that surrounds us and seems separate and even divided, becomes – as a result of the knowledge – part of one single whole, part of the JIM.

The sphere JIM examines:

  • the body (tab)
  • beauty (jamal)
  • combinations (‘umur kulliya)
  • Unity (ahadiyya)
  • One in unity (ahadiyyat)
  • the joy of quality (bast)
  • the joy of feeling (ahval)
  • the application of Knowledge (tahakhuk)
nafs

Jim Sphere
The seeker (Talib)
The devotee (Majzub)
The initiate (Murid)
The student (Salik)
The enlightened one (‘Arif)
The teacher (Shaykh/Murshid)
The holy one (Wali)
The perfect man (Al-Insan al-Kamil)

 

The sphere Jim reveals the knowledge of the three efforts developed while representing the qualities of the earth (fixation), water (circulation) and fire (rotation). To a certain degree here we can talk about a revelation of the truth through natural phenomena that create the clear, the active and that, which can grow.

Jim reveals the practical conditions for the purification of the seeker. The sphere Jim becomes the first genuine step (taricat) that can provide the seeker with internal support.

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