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Australian Centre For Sufism



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Sufi Teachings:

Ibn 'Arabi On
Proximity And Distance

Why Do Muslims Fast?

Knowledge of Reality and
Ignorance of Reality -
What is Knowledge
of Reality?

Knowledge of Reality and
Ignorance of Reality -
Seeing Versus
Not Seeing

Knowledge of Reality and
Ignorance of Reality -
Journeying In
The Spiritual Path

Book of Theophanies

The Month of Ramadhan

Sufi Psychology:
The Isolation and
Transformation
of the Nafs

To Be Or Not To Be

Imposter Or
Mistaken Identity?

Moulana Rumi -
The Mirror of Divine Love

The Transformative Power
of the Fear of God

Test of the Hardship

The Theatre
of Life

Peace and the
Inner Jihad

Sufism and the
Paradox of Self

Surrender

Faith and Action

What is Tasawwuf
(Sufism)?

Listening for God:
Prayer and the Heart

 



Bismillaah ir Rahmaan ir Rahiim
In the name of Allah, The Merciful, The Compassionate


The philosopher exhausted himself with thinking (figuring out)
          let him run on, (in vain) since his back is turned toward the treasure

Let him run on, for the more he keeps running
          the farther away does he become from the object of his desire

Moulana Rumi, Mathnawi, VI:2356-57



SURRENDER

By Fatima Fleur Nassery Bonnin


It is important to be clear about to whom we surrender, what we surrender and how we surrender.

Ordinarily we surrender to our ego. It is so automatic that most of the time we don’t even notice it. Once some knowledge has been gained and progress made, the first sign of being a true traveller of the path (salek) appears with a fundamental shift. This shift is about constantly trying to surrender to God instead of surrendering to the demands and desires of the ego-personality or 'nafs'.

We must ask ourselves, what are we surrendering? It is not our wealth, the ones we love, nor our possessions. God has no desire for those things. We are surrendering our ego-personality (nafs), because it is the very instrument that forms the obstacle in getting close to God, and God's desire is for us to get close to Him and to know Him.

Then the question remains, how do we surrender to God? We must surrender the instruments of the ego, which are our mind, our emotions and our desires. Our ego-personality has dominated because of these instruments, or rather these weapons. Imagine, that within us is an enemy who has controlled our psyche, armed with these weapons, therefore the only way to fight him and subdue him, is by taking away those weapons. However this is not an easy task since we have come to believe that the personality is us, and that we are the personality. A certain degree of awakening is required in order to realise that there is more to us, and that the personality is only an outer veil covering the inner or essential self. Yet we have formed attachments to this structure and we identify that as our identity. Adding to the problem is the manipulative nature of the ego. This makes us, (to borrow the Sufi idiom), fall almost every time that we want to mount the donkey of the nafs and pull its reins, only to find that the next minute we are walking behind the donkey in the direction it wants to go. The ego has had a full run of us and has become a formidable force that will not give up easily. This internal struggle against one’s nafs was described by the Prophet (pbuh) as the greater Jihad (war) - greater than the wars in the battlefield.

The journey of life is about wearing the cloak of the personality in order to cover our true self and become self conscious, while being given the chance to discard the cloak and return to the state of Divine consciousness. This is what we have been created for. The most important requirements on our part are to have sincerity and faith. If we have that, then the help from the unseen as well as help in the form of a guide or teacher will appear.

The human dilemma appears to be that the human soul is caught between the Divine/angelic forces, and the ego/animal forces. When the force of the ego pulls us down, the lower forces seek to bring about disorder and disharmony within us and in our life in order to keep us down and gain control. On the other hand if the soul moves into the higher realm, the lower forces don’t have as much access and control over us, and we now receive help from that realm, (unless we slip and have to fight our way up again). This is one of the reasons that in Sufism there is a lot of emphasis on spending time around sincere seekers and staying away from people who are ego driven. Because, according to the law of “like attracts like”, it would be easy to get attracted and slip.

To ascend to the higher realm we need to surrender our self. To surrender our self, we must surrender our thoughts, emotions and desires. Ironically, by surrendering, we will be able to receive and respond to whatever God sends our way without the distortions of the ego-personality.

I was talking with my Sheikh on the phone the other day and he said, “I don’t think, I only do what is put in front of me”. My inner ear heard the inner meaning of this statement and I experienced its transcending effect. Imagine, doing and responding to what God puts in front of us without being trapped in one’s emotions and thoughts. As soon as one allows the mind, emotion or desire to get in, different possibilities and judgements appear and one is taken out of the unity, and is thrown into the realm of multiplicity and fragmentation of the personality.

Prophet Jesus (pbuh) said God is always with us if we can surrender ourselves to Him and if we can love Him more than anything else, more than ourselves.

God consciousness has already been put in the heart of every child of Adam. When we surrender the self, then God's Will moves through us and our actions will become His actions. All we need to do is to surrender our belief of self-sovereignty and otherness. This is the real meaning of sacrifice - sacrificing the pseudo-self in order to reach the Divine Self. What keeps us from that union is the “me-ness” placed in between.

Speaking of this reality, Hafez the Persian Sufi poet says:
          “you are your own veil, Hafez, get out of the way”.

God is with us all the time. If He were not with us we would not even be able to stand on our feet nor take a step. In the Qur’an Allah (swt) says “I am closer to you than your jugular vein”. So He is always close and present. But we are not present with Him. We are busy with ourselves through our thoughts, emotions and desires. Even when we are hoping to get close to Him, by hoping and thinking and desiring we get further away from Him. We can not be mindful of Him if we are mindful of ourselves. When we think or desire, we are in the element of “self”, and the harder we try to get close the further away we become.

* * * * *


The philosopher exhausted himself with thinking (figuring out)
          let him run on, (in vain) since his back is turned toward the treasure

Let him run on, for the more he keeps running
          the farther away does he become from the object of his desire

The (Divine) King said “those who have striven for Us”
          He did not say, “those who have striven away from Us”
                                                                       

                                                                                                Moulana Rumi, Mathnawi, VI:2356-58

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Sufi Teachings:

Ibn 'Arabi On Proximity And Distance

Why Do Muslims Fast?

Knowledge of Reality and Ignorance of Reality - What is Knowledge of Reality?

Knowledge of Reality and Ignorance of Reality - Seeing Versus Not Seeing

Knowledge of Reality and Ignorance of Reality - Journeying In The Spiritual Path

Book of Theophanies

The Month of Ramadhan

Sufi Psychology: The Isolation and Transformation of the Nafs

To Be Or Not To Be

Imposter Or Mistaken Identity?

Moulana Rumi - The Mirror of Divine Love

The Transformative Power of the Fear of God

Test of the Hardship

The Theatre of Life

Peace and the Inner Jihad

Sufism and the Paradox of Self

Surrender

Faith and Action

What is Tasawwuf (Sufism)?

Listening for God: Prayer and the Heart

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For further information contact the
Australian Centre for Sufism and Irfanic Studies (ACSIS)
Phone: (02) 9955 SUFI (7834)
or email: acs@australiansuficentre.org


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