Freedom and Awakening – Pir Vilayat

Freedom and Awakening – Pir Vilayat

This post is part of the Pir Vilayat Archive Project. Visit the index to see more, or click information for details on the Pir Vilayat Center and Abode retreats.


Index | Information


thought it would be good for us to do practices once more. You see, it can’t be done with one’s will, because one’s will is, of course, linked up with one’s personal consciousness, and here one is going into an impersonal consciousness. The power that causes this shift is ecstasy. Every time that one is free from a limitation there’s a breakthrough of ecstasy, whether it is hang gliding, or listening to music that turns one on, or whether it is seeing something that one hadn’t seen before, or whether it’s forgiving someone or being forgiven, or whether it is discovering that one is free when one thought that one was bound. Any time that one is free from a constraint of any kind, there’s a breakthrough of ecstasy. And, as you know, ecstasy is the energy that brings about transformation in a human being.


So, samadhi is the expression of our need to free ourselves from constraint, from the constraint of the self image, from the constraint of the personal vantage point, from the conditioning of the environment, from one’s assessment, of course, of one’s situations, from one’s assessment of the physical universe. So, it is the way of moksha, which means freedom. That’s why it is pursued in India, and it is the way of the sannyasin. The sannyasin is someone who has, according to the tradition, who has lived and fulfilled his or her life, to the age of 60, for example, and has a grown-up child who can take over the piece of land to cultivate it further, and therefore has contributed to life now and up to the present, and can now retire and discover what Hazrat Inayat Khan calls another kingdom, what Christ calls another kingdom. So, remember that it is your nostalgia for freedom that will carry you.


The first thing that one does is what we did this morning. It is to withdraw from the impact of the environment—turning within. But then, further, to withdraw from the impact of the thoughts, the concepts. And the best way to do that is to “de-validate” our personal thinking; to realize it is limited, and therefore not absolute—relative. I don’t say it’s wrong, it’s just limited. And, perhaps, a deeper thing is, of course, to find … to … let’s say, to liberate ourselves from our storms in our teacups. And once more realize that they are due to the fact that one is assessing things from one’s personal vantage point, and that things are not the way they appear. And as soon as one does that, one finds relief from one’s chagrin and pain. One finds freedom from emotion. It’s ecstasy. It’s bliss, rather than what one understands by emotion.


Now, one is discovering one’s … remember this, that it’s the idea that “I am an entity” that stands in the way of this experience. That’s the reason for the anahata teaching of Buddha. There is no “entity.” It is all … it’s the same thing as the Sufi Zikr—it’s all one being. There is no “entities” there. You know, it appears as though there were fragmentation, but ultimately it’s all one. So, that is a way of … to overcome this idea of separateness. One … just think that you are the Nameless, and the Formless, and the Timeless and the Spaceless. And Spaceless does not mean infinite, but that means that you … while some aspects of your body are space-like, you exist, ultimately, irrespective of location in space. You have an existence which is not definable in terms of space. And that does not mean that you’re lifting your consciousness upwards, because that’s … there’s no up and down, because there’s no space. Space is only relative to the concentration of mass, matter, otherwise it collapses.


So just imagine that space collapses now, but the only way to do that is to shift your consciousness from  “body-ness,” and try to recall … it’s like the rebirthing practices, which consist in the regression in time. So, think of, like, you’ve always existed, since the beginning of time. But, of course, that’s the way of thinking, but, in fact, that beginning of time is still now. There are two dimensions of time.


And that all these things have accumulated, like your personality. You’ve borrowed that from your parents. Now where before that there was some personality that you had acquired, some heritage, inheritance, that you’d acquired through the angels. But all these are things that have accumulated. But now you are … kind … I can’t say that you’re stripping yourself of those … body, and so on and so forth, personality … no, but you’re shifting your consciousness to earmark what is essentially you, behind all that has accrued to you in the course of time.


And you have a feeling of awakening from your personal perspective. You think, how is it possible that I thought that I was caught up in this, and I thought that I was this, and I thought this was happening, and I thought I was what I thought I was, and so on. You awaken from that. And the way to awaken is to think, “Oh, that’s just the way things looked, and I was caught in a perspective.” Just like when you go to sleep you’re awakening from a perspective—changing perspective.


That’s the meaning of maya. It doesn’t mean that physical matter doesn’t exist, it just means that it’s not what it seems to be, which is what, exactly what, quantum physics is saying. But it’s also what you thought you were as a person, your self image. “That’s what I thought I was.” You suddenly discover a whole dimension of your being which has always existed, and you had forgotten that.


And that eternal aspect of yourself is very impersonal. It’s like, it is the reality behind all that appears. And it is sublime. And it is pure splendor. It is that which is trying to transpire behind you’re … through your personality, but doesn’t quite make it. And that’s what you’ve always been: beyond time. Your personality is just like the body of Edgar Mitchell. It was constricting him. Personality is also like a straitjacket that is constricting one’s being. Pulling one, pushing one, constraining one.


And at last you can really be yourself. You don’t have to put on a mask, or a show, or live up to expectations. In fact, your real being is much more beautiful than anything you could put on in your personality. But it’s not like the personality. It’s not like idiosyncrasies, as we call them. It’s like the quintessence. It’s like a pure essence. Can’t define it. Can’t categorize it.


But be careful not to attribute too much “I-ness” to this discovery of the essence of yourself. That’s where we have to be careful. I have always existed, yes, but not as what I used to think myself to be, like, that personality. It’s like the trunk of the tree, as I said—impersonal. So, think of, for example, one does never say, one should not say, Siddhartha or Gautama, but one says the Tathāgata. It means the one who has become impersonal. So, think of yourself as impersonal. The word “I” does not mean what it meant before. There is peace rather than personal satisfaction. And there is harmony rather than strife.


Now you could draw your memory right back to (this is a metaphor, of course, but, it’s helpful) to the time prior to the Big Bang, like when there was not a physical universe. That’s the reason why it’s in metaphors that we’re thinking, in terms of the arrow of time, whereas, there’s another dimension of time, which is still now. And you’re awakening in the night of time, beyond the dream of the present. And even universes could be born, and universes could be dislocated, and new universes could be born, and you remain unscathed, but not individual, individualized, throughout the whole process. You have freely extricated yourself from your existential condition. And experience what it’s like to not have a body, or what it would be like. And even not be battered by one’s personal thoughts, but thinking universally.


Let’s discard personal thought as being, denigrate them as being, devalidate them, as being only a relatively valid, like just, personal vantage point. Then, all of a sudden, you get into the thinking of the universe.


There are two steps here. There’s the thinking of the universe and there’s the thinking of which the universe is the expression. The first one is cosmic. The second is transcendent. Like, for example, the thinking of a tree, and the thinking of a butterfly, and the thinking of a hawk, and the thinking of a whale, and the thinking of an atom, and the thinking of a galaxy. That would be the cosmic dimension of thinking. And one has access into that thinking by what we did this morning, turning within.


But now, we’re working with transcendence, and so it is the thinking that has materialized as the universe. It’s like the software that has materialized into the hardware. You are experiencing the hardware and now you look at the hardware as just a manifestation of what you’re grasping now, which is a software—the intention behind it all. And remember that your mind is completely … is not just a fraction of that thinking, it is that thinking, limited and distorted, and so on, but still is that thinking. Oh, this is a level of experience that I described yesterday, when quoting St. Francis, where he said, “That which sees, is that which is seen.” In scientific terms, the physical world is isomorphic with our mind … has the same form, has the same structure as our mind. That’s why we understand it.


The brain has somewhat the structure of the mind, and, therefore, it’s a good tool for the mind. The hardware of the computer, has something of the nature of the programming, otherwise, it would not serve. So, this is self-discovery instead of discovery of other-than-oneself.


Remember that consciousness gets resorbed in its ground, which is intelligence. There was a word of Hazrat Inayat Khan that illustrates this. He said, “The object of consciousness limits consciousness.” Consciousness is limited by it’s object. So, when you’re thinking of an object or of a thought, that thought limits your consciousness. That’s why we are questioning the validity of our thinking, as we know how limiting the mind is. And so, we reach into a place where we’re thinking beyond the mind, or we’ve (?) the thinking beyond the limitation of mind. We are the thinking that is beyond the limitation of the mind.


And that is the meaning of chit in Sanskrit, which means pure intelligence, and it’s the same thing as aqil in the Sufi terminology, which means pure intelligence. That’s what I am, not a consciousness. Beyond that, I am pure intelligence, pure insight, pure realization. That’s what I am.


You think you are perceiving objects? You’re projecting the light of your intelligence upon the intelligence that manifests as the object. It’s a communion. It’s a self discovery, an act of self discovery. You’re discovering yourself in the object, you’re not perceiving the object. Hazrat Inayat Khan again: “Light that we thrust on an object is more important than the light that is thrust by the object upon us.”


In the act of consciousness one is perceiving, in the act of intelligence, one is self-discovering. When you’re overlooking the universe, you’re an overview; you are consciousness. When you grasp meaningfulness, irrespective of the universe, then there’s no consciousness. It’s just an act of intelligence,  “intellig-ing” itself. The word of Aristotle is intelligence “intelliging” itself. That’s that higher knowledge that the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad speaks, when it says, where there’s duality, one sees, the other one smells, the other one hears, the other one understands, the other (?) become one. Of what kind of understanding are we talking about? That’s aqil, the direct act of knowledge without the intermediary of the physical, the physical universe, a kind of pre-knowledge. So, it’s not the input processing from information one is receiving from the environment, but the light that one is casting upon objects.


Okay now, beyond this, there is something further, and that is, the emotion that has become the universe. And that’s the ultimate samadhi, beyond intelligence … the emotion that became the Mass of Bach, or the emotion that became a symphony of Brahms. It started with emotion. The universe started with emotion, and then became worked out with a great acumen and “ingenuosity” …  ingenuity, but, originally, pure emotion. And that is what the Sufis call ishq. Emotion that became, that manifested as objects, as events, as landscapes, as creatures. So, once more, it’s not the emotion of the butterfly, or of the caterpillar, or of the hawk, or of the tree, or of the flower. No, it is the emotion that became the hawk, or became the caterpillar, or became the butterfly, or became the crystal, or the atom, or the galaxy, or that manifested as such.


There’s a difference between cosmic emotion and transcendent emotion. And again, it’s not a matter of perceiving that emotion; it’s realizing that one is that emotion. And the ultimate (?), the ultimate strata of one’s being, that’s what one is. Let’s say, the creative emotion. One’s personality is the expression of that emotion. One’s body is the expression of that emotion. It’s true one has borrowed from one’s parents and so on but … features and so on, but the whole of one’s being is permeated by the emotion that becomes the universe.


Okay, now we’re going to reverse things and get into the second awakening. It’s again a rebirthing experience like, do you remember having been born, having been born out of the act of glorification of an angel who tried to express his/her glorification in that music, piece of music that you are? Being thought of, you see, instead of being the one who thinks. Imagine that you are thought of, that you were born out of being thought of. Just like a piece of music is thought of, or “felt of” it’s better, instead, of course, than “thought of.” The expression of a prayer, of an act of glorification, and then you were born out of that. You’re … that’s what you are.


According to the Sufis, you, one, exists in the mind of God. What Al Hallaj says is, referring to a very wonderful meditation that he made, in the beginning of time God started to discover the qualities within His being. And every time that He, let’s say, earmarked a particular quality, that quality became actuated as a being. And so, we are the beings that are born, out of the act of auto-contemplation or auto-discovery, whereby God discovered Himself through us. Through actuating Himself in us, as us. (?) a different way of looking at oneself, and that is, of course, Sufism. It’s always a permutation of terms. Like, God knows Himself through us, inasmuch as we know of ourselves through Him. That’s a permutation of terms, two complimentary terms. We always think of just we knowing God, you see, and the Sufi always takes the opposite view, like, it’s God who knows Himself through us.


It’s our limitation that makes us always think of things from our vantage point. The Sufi overcomes that. How would it be from the Divine point of view? Well, from the Divine point of view, we are the ones in which He sees Himself, He discovers Himself. So, if you could regress your memory right back, right back to that point in time, which as I say, it’s not necessarily thinking in terms of reversing the arrow of time, but, as I say, that … to at least two dimensions of time, so one is getting from transiency into eternity, or, into “trans-temporality,” the better term than “eternity.” One returns to that state, alpha state, where God was, let’s say God … a lot of people have a kind of block about using the word God, so, one could say that we’re the hidden treasure that became the Being of Glory…that is becoming in us, the Being of Glory, and Majesty and Splendor … was discovering Himself … the Hidden Treasure was discovering Itself, if you like, by proliferating and actuating Itself.


If you can get back to that early time, in the night of time, and then proceed along the arrow of time, then … and even around … along the other arrow of time which is from “trans-historicity” into “historicity,” then, you will experience what the Sufis call Tannazulat, which is your descent through the spheres, angelic spheres, jinn spheres. And through each sphere you have been acquiring something of the fabric of the sphere that you’ve been passing through. A sphere of light, and you acquire the aura. Now, again I’m speaking in metaphor, but it’s the only way to speak. And then, descending upon the physical plane, you have borrowed the body made of the fabric of the planet through your parents. So, at each stage one has …  something more has accrued to ones being, like the car that got the snow and the dust and so on.  ? car, I mean, you’re still that original being that has some … accumulated so many ? of, whatever one can call it,  a fabric, if you like … coming down, incarnating, permeating the flesh, transforming the flesh, leaving one’s mark on the flesh, it’s hallmark on the flesh, like the smile that transforms the flesh of the face. One is acting upon matter by sheer attunement of one’s soul.


And now, what happens to consciousness in the meantime? As one has … originally it was a Divine Consciousness in all it’s all-encompassing breadth and now, of course, it’s been polarized, focalized, and therefore limited as it comes down. And it’s still the same consciousness, but it’s been limited. It’s been like passing through a funnel … I mean … well, focalization is the same thing. So, something had to be … had to give. It’s not possible to have all that, that is at the top of the funnel, in the small end of the funnel. So, it’s squeezed in …  it’s … something is … has to give. And still one is the Divine Consciousness. And this is very important. This is the second awakening. Instead of thinking of yourself as being the eyes through which God sees, the instrument of a higher consciousness, realize that you are the Glance. It is … you are that consciousness, you’re not the instrument. Ibn ‘Arabi said one day, “the instrument is also that which it manifests, or conveys.”


You are the Divine Glance. The word that’s used by the Sufis is SHA-ANAZ (?) : I am the Divine Glance. You walk through the streets, and aware that you’re casting the light of the Divine Glance upon all beings and upon all things. That’s the meaning of illumination … not just the light, but the awareness, or the realization. Divine Realization is being projected by you upon all beings. And the second thing is, that you are also the Divine Nature, that has become distorted and limited, and so on, but it’s still the Divine Nature. For example, a drop of water of the ocean, well, it’s got the nature of the ocean. It’s not just different from the ocean, it is the ocean. except that it’s only a drop instead of the ocean, but it’s still … it has all the nature of the ocean. And so, you are not the instrument through which the Divine Nature manifests, you are the Divine Nature that has become limited. You are also the instrument, of course, if you like. This a the Sufi view, and this is awakening in life. I am the Divine Consciousness. I am the Divine Nature. I am the Divine Presence. Those are the three.


God speaking, “I have become in the consciousness … no … yes … I have become in the consciousness of every being, the subject of my self-discovery, and, I have become in the nature of ever being, the object of my self-discovery.” I’ll say that again. God speaking … let’s say, if you don’t like the word God, let us say the Hidden Treasure, that is, the Unknown Mystery. The Cloud of Unknowing has become, in the consciousness of every being, the subject of His self-knowledge, and, in the nature of every being, the object of His self-knowledge.


And, what is much more difficult to follow … instead of trying to experience the Divine Presence, you realize that you are the Divine Presence. And that is a word that is very difficult to to understand altogether, because it’s not the qualities. That’s the manifest. That’s what manifests—different forms, qualities, forms. The Presence can never be reduced to qualities. When you love a person, you want the presence of that person, whatever be the qualities of that person —Presence that is important. You have the Divine Glance, you have the Divine Nature, you have the Divine Presence. Instead of withdrawing from the world, you would realize the importance of threading the Divine Consciousness, through your … in such a way that you allow the full blast of that Divine Consciousness to come forth. That’s not by thinking of yourself as the instrument, that’s by thinking of yourself as that Divine Glance that you’ve been limiting. But now you don’t want to limit it anymore, and therefore it becomes overwhelmingly bright.


And secondly, what I thought were my qualities, they’re the divine qualities that are delimited, but still…. And there we have the model of the king or the queen. It has become rather outdated. And I’m talking not about the hereditary king, but the … or queen … but the real “king-liness” or “queen-liness” that is latent within each one of us. That’s a divine inheritance and can become formidable, in a being who is aware of the Divine Inheritance.


I’ll tell you a story. Zeus was … the son of Zeus … you know Zeus is God, the Greek, for God, out of which came the word Deus. And Zagreus is a son of Zeus, the Son of God. And when God … there’s a story … goes that … when God took a leave from his throne for a few minutes, the Son of God, Zagreus, sat on the throne, to see what it was like, and the Titans presented him with a mirror. And when he discovered the features of his father in his face, he was so overwhelmed, that the Titans took advantage of that to catapult him down into the abyss, and they tore him to pieces. So they devoured the son of God. And when Zeus came back—Zeus is Jupiter—when he came back, he quashed them with his, his thunder,  thunder bolt, and human beings are born out of the of the cinders of the Titans. The Titans had devoured the son of God, and so, the humans inherit the nature of God that was transmitted by the son of God to the Titans. You see something of the origin of Christianity in that, dont you? And, of course, this is the essence of what we’re doing. We discover … you see, the inheritance … you are not the instrument through which the inheritance is coming. You are the inheritance. So we are the Divine Being, that has become mutilated, and lacerated, and fragmented and all that, but it’s still the Divine Being. Let’s say, you take one … one cell of the body, and it has within it the possibility of becoming a whole body.


Think of yourself as being potentially the Being of God. That is the most secret of all doctrines, the most dangerous, the most outrageous, of all doctrines. People have been burnt at the stake for less. And of course, have been burnt at the stake for just affirming that they are the Being of God. People have been enclosed in insane asylums for saying that.  And the fact is, that’s the ultimate truth.


“I really don’t believe it.” And it’s because we don’t believe it that we are not it—that we don’t manifest it. We don’t believe in ourselves. And when we do, or those who do, become like kings and queens, and that’s in the Sufi tradition. The real purpose of human being is to become like a king or a queen. That’s what the dervish becomes. And that’s what the rishi becomes. And that’s what any of you could become. If you would just accept the richness of your inheritance, instead of clinging on to your personality.


You know, a good actor is not someone who’s putting on a show. A good actor is someone who believes in the qualities in his/her being, and, therefore, believing it, is able to stand there on the stage and manifest them. If you don’t believe it, you can’t be an actor. You can’t, you can’t manifest it. That’s where insight comes in. Now, I must say, I saw that in Hazrat Inayat Khan. I must say. He was just like a king. And I’ve seen that in the great beings whom I have visited. What is it that’s holding us back? False humility? Laziness? Like, it’s much easier to say, well, you know, I’m not up to all of that,  you know, what Pir Vilayat I says. That’s really too far fetched. I can’t be all of that. We don’t accept our inheritance. Or we believe in it while we’re meditating, until somebody comes and starts beating us up, and then we fall back into our person consciousness again. What Christ was doing, because he was beaten up: never lost his Divine Consciousness—consciousness of the Divine Perfection, kept it up all the time, never cringed. So he was showing us how we can find a way of maintaining our Divine status, while being battered by life.


This is what Sufi meditation is about. So, you see, it’s not samadhi. In fact, although, as I say, I’m hooked on samadhi, it’s nice to be able to depart from of all this and see what’s behind the scene. But, you know, it’s like an alpha state, like, the way it was in the beginning. So, it’s interesting, but, so what? I mean, what’s happening now is much more interesting than the way it was in the beginning. And even if you get into, not quite as high as samadhi, but stop on the way, as I’ve often done, and get into the blueprints of the universe. Yeah, it’s interesting, but then, you know, the blueprint of your house is interesting only if you want to make major repairs. But otherwise, your house is much more interesting than the blueprints. So, it’s much more interesting to wake up in life than to wake up away from life. And most of the schools are still teaching one how to awaken outside life, instead of in life. Just imagine you’re fully awake, right in the middle of life. Like you’re aware of everything that is happening, like you’re aware! The Divine … you are the Divine Consciousness, peering into life, and peering into the Divine Nature which is manifesting in all creatures. It’s a wonderful state to be in. One doesn’t have to close oneself up in a cave, or in a cell, to do that. I think that that is what we’re looking for in our time.

It takes many hands and hearts at work to breathe life into the Archive Project. Our transcription workflow is still a creation in progress — to submit any corrections, please email khaldun@theabode.org and note the title of the page in your message. If you would like to volunteer as a transcriber, please email retreats@theabode.org Many thanks and blessings!