Posted by: samandal | November 23, 2010

Zikr’u’lláh, VII: Tong-Len

Díyáfat-i-Qawl, the Feast of Speech

The equivalent of the number nine in the abjad system of the Arabic alphabet is the same as the four letters which form the word Abhá (1 + 2 + 5 + 1 = 9), a word which is symbolic of perfection and completion (unity and universality) as the highest single digit: “He is the First and the Last, the External and the Internal, and He is aware of all things” (Qur’án lvii. 3).

The path of the sálik is not the path of perfectionism, which is an insidious force in spiritual practice—the belief that if only one practices hard enough, one’s life will be perfect: a body that never sickens, a temper that never flares, a heart that never breaks.

This myth is a profound delusion that contributes enormously to human unhappiness, but one that contains a tremendous opportunity for us to awaken our compassion; to breathe in pain, breathe out love, and let compassion—authentic compassion, not idiot compassion—blossom in our lives. This asks us to touch our deepest wounds and to touch the wounds of others as if they were our own; for in order to truly care about others, we first need to embrace the pain we find in ourselves. Within each of us there flows not only an enormous river of sorrow but a boundless ocean of compassion, which must ultimately be manifested in action to effect positive change in the world around us, not only in our own lives but in the lives of others as well.

Take your subha in hand. Close your eyes, still your body, silence your mind, calm your breath, tend your heart and invoke the Name. As you do so, imagine your own awareness as an orb of golden light, about a half inch in diameter, in the center of your chest. Visualize this orb as an infinite source of unlimited love and compassion. Now imagine the negativity of the world or a particular person or situation, even your own, as a dark cloud that obscures your awareness and obstructs your equanimity. Breathe it in, draw it down into your heart, and imagine that it is transformed into light. Feel it be transformed, the weight dissolve, and the dark lighten. Breathe the light back out into the world with the wish that it travel far, for the good of all.

Repeat this series of breaths ninety-five times.

May all creatures be of a blissful heart.