Tag Archives: Oneness

“That’s Good” by Lee & Steven Hager

Lee & Steven Hager, the authors of “The Beginning of Fearlessness: Quantum Prodigal Son.” Writing about themselves, “We’re just like you. We have no special qualifications, but after years of struggle, we discovered the key to living a life of fearlessness. If we could, you can too.” Please continue reading more about Lee & Steven and their unique journey of living a life of “fearlessness” http://www.thebeginningoffearlessness.com/about/

“That’s Good”

Written onAugust 27, 2011 by Lee & Steven Hager

http://www.thebeginningoffearlessness.com/2011/08/27/thats-good/

We say those two words quite often, but almost always in relation to something happening outside of us, something we have judged as positive, something that appears to be ‘in our favor.’  Of course judgment cuts two ways, so we will inevitably find ourselves saying two other words: “That’s bad.” Although we regularly hear people use the popular catch phrase, “It’s all good,” most who utter those words continue to label their own experiences as either good or bad.

When we view life from the perspective of good/bad, right/wrong, positive/negative, we live on a constantly swinging pendulum that’s set in motion by the things occurring outside us. The energy from our happiness sends the pendulum swinging in one direction. But when the conditions that caused our happiness no longer fuel our energy, the loss of momentum will inevitably send the pendulum swinging back in the opposite direction and we become unhappy. Much as we would like, it’s impossible to keep the pendulum on the side of “That’s good.”  However, it is possible to be an exception to this rule.

It was said that the Taoist sage, Chuang Tzu, replied, “That’s good,” no matter what anyone told him. As you can imagine, this caused many who had come to Chuang Tzu with their bad news to go away offended or come to the conclusion that Chuang Tzu was either deaf or had lost his wits. Why would a man known for his wisdom treat the misery of others in such an apparently unfeeling manner? But it was also reported that Chuang Tzu said, “That’s good” when he was told that his own son’s legs had been broken in an accident. On the surface this appears senseless.  To tease out the meaning, let’s look at the story of another wise man that treated his own misfortune in the same way.

Recently our dear friend Musa Askari (also one of our guest bloggers) acquainted us with a wonderful book of Sufi wisdom stories titled Solomon’s Ring. It contains the stories of Sufi master Ghauth Ali Shah Qalander that were scribed by his disciple, Gul Hasan. The stories were translated from the original Urdu language by Musa’s father, Hasan Askari, a highly respected Urdu scholar and linguist.  As we quote a few lines from one of these stories, also titled “Solomon’s Ring,” you cannot help but notice the similar responses of Chuang Tzu and Solomon:

“It is said that when Solomon lost his ring of power and wisdom he said, ”Al Hamdu ‘Lillah [All praise be to God].  And when he found the ring, then also he said, “Al Hamdu ‘Lillah”

Not only did Solomon consider each incident ‘good,’ he gave thanks for it. Since Solomon’s wisdom was legendary, we might assume that it was the ring itself that gave Solomon’s wisdom and great power. In that can case, we would expect that the loss of the ring would receive a very different reaction. Yet Solomon, like Chuang Tzu, met each supposedly ‘good’ or ‘bad’ experience with the same response. How did these sages manage to avoid the extremes of emotion we so often feel in connection with the things we judge to be either good or bad? What did they know that enabled them to evaluate all occurrences in the same way?

Let’s return to Chuang Tzu. He said “That’s good” after he was told about his son’s accident, and the people thought he was crazy. The next day when soldiers came and hauled their sons away to force them into the army and Chuang Tzu’s son was not taken, they thought he was insightful. When his son’s impending marriage was called off and Chuang Tzu said, “That’s good,” they thought he was crazy. When the ex-fiancé died a few days later, they praised Chuang Tzu’s insight once again. Like Chuang Tzu’s neighbors, we might think that he could see into the future, but instead he had insight that was far more valuable.

Chuang Tzu didn’t stop the pendulum swing by controlling his reactions to things that happened outside him; he had gotten off of the pendulum all together. This doesn’t mean he was apathetic or disengaged, he just saw things in a very different way and was responding from that perpective.  Although he understood that conditions and experiences in this world would continually change, he had become attuned to something far greater. He called this something the Tao; you may call it God, universe, All That Is. The name doesn’t matter, but understanding that this greater power lifts us out of the duality of good/bad, right/ wrong, does. Chuang Tzu and Solomon had each traded limited perception for vision. They both saw past the misperception that we are a mortal body that can be harmed by the experiences taking place in this world and knew that we are one with the immortal Divine.

In “Solomon’s ring,” Solomon says that the praise he gave to the Divine when he lost and found the ring did not come from the perspective of human logic or emotion, but was “on the basis of the state of my heart.” Since his heart was one with God, he said, “The heart was neither distressed at [the ring’s] loss nor overjoyed at its recovery.” He knew that his wisdom and power both issued from his oneness with the Divine not a material object, and could never be threatened by any experience in this world. As the story of Solomon’s ring concludes, we’re told, “Solomon’s ring was an outer token of inner remembrance and stability.”

There is no need to continue riding the wild swings of the pendulum of duality and misperception. We are all called to Oneness with the Divine and can experience this world in peace and tranquility as Chuang Tzu and Solomon did. Recognizing our oneness with All That Is allows us to let go of misperceptions and see with the vision of the heart; this is the beginning of fearlessness.

“Seven Thoughts on Love” by Musa Askari

LOVE: A question, an idea, a goal, one of those elusive things that has pre-occupied humanity constantly. Therefore my first thought on love is that it is a “Constant”. Never failing and all Embracing. Crossing all categories of identification and limit. Running through them as like wind rushing through the trees and the leaves flutter all of a sudden coming to life. At times the wind rushes with such speed it overpowers, at others a gentle breeze of embrace and we rest in its arms. It is One & Many and yet no thing in one place or locality. Therefore my second thought is that it is “non-material, not physical” and thus available to all at one and the same time despite the differences in expression it may take in our lives – One Love. Leading by consequence to my third thought, one cannot speak of Love without speaking, or better still, “Remembering” one’s Being as non-material also, namely Soul. For me Love’s origin, in our lives, springs from the depth and breadth of Soul. The individual Soul and above it the Universal Soul. Love is that insignia, that spark within the Soul, that seed, which is pure “Longing”. Yearning to be whole, to be complete, to come to a rest after much wandering. It is love within the Soul that drives it, nay, compels it to yearn and long for its Source, once it realizes it has a Source, if it realizes it has a Source. Therefore, my fourth thought love is also a “returning home”. A fullness of Being.
 
If I had a choice of either constantly feeling Love’s embrace through Soul or choosing that from which the Loving Embrace originates, its Source, I would give up love and choose the Home of Love instead. For what could be more “Loving” than that which inspires the Love I feel and seek, which my Soul feels and seeks? Therefore, my fifth thought, love is also to perhaps “forsake love”, to give it up at the final stage of Soul’s journey. After much wandering and longing, love has brought my Soul from shore to shore, over still and raging oceans only to realise to cross that last threshold there can be no duality. “Do not say two. Say One!” (Hasan Askari). I must give up even the feeling of love and be within, as they say “In-Love”. The ship of the seas is no use now. The journey is of another kind. There in that Realm Soul purified of all its ills and hypnosis, filled with the Vision of Visions, there nothing what I think of love or feel is of any use. What gift can I bring to the Giver of all gifts? No gift will suffice except my very Being, my Soul. I bring it back as it was given, “empty” of all projections. Empty with only that remaining which was given in fullness. “Wheresoever one looks, one sees the Face of one’s Glorious and Majestic Lord” (Quran). It is forgotten that this ayat (verse) is more about the Soul than anything else.
 
What more drop of love can I add to the Source of Love itself? Then I, as Soul, realise with tears of joy and thankfulness, the Love within my Soul which drew me near to the Source, powerful and wondrous as it was, the wind in my sails, is nothing but an image of the Reality of Love. I give up the image and turn to the Original. Where Love is complete, simple, a Unity of all unities. Therefore my sixth thought, love is “pure”. And after such purification there is perhaps only one thing to do. Be humble with bowed head, to wait in patience for the “Beloved” to arrive. At that threshold one does not enter by one’s will for personal will was left far behind in the earlier stages of the journey. One is invited to enter at the behest of the Beloved – to be “in” Love. As the bride waits for the arrival of the bridegroom, an image well illustrated within the Indian custom as among others. And for that invitation, for that recognition, one would wait an eternity if one had to. This is “loyalty” at its peak. For there is no other to turn to. That is why perhaps we now can have a clue in the beautiful adage, “Home is where the Heart Is”.

One may be wondering why I have not referred to Beauty. Ah, but what to speak of Beauty at this stage, All is Beautiful. Love & Beauty are in Union now. And that is my seventh thought; “Beauty” itself. It drew me from the First and draws me to the Last. Should one be invited to enter in to that “Presence”, the journey continues and I cannot speak on that at present for that is Mystery, Beyond Being.

There is knowledge of Unity-Oneness (Tawhid) and then there is Unity-Oneness it-Self. The two are not the same. Words are of no use at that highest stage.
 
With such a vision, with love considered, in my view considered properly with Soul, one can then engage with the world, with family, relationships, friends, neighbours, “strangers” (in truth there are no strangers to the Soul), seeing that behind all such relationships is the same Love, one-many. “In Love” there is no such thing as the “other”. All are One. Then one may say with utmost sincerity, “Your soul and my soul are one Soul. Your God and my God is One God.” (Hasan Askari).

Of particular interest, spiritually, across diverse traditions, has been and remains the relationship between Master-Disciple, Guide-Guided and Teacher-Pupil. That relationship sits within my heart and Soul all the days of my Life. Beyond grateful to have known it and know it still.

The pendulum swing of Life. Life as a Soul, un-embodied, embodied and un-embodied once more. On the upward swing “we are of God and unto God we return”. On the downward swing, “we are of God and unto God we return”. Only as Souls can one recite this. 

From Love, With Love and In Love now and forever.  Amen!

*(photograph, January 1995, Hasan Askari & Musa Askari)

*(Thank you to Rahul Singh for asking me about “Love”)