Attaining Divine Wisdom through Self Discipline

Attaining Divine Wisdom through Self Discipline

By Sharon Marcus

From the Book The Sufi Experience

We are only permitted to remain in a state of higher consciousness as long as our words, thoughts, qualities and actions are God’s. The moment we fall away from that exalted condition, even for a shadow, a hint, a particle, we descend automatically to a lower level. This means that if we are conducting our life, our affairs, for the most part with discretion and wisdom, what happens when the slightest breath of anger crosses our consciousness, or impatience, ingratitude? (This lack of gratitude can manifest in so many different ways, anywhere from routine dissatisfaction to a variety of discomforts generally labeled depression.) What happens is that we drop right back to the function of mere intellect, without the addition of discernment or judgment, the human capacity to distinguish right from wrong, good from bad. The intention to avoid this descent has to be developed with strength and focused determination; like body building, the muscles of good qualities take time to produce, the rather spontaneous return to learned bad qualities takes time to be dismantled, to be unlearned. A continuing great effort is required here. Shoving away the bad qualities is something we can do, something we must be totally committed to if we want the good qualities to flourish because the good and the bad do not coexist. Only by driving out the bad, the weeds occupying our soil, can we provide a place for the flowers of God’s qualities to grow.

We have the capacity then, to taste the higher or to fall back into the lower. God’s rahmat, His grace and mercy, must ignite our intention to stay in a place of purity, to be open to the voice of conscience, the voice of wisdom. This has nothing to do with race, language, scripture or religion; God will certainly do His part if we do ours, and He will send us a master, a conflagration of wisdom to ignite the sleeping fires of our own. Observation of the perfected human being is both instruction and impetus. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen kept inviting us, not only to study the congregation of sanctity, but also to join it, to live in the wisdom embedded within wisdom, while giving us an example of life lived in service to God and the human family. If the qualities of God are the necessary soil for the perfected human condition, prayer and service are the fruit they produce. The first condition of service is love, if we do not love each other disinterestedly, that is without expectation of any return or reward, we have missed the point altogether.

About the Author:

Toronto based poet and novelist Sharon Marcus has written nine books of poetry, four novels, a collection of short stories, three works of non-fiction and a scattering of miscellaneous pieces, book reviews and the like. For the most part, the poetry is lyrical, ecstatic, searching for revelation, always with a passionate obligation to guard the gates of language, to protect rhythm and preserve substance; each of the four novels investigates a different form, all very lyrical, all incorporating extensive use of verse one way or another, the fourth novel in alternating sections of verse and prose; the non-fictional works, whether political or personal, describe events too odd for fiction.

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