Nov 1, 1998

Is "He" Another God?

It was not just an experience. It was a turning point in my whole life; a step afar from spiritual “death” towards “life”. What amazes me now is that I have just discovered that past days before I joined the path Tareek were not in vain; my reluctance to conform to what I was not convinced with had been creating, deep inside, a power that was pushing me forcibly towards something that I did not know then. I realized later that everything was actually taking me towards the truthful Direction.

I was brought up in a conventional religious family where commitment to Islamic rituals, forms of worship, permissions and prohibitions were apparently controlling all our life. Any attempt from my side to inquire about the significance of any religious tradition, that seemed to me meaningless, was considered by all members of the family, as a sign of irrelevant “doubt” that was “the influence of Satan” on me. “These are Sacred commandments. How dare we, humans discuss them!” They used to shout aiming at silencing me. Actually they did not. I used to ask myself,” Who is God? What for is He commanding us to do such things? Why isn’t He giving us any space of freedom? How can I love Him as they recommend? Can anyone receive orders “to love”? Can I love “someone” who gives me nothing but threats of retaliation?
Many times I used to conform to their “programming” process; I performed my prayers, fasted and did all the rituals with the assumption that “God” would be pleased with me. The more I knew about His commandments, the more I realized how much I lack any freedom; that is the way ‘He’ wants me to behave, dress, eat, talk…etc. I was so frustrated that I ended up with living on two levels; in appearance I conformed to their traditions to save myself annoying discussions, but deep inside I was getting less and less convinced of everything they were saying or doing.
It was such a day when I decided to break away from all the traditions. “Let me go to Hell”, I said to myself, “I won’t go through more torture than that caused by living as a hypocrite, lacking any freedom, missing all kind of truthful human relation. I am missing even the capability to love anyone of my own family. How can anyone feel love while one is chained and silenced!”
How relieved I was to attain freedom for myself!
How happy to go far from “their” God!
It was my big secret. I did not care to tell anyone about it. I only cared about putting an end to my inner confusion.
In a social gathering I saw “her”; a lady who was talking to some people around. I was not following what she was saying exactly, I only overheard the word “God”. What attracted my attention was her looks that expressed unmistakable feelings of deep love. “She must be talking about another God,” I said to myself, “because ‘God’ whom I was told about before cannot sow love such as that I see in this lady’s eyes.” Curiosity made me come closer to her and follow her speech. Some moments later she was again uttering the word ‘God’ and coincidentally looking at me. At the moment our eyes met a feeling that I could not know its nature then thrilled me. Was it a shock because I did not expect to be moved by the word ‘God’; a word that used to leave me before with all feelings of domination and horror!
I could not resist going to the lady’s circle. I was not after any kind of religious information, I was fed up with that. I only went because I felt that the heart of my heart was touched by an irresistible energy of love. That was my first lesson in the Tareek; a lesson that was not “dictated” but “tasted”. The lady’s love energy has penetrated into my soul and stimulated a potentiality in me that I did not feel before. It was like a deep well that only needed someone to dig into and get out with water inside. What came out of me was a power of love for all humans, a willingness to give, and enthusiasm for service. That was a new “me” I met for the first time. By then I had the second lesson “know thyself”. Nobody before was keen to help me know myself. On the contrary they wanted to create out of me their own “image”. Paradoxically enough they wanted to breathe life into it. Who is that new “me”? She is a creature who tastes love because she is spiritually attached to a source of love; the lady. Later on I knew that the lady was attached herself to someone who was her source of love; her guide. She also knew herself because he directed his love towards her. I knew for sure then that “love is a tool of guidance”.
The lady’s guidance was never the dictation of sets of “do’s and don’ts”, she only radiated love, and I received it. Her source of love does the same with her; his love overflows, and she receives it. From where does her guide receive love? There must be a source to supply him with. It must be a sublime source. I could conceptualize that the bond of love is like a chain that goes on, upwardly and downwardly, endlessly. If the Most Sublime and Transcendent Source is called God, then I am sure now that I know Him, and love Him. To know about Him as the ALL Loving was my third lesson.
“Love implies freedom”, “do not do any thing with a feeling of oppression or enslavement, only try to conceptualize things with free mind”. Things have been so different now; every commandment, teaching, or form of worship is no longer something to conform to with no space of freedom. It is a “spiritual message” sent to me, I conceptualize, from the All Loving Source to get in communion with Him. The part in me that can "decode" the message is the epitome of my whole being; the divine part; the spirit. To keep that part of me pure enough, vivid and responsive, a short seclusion from the daily activities is required. Forms of worship are there to give the chance to the spirit be prepared for moments of “a holy meeting”. It is through those holy moments that the spirit comes to itself, matures and evolves. Worship for me now is no longer a heavy duty; I hurry to prepare myself to prayers to get closer to the Holy Presence, with the hope that my soul is qualified enough to receive His radiance and be supplied with lustrous power. With that power I go back to work with full capability to serve; this is my fourth lesson: service is one way of worship.
"Freedom is learnt and experienced"; it is training for escaping from dogma and rigidity always. Freedom is something precious to acquire; it is not required once and for all. Man is susceptible to lose freedom because even when he liberates himself from tradition and reaches fresh concepts and ideas of his own, they turn themselves into dogmas. To keep on being really free is an everlasting dynamism in the Direction of freedom, love and understanding. This is my fifth lesson. Can I actually count all the lessons!