Tag Archives: Lee Hager

“The Eternal One” by Lee & Steven Hager

“The Eternal One” by Lee & Steven Hager 

reflection on the work of Hasan Askari

We didn’t have the privilege of meeting Hasan Askari while he walked
this earth, but we have come to know him through his son Musa, and his
abiding spirit that continues to live through his words. As Hasan
himself said, “A book written by a sage is like the residence in which
he still lives.”
We felt especially drawn to Hasan because he was

among those rare seekers who looked both within and then is also able
to look without. He recognized, “Before we ask about the other out
there, we should ask about the other in us, our nobler and loftier
neighbor and companion, Soul.”
But instead of becoming caught up

solely within his personal inner explorations as many do, Hasan turned
his attention to the problems that fill our world. His work speaks of
his heartfelt desire to help others look past the outward religious
dissimilarities that separate us and instead discover the great truths
that unite us all at the core.
 
Enlightenment can be described as an inner awakening that allows us to
see past the illusion of separate forms and realize the Oneness of All
That Is. Hasan wrote, “The life which is multiple and diverse at the
human end is One at the Divine end.”
He was not the first person to

awaken to this truth, and he won’t be the last, but it was extremely
important to him that we all see beyond our humanity and make a
connection at the level of the soul. Hasan recognized that while
religion has often been a huge bone of contention, it can also become
a tool for unity when we understand that all souls are united by the
same eternal truths, and those seeds of truth can be found within
religion when we look past the surface.
 
In the introduction of his translation of “Solomon’s Ring: The Life
and Teachings of a Sufi Master,” Hasan said, “I was looking for a
language which could make dialogue possible and mutually enriching
between people of different religious traditions. I was already free
from sectarian and religious dogmatism…Real speech was for me a
linking of soul with soul.”
Hasan found that language when he

discovered the distinction between belief and faith. He wrote, “While
belief is a part of the cumulative tradition, faith is the personal
immediate possession of each individual by which one relates to one’s
life…faith is thus an inner ability to relate and communicate without
fear”

So much of the world’s self-imposed misery could be avoided if
humanity embraced that understanding. As Hasan recognized, we often
mistakenly cling to the trappings of religion, much as we cling to the
outer trappings and traditions of our national origins, because we
mistakenly believe they define us. In doing so, we fail to ask
ourselves how something that is essentially non-material (the Self or
soul) could be defined by something associated with the material. We
become militant in their defense because we fear being swallowed up
and lost, but as Hasan pointed out, “Love is the harmony into which
all contradictions resolve.”
Love is the glue that holds us in

oneness, but we cannot see it when we’re tied to outward appearance.
But if we dug up several different types of trees and looked only at
the roots, we would find that it’s very difficult to tell them apart.
 
However, as Hasan recognized, opening ourselves to others requires
courage. Hasan’s son Musa relates that we must first recognize that
the ‘other’ is not truly ‘other,’ but “someone from whom one can
learn; that their experience has something deeply meaningful to
offer.” We find this a frightening prospect because, as Musa points
out, we “run the risk of being transformed positively by the witness
and testimony of the other.” Our first challenge, if we wish to see
positive changes in our world, is to stop seeing anyone else as
‘other’ and embrace Oneness.
 
We are surely at a critical time in man’s history. Certainly human
beings have always been at odds, but we have never before had the
capability of ending our arguments by obliterating life as we know it.
If there was ever a time to heed the words of visionaries and
peacemakers like Hasan Askari, it is now. Our differences have not
given us anything of value, our oneness can.
 
Where there is no other, there is no fear. To the extent this
awareness is obscured, fear will rise in the same degree
—Hasan Askari 

____________

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/

See earlier article on this blog by Lee & Steven “That’s Good” https://spiritualhuman.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/thats-good-by-lee-steven-hager/

“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.