Remembers God is One
Prays to only The One
Worships only The One
Knows “there are seven steps: Testimony(“tasdiq”)
Love (“hub”) and Gnosis (“irfan”)”
Knows the difference between inner and outer
Free of collective identity hypnosis
Honours one another as Souls
Fears God Alone
Is in awe of beauty
Does not humiliate nor belittle
Ready to offer comfort
Strives for justice
Longs for peace
Willing to make peace
Is at peace
Holds the lamp for others
Withdraws from the world daily
Emerges in to the world as peacemakers
Longs for silence to be Alone with The Alone
Acts without deliberation in the way of peace
Are conscious Beings
Are Soul Beings…
By Musa Askari
Few things are perhaps as dangerous for one’s mental and spiritual life and nor as devastatingly manipulative as a dysfunctional family.
Behind the facade of togetherness and respectability there can lie an ocean of challenges concerning mental health, power, control, money, status, gaslighting, hypocrisy, betrayal, anger, shame and sheer emptiness to name but a few.
There can be little room for self exploration, self-doubt, reflection, critique and questioning of established family narratives as tools for enhancing family harmony and in turn possibly *spiritual life.
The softer, intimate, delicate and vulnerable avenues to peace and understanding are at worst lost and at best never allowed to flourish in an un-spiritual family (sacred or secular). These ambiguous, seen falsely as non-traditional, approaches are perceived as threats to the orthodoxy of belonging to and promoting one’s superior “family, sect or clan”.
It is a cult-like mindset where introspection is heresy and seeking reconciliation with equality of being is blasphemous.
To this add possible unresolved, unspoken, ignored and suppressed psychological trauma and one can see we are on dangerous ground. Inner unholy ground where any inquisitive soul naively searching for truth, love and reconciliation through faltering spiritual vulnerability, finding none reciprocated, may innerly call upon the psalm, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
Furthermore, add also the desire for societal respectability, the golden ticket of high personal standing and one can conceive more clearly the horror of psychological “gods.”
A life of pious religious observance may become subservient to and disguise for domineering personas, to a biased discriminatory moral world view, and justification for attitudes about society and personal memories of suffering or triumph.
It is a reversal of universal transcending spiritual self-perception which should be subordinate to higher values of spiritual clarity, humility, universality, peace and secular common good.
Encase all of this in a deep desire within such un-spiritual families for controlling others, setting the narrative for others, laced with hardened divisive attitudes of superior victimhood status and it is clear to see the situation is treacherous.
It may go on for decades. One may be born into such families, marry into them and die having never escaped it because the protagonists can deploy self-righteous victimisation of self and others as a controlling mechanism with self-victimhood as a device to invoke sympathy from others, even their victims. Any resistance or requests for clarity can easily be manipulated to portray the victim as a villain or vice versa.
Personalities are deliberately and unconsciously moulded to manage, cope and ignore deep contradictions resulting from abusive behaviour under the worn out guise of “why don’t we all just get along?” Why not indeed? In practice this insincere question from the mouth of oppressors compensates as a token gesture for never truly having the desire to make positive changes, even minor changes that may enlarge the spectrum of empathy. Why not get along? Because not getting along is an addiction. It is power. Withholding reconciliation and all the peace it could bring is powerful and once tasted the allure is hypnotic. The mighty river of goodwill has been temporarily halted behind a dam built with stones of hatred and abuse.
As such, overtime, it becomes second nature, unconscious instinct, to deploy in public the conciliatory language of reasonableness and agreement while in private it is the language of reprimand and discord to silence others. Even the victims, for the sake of peace and acceptance, may play along with this double-life hypnosis hoping the olive branch of co-operation will be picked up.
What to speak of mental health, well-being and mindfulness for both the interchangeable roles of oppressors and victims? There is no mind, certainly none in the sense of higher spiritual clarity, rather mindlessness. There is no desire for a shared peaceful narrative and no wish for reconciliation in private life where it really matters. There in private the demons run riot. The true unmasked face of a manipulator finds expression with no onlookers. For even the “beast” must see the sunlight sometimes.
It is a show. The greatest show on earth, the un-spiritual family circus. The mental and emotional acrobatics are something to behold. It is as if the silence of not acknowledging oppression becomes comforting. In a twisted and deeply disturbing turn the quest for peace finds comfort in the silence of unacknowledged oppression and abuse. The oppressors of course know this and continue unopposed.
Therefore, life operates superficially at the level of practical, transactional, economic and formal, an arms length family who once embraced but now do not even speak or acknowledge one another for prolonged periods. Yet, they say they believe in God. The Merciful and Compassionate. However, show none to those whom they oppress.
Conversations with meaningful warmth become fewer and fewer. Where there happens to be conversation it is at times like two people standing on opposite sides of a railway crossing, waiting for the barrier to lift while a train hurtles past between them. Even lip reading is impossible let alone hearing the other. There is only the faint sound of one’s voice. It is in such interactions people say, “well I told you, why didn’t you listen?” How can anyone hear anything while a train of emotions, anger and pain passes between two people?
What is the seat of this division? From where does the power and conviction to leave things unresolved and unreconciled derive its efficacy in the mind of the oppressor?
To attempt an answer we add one more ingredient, finality.
The idea of “finality” is a source of power that sustains resistance to spiritual and humanist values of reconciliation, peace and harmony.
Finality in two expressions, lesser and higher.
The lesser finality may arise from a past wrong suffered by the oppressor and its interpretation forever remains a closed book and final in the mind of the oppressor. There can be no shadow of doubt they are incorrect in their opinions about the deep feeling of offence they carry within themselves. The aforementioned wrong may have happened years ago, but the intensity is as if it happened yesterday.
Therefore, situations are manipulated to create conditions where everyday people are portrayed negatively in the eyes of others. The purpose being to shame their victims, to weaken them, to humiliate them, to demean them in their own eyes. It is punishment. It is horrific and the perpetrator knows it and perversely takes comfort in it.
Any attempt to commence a reinterpretation of the wrong suffered or to forgive and reconcile is fiercely defended against. It cannot be permitted. Something that was lurking in the psyche of the oppressor has broken through finding its release over the threshold of the door of the wrong suffered. It will not retreat willingly. While previously, from behind the curtain, it controlled one personality, it’s host, it now controls several personalities. It’s children, it’s marriage life partner, in-laws, relatives and siblings.
To the wider world of work and neighbours they will be the most understanding, vulnerable, caring and innocent person. To the inner circle of personalities under its influence it will shower love and affection to one through excessive displays and simultaneously exclude another. It is capable of all the emotions and incapable of being happy with the simple things of life. Its pleasure is the control of others. Yet, this is only a caricature of the lower finality.
The higher finality is far more deeply lodged and rests on a strange sense of taking refuge in the argument of the “Final Judge”. Namely, God. For an un-spiritual family God is indeed everywhere but the idea is inverted where omnipresence of the Supreme is for their self justification.
This is the manipulative oppressor-victimhood persona’s ultimate self justification for not engaging in peaceful reconciliation of any kind in this mortal life. Even though they believe in a life after this life that is without body they act as if they have no soul. They have lost the idea that they are a soul and thus become soulless like.
Yet they remain confident in the self justification that God is on their side giving license to all kinds of destructive behaviours. It is an illness. A spiritual illness.
It is a way of thinking and being that is sheer escapism neglecting as it does so easily, without a hint of irony, that the “Final Judge”, in whom they seem to take refuge psychologically, is also Compassionate, Merciful, Loving and yet these attributes are passed over and only judgement is held tightly. This is perhaps because the whole edifice of an un-spiritual family rests on judgement and condemnation. They say “Final Judge” they mean “condemnation” for others. They fail to remember that the judgement may well be kind and merciful and loving.
The pull of self justification from this higher finality is so great it will usurp the very spiritual values one claims to admire. Religious texts and extracts are sought out to justify, along with seeking out religious scholars, their mode of being as being religiously valid, even otherworldly valid. It is a spiritual quest in the absence of light. It is the polar opposite of enlightened spiritual quest. It is maximum difference.
As the late Professor Syed Hasan Askari spoke in 1995, “according to Plotinus opposition is maximum difference. So it is in the creative power of the soul to create in the human mind maximum differences of opinion and belief. We are not dwarfed by opposition and conflict.”
By Musa Askari
* (A profound spiritual life can independently thrive despite the absence of harmony)
See also There Are Only Four Communities
“What have you not asked for?
“I did not ask to be born,” he said. “I did not ask for my eyes. I did not ask for my face. I did not ask for my ears. I did not ask for my hands. I did not ask for my feet. I did not ask for anything that one may call a Body. I did not ask for I did not even know what even a body was. I did not ask for my Parents. I did not ask for my Family. I asked for none of these things for I had no idea of what they were. I did not ask for companionship. I did not ask for friendship. I did not ask for food to eat, for shelter nor for warmth. I asked for none of these things for I knew not what they were. I was in no lack or want of any such thing.”
“Who are you to not ask or need for such things?”
“All I know, all I remember, all I recollect, and know to be true, the one certain thing, that I am a soul. Yet I did not even ask to be a soul.”
“I did not even ask for my name. All these, given not by myself to myself. Given unknown and unbidden by the Giver of All. For what purpose, for what reason unknown to me and I shudder to ask. That I cannot ask.”
“If all such have been given and given in abundance with no memory of my calling for them, who is the Giver that gives as such? Pray tell so that I may give thanks and thanks in perpetuity. All I ask is to whom I offer this thanks. For thanks and much more is due. That is the only thing I can ask. To know where the offering of gratitude is to be placed.”
“But first I must pay attention to this Body ahead of that offering. Where is the place for wadhu (ablution)?”
22nd August 2021
Thank you to @Laura_VC_Lee of Women’s Banner Group & @SocialistTank & to @NEAgainstR for inviting me to say a few words at Today’s Newcastle Demonstration for Afghanistan
“If you believe in a peaceful world you believe in giving refuge.”
“You behave as if there is nothing in this world to learn from. That all your materialistic theories from economy to climate to the universe and all your religious theologies from here to hereafter and beyond are enough.”
“I have conquered many lands, east and west,” he said. “I have usurped many Peoples and enslaved their bodies and later enslaved their minds for generations. What has the conquered to teach the conquerer? I have sold them co-operation laced with only a drop of unity as the tool by which to better themselves knowing full well it is a fallacy. While gifting them the illusion of co-operation I have left intact their collective identity self interest all times. After all the conquerer needs an ally from among the conquered.” he retorted.
There was a long pause.
“Why do you cry?” asked the so-called conquerer.
“For you.” He replied.
“For me?” laughed the conquerer.
He looked at the conquerer deeply. Through him and said,
“No. I am not addressing you here.
I am addressing and crying for your nobler and loftier Self everywhere. Whom you do not even know. Your very Soul. Whose enlightenment and liberation in which you have a hand. Though not totally but nevertheless significant. As like an oar has a “hand” in the movement of a boat. Yet you go in circles with only the oar of your self-interest. Even a Conquerer cannot escape karma, kismet. It too is a “subject.” Despite all your conquering of the world of body you have not even begun to conquer your greatest height. Your self. Your soul.”
“How do you know? asked the conquerer.
“Because all your energy and time is expended away from you. Everything you do is in the outer. Even in your sleep you scheme. When you awake it is illusory. You are still asleep. Sleep walking through life.”
There was a long pause.
“Why do you cry?” he asked the conquerer.
That’s one of the ways to open the inner door. Solitary Silence. You don’t co-operate with silence. You don’t negotiate with it.
Musa Askari Dialogue podcast with Chris Ramsbottom who runs The Amethyst Centre in Coventry, which is a complementary therapy and training centre. Part of the work of the centre concerns the spiritual side of life, and Chris runs a spiritual development group at the Centre The “Walking the Path” podcast grew out of the spiritual development side, in wondering how to maintain that work during a time of lockdown. (Listen to the podcast)
Chris writes, “Musa tells us of the influence of his father, a Sufi Muslim but also an interfaith leader, and also about the way his spirituality expresses itself in his own life and beliefs. His website, Spiritual Humanism, is the place that Musa has opened for discussion on the intersection between spirituality and humanism”
Thank you to Chris for inviting Musa to Dialogue.
Podcast available via web https://anchor.fm/walkingthepathwithchris
Or via Spotify https://open.spotify.com/episode/0alV4DwM41KN2Yoz0zxz56
Andrew Feinstein is a former South African MP who served in the Government of the late President Nelson Mandela. He is an Author and Peace Campaigner. We dialogue on matters relating to the spiritual dimension of anti-racism. The spirituality and humanity of President Mandela. The inhumanity of war. The inner journey as a Humanist and the quest for Peace and Justice.
Oh dearest BEAUTY how beautiful you are.
From where do you derive that mantel of beauty? How much more Beautiful that Beauty must surely be. What love is it that Loves you so? Formless, placeless. Transcendent.
If you want to know how a variation of collective hypnosis works we need look no further than asking when did the term “KEY ESSENTIAL WORKER” become so affectionate in the Public Consciousness?
There have always been Workers. There were always low paid workers. Did we not see them before? Was a Nurse, Care Worker, Refuse Collector, Postal Worker, Bus Driver, Supermarket Worker, Teaching Assistant and so many more; were they not key or essential only a matter of weeks ago? Or months ago? Or centuries ago?
These workers by the industry of their labour, sweat, tears and injury mighty empires rose up. Where are they now who once thought what they believe to be true and everlasting over the centuries?
We too were sold a dream to become “self” made, a spiritual term diverted. Yet no one asked what is the Self? Who are we? What are we? A collection of identities prone to dangerous levels of exclusivism one sidedness or oppression? Or something more, much more beautiful.
Why such a massive outpouring of love now and rightly respect and gratitude but not so universal before for key essential workers? Why? We can hide from our collective hypocrisy, but sooner or later it will find us. It will trace us down and I hope it will be kind to us and come masked as our “Conscience”.
One’s self hypocrisy is a terrible force unmasked. Unbearable. Even our own hypocrisy will be kind to us I pray. I hope it remembers its root is not to humiliate us in our minds. To belittle us in front of the audience of our own self consciousness. No. This Conscience I hope comes to Awaken us and surely Awakening is the antidote to hypnosis.
Let us awaken to many things in the new normal to come. One of them being gratitude to Key Essential Workers not just as a kind word but a just settlement, treatment and conditions.
There have always been essential workers. I simply refer to them as the WORKING CLASS who take the pulse of collective life. Are they not the closest to every day life? Yours and my neighbour.
A knock at the door. Who is it? Conscience. Who’s Conscience? Your Self comes the reply saying come outside:
“IT IS THURSDAY. AWAKENING DAY.”