The Home of Your Own Being

Dwell in peace in the home of your own being and the messenger of death will not be able to touch you.

Sikh Guru Nanak

Guru Nanak was the founder of the Sikh religion. But I’m not going to write about Sikh religion. I just like the notion of “the home of your own being”.

Last night I watched a video talk by a Sufi teacher. This gave me some interesting thoughts. Well interesting to me so I’m working them out here. He was talking about love and devotion to Allah. But I’m not going to write about Islam or the Sufi form of Islam here either. I just like the sense of devotion one finds in the works of many Sufi poets such as Rumi and Hafiz.

These two things are related to something else that has been on my mind. That is infatuation, particularly spiritual infatuation.

Infatuation has to do with thinking we have found what we have been seeking.  That maybe we have found a home. That the answer has arrived. We experience it. It satisfies our expectations. We have built up many expectations during the chase. It is exciting. It is beautiful. It is ecstatic joy. We want to dwell in that moment forever.

We compare it to past experiences and know for sure this is the real thing. This is what will fulfill everything.  This is a place to rest. This is a place to quench some thirst.

That is the first impression.

But the moment of first impressions passes.

We experience that situation in a different light.  We begin to feel an uneasiness. We are not as satisfied as we thought. This is not quite what we had in mind.

We begin to flirt with a new situation. We begin shopping around again. Maybe that feeling can be rekindled. There is renewed excitement in that possibility. The next one may well be that trophy we’ve sought for so long. Our reward.

It doesn’t really matter if one is talking about personal relationships or spiritual situations or anything else. Moving from one to another, being in love with falling in love doesn’t comprise any sort of path. It is hectic. It is often panic. There is only hunger. It is addiction. It is scattered and mindless. Thoughtless and often heartless. There is no direction.

Direction is provided by devotion. It is provided by stopping the frantic search for something we’ve dreamed up and focusing on what we actually have to work with ourselves.

Devotion is a deep longing for unity. Devotion is deeper than what we think we want in the moment. Devotion is a long term investment. Devotion uncovers and discovers wisdom.  Devotion requires sacrifice rather than satiating momentary dissatisfactions. Devotion is not exciting, it is sustaining. Devotion requires patience. Devotion requires commitment.

Devotion requires acceptance. Acceptance is within the home of your own being, not some outward experience of validation.  Only by devotion can peace be found.

By day I praised you
and never knew it.
By night I stayed with you
and never knew it.
I always thought that
I was me–but no,
I was you
and never knew it.

~Rumi

trans. by Shahram Shiva

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2 comments on “The Home of Your Own Being

  1. That is an insightful point of view, may I say.

    It seems to me that your discussion about fickle infatuation lends a deeper sense meaning to the notion of seeking “instant gratification” – like the two were both facets of a same manner of behavior, as I’m seeing it right now. Speaking honestly by some personal experience: In the seeking of “instant gratification”, once the source of the infatuation ceases to be gratifying, the infatuation is lost and there begins, again, a desire – in the form of a perceived need – to seek out a new object of infatuation.

    It’s my impression that a desire for “Instant gratification” is not ever any more satisfied than that, nor any more – as you mentioned, in that word – not any more devoted to any one object of attention, or any other object of attention.

    It seems that there is a lot of significance in the sense of devotion — so I believe — in the sense as you’ve mentioned it.

    If I may continue, as to raise a question of what could make it hard for a person to *be* devoted to a matter, as when one might have developed some sincere depth of character, and could be presumed to be capable of being more devoted.

    I wonder if it may be hard for a person to be devoted, at times, to a matter. There’s a phenomenon that I’ve heard referred to as “jade” – in that sense, sounding less actively mean than “callousness” though referring (I think) to a similar state of woundedness. Regarding what a person has come to feel jaded about, one may find it impossible to stay devoted to as much.

    Please pardon my trying to state this algebraically, I mean that only as a matter for objectivity’s sake, in making my thesis, here, should it be of interest.

    There may be some things “B through B+N” that have contributed to a person’s feeling jaded about a matter A. (I will make no statement as to question how many of the matters B…B+N could be judged/labeled as being “genuine” or otherwise, and on what grounds – that would only complicate this thesis.)

    I think it is crucial, then: It may not always be the case that the things “B through B+N” would be the only features of A that one would be able to discern – when one would be looking at A as A is, rather than at A as A being merely a function of B….B+N (in some sort of an odd inversion of cause and effect, in that case).

    That all might just as well sound like a bunch of gibberish, I suppose – what I’ve attempted to relate, there. I said it as so, because I didn’t want to let any personal matters of my life slip into the discussion, as examples, and I’m not presently aware of any other basis that I could draw any examples of A or B..B+N from.

    Perhaps I should say: Pardon me, if I would not seem necessarily objective, then, for relying on my own personal life as cause for reflection. I suppose that such a practice could be frowned upon, in some circles. I don’t personally have anything else to look at, though, besides in what I see in my own life, and what I read from others, or hear related in vocal discussion. I’ve said this simply because I’ve thought it could bear out such a response, and that there might be some good in the response. Thank you.

  2. Hi Sean.

    I think what you say is correct. The set of B-N would constitute a mental filter or group of mental filters that distorts reality so that we can’t see A properly. Jadedness comes from not being able to engage with A (or even B-N) with any degree of actual recognition. These filters act as a barrier to experience.

    B-N are mental constructs of perhaps actual experiences, although they can be imaginary experiences and wishful thinking as well, which we’ve held onto, and repeatedly access in consciousness, out of habit, fear, pain avoidance, defensiveness or for other reasons and they interfere with our process of understanding reality as it’s happening.

    That inversion, as you’ve called it, means, and I speculate, that A is brought into and reconstructed by consciousness and thereby mixed or interpreted by B-N, which float around and interject themselves at all reality contact due to their painful presence. They cannot be ignored easily. This is the mechanism of delusion. A is not A but only what we think A is. A loses its actuality by it’s interaction with B-N, which, importantly, also have no actuality except in consciousness. They feel real because they are painful.

    “sincere depth of character”

    This is a very sharp observation. Devotion is developed by going deeply into a matter. To do that one needs to go deep within themselves. One has to expose, to themselves, these mental tricks of delusion. Like a detective. That is the importance of one’s personal experience of themselves and reality. That’s all we really have to work with.

    Thanks for sparking this line of thought.

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