Friday, May 19, 2006

Sufism and the False Self

In order to progress on the Sufi path towards unity with the Spirit, it is imperative that the seeker carefully examine all blocks and obstacles. Let us begin with that which is the most pernicious – what we will call the false self in contrast to the Higher Self. In order to do so we must retrace our personal history.

Prior to our incarnation on earth we existed in a dimension we will call “the Throne.” It is there that we existed in the Effulgence of the Divine Light, were ourselves rays of light, communicated with heavenly beings, turned toward Allah (the Spirit, Being, Source of Light) in a state of existential surrender.

Prior to our coming to the world of density each of us made a covenant with Allah to serve as emissaries of light.

At our birth we continued to be in the state of existential surrender. However, slowly something began to take shape, to form, to construct an identity, creating a personality separate from the Source, which we will call the “false self.”

The false self is the ultimate false god. The false self sees the world as a drama, with itself in the center of that drama. Here, at center stage, there is only one light – the false light that it has created. Here there is no room for Being (Allah).

In order to fool itself that it is alive, it has an insatiable appetite for adulation and attention. It plays out constant dramas (e.g. the game of judge and victim). Not having an actual reality, it desperately needs to feel alive. It creates constant turmoil (both on an individual level and at the macro level), resulting in everything from fights and feuds to wars. It is jealous of everyone else’s success. It wishes all others ill. It will even wish itself ill, if that is what it takes to be at the center of the stage. And it will even appropriate seeming goodness (e.g. religion, spirituality) to promote itself. For the false self, there is little difference in importance between the murderer and the saint. All that is important is that its story is at the center. Whether it is being the object of praise or the object of derision, its only concern is to support its own false reality.

A deeper understanding of Muhammad’s (pbuh) jihad will reveal that it was actually against the “false self.” The false gods of Mecca were external symbols for the internal jihad.

How do we overcome the false self?

The Rose Crescent suggests several strategies.

First, as Sufis we must create a fictitious counterpart to the equally fictitious false self. We will call it the “observer.” The observer’s job is to monitor the false self and report back to something higher in us. The observer must catch the false self as it plays out its dramas (e.g. victim, hero, judge, jury member, etc.).

The information gathered from the observer can be used by that which is right in us (our trapped Ruh) to slowly untangle ourselves from the false self, turning ever more towards the Divine Light.

Second, we need to take out time to do nothing – to not act. Simply allow yourself to be bored. The false self, needing to feel alive, seeks constant diversion.

Third, change the roles you play in life. We must come to a deep understanding of the fact that our behaviors are simply acts. They are not you. For example, if your tendency is to be extraverted, to give constant suggestions to everyone then withdraw and remain silent. And if you are shy, then become the “life of the party.”

To learn more about the strategies of darkness, visit our site on the enemies.


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