'A Sunday Morning Walk... Deerfield, MA'
The Moon is humble
knowing it has no Light to give
glad to be a mirror
of the Sun
A follower asked the Sage, "When will I be ready to teach others?" "When," replied the Sage, "you have no desire to teach anyone, and you realize you have nothing to teach anyone, anyway."
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Samuel L. Lewis, Sufi, in 1924 -
The failure of the Message of God in Europe, and to some extent in America, has been due to too much "Message" and no God, and in the end to personality emphasis.
*Neil Douglas-Klotz. Gardens of Vision and Initiation.
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A Sufi mystic, Farid, dreams he enters Paradise. He sees lights and flowers everywhere. Everyone is celebrating. Farid hears beautiful music. He asks, "What is this all about?" Someone nearby replies, "This is God's birthday. You have come at just the right time."
Farid stands under a tree to observe while a grand procession moves along the road. A man is riding a horse. He says, "Who is that man?" "That is Mohammed." A great crowd follows Mohammed. "Who are these people?" "They are Muslims," comes the reply.
Next comes Jesus. A great crowd is following him, too. Farid learns these call themselves Christians.
Krishna rides along after Jesus. Again, a large crowd is walking after; they call themselves Hindus.
After Krishna, like the others, Buddha arrives on a horse. A large fellowship of Buddhists is following him.
Finally, an old man comes by riding an old donkey. No one is behind him; he is alone. Farid starts laughing at this odd sight. He asks, "Why is that old man riding on his donkey?" He calls out to the aged man, "Who are you? I have seen Mohammed, Christ, Krishna, and Buddha. Who are you? And why is no one following you?" The man says sadly, "I am God. This is my birthday. But some people have become Mohammedans, some Christians, some Hindus, some Buddhists, or other groups following a wide array of men and women. But nobody is left to follow me."
Farid woke up. He told his disciples the next day, "I am no more a Muslim. I am no more of any organized religion. I am simply myself. And I only want to belong to God."
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The heart calls us Home. Many persons or groups may assist us along the Way. We should, however, never give undue allegiance to anyone or anything. We should avoid any person or group seeking our absolute devotion and unquestioning following. We need to be alert when any group claims it is the only way to God.
The self belongs to the Divine. And the soul, or heart, is the go-between between the self and God, not any religion or spirituality, not any person claiming some divine right to be the way of Life for us.
Genuine spiritual leaders are conduits of Grace; they point us to the Supreme. Their priorities are not money or popularity. They do not aspire to be inundated with the adoration that should only be given to the One. They will point persons, by word and presence, to the Sacred, not themselves.
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Persons will become vulnerable to spiritual charlatans where spirituality becomes compromised through the spiritual marketplace and its promise of money and popularity. This dilutes the work of Spirit, and, so, depreciates wise guides who do not seek showers of praise, fame, and wealth. We, then, turn to see members of personality cults everywhere. Pride reigns, humility goes out the door. However, the truth remains not for sale to the highest bidder or the slyest pretender's ownership.
Jesus spoke of such religious charlatans in the Gospel, denouncing them for their pious pretense and gluttonous greed -
Jesus also taught: "Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished."
*Gospel of Mark 12.38-40 (NLT)
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True spiritual leaders surrender themselves to be a moon reflecting the Sun's light. They polish the heart daily through worship so to reflect well the Light. Above all, these men and women are humble beings.
Last, Farid's dream reminds us of what the Light reveals to us - we are not to seek to belong to anything or anyone. Why? We belong only to the Supreme, the Heart-of-hearts. We can be in communion-of-heart with others but never belong to them. We do not even belong to ourselves. God is our Home; Love is our Sun.
Peace to All!
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*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2020
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book is a collection of poems based on mystical traditions, especially Christian and Sufi, with extensive notes on the teachings and imagery in the poetry.