Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Dogmatism, Truth, Validity + The Sufi Path - Part 2

In relation to dogmatism, people's understanding
is conceptually, rather than experientially (in
the mystical sense), driven. The former individuals
are convinced their understanding of things is
correct not because the Truth has experientially
visited them and shown them how things are, but
because their ego demands that things be such and
because their belief or value systems satisfy
certain emotional, ideological, behavioral,
habitual or vested interests.

The one who is dominated by dogma seeks to
dominate others in the same way. As such, they
need to have everyone force fit round blocks into
square and triangular holes.

Those who would remove the Sufi Path from
the context of Islam have no historical or
mystical justification for doing so. There
is absolutely no evidence that any of the
great Sufi masters of the past said that one
can pursue this mystical path independently
of Islam.

Some of these great mystical teachers have
said that not everyone who calls himself or
herself a Muslim is a follower of Islam.
Furthermore, they have indicated there is
more to Islam than just the mechanical and
lifeless adherence to a set of exoteric,
theological rules.

Unfortunately, there have been some individuals
who have taken what some of these teachers have said
-- sometimes with pointed humor and irony -- and
used such statements in a way that violates the
original spirit with which teachings were uttered.
People have done this kind of injustice because
they have their own axes to grind and agendas to

Quite frankly, I have not come across any of
these so-called modern versions of the Sufi path
which can demonstrate the truth of what they are
claiming or maintaining. They assert that what they
claim is so, but Truth is not a function of assertion,
rather whatever is asserted must be capable of being
shown how it accurately reflects, is consistent with,
and gives expression to, the Truth.

People who try to impose their own extra-Islamic value
system of likes and dislikes onto the Sufi Path cannot
prove that what they are saying truly reflects the
complete teachings of any of the great Sufi masters
of the past or even correctly reflects the very origins
of the term "Sufi". In stark contrast, however, anyone
who cares to take the time to research matters can easily
show that what historically has been known as the Sufi
Path is inextricably woven from the fabric of Islam when
considered in all of its (islam's) depth, breadth and

The burden of proof in this matter is not on those
who link the Sufi path to the proper practice of Islam.
Rather, the burden of proof is on anyone who would
attempt to argue that the Sufi Path is entirely
independent of Islam -- although, in so arguing, they
may concede, in passing, something to the effect that
there could have been a time when, for reasons of
historical convenience and circumstance, the Sufi Path
may, temporarily, have set up a liaison, of sorts, with
the Islamic religious tradition ... but nothing of an
a permanent and inherent nature

If these people of 'mysticism by assertion' are not the
ones who are being dogmatic, then, let them come forth
with their proofs to the contrary of what is being said
in the foregoing. Let them demonstrate that their
understanding is not merely a matter of "truth" by

These would-be Sufi teachers are counting on people
to uncritically swallow whatever is being said in this
respect. And, indeed, quite a few individuals have
accommodated themselves to this hope since many of these
latter individuals are all too prepared to accept such
stipulations as the gospel truth which cannot, and
should not, be questioned simply because these sorts
of stipulation fit in with their biases, prejudices,
assumptions and so on concerning the Islamic religious

Someone calling herself or himself a Sufi teacher may
offer certain practices and teachings which carry benefit
for an individual even though these practices and teachings
have, in various ways, been taken out of their original
and proper, spiritual, ecological context. Moreover, someone
who undertakes these practices or follows these teachings
in a sincere fashion may have certain mystical experiences
which, seemingly, confirm the truth of what is being said.

What many people fail to understand about the mystical
quest is that it is not, ultimately, about having such
experiences. The mystical path is about arriving at that
destination which allows one to have intimate and permanent
insight into the nature of one's essential identity as well
as one's unique capacity to serve God as God wishes and
not as a function of what we want or don't want.

Only when one is absent from the false self can one be
truly present to God. And, only when one is truly present
to, with, and for, Divinity, can one's essential identity
and unique spiritual capacities be unveiled.

One could have thousands of mystical or mystical-like
experiences (not everything of an experientially anomalous
nature can be considered mystical) and never be one step
closer to the goal of the Sufi path. When one takes
initiation with a Sufi shaykh, it is the goal, purpose
and destination of the mystical path which must orient
the teachings and practices.

A false mystical teacher may help, if God wishes, an
individual to take a few steps toward accomplishing the
purpose of the mystical quest. But, such a teacher will
never be able to transport an individual to the end of
the mystical line, no matter how much of what is stated
may be true (as far as it goes in its out-of-context
manner) in disclosing the nature of different facets
of the Truth.

Divinity has established certain spiritual paths for
the purpose of helping human beings realize the goal
of the mystical quest. These paths are variations on
one and the same thing, and, consequently, despite
whatever differences may exist from one variation to
the next, each of these paths that have been provided
by Divinity are, God willing, fully capable of
transporting the sincere and committed individual to
the desired destination when this person works in
conjunction with those who have been, or are,
established by Divinity as spiritual guardians of
these pathways.

If one does not enter the mystical path through
the doorways which have been provided by Divinity
-- both with respect to the authenticity of the
teacher as well as the authenticity of the Path
-- then, one will, sooner or later, begin to spin
one's wheels, spiritually speaking. Under these
circumstances, the individual has a tendency to
mistake circular motion on the horizontal plane of
temporality for being spiritual progress in an
essential, vertical realm which transcends

Sweeping dust from one place to another does not
make a room clean. Digging many holes does not
necessarily permit one to find the spiritual water
one is seeking -- irrespective of how welcome one
finds the constantly changing venue to be.

The proof of things is, so to speak, in the pudding.
This is where choice and freedom come into the picture.

People are free to make mistakes or choose correctly.
People are free to misguide others or be themselves
misguided. People are free to believe that they are
getting on a mystical train which they believe will
carry them to a distant destination and not realize
that the chosen vehicle is purely local and does not
have such destinations on its itinerary or within
its capabilities.

Ultimately, the issue is not whether one should,
or should not, label some given set of activities as
being "Sufi". Ultimately, the issue is whether, or not,
what one is engaged in is able, God willing, to help
one realize the purpose of life, the nature of one's
essential identity and one's unique capacity to love,
worship, cherish, know, reflect, and serve Divinity.

Whatever choices an individual makes in this respect has
a lot riding on them. This is so precisely because there
is falsehood and error, delusion and distortion, and so

Not every choice takes one closer to the Truth. Not
every choice leads to the same destination. Not every
choice will help one, God willing, to work toward
realizing essential human possibility.

If one could ascertain the truth of these matters before
hand, there would be no need for a mystical path, a
spiritual teacher, or Divine guidance. But, in reality,
we are not always able to distinguish the true from the

We need help in these matters. Our choice of who we
want to help us makes all the difference in the world
-- both with respect to this present world, as well
as in relation to the next world.

Anab Whitehouse


Anonymous said...

I see two choices: 1-getting closer to truth or 2-truth is truth, so "leaving truth". There are no choices left. Which one to take?

Anonymous said...

continuation: 2/26/2007 3:54
I think that solution is to change this what force me to choose, into final knowledge that "i m part of truth""i m truth"