Wednesday, September 07, 2005

An Essay from Streams to the Ocean - Hope

When Sufi masters speak about hope, they are not referring to a condition of merely longing for something to be the case. Hope which is not rooted in a foundation of struggle, work and sacrifice is nothing but an idle fantasy.

From the perspective of Sufi masters, hope gives expression to a certain kind of working relationship with God. On the one hand, as indicated above, hope cannot exist in a context devoid of the individual's spiritual efforts. We must seek out, and strive for, God in a sincere fashion. Our struggle in this respect must be persistent. We should not be stingy in either the personal or material resources we expend on this undertaking.

On the other hand, we must have a very clear understanding that our efforts, in and of themselves, are not enough. If our spiritual hope lies in our abilities and possessions we are sadly deluding ourselves.

Practitioners of the Sufi path maintain that what comes to us from God is far more important than what goes to God from us. Effort, struggle and sacrifice are merely sincere signs of our working relationship of hope with God.

Besides our efforts, the essence of hope is a trust or confidence in God. Sufi masters indicate we must have confidence God did not create us arbitrarily or as a whim or as part of some game. We must have confidence God created each of us for a spiritual purpose.

To be confident our existence has spiritual meaning and value, is to invest hope in our relationship with God. Among other things, this means there are reasons for our struggling toward God.

Sufi masters maintain God wishes to be known by us. They stipulate that although God will always know us, God especially would like to know us when we are in the condition of knowing Divinity.

The shaykhs of the Sufi path indicate God wishes to be loved by us. They point out that while God always will love us, God especially would like to love us when we are in the condition of loving Divinity.

Practitioners of the mystical path note that God wishes to be served by us. They specify that even though God always will provide for us, God especially would like to provide for us when we are in the condition of serving Divinity.

Sufi masters contend each of us has a unique capacity for knowing, loving and serving God. By realizing the purpose of our life, we realize the unique potential which God has intended for us.

In a sense, God is investing hope in us, just as we are investing hope in God. More specifically, God has provided each of us with a unique spiritual potential. On the basis of this potential, God hopes we will struggle to realize its value.

God is trusting us and is placing confidence in us to do the right thing with respect to our spiritual potential. The right thing is to trust in God to help us realize the secrets and value of our spiritual potential in the way in which God intended should be the case.

Sufi masters indicate we must have confidence God is busy with the work of providing us with everything necessary to help us free ourselves from our ego and, thereby, help us realize our essential identities. We must have confidence God already is doing what needs to be done in this respect, even before we have done our part.

We must have confidence God wants us to succeed in the purpose of life. We are the ones who fail God in this process. God never fails us.

The ups and downs of life, the contractions and expansions, the pains and pleasures, the satisfactions and frustrations, the guidance and ignorance, the light and darkness, the veiling and the unveilings, the giving and the taking away, as well as the success and failures of life, are all loci of manifestation of God's Names and Attributes.

They are all part of the spiritual curriculum of Divinity with which we must struggle in order, hopefully, to reflect on, contemplate, learn, remember and implement the spiritual lessons of life.

In providing us with the aforementioned curriculum, God's hope for us is that we come to understand: (a) we have never been away from Divinity, despite appearances to the contrary; and, (b) Divinity has never been away from us.

God's hope for us is that we come to realize: (a) we constantly have been meeting with God all of our lives through the forms of the different Names and Attributes by which God relates to us in our day-to-day lives; and, (b) all of these meetings have been arranged for our spiritual benefit. God's hope for us is that we will return to Divinity well pleased by, and well-pleasing to, God.

The books of revelation sent to us by God, as well as the prophets, saints and spiritual guides provided for us by God, are all signs of, so to speak, bilateral hope. On the one hand, God hopes we will take advantage of the guidance being offered through these different modalities of Divine assistance in order to realize our essential purpose for being. On the other hand, we can hope guidance is being extended to us as an expression of the Divine wish for us to permit our lives to be transformed in a manner which actively and accurately would reflect God's hope for us.

Our hope is nourished by God's Compassion, Beneficence, Mercy, Forbearance, Forgiveness, Love, Kindness, Strength, and Protection. Our hope is sustained by the many opportunities God gives us to move toward Divinity.

Our hope is activated by the manner in which God encourages us to have pure, sincere intentions toward Divinity. Our hope is decorated when God grants us good actions with which to clothe our naked intentions.

Our hope is given tensile strength by the way God calls us to task in this life while we still have time to work on correcting our weaknesses. Our hope is raised up in spiritual flight when God grants us spiritual states and stations of nearness in response to our hope.


Anonymous said...

Baloney! Where did you get all these garbage? It's exactly these sort of ideas that make people vulnerable to being manipulated, intimidated, and exploited.
This talk of kindness, mercy, love, compassion from a God we don't even know who and where he comes from, is false, vain, and arrogant.
You make people ripe for deception and exploitation. This is shameful and terrible!

Sophia said...


You sound just like the anonymous stranger that is a pessimist on my blog.

I sense that perhaps you feel as though you've been manipulated by someone in your lifetime. While there are false teachers out there you should also be aware that there are many true teachers as well who are sincere in their efforts to awaken us to the Truth.