Sunday, September 18, 2005


There are different kinds and degrees of yaqueen or certainty. Yaqueen is very much tied to the sort of experiences one has had.

Consider some of the ways in which an individual might come to learn about, say, one, or more, of the oceans of the world. There are various degrees of certainty associated with different kinds of knowledge or understanding.

For example, let us imagine there is a person who has overheard some puzzling conversations by travelers passing through the region about something called an "ocean". These wayfarers even may have described various aspects of this 'ocean'.

If the individual does not know the travelers and does not know about oceans, she or he has no way of knowing if they are telling the truth or telling stories. All the person knows is that, prior to the overheard conversation, he or she had never encountered such an idea.

Next, let us suppose, the individual goes to a regional library and begins to look up information on oceans. The person: reads a few books on oceanography; sees a variety of photographs of different oceans; and, maybe, watches an educational film or two about oceans.

Certainly, the person now has more information at his or her disposable than before. However, this information still is secondhand and removed from the actual ocean.

The individual begins to think a lot about oceans and desires to see one. Consequently, the individual makes arrangements to go on a journey to the ocean described in the library material as being closest to where the person lives.

The individual goes on a trip to the ocean and reaches the desired destination. Soon, the person is walking along the shore and gazing at the ocean.

Let us assume the person eventually comes to a marina where there are boats for rent. The individual is the adventurous sort and decides to take a small boat out on the bay.

While rowing or sailing about, the person sees some people in the water engaged in various kinds of activity. Later, after describing the activity to someone on shore, the individual finds out these people were swimming.

Swimming seems a rather intriguing thing to do. Therefore, after buying the appropriate apparel, the individual proceeds to wade into the water and splash about in the shallows near the shore.

During this "swimming" session, the person comes across some people who are getting ready to go scuba diving. Questions are asked, and answers are given.

When the individual comes out of the water, someone gives the person a flyer about a school for scuba diving which has just opened at the marina. Naturally, the individual signs up.

After receiving the appropriate instruction, the person rents some equipment and begins seeking someone with whom to dive. As luck would have it, such a person is found, and they begin diving at various locations near the marina.

During various conversations with the new found companion, our wayfarer finds out one can go much deeper in the ocean than had been the case on their previous dives. However, different equipment is necessary, depending on how far down one wants to go.

Having come this far, our wayfarer is not interested in being limited to diving only a hundred feet, or so, beneath the surface. This individual wants to go as deeply into the ocean as possible.

The person begins finding out all about deep-sea submergible vehicles. One of the things learned during this period of study is how dangerous such voyages can be and that only a fool would try to undertake such a project alone.

Therefore, the individual sets about trying to find a knowledgeable diver who would be willing to tolerate the ignorance and inexperience of the wayfarer. Not being sure where to look first, the individual goes to the Yellow Pages.

The Yellow Pages contain listings for: deep-sea tele-presence; deep-sea mapping; deep-sea secrets; deep-sea advisory boards; deep-sea consultants; deep-sea vision; deep-sea explorations; deep-sea books; deep-sea imaging; deep-sea mining; deep-sea virtual reality; deep-sea resources; deep-sea junk; deep-sea mysteries; deep-sea salvage; deep-sea treasures, and quite a few other entries. The individual is confused with all the choices.

Eventually, after spending considerable time and effort in checking out various possibilities, and after a few false starts, the individual stumbles across the path of an authentic expert. Fortunately, this expert also has a weakness and compassion for training novices in the area of deep-sea diving.

The expert, nevertheless, sets one condition on the arrangement. At some point, the individual must choose between the life on land or the life at sea.

The individual spends a number of years learning about submergible vehicles, currents, navigation and so on under the guidance of the veteran diver. Finally, the time comes for the individual to dive into the depths of the ocean.

As the two get prepared for the dive, they are beset by people protesting their proposed venture into the deep. Some of the protesters believe the dive is in contravention of various laws. Others among the protestors believe the resources being assigned to the dive could be put to better use elsewhere. Some of the people fear the dive could upset the balance of nature.

Protests notwithstanding, the dive is made. During this dive, the individual sees and witnesses all kinds of incredible, beautiful things which, previously, had not been conceived of by the individual.

The individual reaches a depth which is beyond the scale of the vessel's gauges. Suddenly, there is incredible light all around, where previously there only had been darkness. The light is alive with knowledge, love and many other qualities as well.

The person wonders if this is a symptom of some form of depth psychosis about which the individual once read. The veteran diver says this is not the case. The person is told something similar happens almost to everyone who reaches this depth, although the precise character of the experience varies with the individual.

The wayfarer comes away from this voyage determined to commit the rest of his or her life to being a deep-sea diver. The experiences encountered in the depths of the ocean have had a transforming effect on what the individual feels and thinks about the purpose, meaning, value and significance of life.

Moreover, this new found understanding is not conceptual in nature. It is experiential, direct, and essential.

When the two deep sea divers return to land, there are some media people waiting to interview them. These reporters have come to find out both: about the controversy created by the encounter between the divers and the protesters, as well as about some rumors concerning their extraordinary experiences during their dive.

Most of what transpired during the dive is really beyond description. However, the two divers try their best to give the media people a sense of what the dive was like.

The reporters ask a lot of questions and seem rather skeptical about the story of the two divers. With all due respect to the two individuals, the account of the divers, nonetheless, seems to the reporters to be rather vague, phantasmal and far-fetched.

A number of the media group have advanced degrees of one sort or another. However, none of them has ever done anything more than a little snorkeling.

The reporters all feel, based on their years of media experience, quite certain there are ample reasons for not taking the accounts of the divers seriously. Consequently, if they report about the divers at all, the pieces will be treated, at best, as some sort of entertaining, weird human interest story and not as hard news.

The two divers invite the media people to join them in the next dive as participant-observers. The veteran diver indicates one really cannot understand the experience of deep-sea diving unless one undergoes the experiences oneself.

Details concerning departure time and so on are given. Several of the reporters indicate considerable interest in following up on this invitation.

When the time arrives for the next dive, none of the media people show up. Apparently, the reporters have something else in mind when they speak of investigative reporting.

The veteran diver reminds the individual of the condition set some time ago when the person first came seeking assistance in deep-sea diving. More specifically, the individual has to make a choice between the ways of life on land and the ways of life in the ocean depths.

The veteran diver points out that, now, the wayfarer knows what people, such as the reporters, and those influenced by the reporters, think about deep-sea diving. The individual is asked: "Which is more important: the theories, opinions and conjectures of others concerning experiences which they have not had, or one's own experiences which have been confirmed by an expert in such matters?"

The wayfarer says the latter is more important. Therefore, the choice of the individual is to opt for the way of life of the ocean depths.

The two divers proceed to head out to sea. They again dive to the depths and find it as exhilarating and joyous as the last time.

During this voyage, there are many difficulties and problems which arise. As a result of these challenges and tests, the individual comes to learn many important things concerning life, character and identity.

Over the years, a deep bond of love and friendship arises between the two divers. The veteran diver shares a wealth of understanding, knowledge, wisdom and experience with our wayfarer.

Several decades later, there are reports the two have been lost at sea. Some say they are dead. Some say they found a hidden treasure in the deepest part of the ocean. Some say they are in the Bermuda Triangle or aboard the Flying Dutchman. God, alone, knows the truth of any of these accounts.

The disappearance is covered by the same group of media people who interviewed the divers many years earlier. These reporters really don't know anything more now concerning the ocean than they did before. Furthermore, they know very little about the lives led, or the experiences encountered, by the two divers since they last were all together.

Nonetheless, at least, these reporters had some personal contact with the divers. Therefore, they go about reporting their stories. This is, after all, what they do for a living.

Every year, around the time of the reported disappearance, there are public gatherings. These functions commemorate the spirit of commitment and exploration exemplified in the lives of the two divers.

On these occasions, learned speakers come and deliver various kinds of addresses. Some of these lectures are based on studies and experiments, completed under simulated conditions in the laboratory, concerning the lives of deep-sea divers.

Some of the speakers talk about their computer models of deep-sea diving. Still others have worked out an impressive array of mathematical equations and formulae which purport to capture the spirit and essence of deep-sea diving.

There are some people who commemorate these occasions in a slightly different way. On the basis of a variety of evidence, including eye-witness reports, they feel certain the divers still are alive. Consequently, they organize search parties to go looking for the divers who have disappeared.

The travelers, the library, the marina, the boat, the swimmers, the person passing out handbills, the scuba-diving school, the scuba divers, the organizations and businesses in the Yellow Pages, the deep-sea divers, the protestors, the media people, the learned scholars, and the search parties, all have a relationship with the ocean. All of these relationships are rooted in experiences of one kind or another.

Some of these experiences are quite removed from the realities of the ocean. Other experiences come from the ocean depths. Still other experiences fall somewhere in between the foregoing two possibilities.

All of the parties feel varying degrees of certainty concerning the truth of their experiences. Some of those who feel certain actually may be correct. Still others not only may be correct, but they actually also may know this to be so.


Shaik Abdul Khafid said...

I can't help but admire how you so fluidly express your thoughts in writing. God bless you.

Anonymous said...

I have only recently found your wonderful writings on the internet, I enjoy reading it. Keep up the good work may Allah reward you.

I have aborted my spiritual journey many times because of the reasons that you give, 'lack of courage', 'ego', fear etc.. I hope I can get myself out of the hole I find myself soon.

Shaik Abdul Khafid said...

Well said Anonymous! I believe that our dear brother here is a guide in his own right! May Allah bless him each time one's fire is rekindled to tread this difficult path.

Bilquees said...

Happy birthday to my favorite deep sea diver!

Sophia said...


What a beautiful analogy! You have inspired me with your eloquent writing.

The veteran diver (the spiritual teacher), the traveler (the student) and their journey into the ocean are what some get the pleasure of experiencing. One can read about such journeys all they please, but they don't get to actually *know* about it until they actually experience it. Like the reporters, people can read about spirituality all they want, but they won't ever experience spirituality into they take a dive themselves, and hopefully with someone who trulty knows the way, who can be their guiding light.

Thank you for writing this.

And, I see it is your birthday, so happy birthday to you, too!


kevin said...

Apparently it is certain that it is your birthday, congrats.

Gretchen Coleman said...

Hi, I found you through Stacey's blog. I ditto her comments. Until you have the personal experience you don't *know*, you intellectualize. The Sensei I study with is constantly telling us that truth.

Christianity is built on accepting without knowing, and Thomas was and is dissed as doubting because he asked for proof.

I think it is wonderful that people can believe and accept without the proof. But they could be having the experience themselves, which is so much more powerful. It is more powerful because you can pass it on, whereby if you believe without having the experience, you can't pass it on.

HolyInheritance said...

Yes! Thank You!

Blessings, Bethie

Synchronicity Evangelist said...

beautifully explained!!!

Its amazing that synchronicity is part of our daily lives and yet we ignore it.