There are certain things that have kept me searching for God throughout my life. One is emotional and physical pain along with other problems that I’ve sought alleviation to. Another is an inner knowing that no amount of any outer experience is ever going to satisfy that hunger I have for God.
I was born with a sensitivity to pick up on other people’s emotions and feelings very easily and even it has its positives, such as giving me an emphatic side, it also has its downs. At an early age, I started to take on the emotions from other people, feel what they were feeling and feel responsible for them, not being able to detach from their pain and wanting to take it away. It has been slow and painful learning to let people deal with their own problems, to help when it is suited but not at my own cost.
Another thing I was gifted with was to write poetry. At times, poetry comes to me in flashes as inner knowing of something that the head may know, but the heart doesn’t fully comprehend yet. These experiences leave me in a permanently changed state.
I was once sitting beside a swimming pool whilst my son was in the pool. An aboriginal lady was sitting nearby with a young child. As I glanced over to them, I was struck with a knowing of the illusion of importance; be it personal importance due to status and education or be it importance due to race or culture. Illuminated with this knowing in my heart, I thought: Wow. What if everyone felt what I am feeling now. How different the world would be? From those flashes my poetry emerges as I do my best to express them:
In a flash,
in her own and
the world´s light
the eagle‘s gaze
Moments like that, I have had many of them in my lifetime, feel like moments with God. I cherish them more than anything else, but they are not permanent, even if I can recall them at will. Life has to be lived and perhaps I have not been so good at doing that.
I have been a spiritual seeker for most of my life, and have touched down on a few areas in the spiritual ocean that is out there. I don’t think that any of the experiences were wasted, and some have had a significant impact on me like the Transcendental Meditation that I learned over 30 years ago and the twelve-step programs I’ve attended over the last 25 years. Nevertheless, I was still looking for that which gave me a more lasting feeling of God and in between, I was floating away and sometimes drowning.
There are now three years since I found the Naqshbandi, Mujaddidī, Chishti Sufi path. I desperately wanted God for the sake of being with him, and I believed that God was the answer to my problems. Life has not been a place of peace for me, as I‘ve experienced a lot of inner turmoil, and there are times when I have craved joining a nunnery to be away from it all. Desiring more permanency of light and harmony, yet feeling the opposite in the outer world has naturally set up strife in my life.
Of course, I‘ve come to understand slow and steady, first in my head, then in my heart, that I create those disharmonies myself with my beliefs, thinking and reactions. The Sufi path has helped me balance these opposites. I feel the nearness of God much more than I used to, in the form of love and joy in my heart and I can take it with me out into the world without losing myself in its discord. It is as if the practices have, to an extent, detached me from the pain in the world and I can navigate my way around in more balance. One could also say that I am more content and lately my patience seems to have grown for no particular reason. I am living more in the moment and enjoying life as it comes in a greater amount. I believe that all this has been gifted me through the practices. My outer circumstances are not so different from what they were before I started on the path, but my inner attitude and perception towards them have changed. I have gained more acceptance and peace.
From day one, when I was given the intention for the first latifa (centre of consciousness), I felt at home. Three years later I still feel the same. My desire for God keeps growing but gets partially remedied every day through the practice of meditation, prayer, and dhikr.
I feel blessed to have been led to this path.