Sunday, May 13, 2012

Finding our way in the Dream State - the soul's nightly journey

Outside the Soul, Inside a Dream
Outside my window the rain is falling
With her sad sorry sighs,
Outside my window the wind is blowing
And parting my curtains like a bride's unveiling,
Outside my window the leaves are rolling
Down the road like a gambler’s dice,
Inside sits the writer, busy scribbling prose
Disguised as writings of the wise,
And what he does write is…

Outside, a thousand birds are twittering,
A thousand sleeping souls are returning
To their homes, to bed, carrying missives
They plucked like seagulls from the Sea of Love
While flying with angels on the Wings of Love,
With eyes closed, dreaming an ocean of meanings
More vast than the living seas that mortal men go sailing.

The great Muslim luvvie, Imam Ghazali (1058-1111 AD) once wrote in his book, The Ihya' Ulum al-Din (The Revival of Religious Sciences) about a recommended spiritual exercise - to be awake in a dream. To retain consciousness and cognitive faculties during that dream state we all fall in when asleep.

This can be done, but it requires training and discipline, words which are unfortunately, strangers to this sinner. But you can try. The requisite condition however is that we lead a moderate, sensible and loving life. Respecting God, Man and all creatures created. Not wasting anything, working hard, acting responsibly with everyone that we encounter. With sincerity, humility and good Adab (courtly courtesies). Thus it seems that if you are good, while in that mini-death state which we call sleep, our souls take flight to another place - a hallowed place blessed by hosting a congregation of prophets, saints and angels, in the Divine Presence of the Lord and the Prophet(pbuh). The alternative destination reserved for the bad, Imam Ghazali does not go into much details. But it does not seem to be a very nice place to visit, even for the 6 hours or so that we sleep nightly.

Maybe that is why I do not recall much of what I dreamt. But truth be told, I tend to wake up happy or at least contented, regardless where my soul went in its twilight travels. And I know I have done nothing to deserve this feeling of gladness, and I have done much to deserve waking up sorrowful, sullen and scared. The fact that I don't must be evident of the kind and magnanimous nature of God, Lord or our wakefulness and unconsciousness.  

Have a lovely Sunday, sunshine. Can you remember what YOU dreamt last night?

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way

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