Friday, April 25, 2008

on listening

It seems that the hardest thing to find is someone who will listen to you without judging you in the process.
Active listening in this sense means to be able to hear with your heart and try and understand what that person is going through without adding your reactions. The difficulty is in observing what your inner knowledge as well as outer experience can guide you with.
Tricky to walk that line, and put aside your own crap so you can be present for the other person.
Being present and not lost in your own past and future helps.
Also, we need to be there for each other, and to stay out of the way when someone needs us.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Now and Love

You know when you have a spiritual disease when you think you know what is right and wrong. Only God knows what is true and false. We do our best to follow the Prophet’s (pbuh) example. But there is no ultimate good and bad when it comes to human endeavors, because there are too many nafs and cross-purposes at play.
When you seek to defend your thoughts and actions using only books, you are accessing only a portion of what God has given you as guidance. The missing part is the Love factor.
Love is what brings you into the present moment, takes you outside and beyond your self, and gives you access to your spiritual heart, as well as direct knowledge that no book or quotation can come close to, except as a guidance and framework.
Why? Because this moment is unique. That means to be with God here and now you must make the ultimate sacrifice that only Love teaches: to trust Allah. This is called fearlessness. That is the goal of Religion: to bring you to the true knowledge which cannot fit into a book except the one that is being written at this moment.
The Koran, Torah and Gospels are incomplete. They are part of a circuit that you must fulfill through your words and action. What you say and do send ripples out that has consequences far beyond your comprehension.
It can be summed up in the constant interplay of wisdom and compassion; knowledge and love; or gnosis and Haqq al yaqin.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

On Being An Artist

In the story of King Kong a massive door separates the islanders from Kong. Kong lives in a world of natural forces and represents the primitive powers within.

Imagine that universe is your unconscious.

In this world of inchoate and symbolic energies, there are no words, there are no names, only unimaginably powerful primal energies. They are subtle and deadly. Any of these energies may strike suddenly or attack slowly and persistently.

A true artist is the explorer and sometimes hunter of these creatures and worlds of the unconscious. It is more than frightening, because it is The Unknown. And because it is unknown, it is the most terrifying of all universes and worlds: the self and beyond.

No one who enters this world returns the same. Some do not return at all. It takes an unusual courage and distinctive stamina to travel into the unknown and return with an artifact to share. To hunt in the unconscious and bring something back alive requires a strong heart; a flexible and quick mind; and a score of lateral intelligences specifically able to deal efficiently and effectively with scary shit.

And when one returns from such an adventure, the contemporary world of conformity and social mores seems, in comparison: bland, gray, boring, silly, supercilious, false and arrogant. When one has fought ogres, barely escaped the whirlpool of despair, seen the Light-web of Unity and drunk the sweet water from the Fountain of Life, the world of so-called “normalcy” seems more than strange- it feels absurdly shallow.

Thus when you meet a true artist, their way of speaking or thinking seems odd and out of place. Perhaps their thought process is incomprehensible or jumps in non sequiturs. This is because that is the breed of person that is needed and survives in the arcane jungle of the unconscious. One does not return from the unknown if one cannot adapt.

The great door that separates the islanders from the primal world is the gateway between the conscious and unconscious. Without that door the unconscious would spill into the conscious world and we would have to come to grips with giant apes climbing skyscrapers, which is unpleasant.

The artist is the interpreter and presenter of what has been discovered in the world beyond the conscious. The artist does their best to present this discovery as clearly with craft and clarity for you. The artist makes it as safe as possible for you to see beyond the artifact back to its origin, which, you soon discover, is within your own self.

The true artist cannot be placed within psychological profiles, unless the test maker actually travels to the frightening universe of the unconscious and returns to talk about it. A psychologist will then know it is not quantifiable.

The world and population of the unconscious does not support statistics. The artist lives and survives outside of the quantifiable because that is the only way to endure in The Unknown.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


For there to be love in your life, you have to make room for it. And that means allowing yourself to become vulnerable. There is no joy without allowing for the possibility of it. Wherever you put your focus or your energy or your thoughts, that is what you will see. It will also be what you will become.


Where you defend and what you defend is usually where you are the weakest.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Just as DNA is the coding of life, so culture is the encoding of a society: where it has been, where it might go, and where it is right now.
When you remove, delete, or ignore the components of a culture – the visual, performing and literary arts, you take away the unifying heart of that society. Without its heart and memory, that society will quickly devolve to the lowest common denominator, making education subservient to the state or worse.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Nafs Management

We are professional get-in-the-wayers, We know very well how to block Allah's blessings so we can think "I am an individual and I can do it myself." Well, there are some things you do need to do that, but it's like the actor forgetting that she is wearing a mask, and can't remember to take it off.