Flexible Thoughts; Flexible Hearts
When our heart is in the contraction mode we tend to have linear, insular and rigid thoughts. For the heart to expand, one must engage in practises designed to open it up. This can be called lateral thinking. Acquiring a flexible mind creates a flexible body which, most importantly, leads to a flexible heart that embraces everything with compassionate discernment.
So how do we go from a linear thinker to a lateral thinker especially when science and Western psychology tell us that we have defined personalities, which remain the same through out our life?
How do we overcome the ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’ aspects of our conditioning and transcend the ideas of what we perceive as the ‘self,’ making up the dominant ‘me?’ How do we get past our limited beliefs, childhood experiences, and subconscious conditioning patterns that color our thinking as adults?
The answer is through the acquisition and development of spiritual intelligence. There is only so much that the current academic paradigm can offer us. Science and psychology can only explain up to a point. We can no doubt use the knowledge from such sources to benefit and reinforce our understanding. However, such sources can not explain the hidden mysteries that are revealed through the development of spiritual intelligence.
Nevertheless, it is not a debate of what is superior but rather an acceptance of what IS. All that is, ‘IS.’ And what ‘IS’ is Allah. All the gateways we have are simply portals to the Divine, or devices that connect us with God. The more we know ourselves, the more we heal the fragmented parts of ourselves, the better we develop our connection with the Divine.
Connecting with the Divine is not an academic pursuit. We cannot effectively intellectualise or theorise our way to God. True connection to Allah comes from an intuitive and direct, heart-to-heart transmission of light.
So how do we achieve this? All ancient traditions follow similar patterns of connection. This connection can be accomplished in a variety of ways: sacred mantras/dhikr, recitation, physical movements such as yoga/salaah, fasting, transmutation and preservation of sexual energy, grounding, introspection, contemplation, consecration, meditation, mindfulness practise and cultivating gratitude, just to name a few.
Therefore, if one wishes to be ‘flexible’ and ‘lateral’ in their approach, they need not think rigid and assume there is only one way to connect to Allah. This kind of idea resides on the egoic plane, where the personality has not fully matured. Due to being only a particular type of learner, he/she cannot adapt to many different styles and techniques, but is stuck in the one familiar way.
For example if one has an investigative personality type they will have a certain lens through which they typically see the world, with a limited angle or way they can most readily learn. Such a person may love research and have a deep curiosity to get to the root of a problem. Their approach will likely be more aligned with a rational and logical methodology.
Whereas another person may have the personality of an artist. Their perspective will be very different than the investigator. Hence, their approach will also be quite different. An artist may operate from more of an emotional center. They are more likely driven by these emotional impulses when it comes to exercising their creativity.
Ultimately, neither person is wrong in the way they approach life. A lateral mind acknowledges this obvious fact of difference in personality. Both personality types may believe in God. However, the symbols, signs and metaphors they use to describe their experience may vary widely. It is important to recognize that the essence of the journey to perceiving Allah is the same in either case.
When we develop spiritual intelligence we move away from the limitations of this uni-dimensional personality type. We learn to become more flexible and therefore acquire skill sets, characteristics and attributes that perhaps are of a different personality type.
We learn to become more wholesome and holistic. We learn to adapt better, taking on many other personality attributes as our mind becomes like water. We become more fluid and bouyant as we begin to demonstrate flexibility in character.
We learn to become more empathetic and can relate to others better as a result. At this point we truly are seeing ourselves in others. We can understand their struggles because we can understand the logic/non-logic from which their mind operates. This can only be achieved when we have stepped out of, or gone beyond our linear, uni-dimensional selves.
We are then able to reach out and connect to others at their own energy level, and inspire in accordance with their capacity. If they are already full, then there is very little we can offer them beyond snippets and morsels of crumbs. As they begin to shed more of the ego, we are then able to offer more, simply because they are willing and receptive to receiving.
So how does one receive? One must learn to become humble and with deep gratitude accept what others have to offer. The ego loves to intellectualise and debate. However, the true spiritual seeker will aspire to continually develop and purify their heart. Hence, he/she will be in a continuous state of seeking to learn in all environments.
With the practice of humility and an unquenchable thirst to develop spiritually, combined with a flexible and open heart one can truly embark on an earnest journey of purification.
At this point, one embraces all the many approaches, tools and techniques to develop spiritual intelligence without judgement, but with discernment. For example, one may practise eating healthy and exercising to feed and nourish the physical body. After all, our physical body is on loan to us. Therefore, we have a duty to take care of it. In light of this we will want to take care not to abuse it through neglect or over-indulgence. For surely, if we fail to take care of it, it will retaliate and rebel by becoming sick and ill. For many today this has resulted in chronic diseases and dying a painful death. It is not natural to die of diseases. This is a physical manifestation of the spiritual dis-ease that pervades our world today. A healthy harmonious mind should leave this world with a healthy harmonious body. Giving back what was borrowed in the state it was initially offered, in goodness and purity.
If one is to continue expanding the heart and move beyond the physical realm, spiritual practices such as dhikr, fasting and recitation of the Qur’an are steps in the right direction– towards nourishing and feeding the emotional body.
The emotional body, (or “second-body” as it is sometimes called), is the body that we cannot see with the physical eye, but that science now has a number of ways of measuring. It has an ‘aura’ and the colour of the aura is indicative of one’s emotional state. This is where heart coherence and tools to measure the state of the heart come to bear. The electromagnetic field around us that emanates from the heart is connected to this body. It carries our emotional code through the blood and water inside us. The blood and water are receptors and thus are similar to our DNA. They store memory. Therefore all our subconscious beliefs, childhood traumas and most things we are unaware of reside in this emotional body.
The less spiritual we are, the more dense we become as we identify solely with the material (dunya) plane. With more density comes an “incoherent” heart. It is “incoherent” in that one in this state is not aligned or in sync with nature’s rhythm.
Fasting is one way we can change the water molecules inside us that hold the memory of our past. If we begin to cultivate gratitude along with fasting, the body will produce fresh water that makes room for new memories. This is nature’s way of healing and dissolving traumas without the need for psychological interventions. Rather, simply through reliance and trust in Allah’s healing powers and that which has been prescribed in his sacred and holy book, one is healed!
The use of mantra’s/dhikr and recitation of revelation can connect us with the power of higher sound vibrations. Ancient languages are sacred, as they still hold sounds that are designed to connect directly with our Lord. They are, by nature, the sounds of higher frequency. When we practice dhikr, listen to and recite the revelation we connect with this higher vibration. Again, through Allah’s natural miracles a process of inner alchemy occurs. Inside us, the energy begins to transmute and sublimate. So, if our energy was of a low vibration before this spiritual practice, by the end of it we will have gone through the process of refining dense matter into something much more pure– something that directly connects our heart with the Divine!
In this way emotional healing takes place. As the vital life force and energy flow are circulated, it allows for fragmented parts of the psyche to be healed. The various chakra’s (energy points) that connect with dormant emotions and traumas inside us are awakened. Therefore, through a consistent and routine spiritual practise, one awakens the energy in the body and helps it to flow. Through this flow the body and mind are naturally aligned. This enables cleansing to occur, which results in purification of the heart.
So far, we have established that the physical body can be healed through physical actions. We have also described the process whereby the emotional body is healed through unifying devotional practises. Both serve the human being by helping those living in this material realm to survive by offering tools to enrich their standard of physical, mental and emotional health.
However, there is one major component still missing. For a greater expansion of the heart and a higher level of spiritual intelligence, it is necessary to work on the spiritual or “astral” body.
The spiritual body is the facet of the self that is also known as our “higher-self,” the soul. It is not enough to live in this material plane and “just get by.” If one wants to truly know themselves and know God, then they need to connect with their Soul. The soul comes from Allah, and will return back to Allah.
The soul has been given a divine attribute that connects with its creator. When one practises connecting their soul with their Lord, they may discover this divine attribute. Upon this discovery, the soul and the Divine unify through the transmission of the same light. The creator and creation merge as Oneness.
The soul no longer sees it’s separation from its creator. It is therefore able to live as The Divine’s vessel on this material plane. The Creator is able to exercise creative actions through its creation when the soul is in a state of surrender. The soul is able to live more in alignment with God’s Will as it fully surrenders to The Oneness. This is the state of true ‘Tawhid.’
So how does one connect the Soul/spiritual body with the Divine?
Silence is Haqq. Silence is the absolute truth.
In silence we are in true surrender and submission. In silence we are able to intuitively connect with the Divine. A beautiful dialogue takes place at the unseen level. However, for this to happen we must transcend words and language, which merely symbolize reality. We have to get pass the mind chatter and thoughts and connect heart-to-heart. Only then we can build this deep connection with our Rabb.
Only then we can exercise a higher level of intuition and discernment in our daily lives. Meditation is therefore the highest level of spiritual practise. Through the practice of silence and deep relaxation we are able to connect with a higher state of consciousness. We are able to transcend time and space. We are able to connect to Allah at the deepest level, beyond the concept of intellect. It is through meditation that we truly merge into Oneness and know our Lord.
We are able to transcend the human limitations of thoughts and feelings, connecting to the Abstract. Words are limiting. Connecting to God through words, (in particular a dialogue of words), keeps us still in the ego-mind. To truly taste dialogue at the level of the Soul is to connect through silence. Once a spiritual seeker has connected to their Rabb frequently through meditation, the connection becomes much easier.
You can be anywhere, doing anything, yet easily and directly access, synchronise and tune in to your Higher-Self through connecting with the Divine in silence. True knowledge is not found in books, it is passed through the transmission of light, from heart to heart. Everything else is just a stepping stone, a preparation to arrive at this final destination of merging the Soul and the Divine.