The Question of Consciousness

May 21, 2011

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

What is it about us that ultimately make us who we are? Our genetic nature, upbringing, culture, religion? If it is a combination of all of them that defines the way we think and feel about things, the way we treat family and friends, the way we think about ourselves, then what is left when all of that is changed or dissipated or lost?

The human mind is a wondrous and fragile thing, a spongy mass protected by a hard shell of bone, and I have known bright, articulate men who, after head injuries, became sad, babbling idiots. I have known dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, including my father, who could barely recognize his own children. What conclusion can be made other than that the mind, the so called seat of consciousness, that central sense of self and ego that imagines the world and visualizes thoughts in 3 dimensions, depends on nothing more than the proper workings of the electro-chemical transmitters in the grey matter of the brain.

And if that is so, what is this “soul” then, this spark, this essential presence said to be within us that is a speck of the Divine Mind, a mote of the Godhead? Is it this undetectable soul that causes us to breathe in reverence the name of God when we glance upward toward the heavens? Is it this mote without locus that is the better angel of our natures, the mirror that when polished reflects God’s light?

It may indeed be so, and even if we come to a state of confusion and memory loss due to age or disease or injury, that place is inviolate; the higher self of consciousness and awareness.

But when consciousness dissipates after death, does awareness remain? My own out of body experience, that I have written about here, suggests that it does in some form. This question was also once put to Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, late Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order. He said in answer, “A drop falls into the ocean and becomes one with the ocean, but it does not lose its wetness.”

God knows the truth!

Ya Haqq!


Welcome Jack :) My Grandson is Born!!

March 20, 2009

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

Alhamdulillah! Praise God that last evening, March 19th, my first grandson was born, Jack Christopher Karchmar :)
Mother Christine and child are doing well, and for them, here again is a poem written for the birth announcement of baby Jack’s father, my son Matt, when he was born:

When a child is born, a Sun begins
In some dark and distant galaxy
And the ancient Weaver, warned thus,
Strikes Her loom
Pausing surely to gauge the thread for strength
And the needed courage to hold Life’s dream
Then spins rejoicing on the wheel
‘Ere the first heartbeat of creation.

- for Matthew, 1972 (and Jack, 2009)

May Allah bless the parents and the child with long life, good health, and love in a world or peace. May he be raised and grow up in righteousness, as a blessing to His parents and a joy to his family and friends. Ameen.

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “A servant will have his rank raised after death and will say, ‘O my Lord how has this come about for me?’ and He says, ‘through your sons after you seeking forgiveness for you.'” [ibn Majah]

Ya Haqq!


The Experiment

May 14, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

This is a simple experiment. Go through one day of life without saying the word “I” or “my” or “mine.”

It is related that one of Junaid’s teachers, Al-Qalaneis, said: “I was accompanied by some people in Basra who were quite generous to me, but one morning when I said, ‘where is my robe’ I lost my favor in their eyes.”

To say “my” or “mine” in the presence of those who maintain the status of Suhbat (Companionship) is a breach of the Adab (etiquette) of the Sufis. The robe would surely have been brought to him without the need to ask for it, but it was the claim of possession of anything in this world which caused Al-Qalaneis to lose favor in the eyes of the Companions of the Way.

Alhamdulillah! All that we have of earthly possessions, or of attained knowledge, even our children and our very lives, is but a loan to us, and surely the Rightful Owner can take back the loan as He wills.

So, can you gather the intention and frame of mind go through a single day feeling that all things are ‘loaned’ to you, including your life, and there is no “I” or “mine” or “my?” That all things are prepared for your use and what you owe to Allah, the Rightful Owner, is praise and gratitude and…. well, you can decide what else you owe for yourselves.

The Prophet (pbuh) entered the Ka’ba and destroyed 360 idols. We have an idol in the Ka’ba of our hearts. Its name is “I.” – Dawoud Kringle.

- Source of Al-Qalaneis story: Brother Dara’s Untired with Loving website. The experiment was also his idea, on TheSufiNotes Yahoo group.

Ya Haqq!


Solzhenitsyn and The Grateful Heart

February 27, 2008

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

“It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirring of good,” says Alexander Solzhenitsyn. “Gradually, it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through parties, states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through all human hearts. So, bless you, prison, for having been in my life.”

With Solzhenitsyn as our inspiration, let us take a moment to find the gift of one difficult thing we have faced and give thanks for its teachings.

~ From the book A Grateful Heart, edited by M. J. Ryan

Taken with gratitude from the Blog of the Grateful Bear.

Ya Haqq!


Recent Noteworthy Posts

December 29, 2007

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

To close out the year, here are five posts that you may have missed which you should read. They made me laugh and cry and think. One is from October, the rest from December. Inshallah, this may be a monthly feature.

Tariq Nelson – What Happened to Good Islam?

Writeous Sister Speaks – I Love Muslim Men

Achelois – Why Paradise Lies Under My Feet

Soaring Impulse – Tapestry

Lightness of Being – Life’s Largess

 

Ya Haqq!


Love’s Equation

February 22, 2007

Parallel lines in theory meet

In infinity

As two souls bound in this life might

In eternity

O joyous theorem! O blessed text!

This is Love’s equation, nothing less

Which governs this world and the next.

When first I saw You in the garden framed

By marigolds and moonlight

My eyes unwilling to look elsewhere

My heart unbidden chose my fate.

Like diamonds slowly formed

Yet holding light

From the first morning

Love infinitely abounds

And is eternally ‘aborning.

- Irving Karchmar, © 2007


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