Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Attentiveness

The seventh aphorism of the Khwajagan is Nigha Dasht, which we usually translate as "Watchfulness", but can also be translated as "attentiveness".

At this level of training the student works at completing the task of withdrawing his or her attention from its fixations in the Nafs and using attention for its intended purpose.

It would be incorrect to suggest that humans by and large have very little attention, it is just that for the most part that attention is focused on internal fantasy to the exclusion of all else.

In one sense, the aphorisms of the Khwajagan outline the path by which a person withdraws attention from the rich, addictive fantasy life provided by the Nafs and allows the student to focus attention on what actually is.

This, it must be stressed, is not some sort of "mental exercise", it requires the engagement of the whole person, body, mind and spirit.

Over one's life time attention becomes bound to Nafs. This is a complex process that involves an interaction between residual muscle tension, pathological breathing, and the "fixation on emotional content" which will involve all of the senses consciously or unconsciously.

Eventually, if this process is not reversed a person will probably become a Republican, start believing in Reagan-nomics and being irrationally angry with anyone or anything that does not match the internal "map of how things should be". This is the spiritual equivalent of "hardening of the arteries" (There are as many variations of this phenomena as there are different cultures).

In Sufi terms this is called Aqal al Rusubat "sedimentations of Consciousness" (It is interesting to note that "rusub" means both sediment or hardening through deposits, and also to fail in a test).

By the time a student is given Nigha Dasht as the central practice he or she has already done a great deal of work to reclaim all the energy that goes into holding the Nafs generated world view.

Nigha Dasht means constant vigilance and the active withdrawal of attention from the "objects of fixation" what the Yoga Sutras refer to as "Citta Vrtta", the twisting and turnings of the phenomenal mind.

The trick of course is to take all that extra attention and infuse the present moment with it.

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9 comments:

Steve VH said...

Very interesting!

Unsane said...

This is very interesting. There must be a fine line whereby one learns from one's experiences and retains the emotional content of those experiences, (on the one hand), and pushes through with a certain openness to new experiences and possibilities (on the other hand). For, if one simply denies the emotions which have accumulated in one's memory, one will fail to learn anything.

Saad Khushi said...

Salam brother, I like the work you are doing, it is interesting to read this stuff. Are there any good books you could mention to study these inner teachings of self-control.

Saad Khushi said...

Assalam o aleikum brother, this is very interesting. I like the work you are doing, I have been reading your articles with great interest. Are there any good books you could mention on self-control. If one doesn't have time, can he learn these things on his own i.e, by reading books, doing research etc. or learning from teacher is a must?

redburns said...

haha

"become Republican"

I've often wondered how this happens:)

murid aisha said...

For those of us on a gradual path- far below such elevated status. Do you have any advise? Thank you.

Mushtaq Ali said...

Aisha asks,

For those of us on a gradual path- far below such elevated status. Do you have any advise? Thank you.

Yes,

Keep on Truckin

Or

Stay awake, remember God, be kind, but don't give away your soul, do your practice.

Mushtaq Ali said...

Saad Khushi asks,
Are there any good books you could mention to study these inner teachings of self-control.

Sirr al Asrar (Secret of secrets) by Abd al Qadir Jalini is a good place to start.

Mushtaq Ali said...

Saad Khushi also asks,
If one doesn't have time, can he learn these things on his own i.e, by reading books, doing research etc. or learning from teacher is a must?

Allah knows best. Teachers are the best way, but doing the basic work will be of great help. If it is impossable for you to find a teacher, do the practices of your deen and pray for grace.