So now that Alito is going to be sitting on the bench everyone is worried about Roe V Wade.
And well you should be, but that is just a side issue.
While the Left wing wrings its collective hands over abortion just watch as out of the blue something happens to overturn Griswold v. Connecticut.
Karma happens. Don't come wining to me when you find yourself living under the American Taliban.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
So now that Alito is going to be sitting on the bench everyone is worried about Roe V Wade.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 10:33 PM
The third aphorism of the Khwjaghan is "Safar Bar Watan", which is usually translated as "the journey home", but this is really too simplistic.
While "Safar" does in one context mean "to journey, travel, depart" it also means to "unveil, disclose, reveal" and as a third meaning "To shine or glow"
"Watan" can mean home, but is much more common as homeland, or place of origin. It can also mean choosing a place to settle.
So Safar bar Watan can mean "journey to the homeland" or "reveal the source".
The third Aphorism has to do with the creation and follow-through of intention (something a lot rarer than one might think).
It is intention that connects an individual to their goal, which in the case of a Sufi would be Al Haqq.
As various Sufi teachers have pointed out over the centuries, as long as the person is controlled by Nafs it is difficult to follow through on any intention. When an intention is lost through "break-down" the person looses energy necessary for transformation.
Furthermore, and more importantly, Intention is one of the three core qualities which the Insan-i-Kamal actively possess.
The first three aphorisms form a triad, each of them develops one of the core qualities as shown in the diagram below.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 4:49 PM
Sunday, January 29, 2006
President George W. Bush was scheduled to visit a United Methodist Church outside Washington as part of his campaign.
Bush's campaign manager made a visit to the pastor, and said to him, "We've been getting a lot of bad publicity among Methodists because of Bush's position on stem cell research and the like. We'd gladly make a contribution to the church of $100,000 if during your sermon you'd say the President is a saint."
The pastor thinks it over for a few moments and finally says, "The Church is in desperate need of funds and I will agree to do it."
Bush shows up and, as the service progresses, the pastor begins his homily: "George Bush is petty, a self-absorbed hypocrite and a nitwit. He is a liar, a cheat, and a low-intelligence weasel. He has lied about his military record and had the gall to put himself in a jet plane landing on a carrier posing before a banner stating "Mission Accomplished." He invaded a country for oil and money, and is using it to lie to the American people. He is the worst example of a United Methodist I've ever personally known...But compared to Dick Cheney and the rest of his cabinet, George Bush is a saint."
Ba DA Boom
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 10:54 PM
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
I have insisted for years that when it comes to politics most people are completely out of touch with reality.
Well, as it turns out, I'm right.
Political thinking (if it can be called that) is a form of addictive behavior that reinforces irrational behavior. (just look at the "gun debate", so called, for one example).
People are asleep, and dreaming. These dreams are usually nightmares, either for themselves or others.
You will find the same pattern in religious thinking.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 3:45 PM
The second aphorism of the Khwajagan is Nazar Bar Qadam, which is usually translated as "watch your step".
Interestingly, this is the aphorism that generates the most foolishness when in comes to commentaries. I have even seen one commentary that insists that this is in fact an instruction to literally watch your feet and never look at anything else. The commentary recommends this so that the "outer world" stimulus can be reduced, and especially so that the student does not accidentally glance at a woman. (This was in fact a contemporary commentary and not something from the dark ages, go figure).
I suppose I could comment at length on how stupid suggestions like that are, but that is not the point of the discussion. Suffice it to say that anyone who follows such advice deserves what they get (including the back problems).
We can understand a bit about this aphorism by looking at the Arabic roots of the words (the aphorisms are in Persian, but there are a lot of Arabic loan words in the language).
Nazar, at its root means to perceive with the eyes, to view, to regard and to Pay Attention. (NaZaRa) and in the form in which it is used here it carries the meanings of Insight, decrement, contemplation, examination, and penetration, as well as the visual references.
Qadam is a very interesting word, Its root (QaDaMa) has the meaning of to precede, to arrive (at a place). The second group of meanings from the root include to lead the way, and to send ahead. Third group of meanings from the root carry the idea of to be old or Ancient.
The word itself carries the primary meaning of both a foot (as on the end of your leg) and a unit of measure. Interestingly it can also imply a state of extreme alertness.
So what does Nazar Bar Qadam mean? It means something very close to the Sanskrit idea of Karma (action).
Every action you take has a near term and a far term consequence. Nazar Bar Qadam is the practice of following a potential action to its consequence and choosing only those actions which support one's Path rather than those actions which provide momentary gratification to the Nafs (the conditioned, habitual, mechanical 'ego').
Of course, one of the big problems with this is that Nafs by its nature refuses to examine long term consequences. It wants the momentary gratification. This can be a problem.
This means that a very special kind of discipline is needed to follow an action through its potential consequences in the most objective way possible. This can prove difficult in that many people have trained themselves to fantasize about what they would like to happen rather than what is likely to happen. For instance the bank robber who envisions himself sitting on a beach in front of a luxury hotel rather than a cell in a federal prison.
If one has not made substantial gains in Hosh Dar Dam you will not have the skills or the energy to interrupt the habit of Nafs to go for the immediate gain without regard to the effect it will have down the road.
One of the primary traits that defines Insan-i-Kamal (the completed human being) is this ability to understand the consequences of one's actions and to use this as a guide to choices.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:03 PM
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
If I were a philosophical sheep I suspect that I would view it this way;...............
After due consideration I would have to say that I would view the Shepard as unspeakably evil. My reasoning is thus;
A wolf will be in a state of symbiotic balance with sheep in a natural setting. He will attack and kill the weak, the old and the young, but he will take only those that are least likely to survive. He will not take more than he needs because if he does there will be no more after a bit and he will starve. Most importantly though, the wolf, though a predator, will leave sheep to work out their own destiny. So while the wolf will prey on members of the heard he will not try to turn the herd into something other than what it is.
The Shepard on the other hand enslaves the sheep. He turns them from their natural destiny and forces them into a pattern that serves him rather than them. While the wolf is a symbiote, the Shepard is a parasite.
On the other hand, if I were an unphilosophical sheep, I would in all likelihood tell that bigmouthed Merino to shut up before he insults and angers the SHEPARD (hosannah). If that happens the SHEPARD (hosannah) might not bring all that wonderful feed, and might not chase the wolves and the Coyotes away, and may not bring the LIVESTOCK TRUCK that will take all good sheep to the HAPPY PLACE where they will feed on all manner of good grasses and sweet water forever. (amen) Fnord
If the philosophical sheep kept on with all that subversive talk I might just push him off a cliff, or drop a rock on him, or send a note to the wolves telling them where he could be found.
Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else."Theodore Roosevelt
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 5:33 PM
The "Good Shepard" metaphor has been common for "Western Man" for a few thousand years.
The "Good Shepard" protects the flock from the ravages of Wolves and keeps them safe from harm.
So here is the Question;
The convoluted wording of legalisms grew up around the necessity to hide from ourselves the violence we intend toward each other. Between depriving a man of one hour from his life and depriving him of his life there exists only a difference of degree. You have done violence to him, consumed his energy. Elaborate euphemisms may conceal your intent to kill, but behind any use of power over another the ultimate assumption remains: "I feed on your energy."
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 1:24 AM
Monday, January 23, 2006
I found this particular set of sayings rather to the point given present
world events. (translations mine)
Haji Bektash is the founder of one of the more important Sufi orders to be found in Central Asia and the Balkan States, and he represents a "public extension" of the tradition of Ahmet Yesevi, as he is in that direct lineage. I could write several pages on the impact that Haji Bektash and his lineage have had on Central Asia and the Balkans, but I will save that for another time and let his words speak for him.
The "Din"* is the trust of the Transcendent Intellect**
The "Din" is like a Treasure vault and the Transcendent Intellect is its steward.
If the steward departs, a thief will come for the treasure.
The "Din" is a flock and the Transcendent Intellect the Shepard.
If the Shepard abandons his flock the wolves will come.
The "Din" is milk, the Transcendent Intellect is a watchman and Shaytan is a stray dog.
If the watchman abandons his post what will the dog do with the milk?
(* I could have translated the word "Din" as religion or faith, but that is rather inexact. The word "Din" implies a contract or transaction where one comes under an obligation. So in this sense it is the contract between God and Humanity that was made in pre-eternity who's outward expression is the duties one has toward God expressed in religion)
(** The intellect that is spoken of here is not the 'aql, the cognitive faculties and common reason, rather it is the Basira, Which has the implication of what is seen, and of light. It is perhaps best described by Gurdjieff's "higher head center").
The city of the heart is ruled by two Princes,
One is of Truth*, the other of Falsehood.
The Prince of Truth is Transcendent Intellect
Its Khalifa** is Din, its Wakil*** is Islam****.
( * Haqq which in this case not only means truth and/or that which is real, but is a referrer to God)
(** In this meaning Khalifa is the vice regent appointed by the King to guide the prince)
(*** Wakil in this sense would one who cares for the prince)
(**** Islam here specifically refers to Submission)
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 4:00 PM
Sunday, January 22, 2006
About a thousand years ago in the area of Central Asia around the Amu Daria and Syr Daria rivers some interesting things happened.
During this period, because of interesting events in Baghdad, the seeds were planted that produced most of the modern "Sufi Orders", the various schools designed for different types of people, to bring them toward awakening. One of those seeds was placed near a town called Tashkent in what is today Uzbekistan.
A man by the name of Ahmet ibn Ibrahim ibn Ali of Yasi, called Ahmet Yasevi built a school there.
He is considered by many to be the first of the great Turkish Sufi Masters, and was one of the original students of Yusuf Hamadani as well as his third successor, (though for some reason many of the Naqshbandi lineages leave him off their silsilas). He was responsible for the final training of Abd al Khaliq Ghujadwani, who we will speak of again shortly.
Hoja Ahmet's thoughts are contained in a book called "Divan i Hikmat", which to my knowledge, has never been translated into English.
Hoja Ahmet's work is of special interest as it has been suggested by some of the Masters Of The Path (tm) That in his time the Khwajagan (those in the lineage of Hoja Yusuf anyway), split into two lines, The exoteric group, lead by Hoja Abd al Khaliq Ghujadwani, which planted the seeds of many of today's Tariqas, such as the Naqshbandi and Kubrasi, and the esoteric side led by Hoja Ahmet, who went into retreat in Turkistan, and formed a group around himself which carried on the tradition that Mr. Gurdjieff called the Sarmoun.
As much as some (but not all) the Naqshbandi lines would like to claim that they are the source of Mr. G's teachings, I think that a careful reading of his accounts will show that at best they just provided clues and direction. Further, if you read carefully the accounts of his visit to the Sarmoun and pay attention to the geography (and political situation) it begins to seem very much less likely that he was in Afghanistan and more likely that he was somewhat farther north and east.
Interestingly, Yasevi Shaykhs pop up fairly often at important nexus points in the history of Central Asian Sufism. For instance, Bahauddin Naqshband received training under two Yasevi Shaykhs before he began to teach.
Thee are some very important differences between the traditions of the Yasevi and that of the "outer" branches of the Central Asian Masters.
Ahmet Yasevi was the first of the Turkish students in the line of Yusuf Hamadani, the other eleven of his students having come with him from Persia. Hoja Ahmet's early training had included the traditions of Central Asian Shamanism, with its emphasis on sacred dance and music as an important discipline. He was also very friendly to the local Buddhist community, and was known to have exchanged teachings with them. There is also a martial arts thread in the teachings of the Yasevi, which can be found in their love of archery, fencing and wrestling. For the Yasevi, movement arts were very important, and I believe, represent the origin of the "dervish exercises" that we occasionally find mention of.
Before Ahmet Yasevi and his group went into retreat, Hoja Ahmet returned to Bukhara from Tashkent and spent three years finishing the training Abd al khaliq Ghujduwani, who then took over guidance of the main group that would be known as the Khwajagan, or "masters of wisdom".
Abd al khaliq Ghujduwani was known even his lifetime as a great saint, but he is most famous for his "aphorisms of the Path". These are eight short sayings that are usually thought to be "wisdom sayings". In recent times various Sufi orders, most notably some branches of the Naqshbandi, claim ownership of these sayings.
One thing that I have never seen mentioned in any of the modern texts on the aphorisms is that they are in fact not aphorisms, but rather mnemonics for a set of discrete, interlocking practices. Without this understanding the aphorisms are of limited use.
As to the "ownership" of the sayings, they belong to those who can use them for the purpose intended. It matters not one little bit what your lineage is, how many silsilas you can claim or who your parents were, if you cannot demonstrate the practices and teach them to others then the aphorisms do not belong to you.
This being said, let's examine each of the aphorisms and dig into them for some deeper meaning. The first eight were expressed by Abd al khaliq Ghujduwani and the ninth (in three interrelated parts) was articulated by Bahauddin Naqshband.
The first of the Aphorisms is
which can be translated as "watch your breath", or "Breathe consciously" or "awareness of breath".
Interestingly, great emphasis was put on the moment between the end of the out breath and the beginning of the in breath in the practice of the Central Asian Masters.
It was suggested that conscious breath provides the "nourishment" that builds a real "soul".
The practice, Hosh dar Dam, is the single essential practice for bringing the whole person into an Awake state. This is accomplished by moving awareness away from the "objects of conditioned sleep" and back "into" the body.
Your body is your main tool for awakening. This is why exoteric religion is so often anti-physical and works to deny the experience of being as body-consciousness continuum. Without this inital connection of body and spirt through the medieation of breath, true self development (the kind that breaks through the deep conditioning and waking sleep of everyday life) is nearlly impossable.
Rather than lecturing you on these ideas, I am going to present to you part of a conversation that took place some time ago between myself and my friend Jeff.
I had started to scribble out something last week about breathing after reading a reply you gave to Kevin asking about holding his breath:
Sufis have considered breath work (habs-i-nafas) to be central to the Work, but it is no doubt less important than which shoe you put on first in the morning.
That pause between the outbreath and inbreath has fascinated me for a number of years now. I spend an inordinate amount of time every day trying to follow my breath, well, trying to remember to follow my breath, would describe it more accurately. Once I remember to follow my breath, then I sometimes have trouble doing it, so I turn to counting the breaths. Sometimes if I just can't seem to even do that. The technique that always works for me when that happens: just take an extra long pause after an outbreath. It doesn't take long (as your Nasruddin story pointed out) for my attention to shift.
Here is a Secret for you. You can't really make progress in "Hosh Dar Dam" by using you mind. It is your Body that has to maintain the attention of breath for you. This can only happen when the whole body becomes involved in the breath.
There is a line from "Jesus Son Of Man" by Kahlil Gibran, where Mary Magdalene describes meeting Jesus for the first time;
"And I gazed at Him, and my soul quivered within me, for He was beautiful.
His body was single and each part seemed to love every other part."
That is Hosh Dar Dam.
Really that pause between breaths seems like a beacon for me. It seems like time stops for just a moment. Sometimes it seems like I pause there at that moment forever. Sometime I flash on dying, because I know eventually it all ends with that last outbreath.
One wonders if this may be the ultimate cause of all the "breath holding" that happens under stress.
I wanted to ask you about the importance of which shoe you put on first, (Al ma'bud an-nafs?).
According to the Wahabbis and others of that ilk, if you put the wrong shoe on first when you get dressed, Allah will be really pissed with you and will not accept any of your prayers and will most likely burn you forever after you die.
You mentioned habs-i-nafas as breath work. Does Hosh dar dam fit into that? Can you E-gram breathing? (I always have this hunch that the inner lines mean something, but don't really know what exactly) And I also don't know how, if at all, octaves might work with respect to breath work.
You can plot ANY process on an enneagram, and breathing is indeed a process.
To understand where the octave comes into play, you have to look for the two shock points where something has to come in from another process to help complete the octave.
You will have to do a little research on blood gases and oxygen transfer to find what you are looking for.
BTW regarding the kitchen enneagram, and your AT&T friend who encountered some resistance applying it. I've seen the same sort of thing. Our organization has gotten into a Service Management orientation, and we focus on People, Processes, and Technology. I can show that triad, but that's all. If I try to show other interrelationships, it gets me in trouble.
Our species as a whole does tend towards extreme conservatism. Only about one person in every ten thousand is a true Neo-phile.
So be careful, the other nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine will often respond with extreme prejudice.
Anyway.. I just wanted to chime in. I always enjoy the nourishing posts.
Thanks Jeff, I do enjoy these moments between the time I get the political wankers to shut up, and the time the trolls start busting in to tell me why I don't know anything and that everyone here should be following them because they are the real khalifas of Idries Shah. It is in this small period that the real work of this list gets done.
Here is something to think about that for some reason many of the people who talk about "Breath Work" never seem to notice or address.
This means that in and of themselves, they just sit there and do nothing, it takes other "parts" of the body to make them "work".
Since the lungs only work by movement of the body (Diaphragm and such) all the residual muscle tension created by the Nafs (and the Nafs can pretty much be defined by the patterns of residual tension held in the body) is going to have an adverse effect on breath.
So you cannot really get to Hosh Dar Dam until the residual muscle tension that creates the pattern of the Nafs is released and the body is reclaimed for Dhat. This is the reason for all those "Dervish Exercises" that are written about but that no one does any more.
You can't bring your Nafs under control until you are willing to be embodied, and you will not be embodied (not truly) until you have archived Hosh Dar Dam.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:30 AM
Monday, January 16, 2006
Al Gore Gives the single most important speech of the 21 century and guess what.
The corporate media does not cover it.
Nope, nothing on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, nothing. I suppose I should not be surprised, but this is the most blatant example of censorship by the media I have seen for a while.
fortunately, there is the net.
I am going to be making CD's of the speech and sending it to lots of people.
Anyone who would like to see America as a democracy again, to see us free of the evil bastards that have hijacked this great nation, SPREAD THE WORD!. Send links to all your friends and anyone else you can think of. Write to your local newspapers, send email to the corporate media demanding coverage of the speech.
Get the word out. Bush is a criminal and should be impeached, the republican party is the party of corruption and should be kicked out of office, the Right wing are Nazis in drag and cannot be allowed to do more harm to our nation or the world.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 3:55 PM
and orders a drink.
The bar has a robot bartender.
The robot serves him a perfectly prepared cocktail, and then asks him, "What's your IQ?"
The man replies "150" and the robot proceeds to make conversation about global warming factors, quantum physics and spirituality, biomimicry, environmental interconnectedness, string theory, nano-technology, and sexual proclivities.
The customer is very impressed and thinks, "This is really cool." He decides to test the robot. He walks out of the bar, turns around, and comes back in for another drink.
Again, the robot serves him the perfectly prepared drink and asks him, "What's your IQ?"
The man responds, "about a 100."
Immediately the robot starts talking, but this time, about football, NASCAR, baseball, cars, beer, guns, and breasts. Really ! Impressed, the man leaves the bar and decides to give the robot one more test.
He heads out and returns, the robot serves him and asks, "What's your IQ?"
The man replies, "Er, 50, I think."
And the robot says... real slowly... "So............... ya .... gonna......vote ... for .. Bush ... again??
Thank you Mister President for ruining the national economy, starting world war 3 (the global war on terror) and selling our country to the multinational corporations. Thank you for showing us that Nixon was not such a bad guy after all, and thank you for showing us that Ford was not the most inept leader we have ever had. Thank you for showing us what conservatism is really all about. We didn't really need all that peace and prosperity anyway, and about that global warming thing? I am really enjoying having California winters in Michigan.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 2:24 AM
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
The TV show "The Book of Daniel" seems to have driven them over the edge.
The "Christian Taliban" organization, American Family Association, has been denouncing the program as unchristian for a while now, and had managed to frighten one Indiana TV station into canceling the show.
When the show was picked up by another station and aired this week, Christian radicals responded with death threats against workers at the station.
We can only hope that Homeland Security will deal quickly with these Terrorist threats against our right to free speech. It has become abundantly evident that the Christian Taliban hates the freedoms that we enjoy as rights here in the USA.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 11:51 AM
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Of course "Support our troops" means "let us do whatever we want no matter who it kills" to Republicans.
This just in from the Times.
A secret Pentagon study has found that as many as 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to the upper body could have survived if they had had extra body armor.
When a BushCorp says "support our troops" it means "Shut Up! If you criticize what we do with American Solders you are a traitor." And so our people die and we do nothing because we have been brainwashed into thinking that if we say "Bring our sons and daughters home" that we are somehow not supporting them.
If Bush and his cronies cared anything about the Troops that are fighting his little corporate war, he would cut some of the pork from those no-bid Halliburton contracts and by the troops some body armor. But he won't. The Right has never given a damn about human life (of course as far as I can tell neither has the Left) Our troops are just a way for BushCorp to make some money and steal some natural resources.
Support our Troops, bring them home alive!
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:43 AM
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Yes, this is another plug, and it is as shameless as the rest.
Let me put this in the clearest terms possible,
I have been sitting on my hands for months now wanting to tell you about this book. I had the privilege of being one of Steve's readers on the manuscript. And it was good, the best so far in a great series. But I can't really say much about the book until it's in print. Well, it is now.
If you have been following the Matadora series then this is the book you have been waiting for.
You don't know the Matadora series you say? Well they are just one of the very best in "small group of rebels change the universe" stories. As an extra added attraction they are martial arts SF that actually works. Perry has created an engaging universe with rich texture and color, one that asks the interesting questions while still being a full blast adventure.
Two things have always caught the minds of readers in these stories, A martial art, perhaps the ultimate art, called "Sumito" practiced by a mysterious quasi-religious group called "The Siblings of the Shroud", and an ongoing contest/tournament called the Musashi Flex.
This book, which is a "prequel" in the series takes you deep into the Musashi Flex to introduce you to the origins of Sumito.
To understand "The Flex", think of the evolution of mixed martial arts/fight clubs/Dog Brothers/outlaw tournaments into a group of people who have an ongoing "round robin" sort of contest that spans the galaxy and happens under the radar of the establishment. It does not happen for the entertainment of spectators, but only for the participants. So a fight for the number one spot might take place is a back alley in some jerk-water town that most people have never heard of.
The Musashi Flex is the story of Lazlo Mourn (and a few others) a top ranked Flex player. What he does, and how he does it is something I will leave to you to discover. But I will say that this is some of Perry's best work.
You will find that Steve Perry's stories are as addictive and though provoking as Hebert or Heinlein, you can read them multiple times and the just get better.
So grab a copy and treat yourself. If you haven't read his other books start now and it will help keep you entertained over the long winter.
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:33 AM
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Out with 2005!
Which has been a hard year for a lot of my friends, and in with 2006!
I am always just a little amazed to find that I have managed to survive yet another year, but no complaints.
So here is me wishing you all a
And I am looking forward to spending 2006 entertaining you and making you think about all manner of groovy things!
Posted by Mushtaq Ali at 12:00 AM