Talk by Pir Zia for Healing
at the Heart of our World
SHO International Retreat London April 2012
Toward the One,
The perfection of Love, Harmony and Beauty,
The only Being,
United with all the illuminated souls
Who form the embodiment of the Master,
The spirit of Guidance.
Greetings to you, dear friends, across the sea.
I am very happy to hear of your gathering this weekend, and I am thinking of you – I wish you inspiration, and joy, and a deepening, a continuous deepening of your bond with the One, the Being, the Source, and the Goal, the One to whom we belong.
This deepening is of course the essence of the path of healing, because ultimately healing means more than overcoming wounds. It means restoring, recovering and experiencing anew and afresh, the essential link between our self and its Source.
That Source is the essence of life – it is revivifying, purifying, saving; saving us from all of the misconceptions, all of the doubts and fears, and the anguish and alienation, that arises from the condition of being separate, and disconnected from the reality to which we belong.
And our whole world belongs to this reality, not only ourselves individually. And gradually it seems the world is, in fits and starts, awakening to that primal wholeness of which it is a part.
So each of us is on a path of discovery. But our paths are interconnected, and ultimately they are part of one path, the path of all beings including the whole of the earth, and as many planets as may exist – the one path, the remembrance of the Real.
So we may see signs around us, in our time, of this awakening, this progress on the path of discovery. We also see many dangers, many perils. We see the life systems that sustain this world breaking down before our eyes; and not accidentally, but as a direct result of our own actions of the human world that we have created.
A challenge and a call
This is a great challenge, a great danger, but it is also – a call. It is an opportunity for awareness, an opportunity to discover the wholeness, the oneness of which we are a part, so that our participation in life is not merely unconscious, but that it becomes conscious; conscious when we understand the stakes, when we more and more understand the implications of living out of harmony with the whole, with the Real.
So we are in a sense, as a species, we are the victims of our own success. We have succeeded so well, we have flourished and prospered so tremendously, that we have imagined ourselves as somehow autonomous, self-contained, self-subsisting.
But now, and especially just in the last years, we have been awakened from the complacency of that assumption. We see more and more the reality of interdependence. And our interdependence with all species is one layer of the divine Unity, a Unity which has its many layers.
And the ultimate layer, the innermost core, of this Unity, is a sheer, simple Oneness that existed before time, before space. It exists now and always will exist. It is the foundation of all Reality.
And it is the special privilege of the mystic to sink deep down within, and to rediscover this primal Oneness – a Oneness that becomes a source of healing for all nations because it informs all of our thoughts, all of our behaviors;
it becomes the foundation for a world-view based upon the deep principle of Unity. That is the principle that is so intensely needed in our time.
So the work of healing – yes, it is a work of consoling, offering solace, salving wounds, bringing good health where we may. But it is more than this. It concerns more than the health of the body. Because the health of the body so often is a reflection of the state of the psyche, and ultimately of the soul.
We are affected at a physiological level by the whole thrust of our species, the way we live, the frequency of our consciousness. And we are all interconnected.
So the integrity of the bodies, minds, hearts and souls of all beings are mutually dependent. We cannot be truly happy and healthy while others are suffering dire alienation and loss of meaning, loss of soul force.
So in essence the task of the Healing Order is to attend to the whole scope of the integrity of the human experience.
Now the fulfillment of our purpose as human beings dispatched by the Real to undergo incarnation – that purpose is fulfilled through reflection, contemplation, awakening to the deepest impulses that guide our course through life.
And this process of reflection begins to show us aspects of reality that were perhaps not so apparent when we were merely attending hurriedly to our various chores, bearing the burden of our anxieties, and feeling ourselves alone in the universe.
The path of reflection and awakening draws our consciousness from the surface into the depths, and out from within to fill the horizon. It shows us something of the real purpose of our being alive, the greatest mystery that we might ever ponder.
This discovery is awakening, unfolds, step by step. One might especially consider seven steps.
The first step
The first step is the step in which we recognize our affinity with all human beings – our solidarity with our brothers and sisters in our midst, in the towns and cities in which we live; but also those living at a distance – people of other colors, races, ethnicities, cultures, religions, speaking other languages, practicing other life ways.
When we look about the world today we see how driven our world is by distinctions – distinctions and differences. And of course there is grandeur in the diversity. There is richness and abundance reflective of the wealth of the Divine qualities of being.
But too often these differences become absolute boundaries. And, especially in times of insecurity, we fall back into our groupings, looking out toward others warily, prejudicially, distrustfully. We find a facile safety in adhering dogmatically, without reflection, to norms that define our identity group, and we disregard or anathematize those who are different.
But when we have a life-changing experience, when we cross a boundary, and meet not superficially but meet deeply, from heart to heart, a person who is different, we begin to see differently. We begin to appreciate more poignantly our common humanity. We are all possessors of a human heart. And the more that one occupies that heart the more it resonates with other hearts, however different the minds connected with those hearts, however the different the bodies. The heart knows its affinity with other feeling hearts. And the heart begins to listen. And it hears the stories of other human beings. It hears them sympathetically, attentively. And it sees that every life is another story. And every one unique.
And then it sees more and more the uniqueness of its own story. Each story is unique, and yet – all of these stories share a certain common framework. We have all been born from the Mystery, and we all are destined to die, one day, and return to the Mystery. And between these poles of experience – birth and death – we have a number of days on earth in these bodies, seeing with these eyes, hearing with these ears, speaking with these tongues. We have needs to meet; there are passages in our lives, rites of passage; we move from childhood to adulthood, and to old age; we see around us souls being born, and leaving the earth; we gain and we lose; we love. We share these human experiences.
So we can see that life is a story, and each of us contributes a chapter of that story. But the chapters aren’t isolated. They are interrelated, interlocking chapters within one book. That realization helps us – to understand our life, in the context of the many lives around us; to view those other lives charitably, with forgiveness, with the understanding that each one is another like myself, inexplicably born into this world, due to leave this world one day; and, meanwhile, sharing in the unfolding of what it means to be alive.
This is a first step.
The second step
A second step comes when we see that our human experience is not only interrelated to the lives of innumerable human beings, but it is also deeply embedded within the living earth, within the community of lives of so many creatures, so many species – of animals, plants, micro-organisms; all interrelated, all springing, scientists believe, from an original cell which has subdivided to produce this vast proliferation of species, interrelated genealogically – species that interact symbiotically to create an environment that serves all.
We belong to this community, a community that is currently in great peril, that is suffering a loss of diversity, at a great scale – almost unprecedented.
This story of the earth, which is part of still another story, a longer deeper story, the story of Creation itself.
For preceding the emergence of the first cell on earth, the elements – the living elements – flowed, as even now they flow, surging, rising and falling in ever new combinations; earth-churning, bathed in the light of the sun, the sun a star amongst billions swirling the heavens, interacting through the communication of waves of radiance; the galaxies together forming a celestial physiology with its own lineaments, contours – great vast luminous Being of which we are a part, and which is the out-flow, the evolving effusion of the primal Source of energy that billowed into creation cast on the waves of the divine Desire some fourteen billion years ago.
This great epic, the enfoldment of the One Life in creation, is the larger story to which we belong.
The third step
A third step comes, when we see that not only is matter evolving in ever new forms, but that evolution – awakening – the continuous intensification of Creation’s experience of the Divinity which is its source – that this evolution advances not only in the mechanisms of physical bodies, but in the expansion of consciousness, deepening of conscience in the life of the heart, and the heart’s transcendence of narrow notions of identity, and its attainment of ever fuller and richer degrees of sympathetic resonance.
We see this – in the evolution of the universe, in humanity’s becoming: how – who we are is not merely the function of the shape of our body, but it is the reality of our state. And our state is kindled by the states of others, a high ecstasy – the illuminated glance of a being who remembers the One ignites the fire in the heart of another.
And we are the heirs to a sacred tradition that is planetary, that can never be circumscribed by the boundaries of religious ideology, and which is embodied in the revelations and the personalities of the great holy messengers, prophets, saints and masters. They are pioneers, trailblazers of consciousness. They are the very embodiments of the whole thrust of the universe’s awakening to Divinity.
And so, in this third step, we commit ourselves to their Message, and pledge our allegiance to their work. And we seek to align to their expansion of mind and heart.
The fourth step
And this leads us, God willing, to a fourth step. Which is the step which brings us back to the Source of all things. It brings us right back to the Origin. A prophetic message has at its core, realization that all is One, all is a unity, and all is now as it ever was and always will be. This realization is a stripping away of the veils of the layers of identity that form the substance of our separate self. As we peel away these layers, one by one, we experience deepening, subtlety, expansivity, transcendence, unity, communion with all, until ultimately we make no distinctions or differences. We are absorbed in the One. We have discovered Life Eternal – Being without end.
The fifth step
But the peace of this deep meditation is shattered by the cry of the earth, by the call of those who are in pain, who are lost, broken or abused, who are lonely. That cry is all around us. Perhaps we could not hear it – yet – until we entered the deep silence. But when we have silenced the chatter of our little self-interestedness, in the silence of the depths, we hear resounding the cry of the earth.
As Murshid says – “My deep sigh rises as a cry of the earth, and an answer comes from within as a message.”
So this step, the fifth step, is the step when we learn to listen and hear the rising cry, the cry of the earth, the cry of those in pain. Don’t shut it out any more.
The sixth step
And the answer comes from within as the Message – the sixth step. When we see the brokenness, the heart is open, and our eyes behold the abundance of the divine Reality, and its potential, the names of God, the attributes of God. Then we are moved to answer the cry, to give expression to the answer, to conceive within our mind and with our heart what may be – another world, a more perfect world, already contained within this world in seed, but needing to be fostered, needing to be cultivated, brought forth – what may be.
Here we overcome the danger of losing ourselves in despair, in feeling helpless in the face of the call, the cry. Hearing the cry we choose to answer with hope, with faith and trust, with a vision of what may be.
And thus it is that the world has advanced – by meeting new challenges, new problems, with fresh vision. And had it not been for those very challenges, a fuller, truer, grander synthesis, a more complete discovery of what is possible, would not have been.
So “what may be” is our invitation to take part in the divine self-disclosure, the disclosure of the ancient Beauty, which wants to be realized in matter, in our time, right now.
The seventh step
And this brings us then, seventhly, to the resolution, the commitment, the definite intent to dedicate one’s life in service. To pledge oneself, to make a vow, and to marshall all of ones energies, to put one’s whole heart and mind and body, on the line, as an act of chivalric allegiance – solidarity with all beings.
This is the seventh step. Where we pledge our fealty to the Real, accepting whatever may cross our path, committing ourselves to the upholding of an Ideal that is constantly flowering and blossoming, as we advance on the path of its fulfillment.
My friends, brothers and sisters, gathered in England for the work of healing: may we together take these seven steps, may we unite with others of all faiths, of all races, taking these steps together that we may fulfill our reason for having been born.
Who art the Maker, Molder and Builder of the Universe,
build with Thine own hands the Universel,
Our temple for Thy divine Message of Love,
Harmony and Beauty.
Pir Zia for the International Healing-Order-Retreat, London, 2012