I wonder if God didn’t create our imperfect natures on purpose. That is, here I am feeling great one day, depressed and irritable the next. The question is, will I forsake my expectation of a “particular condition” and praise God throughout? Will my love for Him transcend every worry caused by the baser sides of my nature?
I think if we abandon all procedure, all expectation, all method, and simply focus on purifying our heart from everything but God, He will grant us the assistance we seek. There are many quotations which appear to me related to this Theme:
The true seeker hunteth naught but the object of his quest, and the lover hath no desire save union with his beloved. Nor shall the seeker reach his goal unless he sacrifice all things. That is, whatever he hath seen, and heard, and understood, all must he set at naught, that he may enter the realm of the spirit, which is the City of God.[^25]
In this quote, I throw away all my past learning and experience. It is not necessary for seeking God.
The understanding of His words and the comprehension of the utterances of the Birds of Heaven are in no wise dependent upon human learning. They depend solely upon purity of heart, chastity of soul, and freedom of spirit. This is evidenced by those who, today, though without a single letter of the accepted standards of learning, are occupying the loftiest seats of knowledge; and the garden of their hearts is adorned, through the showers of divine grace, with the roses of wisdom and the tulips of understanding.[^26]
In this quote, he frees me from the need for knowledge or skill, and makes my progress wholly dependent on my purity, chastity and freedom. These are attributes which oppose acquisition! Purity is being free from obstruction, chastity is being free from lust or inordinate desire, and freedom is of course being free from restriction.
Fear God, and God will give you knowledge.[^27]
Here I need only fear God. In Arabic the term is “Khashíyyatu’lláh”, which implies a reverential awe, such as a Knight of the Round Table would have had for King Arthur. The devotion of such a knight which cause him to prefer death before dishonoring or disobeying his Lord. In fact, the mere suggestion of deceit would feel like a physical sickness. This is different from “tarsídan”, which means fear as one might fear spiders or some threat.
Now is the traveler unaware of himself, and of aught besides himself. He seeth neither ignorance nor knowledge, neither doubt nor certitude; he knoweth not the morn of guidance from the night of error. He fleeth both from unbelief and faith, and deadly poison is a balm to him.[^28]
In this quote, questions of station, knowledge and attainment are simply not the seeker’s focus. In fact, whatever draws one’s attention away from God is not worthy of consideration. As He wrote:
Where is Paradise, and where is Hell?' Say:The one is reunion with Me; the other thine own self, O thou who dost associate a partner with God and doubtest.’[^29]
I interpret this to mean that our self, since it can become a focal point of attention, causes us to turn our eyes away from God, which is the essence of Hell. This is an interesting emphasis, since it means that self-perfection and self-development are not the goal of religion. They are means to an end. That end is reunion with God, which is being so completely absorbed in and by the Divine that there is nothing else. In order for this to happen, as was quoted above, there must be purity, fear of God, etc. — in other words, virtue. But this virtue is functional, not qualitative. We gain nothing if the result of such virtue is that we focus even more intently on our own progress.
So, we progress until we reach a point where we abandon all notion of progress, all hope (for ourselves) of attainment. When there is only the Beloved:
In this realm, to search after knowledge is irrelevant, for He hath said concerning the guidance of travelers on this plane, “Fear God, and God will instruct thee.” And again: “Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth.”[^31]
The secret of life is to become like a moth, circling around the Best-Beloved of all worlds, the Ancient Beauty. In that state, “they swim in the sea of the spirit, and soar in the holy air of light. Then what life have words, on such a plane, that ‘first’ and ‘last’ or other than these be seen or mentioned!”[^33] From this state all knowledge and all things proceed, as He wrote:
… for everyone who sets foot therein knows all branches of learning even before he becomes aware of their inner secrets. He comprehends all knowledge and wisdom by means of the mysteries of divinity deposited in the creation — for he reads in the leaf the secrets of the tree.[^34]
Why should we worry ourselves over the details of attainment, when attainment itself grants all things? Therefore, the only question, the only worry, the only point of focus worthy of attention, is God Himself as manifested in the Primal Point: the Manifestations of God. There is nothing else to consider beyond this.