Sufis say that until you swim in the ocean of unity you are not a real Sufi; you are just a traveler on the road of intent. You are on your way to being a Sufi. Only when this mystery has been awakened within you does the real transformation begin, not the transformation of the ego, but the transformation of the soul as it becomes infused with the deep knowing of the oneness of God. And this secret is a gift.(1)With all of your efforts, your strivings, your longing and devotion, you could not find it. But when you are ready you are taken into this embrace, into this chamber within the heart. He whom you love takes you back to Himself, back to the primal oneness that belongs to every cell of creation.
— ch 2. Chambers of the Heart, p. 21
Every day we watch the light come, and the evening come, and the night arrive, and then our dreams, if we remember them. This is the cycle of our days, our lives, and yet there are moments when the curtain rises, and suddenly, out of nowhere, we know. In this moment we are truly alive. Such is the fleeting joy of existence that lasts forever, that is always present, that is the real drama. Remember that in the silence you and I exist. This is not a promise but a statement of fact, a thread that connects together so many existences. And it is fully alive. It is a connection between one world and another, one lifetime and another, one soul and another.
— ch 2. Chambers of the Heart, p. 38
Do not worry. There is nothing to find or lose -- the moon will always rise, the wind will blow apart the clouds and time will take you where you need to go. You are the place where the two seas meet, where love is uncovered, where silence is mirrored into sound. And yet we are conditioned to worry, to dream in a language that causes misunderstandings, to seek meanings where there is only the moon reflected in the water. We mistake our self again and again, looking for what cannot be answered. And yet there is always this other place, this vastness that calls to us, that draws us out of our existence. Remember it is always here. It cannot be anywhere else, just as love can never be somewhere else, because that would deny the very nature of love.
— ch 3. Words to Myself, p. 46
You wait for something to happen, and there is nothing to happen, yet the happening comes closer, like a map that reveals your own garden as an undiscovered place. There is another presence, another pattern, not hidden but unrevealed. There is a tender sense of silence, without prayer to or from. In the moments of our own silence we are welcomed, as both stranger and friend. We need to allow the presence to become present, not in defined moments, but as a flow. The river is here, not hidden behind the bank or across the horizon. The silence, unbidden, is always present. It carries a quality of walled gardens where the roses bloom in abundance. In the tranquility of the moment nothing is defined or captured. This world is infused with the other, steeped with the dew of timelessness.
You thought that prayer was a relationship of you and God, you and the teacher, you and another. You were so wrong. Prayer just is. In that isness everything is included. You, the Beloved, the object of your prayer, and the will to unfold the eternal into the present, to cross the borders of time and space, saturate the now with eternity. There is no other. You were always alone but you thought it was a state of incompleteness. You waited for someone to come. How can there be another when He is one? Is that so terrible that you must run and hide? To whom can you talk when there is no other? To whom can you relate? ....
— ch 3. Words to Myself, p. 46
Everything, every particle in creation, is surrounded by and infused with divine light. We do not see it because we are veiled by our own darkness and forgetfulness, but it is the light of creation remembering its Creator, or the light of the Creator’s own self-expression -- the brush stroke of the Great Artist. This light carries the alchemy of creation: it is the spirit mercurius alive in this world. It the miracle of rebirth that belongs to matter, in which matter celebrates the bond of love between the Creator and the creation.
— ch 3. Words to Myself, p. 65
... at its deepest, most sacred level, the expression of individual consciousness is a manifestation of the uniqueness of the divine. We each have the potential to live and celebrate God’s uniqueness. Through each of us the Divine can have a unique experience of Its world. “He never repeats Himself in the same form twice.” Each snowflake is unique, each leaf is different, and through the vehicle of our individual consciousness the Divine can have a unique experience of Its world.
— ch 3. Words to Myself, p. 66
There were also other experiences in meditation, a love that was given that permeated every cell of my body. And out of meditation there were states of peace, a peace that had no outer cause, but was just present, sometimes for days. A depth of peace that also permeated my mind and body. These were passing states, and yet they change you, they give a foundation for an existence that does not belong to the ego, the “I.” It was not that “I” was loved, but rather that love was present. “I” was not at peace; the peace was present, all around me and within me. And so slowly, gradually, from out of the depths of dhyana a consciousness arose that one could call the consciousness of the Self. For me, as for so many others, it was not dramatic, not a burst of light, no fireworks of spiritual awakening. But there was a dawning awareness of a sense of being that was me but not “I,” not my normal ego self. A consciousness with awareness but no thoughts. And it was this consciousness that began to grow within me.
— ch 3. Words to Myself, p. 76
Do not be discouraged, do not ever be discouraged, even when you feel so lost and misunderstood, when the wheels of existence carry you always along roads you would rather not travel. There is this other land, this landscape that belongs to love. This is the place where the two seas meet, where existence reveals its secrets, where time uncovers what always was, even if you have never seen it before.
— ch 3. Words to Myself, p. 82
I have come to believe that even when every image of our self has been dissolved like dew, there is still a story that has a meaning and a purpose. Love’s journey brings many scars, often scars in the heart, and they do not all fade away, even if their drama has lessened. They tell us something about what it means to be human, to stand at the place where the two seas meet, to see the dead fish become alive. And yet, because in moments of real experience there is no time, just the instant that is, these stories do not belong to any past; they are simply are a part of what is. They are an essential part of our human mystical experience, our deepest knowing of our self.
— ch 4. What Does It Mean to Be a Teacher?, p. 85
Once you have tasted the ocean of love’s oneness it is in your blood. It is always calling to you, sometimes from afar and sometimes so close you can feel its presence. It is like a lover you always long for. It is then so easy to be lost in love, dissolved in light. To remain is not so easy. Sometimes it tears the heart. Yet only in the moment of human experience, between the in-breath and the out-breath, is that light of meaning made manifest. And this light coming into the world, being manifest in each of us, is the love story of the Beloved.
— ch 4. What Does It Mean to Be a Teacher?, p. 88
For many years on the path I longed for this destruction by love, for this transformation so complete that nothing of myself would remain. And I have been given glimpses of a reality where the ego is not present, where there is no “I” to tell its story. And yet in this love story of the soul something has always remained, and gradually I have come to understand a little of the meaning of where this journey takes place, “the place where the two seas meet.” It is here, where the divine and human come together, that Khidr is always found. This whole book is an attempt to understand what this means: what it means for the two seas to come together, and what it means to live in this place caught in the currents of the ocean of divine consciousness and yet also held in the sea of human experience.
— ch 8. Where the Two Seas Meet, p. 165
Footnotes to Excerpts
(1) Some Sufis say that in order to be taken into this chamber of the heart, in order to make the transition from a world of duality to the mystery of divine oneness, you need to be given a substance that they call sirr. This substance is given through the grace of the sheikh and through the mystery of spiritual transmission, infused from heart to heart.