24th of May, 2018 (written by Aysha El-Shamayleh)
I have been in prayer for most of my days since I got here. I aim to get to a time where I remain in prayer impermanently. My days unfold like this: I wake up and remind myself of the Lord who has given me the light of day and the creation of my moments. I settle down outside in the shade and I remember his oneness one hundred times and two prayer beads over, next I glorify him for as many times, next I thank him, next I assure his oneness, next I imagine his magnanimity, next I ask for his forgiveness for the moments I devour the fruit of the mind and exit his presence for an arrogant attempt at being a god without him, next I contemplate the code of my life -the algorithm that will lead me back to him in the end and how in light of that truth, no one is better to rely on than him, next I remind myself that there are no events and no strength outside of him for that is the truth. I am learning how to live out that last bit, for I am still shy of owning up to it in front of man, although I know that man’s praise is not my pursuit but God’s praise.
I feel that there is much work for me to do to surrender my ego for the work of light to flow through me. If I keep an ounce of ego, it’s a dangerous road for my faith. When and if the Lord chooses to work through me, praise will come from man, and if for a second I confuse myself with God I will have lost the truth. It is a trial, my job is to learn to point to God in my work and when man describes my work as the work of man, I must step aside and learn to point to he who is perfectly gracious as to share his wisdom with me has give it. I must make public or my work is useless. It would deeply pain me if I turn out to be flawed as to confuse my self with my God. But it is a fine line, for she who surrenders herself fully no longer has a self to confuse. If I achieve that, then I would not exist, only God would exist in me, hence I could not go wrong. But she who does not surrender her ego fully, surrenders herself in pursuit of her sinful nature (and the only sins are compulsion and the human ego). She will not be successful in manipulating God, for he knows the difference between those who are in pursuit of him to glorify themselves and those who surrender in pursuit of his kingdom, the fruit of the spirit. I wish to be of the latter group and pray everyday that God burns my false branches and throws them by the wayside so that what remains in me is only the truth.
The more I think of my father’s story as it played out through my perspective, the more I realize he died for my sins, crucified this world for me so that I may ascend to the next. In this manner, he saved me. In this manner, his death glorified God for that is where I came in contact with him, not from behind a burning bush, but in the plain view of nerves – by that I mean I felt him. I saw God in my father’s image. This is why God says he created us in his image, for God has no image and only appears to us through the images of men. In my father’s death, my father was such an image and in the end I was overwhelmed and overjoyed by the impossible extent of God’s love for us that I saw. I cannot describe it, I can only give away everything I am to him so he works his light through my work such that he could touch other people in the way he touched me. Again, through image.
Before my father died, God told him he lived his life tied up. My father asked what it meant to be tied up, and half addressed that question to me. This is a quintessential moment in true faith. We tie ourselves up in the law of religion, although freedom had been extended to us through enlightenment, but out of fear of losing God we never fully experience him. We just stick to the rules, and we tie ourselves up. That is not the highest place we can go. Beyond the place where my father left off is love, to truly see God’s love of us and include ourselves in it, such that we achieve union with him -the one true marriage. My father did live tied up, he denied himself my mother’s love and debased her to prove that she did not, although she did. He denied himself God’s full measure of love and belittled God and his love for him. He drew a line to discussions about oneness for fear of the possibility that God may be greedy with us. But God is not, and even in spirituality one must take risks to get the best of outcomes. My father, bless him, was risk-averse.
Last night, I read in the bible that everything that is ours is God’s, but also -what most of us deny is- everything that is God’s is ours as well. My father couldn’t imagine that. This is where enlightenment lies. This is where prayer lives. Ask and you shall receive, Jesus says there are far more wondrous things where his miracles came from, and it is open to you and me.
I have experienced such strange happenings. Both small and large. Some days I wish for certain food, by sunset Ramadan would have it on a tray for me although I have not uttered a word. Many people have been feeding me, I have never experienced anything like it. God is insisting on feeding me without me having to do anything for it, its as if it is to assure me that if my mind had ever worried that I would go hungry if I dwell in the kingdom of God in this life, I am wrong for he will provide for me from where I least expect. The God in people will take care me. He too will take care of me. Last night, God had mercy on my skin. I asked if I may kill the mosquitos in my bedroom, he said keep the door open and they will not bite. I did as he said, not sure if I am half mad. He said he will show me. It was an impossible small ask. But they never got near me. In the morning I know my God was large.
I think of you and pray for you daily. I pray that God reveals himself to you, to your ears, your eyes and your being. That he deepens your faith. I pray that he enlightens you and you burn bright, doing his work in this world in the way that is meant for you. I notice glimpses of my father in me. I have denied myself the full measure of your love and often debased you to prove that it is not true. I pray to become more faithful in seeing God in you, and ridding myself of this prison my mind has built for myself. I wish to love you fully. To see you. To serve you. To lead you and to be led by you. I wish to be your shepard and your lamb. I wish to humble myself before you. I have seen my mother cry for every dark time my father wrestled with God and conquered. His ego choosing to win over divine love that asks for nothing but restful surrender. I pray I do not take you for granted, and that if I ever wrestle with God I will always lose. I pray that if I die before you, you never feel I was good except for blotches of darkness you can’t explain. I wish to leave behind total light for all those who knew me, and if my work is to reveal God then I pray I am known by many – not by ego, by God. I pray God gives me what’s needed to do that.
I noticed today a darkness in me while praying, this residue of a desire that I wish to have more light than anyone else. It is a result of an innocent thing, loving God so strongly and -of course to a certain extent, falsy- that I have become possessive over him. I want him to love me a little extra, be a little more special, and instead of wanting everyone to have as much light, there’s this ugly and thinning layer in me that wants to reserve a little bonus room for myself in his kingdom. It is the sin of every prophet I have come across. Except Jesus. It is a thought native to snakes. I am impure.
I must work hard on riding myself of my ego, for in truth I am you and you are me. You are God, and to the extent that you realize that we bring heaven down to earth. It cannot be emphasized how much light is needed to compete with the blindness of this world, for the false darkness is abundant. From now on, I pray you burn brighter than me. For if you do, I too will get a better look at God’s face and my ego will not be a head obstructing my view of the stage. What more could ask for, never my ego over his presence. I know which is which, and with which my life is made.
I send you my love. May you be victorious.