Sunday, July 26, 2009

Your Beloved is calling

I woke at 3:00 AM today from the following dream:

I am at a conference center where they are setting up for lunch in the huge dining area. I notice many loaves of Italian bread that seem to be freshly baked, placed on fresh white tablecloths. There's a gathering in process that includes a lot of men connected with the Church; some are priests or ministers. Also present is an entrepreneur who has made a lot of money developing an internet search engine.

I receive several messages, as I roam the place, that a Sufi poet has been calling. He wants to get through to a number of people who are here, but they have not been receiving his messages. I am planning to tell the search engine entrepreneur that he needs to develop a device that will alert people when a spiritual teacher is searching for them.

I go through the dining area to a men's room. Several of the ministers are washing up. I go into a stall for privacy and find writing inside the door. Instead of graffiti, it is a lovely poem about spiritual union. Go up to the rooftop. Your Beloved is calling.

I woke with a sense of delight, and recognition. I thought of Rumi, and also of his spiritual teacher, Shams of Tabriz. I went questing back through old journals, and found my chronicle of nocturnal encounters with figures that appeared to carry this tradition. The sequence began exactly 11 years ago. Let me share the start of this odyssey:

July 26-27, 1998, 4:00 AM
Travel Suggestions from Shams

I am lying on my back in bed. I have the sensation that I am floating between the worlds. I have the impression of fabric patterns, predominantly rust-reds, mauves and yellow-browns. A sense of presence grows. The suggestion comes: Rise from your body, and I will descend to you. I relax from physical focus, without separating from the body. With my inner eye, I see a handsome young man of "Persian" appearance, wearing modern clothes, an elegant lightweight suit and a shirt with a banded collar. He tells me his name is "Shams". He suggests I should travel to the realm of Hurqalya, for which I must cross Mount Qaf.
I hurried to research these names and found what I needed in the writings of Henry Corbin and translations of Suhrwawardi, the great visionary philosopher of medieval Persia. Hurqalya, I found, is the name of an "interworld" or imaginal realm in which visionary encounters between humans and the more-than-human take place and where powers beyond human understanding taken on forms than can be grasped and materialized in the world below. In a teaching story, Suhrawardi explains: "Mount Qaf surrounds the world and consists of eleven mountains." The crossing is hard. The way leads to the Moon and to the World Tree where the simurgh - the celestial bird -has its nest. At the end of the quest is the magical sword Balarak that releases the bird of the soul from its cage and the Spring of Life that offers regeneration and release from pain. To cross Mount Qaf, you must become your own spiritual teacher. "If you become Khidr [the guide of those who have no earthly guide] you can easily cross Mount Qaf." [1]

I slept again near dawn and dreamed:

At the Palace of the Wings of Sound

I am in a palace that is open to the winds, a place of soaring arches. It does not seem to stand on Earth, but among the stars. It is roofless, open to the night sky, which is dark yet light at the same time, shimmering in every particle. There are twelve spacious rooms in the palace. Each contains marvelous musical instruments, shaped like butterfly wings. Some have multiple wings or leaves. They resemble stringed harps, yet the harps are so fine as to be invisible. Cosmic winds blow celestial harmonies through these wings of sound. I marvel at the beauty of these harmonies.
I woke buoyant and happy. I dove deeper into studying Rumi and Suhrawardi. Then I dreamed

July 28, 1998 11:45PM
Teaching with the Aid of the Sufi Poets

I am now dressed as "Shams" appeared, in a lightweight jacket and a shirt with a banded collar. I have made a selection from the mystic poets, including Rumi, as teaching aids. The poems evoke processes of divine emanation and paths for human recollection and return to the sacred source. One of the Sufi poets appears to help me with my presentation.
After continuing my researches, I woke from my second cycle of sleep:
July 29, 1998 8:45 AM
The Search for Water
I am instructed in the work of three mystics, including Rumi, who wrote poetry and visionary narratives. My mentor explains that at the heart of all their work is the search for water. One of the works that is recited and explained to me is entitled "The Book of Water." The verses roll on and on. I am able to transcribe some of the lines after waking.

I now immersed myself in translations of Rumi's vast Diwan-i Shams-i Tabrizi. This great collection of poems was named for Shams, and fully a third of the individual poems within it are dedicated to him. Who is the Shams of the poet? He is the "immortal beloved" and the "enigmatic master". The name Shams means "sun". He is the sun that shines at midnight. He is the guide, the radiant double, the heavenly twin, the soul of the soul, the object and subject of the quest.

She said, "You know who has come."
My heart flew up in joy and placed a ladder at the intellect's edge.
It rushed up to the roof in its love...
Suddenly from the housetop it saw a world beyond our world,
an ocean in a jug, a heaven in a speck of dust.
Upon the roof sat a king wearing the clothes of a watchman...
His image travels from breast to breast explaining the Sultan of the heart

Go up to the rooftop, I read last night, on the inside of the door of the stall in a rest room. Your Beloved is calling. Any night, anywhere. Are you ready?

[1] Suhrawardi, "The Red Intellect" in W.M. Thackson, Jr (trans) The Mystical and Visionary Treatises of Suhrawardi London: Octagon Pres, 1982, 35-43.
[2] Rumi, Diwan 2730. Adapted from the translation by William C. Chittick in The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi. Albany: SUNY Press, 1983, p. 140.


Robert Moss said...

DREAM ANNIVERSARIES - A quick postcript:

I noted in my essay that when I went digging through my journals I found that last night's dream came on the 11th anniversary of a very important encounter, in the hypnagogic zone, with a bearer of Persian Sufi tradition. This brought it home to me that the anniversaries of INNER, as well as outer events, can help to shape our dreams. I was also intrigued to notice - not for the first time - how persistent the bearers of a spiritual tradition that may be part of our authentic and deeper life can be in seeking to reach us and awaken us.

Until a friend made the connection just now, I had not noticed something that seems to be of blazing importance. It was 11 years, to the day, since "my" Shams turned up and urged me to cross a dangerous and mysterious region composed of 11 mountains. 11 years, 11 mountains. Not the end of this story, not on your life...

Justin Patrick Moore said...

I like the idea of anniversaries for inner experiences. The last three years, during the dog days of summer, I have had synchronicity serials relating to Sirius, the Dog Star. I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open for subtle messages emanating from that star as we move deeper into the dog days.

Diana said...

Dear Robert, Grace is upon you, a welcome visitor. How profoundly beautiful. How exciting. I'm so happy for you! The time is now!!

Fascinating, eleven years, eleven moutains (each year a mountain?) to this night of this invitation.


A couple of weeks ago I found myself walking on a road that took me to the Sufi center, the Abode, near where I live and this reminds me to honor the pull I felt to make a return visit.

Sylvie said...

"One second of suffering in dreams equals 3 years of suffering in waking life. "These words from Irina Tweedie encounter with her sufi master interrogate me.
Could some Nightmares be seen as a spontaneous cleaning of karmic memories ?
Or do they always need to be burnt with the fire of consciousness ( up to the rooftop !)?

Robert Moss said...

Hi Sylvie - I know that enormous clearing and healing is sometimes available in the space of a single dream. That's what the ancients looked for in te temples of dream healing.

However, a "nightmare" is something else. In my lexicon, a nightmare is not only scary; it is an UNFINISHED dream. When we run away from a dream terror, we leave everything unresolved. We then need to find a way to deal with the issues, and sometimes what is required is to go back inside the dreamspace and confront the beast on its own ground. THAT can lead to tremendous clearing and access to true poower, and it is a core technique in our Active Dreaming approach.