Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Who Would Have Thought It?

Scott Bradley


In The Enlightened Mind, Mitchell offers some selections from the Koran:
Do not despise the world, for the world too is God.
So wonderfully put! To this I could burn incense, but won't for fear of starting a fire and ending up in a heap of trouble. A Sufi might affirm this de-contextualized statement as it stands, but I sincerely doubt that an "orthodox" Muslim would. No matter, it echoes my own heart's assent.

Does that matter? No. No words matter. Yes. Something happens experientially when the heart releases into what these words mean.
Whoever knows himself knows God.
Wow! What book is this from?!

Is there some special part of me that I need to know to know Dao? No. All of me is Dao.
True religion is surrender.
Yes! Surrender is release into the unknowable Vastness. Surrender is letting life unfold as it does, affirming everything as it arises. It is "hiding the world in the world so that nothing can ever be lost." It is "handing it all over to the inevitable." It is ultimate Trust. It is unreserved Affirmation. It is pure Thankfulness. Yet still it has no object.

But is this Islam? Again, it is not "orthodox" Islam, though it may be for those Muslims of mystical bent.

"Islam" is this word translated here are "surrender". I've only ever seen it translated as "submission" however, and there is a world of difference between the two. One "submits" to what one knows. In this case, one knows a personal God who rules and makes moral judgments. One submits to the will of God. One submits to the laws of God. And one suffers eternal damnation for a failure to do so.

It’s curious how we can find our “good words” wherever we wish to find them. No true intellectual honesty is required. I don’t mean this as a criticism of Mitchell — he has sought to be inclusive, and there is indeed the rare Muslim who could give assent to not only these excised words, but also to the broader point of view to which they refer us.

What’s more curious still is our (my) relentless parsing of words — compare and contrast, yes and no, correct and incorrect. Maybe Mitchell has gone beyond needing to do so. There must be that place, no? A place where there can be a God of any name, or no God of every name. A place where none of these ideas matter.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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