- Library - Abidance
The Application of a New Vocabulary
to Significant Elements of Life in the Sufi Way

Defining Meanings, and the Definition of "definition" and "meaning"

The word "meaning" is normally, in English, associated with "definition", but in my world "meaning" means the experiential Reality to which the word refers, or attempts to indicate. This is why I wish to introduce a new vocabulary to define meanings. "Meanings" means, in that definition, those elements that are or may be universally meaningful to human souls, of which I am one. 

"Meaning" means something meaningful to me as a human soul, a realized person, in a felt way. "Person" has many elements, major among the are Body, Mind, Heart, Soul and Spirit. Secondarily are emotions, feelings, inspirations, ideas and concepts, needs, wants, desires, etc. The primary elements are primary because they apply to our primary obligation, to "Love the Lord thy God with all your body, mind, heart, soul and spirit", and to the rather simple explanation of how we can do that. 

The secondary elements are important, but present themselves mostly and quite often in the form of impedances to the fulfillment of our primary obligation. Their importance, value and significance will be emphasized since there is nothing in creation without value. Part of why their importance will be emphasized is because without them there would be no struggle and then no adventure or point to life itself. Also that the key to working through these impeding elements is in their appreciation and honor, for they are very useful "survival" tools, and without them we would not have gotten this far. And without them there would be no work. It is sometimes said that God created an erring self solely that His Forgiveness could be recognized and appreciated. All of life is based on a similar duality.

Learning How to Totally Understand and Comprehend 
through the Inclusion of Opposites

"Comprehension" means "total understanding, recognition from all sides".

Understanding "Contradistinction"

It has come to my attention that a complete understanding (comprehension) of some thing or concept must include the acceptance and understanding of its opposite. Things are defined by contrast. It often helps in defining something that it is defined in "contradistinction" to, by means of, its opposite. It is often mentioned in Sufi parlance that God, who can never be described, is more likely referred to by what He is not. Since any attempt to "describe" Him defies satisfaction, He is more easily identified by what He is not. The same is true for understanding our reality. We're closer to understanding it if we can identify and separate any aspect of ourselves that is not "He". This is part of the meaning of "la ilaha illa llah", and more thoroughly described in other writings. 

However, duality in this sense has a purpose. Comprehension, or complete understanding is attained more easily when definitions include opposites. Definition, by definition, means defining something, "objectifying it, as it were, in contrast to its background, or in contradistinction to its what it is not. So in explaining my definitions of meanings, it will serve to explain also what I do not mean, whenever applicable. This is what I mean by "definition by contradistinction". 

Understanding Illusion

All of the problems of life are about understanding the significance and meaning of illusion. And all solutions arise from the determination of "reality". And while the understanding of illusion can be approximated when recognizably in the midst of it, it can only be clearly observed, defined and comprehended in contradistinction to its opposite, loosely referred to as "reality". But what is "reality" and how can it be determined except in terms of what is meaningful to us as individuals. So establishing what is meaningful is essential to the determination of reality and the resolution of problems. So how can we determine reality while recognizably in the midst of illusion? The answer is, by understanding the meaning and significance of illusion. 

The Value of Illusion

Illusion is there to impress itself upon us, to make us understand quite clearly its confusing and potentially harmful nature. Its point and purpose is to make us grateful for respite, any welcome moment in which clarity and peace may come. It is in contradistinction to chaos that we recognize peace. It is in contradistinction to illusion that we recognize reality. In is in search of refuge that we discover sanctuary. 

The Objectification of Illusion

As illusion becomes more and more identifiable, so does the clarity from which we see it. The more we can "objectify" illusion, the more clear the "subjective" reality of our true, meaningful selves becomes. Identifying illusion is a quality of truth. I call it a Soul-quality, or an inherent, innate capacity wishing to express itself. This explains why one of the mottoes of the Sufi masters is "Harisun `alaikum" "Concerned fort you". Seeing you wandering in illusion is painful to them. Not per se, but they can feel the burden of your illusions and in their hearts wish to share their knowledge of reality.


More Preliminaries - On Understanding "Reality"

"Reality" has two meanings, subjective and objective, but even the words "subjective" and "objective" have different meanings than ordinarily assumed. So before explaining "reality" I'll explain, cursorily, "subjective" and "objective". 

Subjective means personal, genuinely and authentically pertaining to me, in my heart, mind, body, soul and spirit. We might all easily agree on this point, but the word "objective" is more radically different than normally assumed. "Objective" has two meanings. It means, from the ego (outward) standpoint, all that is identified in the mind as an object. It includes self as an object and all things objectively identifiable as such.

But on the inner plane it refers to a Truth or a Reality that stands, independent of the perception or agreement of person. Objective realities, then, in the Sufi way, are truths that stand on their own merit, identifiable as such to the willing and investigative minds, yet nonetheless independent of them. Such truths are the Existence of God and the Truth of His prophets and revelations. There are more, but they are subsumed in this Primal Objective Reality. These truths stand, as I said, independent of the agreement or disagreement of persons, but not without it. That what we refer to as "objective" reality. 

"Reality" itself has now two meanings, subjective and objective. The twofold aspect of "objective reality" has been clearly defined but "reality" in the subjective sense has also two definitions. It is the definition of the mind, which is always at variance with other minds, and the definition of soul, which is stated above as what is meaningful to me, the true inner being. The other definition of "subjective reality" is simply that which pertains to the personal aspirations and goals of the outwardly oriented individuals. 

So now I have defined my meanings of the word "reality" in both the inward and outward aspects of a person, and shed some light of clarity upon the meanings of the "inward" and "outward" of the self in the process. Outward is objectively perceivable by the mind, but need not be objectified, even though it mostly is. Inward is not so easily perceived, but exists as an "objective reality" anyway, a truth with no need of verification. 

Training the mind to perceive, or not, the inward reality is the point of the disciplines offered by Sufi masters. These disciplines cannot be obtained from books, although they may be learned about from them. Only a realized teacher can spot whatever impedances you may have to full realization and discernment of subjective truth and objective reality, since it is the nature of these impedances to treasure themselves and hide safely within the self-concept, which is often defined by them. Therefore the object of the quest is really for a teacher, and the real object stays safely hidden in your subjective reality, of which you are only barely aware. This is why the teacher is called "murad", the "desired", and the sincere saalik (seeker) is called "Mureed", the "desirer".

The point: contradistinction, comprehension, complete understanding necessitate inclusion of opposites. Therefore how can we have self-realization while we still have preferences - while we are still judging between what is good, based upon what we like or feels good to us, and what is bad, based upon what we hate and what feel awful to us. We do not attain sainthood through separation and striving to be away from sinners, or the "reprehensible" in ourselves or in anyone else. Self-acceptance is the true acceptance of all people, individuals, creeds and words. 

Investigate the words that are absent from your vocabulary. Investigate the difference, if any, between your popularity and your truth. See and accept who you really are instead of focusing so intently on perfection; accept imperfection, and be joyful.