This article contains a brief series of excerpts from the book "Witnessing Perfection", which detail the specifically Islamic notion of "witnessing" (or shahada in Arabic), and how this can lead one to realizing the perfection of each and every moment.
These excerpts come from the first pages of "Witnessing Perfection".
Body, Mind and Heart¶
Well-being of body, mind and heart are essential for spiritual growth and unison between self and soul. The body is like a temple: for an aspiring worshipper, its health and efficiency are important. The danger comes from being infatuated with a beautiful temple rather than divine beauty itself. For the seasoned seeker, the entire earth is a temple. Thus, a holistic life for individuals, as well as for society, implies outer health in order to pursue inner health, harmony and contentment. Commitment to a path and appropriate spiritual practices are essential if the self is to unite with its soul-mate and bask in God’s eternal grace and mercy. Worship initially satisfies the need to attempt an escape from undesirable situations, mindsets or behavior. Then worship becomes the mode of life, as it brings the person closer to witnessing perfections. To live by grace and divine presence is to be in awe at all times and be in the grip of the miraculous divine light with its visible appearances and its boundless domains.
Mindfulness which is groomed, developed and fully evolved will lead to mindlessness and heart-fullness. A clear mind is necessary but insufficient, for it is the heart that knows the truth. If the self is to read the heart, it first needs to be distracted from the shadows of egotistical self interest, so as to connect with the heart. You can only taste honey after spitting out the bitter aloe in your mouth. The immortal soul beams its numerous lights on the entire human kingdom, with its complex physiology and cosmology. The soul contains the foundations of everything that is understandable; its role is fulfilled when the self is aligned with it. When this harmony between the self, body, mind, heart and soul is established, the map of human composition is internalized, lived efficiently and the seeker reaches the intended destiny of witnessing perfection joyfully. Reading the map with urgent attention and then following its codes of transformation will bring about unity with the perfect destination.
As personal human consciousness evolves soul consciousness provides the stable background behind the changes, for the soul is linked to the non-space-time dimension. When consciousness is unified, perfection is witnessed at all times.
When the body is well and relaxed and the mind is still, a moment of joyfulness may be experienced spontaneously without any discernible reason. In such a state, time seems to have stopped or to be moving smoothly. Concern for the future and sorrows from the past are forgotten. When the heart is content, the self expresses a moment of perfect harmony and peace. At such an instant personal consciousness is in unison with soul consciousness and the self experiences harmony and a glow of well-being.
To witness perfection, all levels of consciousness need to relate smoothly and harmoniously. If happiness and contentment is the main purpose in life, then entry is through the door of experiencing and witnessing inner perfections. The human desire for outer success and excellence is only an aspect of aiming to realize the perfect moment.
We sometimes succeed in worldly activity and at other times we fail. Pleasure through success is simply reflecting the experience of momentary outer unity and harmony. Even with failure, the events themselves have followed a perfect pattern of cause and effect, irrespective of the final result. There is, however, a danger that the spiritual seeker may develop a cynical or careless attitude towards outcomes. When someone expresses a lack of worldly interest and claims that outer success does not really matter, the heart may still harbor a secret desire or fear in that direction. There is a big difference between hoping for something and acting towards that end, and not hoping or acting, yet having a hidden desire. Witnessing perfections at all times implies seeing the outer and inner worlds with the soul’s lens, not with the mind or self.
Reflections of Perfection¶
The purified heart reflects the light of the perfect creator as it falls upon the receptive human self. Everything in creation reflects, to a certain extent, an aspect of the numerous qualities of god. Every color of the rainbow is produced by the original colorless light. The creator’s attributes are etched within the human soul and are sought after by the self. These qualities are also ingrained within other souls in creation to varying degrees. The lion was worshipped for power and dominance and the ant for selfless cooperation and collective survival. These attributes are universally regarded as virtues worthy to be pursued; likewise their absence or opposite qualities are vices to be avoided. Patience and impatience, like all binary opposites, co-exist as a matter of creational law.
All shadows are proof of the light, which causes them. Every sentient creation has been touched by a spark of the perfect creator through consciousness at various levels. Thus, everything in existence resonates with an aspect of the creator’s perfections, or its opposite, at any one time.
Perfections are reflections of god’s attributes. We experience aspects of them and desire them. The soul contains god’s qualities and beams them out towards the self.