Intimacy (uns) is a state that descends upon one who has cultivated love and devotion for the divine for an extended period of time. It represents an experience of absolute nearness, a recognition that the mercy and love that the divine has for human beings is sewn into the very fabric of the cosmos.
In my personal experience of fleeting states of radical intimacy, I saw in the world a softness and gentleness, an unexplicable kindness in the very existence of every single thing. I saw in every hardship a labour of love, a piercing understanding that the fact that I get to be alive, that I get to experience this challenge and all the challenges I have faced is in fact such a mercy. The fact that I get to feel the range of emotions, the range of human experience in every moment, it’s breathtaking if you really think about it.
So let’s be clear, bad stuff happens. And false optimism definitely isn’t the way to go about your spiritual path. But a hidden sense of wonder at it all is a very different feeling. And the moments that I am lucky enough to have that insight, that everything is a miracle of love, I can’t help but smile and feel like it’s all been a ruse. Like we were made to believe that the sacred is this separate thing in this other world when the treasure of miracles is in every little thing and has been staring us right in the face all along.
This is what the state of intimacy means to me. It goes far beyond the good and the bad things that happen to us. It’s the recognition of the substance of life from which arises the range of the good and the bad. On the human level, it’s like that feeling of uncontainable contentment you get because, despite how boring your day is going, you feel so lucky that you have an amazing human being to love. Only multiplied a thousandfold, because unlike anything that can come and go, the beauty and sacrality of the world is with you in every single breath.
As you step onto the mat or sit on your meditation cushion, as you move or breathe, precede every thought and observation with “Wow!” “Wow, my breath is deeper today!” “Wow, plank pose felt easier yesterday!” “Wow, the color of my mat is really blue!” Without necessarily thinking of it as a good or bad thing, keep this practice of marvelling at every little thing and notice how your attention changes, how your emotional reaction to the world you encounter changes, and if maybe…just a little…it suddenly starts to dawn on you that this world is made up of innumerable miracles. Once you feel full, expansive and maybe even a little lighter, close your eyes, take a deep inhale in and smile gently. Give yourself a hug at the end of your practice.
P.S. Muslims, saying “Subhan Allah” in the place of “Wow!” works really well!
May you be filled with peace,
I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted on here! What a whirlwind! I’m currently in the middle of writing my Ph.D. qualifying exams and can’t seem to keep on top of everything that comes my way. After dealing with a difficult situation recently, I felt it was time to remind myself of the lessons of Sufi intimacy. I’m very happy to be returning to this blog in the coming weeks once my exams end. It’s such a lovely place to reflect. I hope everyone has been doing well! I missed you guys so much!
Next time, we explore the final stage on the Sufi path, Contentment. Stay tuned!
For the first post in this series, click here.