Project Conversion

Project Conversion


Monthly Visit from the Universe

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It happened again, on Sunday the 21st, my monthly visit from the universe. Every month about this time I have some odd, transcendent experience that throws me for a loop. What gets me is that they are consistent in timing, usually have little to do with the faith in particular, and increase in potency, clarity, or intensity. Last Sunday’s was the strongest and clearest yet.

And I have no freaking idea what to make of it.

Here’s the backdrop: I went to “the beach” or “the temple” as we call it around the house, a spot by the river where I meditate, and began my Zuhr (early afternoon) prayer. Afterward I settled down on Masjid (my prayer rug) and started meditating. Now, why am I meditating in August? Aren’t I a Muslim this month? Muslims don’t meditate, do they? I think of prayer as a conversation. If you want answers to prayer or to simply chat with the divine, you need to learn how to shut up and listen. Meditation is shutting up and listening.

And so I listened. And listened. And listened. Until everything went still and quiet.

This happens all the time, which is why I love this spot by the river, but then, something new happened. In that moment of clarity, I felt something–experienced something. It was so intense that I forced myself out of it. I didn’t want anymore. There was too much. And I just stared out across the murky, black river moving slowly by. Right there, as I gathered my senses, I understood what felt like everything. It was like a flash of light in a dark room, and I only had a few seconds to gather the details.

I don’t want to go over what I gleaned from those seconds because I cannot fully articulate them myself, but I left that spot at “the temple” knowing full well that nothing would ever be the same. It was a bonified WTF moment and I left terrified because each experience is more intense, more palpable than the last. I still have four months left. What does that mean? It’s like I’m marching closer toward a fire and I have no control of my steps.

As we traverse these last ten days of Ramadan, Muslims seek the Laylat al-Qadr (Night of Power), the evening that the 96th Sura of the Qur’an says is more powerful than a thousand months. No one knows exactly when this night is, but many Muslims will spend one or more nights in their local masjid reading the Qur’an or praying all through the evening. I feel like my “Night of Power” began Sunday as I haven’t been able to sleep since then. All I can think about is that day at the river and what I gleaned from that intense flash of mental light. Like a last breath, it was one of the most beautiful and dangerous things I’ve every encountered.

Allah be merciful…



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Comments read comments(16)
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Niki Whiting

posted August 25, 2011 at 10:31 pm


Most. exciting. post. yet.

I cannot wait to hear about this…. when you’re ready.



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Abubaker

posted August 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm


Yeah your right. I wouldnt be so haughty as to say ‘the right path’ to anyone and everyone. But youve had been testing out all these faiths for a number of months now.

So i thought you may be able to see the ‘right path’ more easily.



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abowen

posted August 25, 2011 at 1:04 pm


Abu,

Just going where this leads me pal. The right path for one is the wrong for another. Everyone says they are on the “right” path, and everyone has God “on their side.”



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abowen

posted August 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm


Kitsune,

Because the possible implications aren’t something I want to handle.



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Kitsune

posted August 25, 2011 at 3:20 am


Why?



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Abubaker

posted August 25, 2011 at 3:12 am


Yeah these experiences definately happen. And interesting story Kate. Just make sure you dont fall into the trap of thinking your more special because God gave you direct help. All types of arrogances can spring up.

And Andrew i meant in my previous comment, that you have to male your mind up with belief in God. You dont want to go into the next life neither here nor there, dithering. But its good your doing this project conversion and well done! for embarking on this difficult mission.



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abowen

posted August 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm


B Irwin,

I love this whole analogy. Works so well, and yes, I totally agree with the endurance idea.



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abowen

posted August 24, 2011 at 9:35 pm


Thanks B. We’ll see what happens…



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Editor B

posted August 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm


Don’t be afraid. You can handle it.

I think.



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B Irwin

posted August 24, 2011 at 3:10 pm


I suspect this is why so many languages use “fear” or “terrible” in conjunction with God. Not because what we call “God” is some nasty, bad-tempered being we need to cower away from and worry about peeving. But because our Creator is unknowable by those created, so responses to our hesitant attempts at contact are so beyond our abilities that we can’t stand lengthy sessions. Sort of like trying to run 220 volts thru a 110 device. The wiring simply can’t endure extended runs of higher powered juice!

Could this be why so many major religions contain instructions for regular meditation? To build up endurance for more extended bouts of contact/interface?



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abowen

posted August 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm


Kitsune,

Honestly, I didn’t want to be responsible for what I experienced.



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Kitsune

posted August 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm


Why did you stop? Why did you pull away this time?



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abowen

posted August 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm


David,

The question was rhetorical, but thanks for the clarification.



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David Kearns

posted August 24, 2011 at 8:31 am


Muslims do meditate, study the Seerah of Rasulullaah (saws)



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abowen

posted August 24, 2011 at 6:49 am


Oh Kate, don’t you know? Your religion found you on the bus that day. Hang in there sister.



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Kate

posted August 24, 2011 at 5:07 am


Andrew, I completely understand your experience & associated feelings. I grew up in a conservative Baptist family & struggled against God & church my entire life. Several years ago I found myself in a foreign country, alone at night, in a scary bus station where no one spoke any English. If I didn’t find my bus to the airport I was going to miss my flight home. I was so despondent, alone & terrified. God literally came to me. He tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the right bus. I turned around & there was absolutely no one there. It was the most terrifying & exalting moment of my life.

I still struggle against God daily, and have yet to find a religion or church that works for me, but whenever I have doubts I remember that moment when God tapped my shoulder. I’ll never, ever forget that feeling.



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