Making You and I absent

beautiful beach and tropical sea

When we talk about “I” and “You,” we are looking at ourselves as separate from each other. The “I” and “You” are drops in the ocean or the individual egos. When we give up the drop (ego) we become part of the ocean. How do we do it?

The ego is subtle, it is difficult to see. It is as difficult to see as a black ant on a dark stone on a dark night. It is difficult to notice and even more difficult to remove. For most of us, dropping the ego is our life’s work and requires enormous effort to achieve. Nothing really worthwhile in life is easy. To become a full-fledged doctor takes years of hard work. To become an athlete takes countless hours of practice and hard work. Being able to eliminate the ego is no different. It takes years of discipline and hard work before you are transformed and free from ego.

This Sufi story illustrates this point.

When Rabia, the Sufi, through her devout meditation, reached the highest state of enlightenment, a voice asked, “Who are you?” The Rabi’a replied, “It’s me.” The voice responded, “Out you go.” The Rabi’a continued her meditation and again came very close to the Reality. Again the voice said, “Who are you?” This time she replied, “It is your servant.” The voice again said, “Out you go.” Once more Rabi’a continued with her meditation until she attained the highest state of consciousness. The voice once more said, “Who are you?” Now she replied, “It is You,” and was finally let in to experience the Reality.

We become something when we become nothing. When we eliminate our ego, we experience enlightenment. Where there is no ego, there is oneness.

Sufi Inayat Khan says, “All the great musicians, Beethoven, Wagner, and many others who have left to the world a work that will always be treasured, would not have been able to do so if they had not forgotten themselves [ego] in their work.”

When we eliminate our ego, we experience enlightenment and a deep sense of fulfillment and contentment. You and I become one. Where there is no ego, there is oneness. We are transformed. This is the final stage that a Sufi aspires to reach. This is the stage that Mansur al-Hallaj reached when he said, “I am the Real,” that is, “I am God.” He paid the price of his life for this statement. He was killed because people could not understand what he meant.

Rumi says that Hallaj showed extreme humility in this statement. For if Hallaj had said, “He (God) alone is,” he would be showing a duality because there cannot be a “He” without an “I.” If he had said, “You are God and I am the servant,” then he would be affirming his own existence and thus duality. Hence Hallaj said, “I am the Real,” — other than He, nothing else exists. Hallaj has been annihilated, so the words he was uttering were the words of the Real. This is a stage where you are one with God and you see God in everything around you. It is a stage where you have dissolved yourself in Him. You have become timeless, placeless, and eternal. There is no more “He,” “I,” or “You.” There is only Oneness. This is the final stage a Sufi aspires to reach.

(Excerpt from the book, The One Minute Sufi by Azim Jamal)

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