An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

Sufism, Time and Consciousness by Kabir Helminski

In metaphysics & cosmology on December 22, 2012 at 8:44 am

sufi-dance1(If you haven’t already read the previous post: Sufism, Time & The Mayan Calendar, you might want to read it first)

In all these years, we have never indulged in or even mentioned any doomsday scenarios, the coming of the “Mahdi,” or any speculation of the so-called end times. It has always seemed to us that these eschatological images and narrations were more spiritual and metaphoric than something to concern ourselves with in a literal way.

In the last few years, however, I have discovered from very interesting and significant areas of knowledge that complement our own tradition and illuminate our current situation. Seek ye knowledge even as far as (the Yucatan)…

One of these areas, for instance, is the fractal nature of time. This has nothing to do with predicting the future, but much to do with recognizing and understanding our experience of time. A fractal is a self-replicating pattern phenomenon that can be identified in many if not all levels of existence. The Mendlebrot series is one example, as is the golden mean proportion in nature. What if time also expresses itself in fractals. This is the basis of the so-called nine-underworlds (perhaps misleading term since it has little to do with ‘underworld” as commonly understood), which are eras of time that occur in a diminishing ratio of 1/20ths, each successive era being 1/20th the duration of the previous one, but all of them overlapping and concluding at the same time (2011-2012). Each era brings with it new forms and qualities and each has as much “information” as the previous era to add to the whole. The current era (“underworld”) began in January 1999 and seems to correspond to the most significant developments of our “technosphere” with all its effects upon our lives and awareness.

Another area is the monumental work of Jean Gebser, and his book, The Ever-Present Origin, which covers a vast panorama of time. He describes the twentieth century as the beginnings of a new understanding of time. Just as in the Renaissance people woke up to the possibility of individual perspective, and art reflected this with the introduction of perspective into what had been until that time a flat, two-dimensional world, in a similar way, humanity is waking up to a new relationship to time. He calls it “aperspectival.” Time now become more like an object we can circle around and less like a railway track we’re traveling on. This has been reflected in literature and the cinema for quite some time, and we generally have no problem understanding a story in which the elements are presented in other than the usual time sequence. We can begin with the end of a person’s life and then examine earlier parts of the story. Gebser describes various ages of human perception: the magical, the mythic, the egoic, and now something new in which dimensionalty is added to time.  Mystics have been aware of this kind of time, but the general public has not. During our years of study of Rumi’s Mathnawi, we have learned to “unpack” the linear story by “putting on the table” all the themes of a particular section and reflecting on them in a “synoptic” way, i.e. viewing them from a more transcendent, timeless dimension. Gradually this has the effect of freeing the mind from strict linear thinking, and learning to hold more elements in one’s awareness. This synoptic, or aspersectival consciousness all seems to bring with it a kind of spiritual transparency in which the events of the story, i.e. the details of our everyday lives, are seen through and recognized as manifestations of a spiritual reality.

Sufism has always taught that the manifest world is the theater of manifestation of Divine Qualities and that the Divine is in some sense the Origin of all. This new state of consciousness allows the numinous, spiritual reality to illuminate, suffuse, and transform the meaning of everyday life. One of the central messages of the Qur’an is to recognize the Face of God everywhere, through signs, qualities, and above all through the ever-present workings of Rahmah, the awesomely Generous Mercy.

What is startling about the Mayan view of time is the way it describes the intensification of time/consciousness. This has less to do with some prophetic end time, and more to do with the actual intensification of human experience that we can observe. The implications of all of this are so big that it almost seems foolish to try to address them here, but I do not have time to write a whole book at the moment. Please forgive, therefore the necessarily sketchy presentation of certain ideas that deserve a more complete explanation.

First of all, we have to revise our notions that we live in an historical world where everything real is the result of specific choices and actions, where creatures evolve through random mutations, where everything is built up from the choices and actions of discrete beings acting in their own self-interest (or nor, as the case may be). Quantum science has changed all that. We are not the cause of ourselves, even if we have been granted a certain degree of free-will. We seem to be fulfilling a program of consciousness-development. We witness and recognize a degree of purposefulness in the unfolding of life and consciousness. We were not created as idle play.

Reality is an entangled, non-local, a-causal oneness that is more mind than stuff. Our subjective perception is part of a field of consciousness, not just an electro-chemical epiphenomenon of a body, and within this field of awareness we are bonded in a beautifully intricate Unity of Being.

The whole history of the universe seems to follow an unfolding pattern of the actualization of consciousness. Early in this story, despite the immensity of the physical processes, not much was happening in time. Not much change over billions of years—the slow formation of the elements within stars and the spreading out of physical matter, then slowly, simple celled organisms, the primates, then very quickly human beings, then over the last hundred thousand years in an ever increasing tempo: spoken language, written language, industrialization, the technosphere, and in just the last few years a degree of interconnectivity that could hardly be imagined even a few years ago. And we are dealing with the psyho-spiritual consequences of all this. Our souls are shaking, we are clutching for sanity, trying to keep abreast of a reality that is changing as never before.

A second aspect of the times we are living in is the 26,000 year cycle known as the precession of the equinoxes, which describes an alignment between our solar system and the center of the galaxy. Science has confirmed what has been long known in esoteric science, namely that everything in the galaxy is “synchronized” with the galactic center, from which issues emanations that affect everything from (possibly) the design of dna to the (verified) creation of stars.

About 25 years ago I was instructed (with Suleyman Dede’s permission and encouragement) for five years in a tradition from the Caucasus which greatly clarified and deepened my understanding of Islamic Sufism, even though it was not an explicitly Islamic teaching. My teacher would say that the oral transmission of this tradition was 26,000 years old, although he never explained the significance of the date.

Eventually, I discovered through my own researches that the first appearance of realistic human portraits appeared about 26,000 years ago. It could be concluded that humanity reached a certain level of self-awareness at that time and this self-awareness was expressed through the first realistic human image.

Some cosmological scientists assert that our solar system is also receiving a greater degree of these galactic emanations due to our passing through the thick disc (gravitational center) of the galaxy and because of the unprecedented weakening of earth’s magnetic field which would normally shield us from “cosmic rays” (actually protons), etc. In other words, this is a time of significant change for the solar system, as well.

Now whether or not the above information is totally agreed upon, verified, and expressed in the most exact scientific terminology, we can still observe what we see around us everyday.

Our immediate task is to keep our balance, or lose it and find some kind of meta-balance within the flux. The solution must be spiritual—a quality of being, presence, relationship to the Infinite. This Living Tradition that we participate in is capable of meeting the needs of this Time, because it is not merely an historical artifact. It is a tradition born of timelessness, spacelessness, non-dimensionality, non-existence. It is from that generous Source and guides us in what really matters. It’s time is and always has been now.

We will work with its principles in understanding ourselves, our relationship to time, our need for recognizing our interdependence, the cultivation of our inner capacities, and our possibilities of communion with Divine Being. In the next year we will be exploring: time as spiritual practice, interdependence, coherence both individual and collective, quantum reality, and more esoteric significances of our traditional practices.

There is an underlying rationale for my concern about Time and the times. I apologize if I have bewildered or overloaded you, but that is an experience that seems to be becoming more and more common these days.

Do not curse Time for God is Time. ~Hadith

In faith and under the Light of our Tradition, Salam,


For further reading:

The Ever-Present Origin, Jean Gebser. A challenging, difficult, rewarding work that integrates philosophy, literature, aesthetics, and social science.

The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness. Carl Johan Calleman. A comprehensive view of the Mayan system and its possible implications and applications.

Time and The Technosphere, Jose Arguelles. The relationship of the Mayan matrix of time to the expanding technosphere

Originally published, June 28, 2011, 6:43 pm,

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