The Golden Sufi Center

Simple Answers

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee


Mystics teach simple things,
And those simple things change people's lives.

— IRINA TWEEDIE

We are coming to the end of one era, and stand at the dawn of a new age. When one era ends and another begins, power is generated to bring the new era into being. This power is needed to help dissolve the images and structures of the past, to destroy what is old and help the new to be born.

Collectively, we must let go of many patterns and ways of relating if we are to embrace an entirely new way of being and living together. For example, we will have to move beyond the sense of security we have tied to material prosperity. Attachments around money and material goods can give way to a deeper source of meaning, safety, and well-being.

Our outdated patterns are already losing their hold on us. Many sense this, and are feeling a deep anxiety around issues of security. But are we looking closely at the source of this anxiety? Do we recognize the changes that are possible? Are we trying to work with these changes, or do we fight against them?

Despite deep fears of terrorism, economic or environmental threats, the anxiety that is present in our culture does not come from any outside force. The real problems we are facing are not political, sociological, or even ecological. Rather we are recognizing that something in our foundation no longer holds. This is the deep reason for our collective unease that we project onto outer forces which appear to threaten us.

It is time to look closely at what is really happening. The mystic has always known that in order to find the cause of any effect we have to turn our attention inward to look at the inner patterns. We look to the hints in our dreams, we read the images of our psyche that are not censored by our conscious conditioning. When Joseph interpreted the dreams of the seven years of plenty and the seven lean years, Egypt was saved a catastrophe.

And yet we have rejected the images of the inner as belonging to a mythological past or the psychiatrist's couch. Instead, we try to listen to the voices of the outer experts. But with so many newscasters, political and economic analysts, and even spiritual visionaries, how do we know whom and what to trust? And do we even know how to listen?

But if we look carefully we can find a thread that links it all together—links our dreams and the stories on the news, links the trivia, the mundane and the sensational. There is a thread that is our collective destiny, and it is inside each of us as well as in the world around.

This thread is so simple it is overlooked. It is so ordinary we pass it by. It is in our hope, in our need to be loved, in the warmth of a handshake or the touch of a kiss. It is in the most basic connection between human beings, not the words we say but the very nature of communication. It is in the simple fact that we all live together, whether in the slums or the suburbs. It is in the primal knowing that we are one.

Because we live at the end of an era life has apparently become more complex. This is one of the signs of things falling apart. With our computer-generated models we look for complex answers to our problems.

But the signs of the emerging culture are not complex, they are in patterns that unify, that bring things together, rather than fall apart into a myriad pieces. The danger is when we turn away from what is offered, either through ignorance or arrogance when we stick to our models of ever-increasing complexity rather than recognize the simple human values that belong to our being.

We do not have to save or protect our culture. We do not have the power to resist the dynamics of change. Nor do we have to create a new culture. We have neither the energy nor knowledge for such an undertaking.

But we do have a responsibility: to listen, to love, and be loved, and to become aware of what is really happening. We have to accept that we cannot save the planet, just as we cannot defeat the forces of corruption. Enough battles have been fought, and the planet is a living being that can heal itself, with our love and co-operation.

What we always seem to overlook is the simple wonder of being human, which means to be divine. We are the meeting of the two worlds, the place where miracles can happen and the divine come alive in a new way. We are the light at the end of the tunnel. We are the warmth and the care and the compassion, as much as we carry the scars of our cruelty and anger.

This coming change is so fundamental it is a return to what is simple and essential, what is basic to life and yet not easy to live. There are forces at work that push us outwards towards complexity. These are the forces that take away our joy and demand that we work harder and harder. They drive us into conflicts we do not need, and always try to obscure the simple joy of life, of being together and valuing our companionship. Fast-food and mega movies may glitter and catch our collective attention, but we know in our hearts that something fundamental is being overlooked. We do not need to drown in prosperity. Nor do we need to impose any beliefs on others. We have simply to recognize what is real and live this in our own lives. What is real has the energy and light to free us from so many imposed beliefs, for example the belief in consumerism that feeds the greed that is destroying our planet.

In the simplicity of our human values of love, and joy, and hope we are all connected together. But we can only discover this connection when we return to this simple core of being. Otherwise we will fall apart with a world that has lost its center, a world that believes in its own advertising slogans. When we return to this connection of the heart we will see what is being born, how a linking together of individuals, groups, and communities is taking place, how patterns of relationships are growing, and how life energy is flowing along these patterns. Once again humanity is recreating itself, creating a new civilization amidst the old.

In our focus on complexity and the technological gadgets of our culture, we have overlooked the rule that the more complex something becomes the more its energy becomes scattered and easily fragmented. Human beings have a unique role as the microcosm of the whole which means that they can carry the whole multiplicity of creation within the simplicity of their essential nature. In this simplicity we carry the whole and also our divine potential and power.

When a human being is not scattered in the "ten thousand things," we are very powerful. This is a part of the purpose of spiritual practice: as we return to our essence we become more focused and able to claim our own power. In the simple core of our being we carry the imprint of the divine and its miraculous nature. This quality of life is able to express itself more directly in our love and joy and hope, and other simple qualities. Reconnecting with these qualities we reconnect with the divine within us and with the power of the divine. When we live these qualities we bring the power of the divine into life. This power or energy can flow along the patterns of relationship that are being created into all of life. This is a simple way that life can regenerate itself.

The signs of this regeneration are all around us, in the way people are coming together in different ways. The Internet is an essential part of this process in the way it connects people together regardless of the barriers of race or physical location. Different people in all parts of the world are linking together, forming networks of shared interests. These networks are outside the control of any hierarchy or government. They belong to life itself.

Patterns are growing that link people together in new and diverse ways. We have yet to fully understand that it is these patterns of relationship which are so essential, which provide the simple answers to the complexity of the times. They are not just for conveying information, but are creating a new, fast changing, organic interrelationship of individuals and groups. Something is coming alive in a new way.

People are making connections on many different levels, through global trade, travel, telecommunications, conferences, and other forms of gatherings. Interfaith dialogues are one level of interreligious communication. The migration of spiritual paths and traditions from the East to the West has also formed a level of global connection in which East and West are merging, creating a light that is "neither of the East nor of the West."

What we have yet to realize is that this is all a part of the organism of life recreating itself on the pattern of oneness. We see these changes with the eyes of individuality and fragmentation that focus on the individual parts. We are still caught in the complex images of a decaying culture. The real picture is an emerging wholeness that is a life force in itself. Life is reconnecting itself in order to survive and evolve.

In these patterns of reconnection a new life force is flowing, This life force has the urgency that is needed to survive and change at this time of crisis. It also has the power of oneness, and the simplicity of bringing people together. It is about sharing rather than possessiveness and isolation. It is the deep joy of knowing that we are one life. And it carries the imprint of divine oneness, which is stronger than any pattern of resistance.