From independence to total dependence

… Second blog post of the day. I must say, you’re very inspiring, Indonesia.

Isn’t it amusing that we often have to go through long process to learn something only to unlearn it later? C’est la vie.

I somehow has this belief planted in my mind: that we needed to be independent. We need to be able to stand on our own two feet. To depend only on ourselves and not on other people.

The belief managed to get me going for a while. It sounded like a good idea to help me march through this life. Until I sort of ran out of steam and grew tired. A question popped up: What is this tiredness all about?

Then these words from Hafiz came along


Just sit there right now.
Don’t do a thing.
Just rest.
For your separation from God, from love
Is the hardest work in this world.
Let me bring you trays of food
and something that you like to drink.
You can use my soft words
as a cushion for your head.
~ Hafiz
From The Gift by Daniel Ladinsky (Penguin, 1999)

Separation from God, from Love, is the hardest work in this world.” – no wonder I had been constantly tired. It is hard work to be strong all the time, especially during the times when I really know I am not. There is something odd about this whole idea of standing on our own two feet. Perhaps I have forgotten that one key component in my life: God.

It was not like I had forgotten Him altogether, God forbid. At the back of my mind, I have His Name(s) imprinted somewhere. I remember Him when I utter His Name. I remember Him in my prayer. I remember Him whenever I fast, or during Qur’an study sessions. But that would not cut it anymore.

When the Qur’an says “Only in remembrance of God will your heart find peace“, I guess, it really means it. And it means at all time, literally, in every single thing that we do, in every split second of life. A total surrender to Him. A complete dependence on Him.

Didn’t we say lots of times these words, “Laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa billaah—there is no power nor strength save through God.”? So, what’s this business about being strong if there is no power nor strength save through Him?

There was a shift, in the mind, in the heart, and in the way of being. From being independent—depending on no one but oneself, to (trying to live in) complete dependence on Him. The idea of not clinging or depending on anyone still rings true. Only now, the “anyone” includes us, includes myself.

Pak Nassarudin Umar said in his recent Paramadina class that the way to turn (a burden that weighs like) a mountain into cotton is by going ‘vertical’, to direct your presence to Him and only Him. He is so right. It is about handing over all matters to Him. To direct one’s gaze on Him—He who possesses the Most Beautiful Names.

This too is no small matter. In fact, it is hard work. For letting go of such strong belief always is. The implications are nothing short of a very long list. Since this also implies on not depending (too much) on conjectures and analysis of the mind. It is hard work, indeed, but it is the kind of hard work that I am happily surrender myself to.

This hard work necessitates stillness, so many encounters with one’s ego, lots of letting go, and constant (as much as humanly possible) listening. True listening, which only uses one’s senses without adding trickles of subjective thoughts based on limited past experiences.

To welcome anyone into your guest house, for each has been sent as a guide from beyond (A Rumi’s poem). Complete trust. Remembrance of Him. Remembrance of Love. To be in love, as in, to dip yourself fully in Love, to know that you are never out of It.

From this complete dependence on Him, comes true independence. Where there is no pressure coming from within and without. Where we feel free to be our true nature, our own self. Where we know we have been alright, we still are and we will always be. Where we know we are completely accepted and unconditionally love. How freeing is that?

The real freedom which leads to true independence. “Just rest”, as Hafiz puts it, is so appealing. Repose. How light and Light that would be. How can one not be in love with and long for this?

Qur’an said the faithful does not have any fear or sorrow. It makes a lot of sense, for surely there would be no fear or sorrow when you truly believe with all your heart you are in the safety of The Compassionate’s trusted hands.

May we be among those who respond to this beautiful call. May we be among those who are truly free. May we be among those who fully allow our beautiful, true nature to flourish.

Happy independence day, Indonesia love.

post script: And to add to the urgency of this matter, allow me to post this sobering picture from a friend’s Facebook wall:

1 thought on “From independence to total dependence

  1. Eva Post author

    From Osman Fazli: Man does not possess anything else but his sensibilities as his real organ of intelligence, and without Divine action man cannot even use his memory which is his sacred treasury of experience acquired long ago.

    The initiate, the saint, insân al-kâmil, is he who possesses the faculty of being able to recognise the true non-existence of his faculties of thought and his own impotence in putting them in motion.

    It is he who leaves all the ‘space’ to God and who passes all his life in controlling his intimate faithfulness, in actions, ‘thoughts’ or in the acts that materialise them. It is he who prays constantly to God, even if it be only by a breath or by a movement of the heart, when he perceives the natural and constant phenomena of thought.

    In fact everybody knows that this faculty is permanent, constant, irresistibly active. The intimate work of the mystic consists, therefore in trying to attain the Divine proximity, to respond to His infinite clemence by his recognition, or through zikr (remembrance), whenever thoughts, ‘visitors from heaven’, manifest in his interior.

    Good or tempting, these visitors have for their mission the exercising of our discernment to the most subtle degree of ‘Good and Evil’, whereby we accord them our consent or we refuse them.



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