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Sufi Conference 2008, Interview with Maata Lynn Barron

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I found Sufism through the unseen. Through an experience that I had. I had a study for many years, a metaphysics, that had brought me to a certain place. And I was working on the unity of being at the time. And there was a particular sentence in the work that said something like "That eventually the spirit of truth would come. That you would kind of be in this waiting pattern for awhile. And for some people they wait their whole lifetime at this particular place. And there was two directions. Obey the law and fear God. Both of which kind of confused me. I understand the fear God part as this particular quality of awe that was necessary. And the law was a quality of submission and obedience to the truth that I would have to have. And so one evening I decided to take everything that I knew to be true. And put it in my heart. And see what happened. And I went into the unseen in this way. And there, with Sufism I found that it was a series of awakenings that had to do with an initiatic chain of transmission. That happens. And so there was level upon level of depth to this experience. And there were quite a few key points. And kind of how I see Sufism, that there was this relationship between the student and the teacher. And even though my teachers, and there were many, they were all in the unseen and I called them the white ones. Because I had no context to really understand any of this yet. And so illumined beings. And they brought me so far. You know. One awakening after another. And there was a quality of what I called then impeccable behavior that was necessary on my part. I now know it is just Adab. Which is part of the Sufi tradition. And there's an outer Adab of particular courtesy. But there's something much, much deeper than that. And so in a way impeccable behavior is still a little better definition for me. In terms of what I'm trying to speak about. So there was this quality of relationship where I actually had to have an affinity for Sufism or I would never, ever been able to use this particular tradition as a vehicle to go into the heart, the innermost heart is where I was being brought. Very slowly. I mean at the time it seemed very quickly. But I now see that it was one step at a time, little by little. And so that was one thing about Sufism was this quality of relationship that's really important. And even though my experience was in the unseen, later when after my experience was over and I was, had a teacher on this plane, it was the same relationship. My quality of presence. So that was one thing. Also, there is a prophetic tradition in Sufism. And so I also had to sit at the feet of the prophets. And they're the obvious ones that you know about. But then there were all the ones that were hidden. And so it was a submission, you know, sitting at their feet. And somewhat having the experience that maybe what their archetype would represent on this plane now. Whether it was Moses or David or Jesus or Mohammad. They all have a particular quality to their prophethood. And so that was also an interior experience. There's also what I call the primordial wisdom and it is somewhat like a last destination here. And so you would through this prophetic traveling that you're doing after you reach a certain point, you're brought into this stream of consciousness that is from before the beginning. And then you have that as part of your experience. All of these things to me belong to Sufism. That they're part of that particular journey. Then there was another aspect that I would call the Journey Upon the Way of the Name. So it is somewhat like Zikhr, so I didn't have There is no God but God. That came later as an exoteric practice. It was given to me differently in the unseen. But it was the same idea. So this was also another element of Sufism for me. What I could define Sufism as. All of these things are to purify the heart. Or polish the heart, purify the self. A taking away all of the qualities that are other than God. And so it's a dismantling of a structure that you've built. And later I was given techniques that I use with other people to help in this process. So I came to Sufism kind of through a back door. And then after I had the full experience of this. Even the teachings came in this way. Anything I needed to know. It didn't matter if it was in Arabic, Farsi, whatever. There was enough meaning that I could hold onto something. So that I could bring it into reality. It didn't stay in the deep for me. And then later when I had to have reintegration because this experience somewhat wiped me out. I met my teacher who I had for a number of years. He passed away recently. And so I began an outer training in Sufism where I was actually introduced to it in that way as well. And so I've had a classical training in Sufism. And that's my experience of it. There's many more things to this. It's all done though transmission. There are these subtle centers in consciousness that have veils over them, that are to be awakened and so there's techniques to do this. It's often talked about the curtains that are over the heart. And it was, you know for me, it's this deepening you know. Continuing to ask the question. Reality. What is reality? So Sufism for me is really just an experience. You know I don't know, I mean what I know about it is experiential. And yet I did have a training. But when I met my teacher, he said "You already subsist in God. You don't need a training. But I was then trained after a typical Sufi experience with the teacher. And so that's how I know about Sufism. If a person's heart has been prepared properly, then this experience is available to anyone. I wasn't you know a Muslim. I knew very little about Islam. I had no context to understand outwardly any of what was happening to me. But because of this primordial wisdom that has been flowing since the beginning, once you have prepared your heart properly, it can attune or align to this transmission. And you're just taken. Whether you like it or not. These are just next steps. You know along the way. I imagine you have to have some concept that this is a journey. You have to have. I mean I was prepared through metaphysics. I mean I knew there were more dimensions than the one I could perceive. I knew there was a dimension with no time. So I did have information. But I had not had the experience of it. And I think that's really what Sufism is more for me. The actual experience of the metaphysical concepts I had been unfolding for most of my adult life. But to me it is a very dynamic, living, I mean it's it in a way for me. There's this particular quality of joy that comes when you're able to go into the deep, have this mystical experience of the unknown, have many things revealed to you and then begin the process of bringing those out of the deep. You know the hidden treasure that's been revealed to you. Bringing it out of the deep and then to live that as your understanding of life on this plane. It isn't easy because your consciousness has been changed. But yet this plane hasn't. So you know it's a little dance that you're always trying to do between the unseen and the seen and finding a balance. But also not immersing yourself back in the distraction or the delusion. And it's very easy to live on this plane in that way. It's much more difficult to try to keep your consciousness in a state of remembrance all of the time. Living in the two worlds almost simultaneously. The thing is is that it is. It always has been and always will be. These dimensions that we're speaking about. I think that because of our longing. You know, there is this remembrance that I always had of something other than what you know I was exposed to. I knew there was something more to life than what I was actually living. This is why I began the quest in the first place. I knew that this wasn't right. There was something amiss with it all. And it was really what was amiss was just my understanding of it. Now that I understand it in a different kind of way, it all seems just fine to me. You know all of the ups and downs and craziness and whatever. They're just all necessary for life to continue to perpetuate itself on this plane. Things have to move and shift and change. As our consciousness changes. I guess it's easier for me to speak about it in the context of how our work with this wisdom now, this primordial wisdom. I know it as The Unknown She. You know it has many names. It's this particular quality of wisdom that is from before the beginning that comes into each person's experience in whatever way they'll understand it so that they will actually grow in the way that will bring them to their innate being. I don't know if that just made sense. It is something that is actually inherent in the individual. It is part of what is perhaps unknown to you in this moment. But you are to know this so it is to become known to you. And you know throughout history you've seen all of the different ways that it's been presented so that we'll understand it. Whether it was Judaism or Christianity or Islam. But even before that it was still streaming. You know when they were speaking primarily about spirit. Or they were speaking about the mother. And so you have access to this stream. But there may be only certain aspects of it that are necessary for you. And so you will perhaps have an experience of that. It has, this primordial wisdom also is the wisdom if you hold the concept of return, that there is to be a return. If you you know that you have the idea that there was this covenant. And you made some agreement that you would return. You would descend and then you would return. To me this primordial wisdom has to do with what going to be necessary to get you home again. And it changes with the circumstances... I'm living in 2008. What's necessary in 2008? So you get you know attune or align yourself with this stream and you get whatever. A teacher shows up. A job shows up. A difficulty in your life that's going to push you in a certain kind of way. So that you'll get some courage because it's really necessary if you're going to go into this unknown aspect of the self. Can anything happen in this world without certain conscious beings present on the earth? I don't know what would happen if they're not here. Why is it necessary that they have to be here? I think they watch over what's going on. And you know for me when I see what's going on in the world now, You know, I'm like "where are they?" So somewhere I know that even though I might not be able to see it clearly now, I know that there is an intelligence at work. That all of this is happening because it's necessary. So that we can evolve as beings. But you know sometimes you can say where's the watching over right now? But you know again, you know some of these things you don't really speak about. You know it's yes they're a very important part of Sufism. But it's usually spoken about in the unseen. Most of these connections are in the unseen. They're not in the seen. If you're brought into the deep and they reveal themselves to you. Then you know who they are otherwise most people have no awareness whatsoever. They're keeping a lot of people calm right now. I know that. They're sending an awful lot of peace for people so that it doesn't get any crazier than it is right now. But another important concept in Sufism is an unbroken chain of transmission. Is it possible for the people in the West to accept that it is something such as this unbroken chain of transmission? Again, I only know about it because I have the experience about it. I didn't have that in the unseen. I had that with my teacher showing me exactly how this chain works. From me to him through our hearts. And from his heart to his teacher's heart. From his teacher's heart and following this chain all the way back. So I know about it that way whether or not people in the West, I think Sufism because it is really about having the experience of it. When you have the experience of it, you accept it as an aspect of reality. Not one that you're used to or I mean for me I didn't even know about all this when it showed up in my life so it was quite the shock. And I don't know why people wouldn't accept it if it's part of their experience. But to hear it. That's why I like a little bit talking about the hidden ones and whatever it's you know, people hear this and they're like just another one of those wackos. But when you have the experience of them showing up in your bedroom in the evening and you're like oh, hello. And they're as real as you and I sitting across from each other. It's another world. It's another dimension. And you are, you know as a mystic you go into those dimensions. And that's what Sufism is about. I mean it's about a lot of other things too. But they have you know there's also the angelic part about it. They're are the angels. So there's a lot that isn't really spoken about in the West. Because we don't have conditioning to understand it. But if you have the experience of it, then you know you're fine with it. When my teacher passed away, fortunately my relationship with my teacher was in the unseen. And so he's still with me. And so not much changed. I'm a little freer now that he's passed away. And I have my permission. And when he was alive because he was the sheikh, I did have some restrictions I didn't always feel so comfortable with stepping forward with what my experience is. But now that he has passed away I'm free now to offer in the way that I understand it. Through the experience that I have. I'm a woman who grew up in America. I didn't grow up in the Persian world or the Arabic world where Sufism was originally placed. So I would be a hypocrite to try to sit in that way. So now I'm more seated in who I am and comfortable speaking from my experience. And how I've understood it. I have these practices that I can offer for people that can bring them into the deep heart. And so I have my work and that's what I do. It can actually bring people into their heart. Because this was one of the other things that's when in the beginning when we were talking about Sufism. It happens in the heart. It doesn't happen in the breast. And so a lot of people think that they're in their heart, but they're not. They still have a dynamic within themselves where they're working with resistance and surrender. They still have what I call shadow and light. When you're in your heart, things change. It's very different. It's a very living dynamic experience. You feel this. It can be like a heart attack when this energy starts to move in a person. You can get a really high fever when the dross starts to burn off. I mean there are a lot of things. You know, it's all very living. You know, it's an awareness of divinity. The presence is with you wherever you are. Sufism is about intimacy and nearness. I talk about the idea in this poem that was given to me. "In the silence of the night comes the Unknown She whispering sweetly come dance with me." There is so much in those few sentences. If you look at you know the metaphysics of this it's a very subtle relationship. It's like a whisper. There's this implied nearness. This intimacy. A dance. You're going to have to get engaged. And that's one of the things in the West that I find people have a real difficult time with. Is to actually make contact and then stay engaged. Because it's a workout. It isn't easy. If you want something that's going to make you feel good, you definitely don't want to come sit with me if that's all you're looking for. It's a transformation.

Video Details

Duration: 27 minutes and 21 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 1,741
Posted by: oneness on Jan 15, 2010

Maata Lynn Barron received her formal training in the classical tradition of Sufism from a Shaykh in India. She is known and loved throughout the United States for her teaching and her poem "The Unknown She".

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