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Imagination (Tasawur) during Muraqaba
Author :Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi
Short URL: http://iseek.online/?p=12911
Many people are not sure what imagination or visualization is. Usually they assume that imagination suggests making picture in our head about the given subject. For example in the Muraqaba of tassawar shaykh (visualizing the Sufi Master), many people mistakenly visualize the face or whole body of the shaykh. When someone is doing a Muraqaba of light, he tries to see the color of that light with closed eves. This is not what imagination (tassawar) is. Since that person is trying to see that subject or idea in his mind, the process of viewing is not over yet. As long as you keep beholding, imagination will not form.
The real idea behind imagination is that you should surrender all your thoughts and then just focus on a single thought or idea. You should not put meaning into that thought nor should try to see anything. For instance if you are doing a Muraqaba of your teacher then after closing your eyes, you should concentrate as if you were focusing on your spiritual teacher or your teacher as the center of your attention. You should avoid imagining the facial or physical features of the teacher. Similarly, on Muraqaba of lights, imagine lights are shining on you. Do not focus on the color or the types of lights they are.
In the beginning you are going to have a hard time focusing on that single idea during Muraqaba; you would be inundated with a throng of different thoughts right from the time you start the Muraqaba. The more you try to calm the mind, the greater the influx of thoughts occurs which leads to mental fatigue and boredom. On some occasions the thoughts become so severe that you will have no choice but to end the Muraqaba prematurely. Sometimes it leads to a feeling that one does not have the ability to do Muraqaba, which is of course is nothing but a superstition.
Here the analogy of a horse would best clarify it. Just like a horse, which at first gives stiff resistance to any attempt to tame it, but later gives in, the mind also needs persistent hard work to control it. When you perform Muraqaba in a timely fashion with all the necessary requirements, then the willpower will eventually take hold and the unruly horse of mind will finally submit.
In our consciousness life there are a number of examples in which the attention, despite all the thoughts remains focused on one given idea. In the following examples, we would like to clarify “imagination” during Muraqaba.
EXAMPLE-1: Two people are in love with each other. When mutual love between the two is established then they increasingly spend time thinking about the other. Their thoughts do interchange, however it does not affect the normal routine of daily life.
EXAMPLE-2: A working mother goes to work, leaving her sick child at home. The worrisome thoughts about her child constantly stay on her mind. While at work she performs her duties diligently, however the very thought of her sick child never leaves her mind.
EXAMPLE-3: When columnists begin writing an article or essay, they shift their entire focus towards that essay, the details of the subject matter, sentence structure and so on. Their senses work in many dimensions. Their eyes are fixed on the paper, their hands hold the pen, and their ears keep hearing the surrounding sounds. The sense of touch feels the chair on which the writer is sitting. The sense of smell is able to smell anything and everything around. But despite all this, the attention is never diverted to anything besides the essay, and eventually the essay takes form on that piece of paper.
EXAMPLE-4: Too often, we deal with worrying or distressing thoughts. In this condition we manage to perform more or less all our daily routines but that worrisome thought keeps knocking in our mind. The extent of worry depends on the depth of the thought. Even in this state we do eat, walk, socialize, sleep and so on. However, if we analyze the mental state, we know that though dormant, that worrisome thought is still active. Sometime the worrisome thought becomes so overwhelming that we isolate ourselves from the environment and become withdrawn.
In the above example we showed that even with all the physical activities and thoughts, the mind is usually focused on something else. In the same manner during Muraqaba the mind keeps focusing on one idea regardless of the other incoming thoughts. During Muraqaba different thoughts descends into the mind without intention. It is the duty of the person doing Muraqaba to keep himself or herself focused on the given idea or imagination without paying attention to the incoming thoughts.
The main reason behind the influx of unrelated thought is the resistance of the consciousness. The human consciousness does not easily accept any practice that it is not used to. When someone surrenders to the conscious resistance; then he or she has gone astray from the path of Divine Guidance (siraat musta’qeem). But when he or she keeps on doing Muraqaba without paying attention to the conscious resistance then gradually the flow of incoming thoughts weakens and the feelings of confusion and apathy go away. The easiest way of achieving success in Muraqaba is to avoid fighting or rejecting the thoughts instead simply let them come and go. When you reject a thought repeatedly, it starts echoing itself, which leaves a much deeper mark of it in the mind.
EXAMPLE-5: You leave your home for a stroll in the park. You remain aware of the fact that you are heading towards the park. If your brain deletes this idea then you would never be able to reach the park. On your way to the park you come across beautiful houses, street lined with trees, sometimes even garbage in the streets. Nevertheless, regardless of what you see, you are not distracted and keep on going towards the park. If for some reason you had decided to stop to see a beautiful house or to show your disgust at the garbage, you would not have reached the park. On the other hand, if the thought of that beautiful house or that repulsive garbage overwhelms your mind then you would not be able to enjoy the park even after reaching it.
These examples show that during Muraqaba either rejection of the incoming thoughts or the picture making would plunge your mind in the secondary nonessential thoughts and you would not be able to achieve the needed mental focus.
See this article in printed book on the pages (or page): 102 to 103
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