Sheikh Aly N’Daw, Sufi Spiritual Master and the fourth leader of the International Sufi School, always reminded us about the sanctity, beauty and peace that is at the core of the human Being.
Our societies place so much emphasis and importance on constantly doing, working or striving in order to have and accumulate as much as we can in terms of material wealth, possessions and status. Sheikh Aly, however, was a constant reminder of his teaching: that we must first BE, in order to do, in order to have. The Being must always come first – after all, it was through the Being that all of the Prophets, Messengers and Peacemakers were able to create change and truly be of service to humanity.
In March 2013, Sheikh Aly delivered an improvised talk in Reunion Island, where he spoke indepthly about the Being, sharing many points of discussion on this topic. The entire speech can be found in the book, The Awakening of Consciousness.
From that same talk, we share with you five of the many important things to know, understand and meditate on in terms of the Being. If we are able to implement this knowledge into our own lives, not only will we be better able to achieve personal transformation and liberation, but we will also be placed in a state that allows us to help others and better serve humanity.
1. Selflessness is part of the state of the Being
The term selflessness here is not used in the way we would ordinarily understand it. Sheikh Aly explains that whilst we were in our mothers’ wombs, each of us was in a pure state of total selflessness; not doing anything, not intervening in anything but simply acting as observers. Anything happening with or to our mothers was unable to affect us in the womb: “We were in that secret place with God until birth, and that was in total selflessness.”
Our task, therefore, is to rediscover our original nature and find this Being of selflessness once again. Sheikh Aly tells us that this is what all of the Peacemakers were able to do. Through understanding that they had created their own reality through their own ideas, thoughts and reflections, they were able to rediscover the selflessness that they were created with and so were able to achieve accomplishments for the betterment of humanity that did not originate from them alone.
By rediscovering their own selflessness, each of the Peacemakers was then able to recognise this same selflessness in every other human being and therefore practice selflessness towards others. This is what led to them all serving humanity beautifully in the ways that they did.
2. The Being does not participate in what the character does
The term ‘character’ is used by Sheikh Aly to describe the identity that we create for ourselves in this world and that which is created for us by society through our upbringing. It is the accumulation of our social conditioning which consists of our familial legacy and our historical legacy, and it is through this socially constructed identity that we attempt to understand life and the world around us.
However, Sheikh Aly explains that the Being does not participate in what the character – or the identity – does. The Being sits silently behind and observes the character as it goes about its day-to-day business. Sometimes the Being appears to us and for those of us that are not aware of its presence, this can be an unsettling experience.
Sheikh Aly says,
“…it’s a problem of understanding. When we’re faced with a thought that generally leads to nothing, we create a reality which, most of the time, creates suffering. But when the Being is present, everything we do and think leads us to the truth. Everything we think is the truth. That is because the Being is no longer in thinking mode, and no more uses reasoning.”
The goal here is to liberate ourselves from our character and return to the silence of the Being, where everything we think and do will come from a place of stillness, presence and truth.
3. Attaining the state of Being leads to the realisation that God has already instilled everything inside of you
When we are able to attain the state of Being, and this can happen at any time in our life, Sheikh Aly explains that from this point there is nothing else to look for. God has already instilled everything inside of you.
As human beings, we are constantly seeking things outside of us; setting ourselves new goals and challenges, from which nothing can actually be gained. Sheikh Aly says if any of these efforts had real value, the world would have changed, but it usually doesn’t. Instead once we reach a goal, we continue to set more and more goals, never truly being satisfied with just being.
Reaching the state of Being helps us to free ourselves of the constraints and pressures of the social order where we feel we must always be achieving. When we recognise that God has already given us everything that we need, we are able to truly Be and then discover the path of selflessness and its power. This means we can now act with only pure and total selflessness because our efforts are no longer revolved around ‘I’ and are centred on ‘we’ as a whole. Therefore attaining the state of Being leads to the recognition of serving others; we find ourselves in a state of selfless service, as did all of the Peacemakers studied by the International Sufi School.
4. When we are able to move from doing to our Being, reasoning ends
Sheikh Aly tells us, “our lack of comprehension is at the root of all the difficulties that we’re going through – because it leads to a version of reality, but not to truth itself.”
This means that the character overthinks and worries, and is in a constant state of doing and having, making it increasingly difficult for us to recognise that behind all of this there is the Being.
As humans, we are conditioned to believe that we need to be busy – when we actually do not need to be busy. The non-realisation of this is what leads to worry, stress and overthinking – a few of the biggest factors affecting many in the Western world. Sheikh Aly explains that we constantly strive to be busy in order to avoid a void that we feel inside ourselves. But as he says, “…there is no void, only the plenitude of the Being” – and it is actually because we are not aware of this Being that we feel a void in the first place.
Sheikh Aly continues by telling us that the most important work to be done is on the understanding that our thoughts invade us. As soon as we recognise that we are not our thoughts and we become aware of the Being that is ever-present within us all, this is when we need to stop reasoning and just allow ourselves to BE – otherwise we will continue to further perpetuate our false reality.
To become “without reason” is what will set us free.
5. Those who find their true Being can help to make the world a better place
Peacemakers such as Muhammad Yunus, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, Emir Abdel Kader and Nelson Mandela all share one common thing: they all helped to create a better world. And Sheikh Aly explains that they were only able to do this because they reached the state of Being.
But going from the dynamic of ‘doing’ to ‘being’ is where the work lies. When we talk about Being, this is the undergoing of the inner work, inner transformation and inner outlook that leads to the discovery that, in fact, there is only one Being.
Each of the Peacemakers were able to achieve personal inner transformation or liberation (as explained in the teachings of Liberation Therapy) and so were able to attain the state of Being. This led to them being able to recognise the same Being in others, placing them in a state of complete selflessness and therefore helping them to serve humanity.
As Sheikh Aly said:
“It’s not with budgets of billions of euros or dollars that they succeeded in making the world a better place. It’s because they found their true being, a creation of God, a creation of selflessness.”
They succeeded in making the world a better place simply by allowing others to find their Being, too.
The ultimate aim of reconnecting with the Being and living from this place of Truth, is allowing yourself to become a servant of humanity – just like all of the Peacemakers throughout history.
This process of the Peacemakers attaining the state of Being is explained further through the teachings of the Five Levels of Consciousness which outlines each of the steps a human being goes through to achieve an awakened consciousness and become of service to others.
Sheikh Aly N’ Daw’s teachings on the Being have multiple depths and dimensions and truly, each time they are studied, will lead to the discovery of something new. Additionally, if studied and implemented through the inner work that Sheikh Aly continually invites us to do, they have the power to transform our own lives, as well as the lives of others too.
You can read more about the Character and the Being in the book ‘The Awakening of Consciousness’ which is a series of oral talks delivered by Sheikh Aly N’Daw brought together in one place, with a focus on the paths of self-knowledge and self-transformation.
Purchase your Kindle copy on Amazon today.