Ibn Arabi thought that the reality we perceive each of us is renewed every moment, 'the world' that we perceive is born again at every breath, he says, as we breathe 'the blowing of God'.
According to him the air insufflates blows of thought. Our ideas are 'forms' that take the blows. And the flow of our consciousness is merely the result of the succession of these murmurs or blows in time.
But the breath itself is empty of content: it provides the flow, the progression over time of the act of thinking, not the specific purpose of thought, which is a matter of 'receptacle' that we are each of us.
"'God' is as light of a glass that veils and tints the look with its own color. Colorless by itself, it presents you colored to illustrate what is your reality when compared with your Lord. If you say that light is green because glass is of that color, you tell the truth and senses testify to this. If you say that is not green nor has any color, following which tells you good sense, you are also telling the truth and thus give witness to the evidence of a healthy intellect."
Glass is the person and his knowledge and conditionings. Everyone tints with his personal experience the pure light of the intellect. An opaque glass and personality give a color that stains all, a monochrome mode of seeing the world. More transparent glass and personality are brighter and better show forms (ideas) of the world in its diversity, better reveals the reality.
"The color of the water is the color of its container". Insists the Sufi master, and continues: "The works of anybody professing any religion, who only praises the divinity present in his faith and remains steady in it, return to him, and he will not be praising nothing but himself. Indeed, to praise a work is to praise the author of the work, being it lovely or not. So, deity that adores who profess a religion is his own work, designed to himself. The praise he addresses to what he loves is actually a compliment to himself. Therefore criticizes what others love. He would not do that if he was equanimous."
The thought of someone is the reality as himself. Is the reality that he produces, whether it be of a religious or any other content. Praise you make of any element of the world is the praise of the way you have to see that aspect of the world.
This is the difference between event and content. We bring the contents which are the result of our personal experience and knowledge. The event is not: we have no control on our thinking activity, its flow, we do not decide to think more or less, in one direction or another, it just happens. It's nothing individually created but is given to us.
Knowledge of thoughts is our personal creation of the world. The act of thinking, however, is a reality that is beyond our knowledge and that at a time subjugates it: is 'the tension of divinity' or 'the breath of God', says Arabi.
The contents of our thoughts are association of ideas, trial and error, speculation... about reality. The act of thinking is a reality in itself, however, so immediate reality and so veiled to our knowledge that it has always been associated with God or 'divinity', not only in the case of Arabi but in most of the philosophical and religious traditions.
Our Sufi says that 'divinity' is the individualization of universal Spirit or Live in things, while the correlative term 'humanity' is applied to the receptacle are people of this Life or Spirit...
The divine breath is the starting material of the forms of the world, that is, of the ideas we have of the world, of thought. 'God' holds the world's knowledge in the divine breath, somehow keeps it in a tension, until we manifest it in ideas through blow energy, which generates the movement in our mind. The blow releases this energy and ideas take form conditioned by the personal situation of each individual, but is the breath that initiates and maintains the action of thinking.
The world to us success in the breath, thoughts about the world hosts in the breath. Breath and thought, act and content, mind and world acquire an inseparable intimate connection. So, in short "who wants to know the divine breath must acquire knowledge of the world, he who knows himself knows his Lord", says Arabi.
The breath releases the knowledge in a kind of renewal of creation: when acting creates knowledge, creates reality. What happens, however, it is that "nobody has the science of this divine power. The man is not aware that at each divine breath 'he is not, and then he is' even".
Blows are that: comings of thought to our consciousness, so that each one appear to replace the current until then, comings from those normally we are unconscious because they themselves have us abstracted in their contents: we must be aware of the awareness (meta-awareness) to detect the flow of their succession.
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Blow happens over time and simply can not be controlled or predicted. Blow is the assault of time that we can not do more than fit.
Clarice Lispector says: "I am a little afraid: afraid to surrender, because the next moment is the unknown. Is the next moment made by myself? Or it is made by itself? We make it together with breathing. And with the poise of a bullfighter in the arena."
The moments of thought are ephemeral; when we are aware of them, if we are, they have become a new moment; and are ethereal, as breath air that accompanies them: "I tell you: I am trying to capture the fourth dimension of time-yet that such fugitive no longer exists because it has become a new instant-yet it now does not exist yet. I want to take possession of of the 'is' of the thing. These moments that take place in the air I breathe, as fireworks explode mute in space. I want to have the atoms of the time. And I want to capture the present which, by its nature, is forbidden to me; the present eludes me, the present time runs away, the present time is always me in present time. (...) And there is the 'is' of itself in the moment. I want to get my 'is'."
The instant is the 'is' of the thought thing, and at the same time is the 'is' of me that I think.
"The instant-yet is a firefly that flashes on and off. The present is the moment when the wheel of a car at high speed minimally touches the ground. And the part of the wheel that still has not touched, will touch in the immediate future that absorbs present instant and makes it past. I, alive and sparkling as instants, turn on and off. (...) More than an instant I want its fluence."
Instants and moments flow into our consciousness.
The now is pure reality; past and future are actually just thought, simple psychology.
"What I say is pure present and this book ('Aqua viva') is a straight line in space. It is always current. (...) If I say 'I have lived' or 'I will live' is present because I say it now ."
"I'm a concomitant being: I bring together past time, the present and the future, while beating in the ticking of the clocks."
"I am in the midst of shouting and swarming. And it is subtle as the most intangible reality. Meanwhile time is what it lasts a thought."
Breathing is what patterns time and, therefore, thought.
"The world has no visible order and I have only the order of breath. I let happen myself."
"I am writing at the exact time itself. I develop just in the actual. I speak today -not yesterday or tomorrow-, but today and in this exact and perishable instant. My little and framed freedom joins me to the freedom of the world; but what is a window but the air framed by squads?"
You are, more than you think. The flow of time is of existences more than of thoughts. Or of existences beyond thoughts. Too often words fail us to translate our states and existences into thoughts.
"There are many things to say I do not know how to say. Words fail me. But I refuse to invent new ones. The existing ones have to say what you get mean and what is forbidden. And I guess what is forbidden. If there were strength. Beyond thought there are no words. You are. (...) In this land of 'you are' I'm pure crystalline ecstasy. You are. I am."
"I see the fury of visceral impulses, tortured viscera guide me. I do not like what I just wrote; but I'm compelled to accept the whole paragraph because it has happened to me. My essence is unconscious of itself and so I obey blindly."
"Now is an instant.
It is yet another now.
And other. My effort: now bring the future until yet now. I move into my deepest instincts blindly fulfilled."
The objective world, the pure reality of the present, we call it God. We have always called God. All mystics and philosophers have always done, traditionally, from the most ancient times, not only Arabi.
"(...) I know that God is the world. It is what exists. I pray to what exists? It is not dangerous to approach to what exists. The deep prayer is a meditation on nothing. It is a dry and electrical contact with oneself, an impersonal oneself."
Reality simply exists and escapes us, it is veiled. It is the hidden, invisible, omnipresent and timeless truth: These are the qualities of God and yet are the qualities of air, blow, 'pneuma'.
"I'm breathing. Up and down. Up and down. What excites me most is that I do not see things yet exist. The truth is somewhere, but it's useless to think. I'll not find out but I live by it."
"I hear the hollow beating of time. It is the world that forms silently. If I hear is because I exist before the formation of the time. 'I am' is the world. A world without time. My conscience is now light and it is air. The air has no place or time. The air is the non-place where everything will exist. What I'm writing is music of the air. The formation of the world. Gradually comes what will be. What will be already it is. The future is forward and backward and sideways. The future is what has always existed and will always exist. (...) The first flower borns in the air. The ground floor, that is earth, is formed. The rest is air and the rest is slow fire in perpetual mutation. Does not the word 'life' exist because there is no time? But there is the beating. And my existence begins to exist. Does the time begin then?"
The world is born and dies for us at every breath: it is renewed, breathes.
"It has occurred to me suddenly that it is not necessary to have order to live. There is no pattern to follow, and there isn't even the pattern itself. I am born.
I'm not ready to talk about 'he' or 'she'. I demonstrate 'that'. 'That' is a universal law. Birth and death. Birth. Death. Birth is like a breath of the world."
It eludes reason. It is latent. Even if scientifically proved, perhaps common sense would not capture it. "When my existence and the existence of the world are no longer sustainable by reason, then I'm loose and I follow a latent truth. Do I recognize the truth if it was found?"
The breath is a rhythm, a beat, music.
"Regarding the music, after played where does it go? The music just has of concrete the instrument. Far beyond the thought I have a musical background. But still beyond is the beating heart. So the deepest thought is a beating heart."
The air carries the breath and it creates the time in our thinking when the wind hits our soul.
"That open air, that wind hitting me in the soul of the face and leaves it anxious imitating a distressing ecstasy new every time, again and always, every time immersion into something bottomless where I fall always, falling steadily until death and to achieve finally silence. Oh sirocco wind, I don't forgive you the death, you who bring an injured remembrance of things lived which, alas, always repeat, even in other and different forms. The lived thing scares me as scares me the future. This, as passed, is intangible, mere supposition.
I am at that moment in a white empty waiting for the next moment. Counting time is only a working hypothesis. But what exists is perishable and this requires counting the immutable and permanent time. It has never started and will never end. Never."
The time of soul and thought, if it really is air, it is also the weather: the atmosphere, the wind...
"I pride myself on always foresee weather changes. There is something in the air. The body tells that something new is coming and I joy of all. I do not know why."
Life is nothing neutral or abstract. We live moment to moment until death, with all its consequences. With organicity, viscerality, with pleasure, pain, consciousness... The thread of our life, with the absolute specificity of flowing moments, is the air we breathe, breath after breath. The millions of breaths of our life, a finite number whose value nobody knows, each, at every moment, ignorant of the future, defines our thinking and defines us as thinkers.
"Don't you see that this is like the birth of a child? It hurts. The pain is the exacerbated life. The process hurts. Becoming is a slow and slow good pain. It is the wide yawn that makes us stretch ourselves to the limit. And the blood is grateful. I breathe, I breathe. The air is 'it'. The air with windblown is yet a 'he' or a 'she'."
"I've talked a lot about death. But I will tell you now about the breath of life. When one does not breathe is made mouth-to-mouth. You stick the mouth to the other's mouth and breathe. And the other begins breathing again. This exchange of breath is one of the most beautiful things I've heard tell of life. In fact the beauty of this mouth-to-mouth is dazzling me."
The flow of thought, as life itself because it is also the flow of life, is unpredictable.
"Oh, how uncertain is everything. And yet within the Order. I do not even know what I will write in the next sentence. The ultimate truth is never said. Whoever knows the truth has to come. And talk. We will listen afflicted."
"Writing is frustrating to me; when I write I struggle with the impossible. With the enigma of nature. And of God."
Our soul, mind, is like a mirror, reflecting always something, an image, a content. You can not surprise an empty mirror, when you look you don't see the mirror itself but you see yourself. And yet, the essence of the mirror is to be empty, it is not to be which reflects.
"What is a mirror? It's the only invented material that is natural. Whoever looks at a mirror, who gets to see it without seeing himself, who understands that its depth is to be empty, who walks into its transparent space without leaving in it vestige of self image, then this someone has understood its mystery."
"A mirror in which I see myself it is me yet, only an empty mirror is a living mirror. Only a very sensitive person can enter an empty room where there is an empty mirror, and with such a lightness, with such an absence of himself, that the image is not marked. As a reward that delicate person will then have penetrated into one of the inviolable secrets of things, have seen the mirror itself."
We do not choose to thought, as a psychological state or existence it is free of our will. Maybe we should not declare their authors.
"The thought called 'freedom' is free as an act of thought. It is free to the extent that to the thinker himself this thought would seem to have no author.
True thought seems to have no author."
Free thinking does not obey the logic of words, it's a mental blow at the same time it's a blow of air.
"The primary thought thinks in words. The 'freedom' one, on the contrary, is released from the bondage of the word."
"Today is Saturday and is made of pure air, only air."
It's a fluence that never ends: the thought that always arises in the present.
"What will be after is now. Now it is the domain of now. And while improvisation lasts I am born."
"What I write you is a 'this'. It will not stop, continues.
You look at me and love me. No, you look at you and love yourself. That's right.
What I write continues and I am still enchanted."
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Ibn Arabí: Los engarces de las sabidurías. Edaf. Madrid. 2009.
Clarice Lispector: Agua viva. Siruela. Madrid. 2012.