Sufis believe that all of creation is a manifestation of the Truly Divine (Al Haq). If all created things are divine manifestions, then nothing can exist by itself. All are parts of a whole. Sufis call this principle tawhid, or unity.
All created things are a reflection of this Truly Divine Being on the plane of multitude. They do not have their own existence. If we believe there is a separation between the creator and the created things, we bring about duality. However, this does not mean that the Divine Being and Her creation are the same and equal. Creation is like a drop in the ocean of Divine Being. Chemically, the drop and the ocean have the same nature, while quantitively they differ from each other. To give another analogy, if God represents water, the created ones are the different phases of water, such as liquid, vapour or ice.
Sufis ground the story of creation on tawhid. By saying “I was a hidden treasure, I wanted to be known (and loved), that’s how I created everything” (Hadith Qudsi), the Truly Divine
Being positioned the human being as a mirror into this realm to actualize Her potentiality and Beauty. The Divine witnesses Herself in this mirror and experiences Love through the human being. That’s because the human being is the only medium which unites all the divine names in his/her being (yet this does not make them superior to other life forms, but rather gives more responsibility to them).
All creatures are journeying towards spiritual completion, which is a process of home- coming. According to the Sufi understanding, all creatures are evolving towards the perfected human Being (including humans), so that they may experience divine Love in the fullest expression possible. Here we realize that Love according to the Sufi understanding is not a romantic affair or even a physical or emotional human experience, but a way of knowing and witnessing the Divine, a state of being at home. All of creation is thus based on Love as a place of home. The act of creation is not linear and is not over; it is an ongoing process which deepens in spirals. This is how Love moves. This is how we are constantly arriving home; there is no end to it.
In order to help humans remember this love story with the Divine and facilitate their home coming, they were asked in the realm of souls, “in the presence of everyone’s essence
and its witnessing: ‘Am I not your Rabb (teacher/trainer)?’ and the souls answered: ‘Yes, you are!’” (Qur’an, Surah Araf, 172) This primordial conversation sealed this love commitment. However, when the souls took the bodily form, they forgot this commitment. They forgot the feeling of being at home. Sufis call it the state of forgetfulness, gaflet. In order to remember this divine covenant, they practice the act of remembrance, or zikr.
Humans relate to the material world through their limited and conditioned perceptions. This leads to the state of gaflet. Our human identity is shaped by our desires and fears that stem from certain judgements, habits and conditionings. We become attached to our identities. We stay in the state of not be-longing and eternal longing.
According to Sufis, the Divine is the only thing which owns a being (zat) in itself. Everything else does not exist out of itself, it just reflects the Divine Being. So if human beings think that they exist by themselves, this assumption takes them out of the state of love as expressed in the covenant with the Divine in the realm of the souls. You are expelled from your true home when you are in duality.
This situation keeps us in a state of constant longing, which we try to compensate through different addictions and attachments. That’s why it is crucial on the Sufi path to disentangle yourself from the ties that keep you attached to the things you assume exist. This journey necessitates leaving behind what-is-no-longer-home. It is towards nothingness. A Sufi is not someone who becomes, but someone who un-becomes; not takes but gives; not dresses up but takes off what is on him/her.
When our souls cannot fit into the present realities we find ourselves in, the present homes we reside in, they feel suffocated. They start searching for their true home, the place where they belong (the state of unity which changes its form based on the momentary emergences). This state of searching is the first step towards zikr, as in the verse “When you forget, remember your Rabb.” (Surah Al-Kahf, 24).
A Qur’anic verse asks us “So where then are you all going? Surely this is only a reminder to all the worlds.” (Surah At-Takwir, 26-27).Where we go surely depends on what we leave behind. Going back (or forward) home contains the act of becoming aware of what-is-not- home at a given moment. The tricky part is that this is a dynamic field and it is difficult to
fixate a certain image of home or not-home, since the Truly Divine is manifesting Herself anew every second.
So, where are we going? Maybe to start with, to the practice of deep listening, “as a reminder.” That’s because the one who listens has the possibility to witness this ever changing play of manifestations. When you witness it, you can take part in this play willingly and align yourself with different manifestations of the Divine without necessarily being captured by them. For Sufis, home is the state of someone who is not shaken by this constant play of Divine attributes and their manifestations. Rooted in the unshakable place of “knowing,” you gain the flexibility of flowing with what wants to happen, yet not being captured by it. Your home is where you meet the ground, the foundation of your home.
If we manage to embody the practices of deep listening and witnessing, our body parts are activated to partake in this journey back home. As the Qur’anic verse states: “Have they not travelled in the Earth, so that they have Hearts with which they understand of ears with which they hear? For it is not the eyes that are blind, but the hearts in the breasts which are blind!” (Surah al-Haj, 46), journeying back home is an initiation process through which our bodies remember their true potentiality and come to serve the whole fully. Our hearts remember themselves; they are not numb any more, they gain vitality. Our ears, through deep listening, gain a unique understanding of what is. We come into contact with our feminine power. The veils before our eyes are being lifted. When I am fully in my body, I am back home.
Everything around us that helps us reconnect with our bodies, souls and thus our true nature helps us remember our essence. Anything can become a means to keep our remembrance alive and fresh. Therefore, I feel home. My partner, friends I gather with in a circle, animals, stones under my feet, the water I drink, a beautiful breakfast I enjoy. All of them can take me from sleep into wakefulness; from longing to reunion. In fact, I witness the Divine on the face of my true friends, I taste Her in delicious food or in a wild flower I smell. I do not perceive myself as a separate “self”, but rather merge with all the manifestations of Truly Divine.