"Where does one go from a world of insanity?"  T.S. Eliot
Grief, fear, despair, envy, jealousy, guilt, shame, anger and a raft of other "unacceptable" emotions account for a great deal of human suffering. These are the emotions we most avoid and judge to be wrong - in ourselves and often in others. We have been schooled to view the dark emotions as negative, evil and universally unacceptable. We have been schooled in our families and in our cultures to be rational, to overcome, "to get over" the dark emotions.

I no longer believe that! How can we heal what we don't feel? Dark emotions can become toxic when we judge them to be unacceptable and push them well under the carpet. Then they erupt spontaneously and often in damaging ways. Dark emotions, if we give them room in our awareness, can challenge us to know the sacred in the broken, to ultimately alter our perception of who and what we are.

A sensitive child, I grew up in a family and a wider cultural environment where shame and blame and silence were used to discipline the child; sensitivity and vulnerability were judged as weakness. Any expressions of emotion were met with "you ought to be ashamed of yourself young lady!" and "I know what is best for you!" At that time, reason was considered far more reliable  and superior to the wisdom of the heart. Those injunctions were deeply implanted in my psyche and I have been shocked when a constellation of circumstances has caused them to leap out from beneath the carpet. There are times when our best, most compassionate intentions are thwarted, our connections marred by the shadow of intolerable emotions.

When these dark emotions emerge, I have found my only pathway forward is to surrender, to deeply accept the 'unacceptable' emotions I am feeling. The paradox is that in saying 'yes' to the emotions I would rather say 'no' to, allows the emotional energy to flow. In this place I experience the alchemical mixture of light and dark and what emerges is renewed courage to go on.

When I do not say 'yes' to these dark emotions they become toxic and I am trapped in a sense of victimisation. I've had to learn to not be afraid of  my despair or horror or shame or rage or..., to be gentle with myself and to experience the strong emotions without panic. This is not always easy as I still live in a culture where the dominant paradigm is to "stay in control of your emotions". The words of T.S. Eliot sustain me:

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the  waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the  dancing. 

When I have been confronted by dark emotions, my ego wants to protest, to justify and defend my position, to judge the other as profoundly wrong.  And yet when I do ultimately surrender I am able to place the experience in a wider context that helps me to come to terms with my despair. I then find that the real sense of my ego lies in my heart and not in my head, as I had previously understood. My ego softens in my heart allowing a much deeper sense of love and compassion both for myself and for the other who has caused the offense.

In order to experience this, however, I am confronted with another paradox. I have to fall into a form of helplessness, definitely an emotion I would rather not experience. Rumi says:
Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
To gather us up.

We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.

So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Besides ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
                                               We shall be a mighty kindness.
                                                
I cannot turn a blind eye to the horror happening in the world. It is dangerous to turn a blind eye to my own dark emotions. I cannot change what is happening in the world, I can attempt to befriend the dark emotions within me. What is happening out there is also happening within me, so that is where I must start. Maybe by embracing the transforming turbulent energies of light and dark within me I contribute to the balance of light and dark energies in the wider world.

Much of  modern psychology still holds to the old view of Descartes  that subordinating the "feeling brain" to the "thinking brain" is essential to emotional intelligence. A quick look at the world stage reveals another picture altogether. How can we react rationally with emotional intelligence when the front page of almost every newspaper world wide publishes images of a terrorist about to behead a photo journalist. How can we react rationally when we see images of a young child holding a severed head of a man. Surely horror and despair are two of the natural, healthy emotions to allow ourselves at such times. 

I have found much support in these dark and challenging places by calling on the names Ya Darr and Ya Nafi. When the names are in an unfamiliar language I find it easier to balance the opposites of the light and the dark. When I surrender to repeating the names Ya Darr and Ya Nafi I am surrendering to the shadow aspects within, piece by piece, and become more able to make my body a mixing bowl for divine alchemy  to transmute lead into gold. Something happens in this process - the ego begins to dissolve as the heart softens. Ya Darr, despair becomes the doorway to the spirit and the dark emotions reveal the sacred.


 
 
The horror and devastation I witness when I watch the world news never ceases to move me as more and more images and stories of challenges to humanity and to the earth unroll without ceasing. I witness repeated conflicts, inner and outer,  deeply affecting many of my close friends and family, many of my colleagues and associates. There is no doubt we are living in extremely challenging times. Sometimes I wake in the middle of the night and find myself in tears for the pain of the world, the pain of my loved ones and friends. At first I am overwhelmed and then I hear the words of Rumi:
"The rain weeping and the sun burning twine together to make us grow.
Keep your intelligence white hot and your grief glistening, so your life will stay fresh. Cry easily like a child."
It seems to me that life is calling us to learn to use love more consciously. We can either stretch or break. I choose to stretch. Sadly, I see many around me edging closer and closer to breaking point. The forces are so strong.

But what is love? From the mystical perspective, love is the greatest power in creation. This Love is not something to seek in a personal relationship. It is not a love that seeks an outcome, it is a love beyond expectations, a love without object, a love without boundaries. I choose to call it Boundless Love. It is a visceral experience that for me has only arisen out of my LONGING to experience the Love that the mystics speak of. The Sufi mystic Rabia says:
"I don't work like a labourer in expectation of wages. I love without expectation." 
There are many different ways of REMEMBERING this Boundless Love from many different perspectives and traditions. However, all methods lead to the same place and require the same three elements. Author Marci Shimoff, in another context, speaks of these elements as:
                          Intention
                          Attention
                          No tension
When I think of these three elements, I am reminded of a story of three monks who lived on a remote island off the mainland. The three lived and worked together for many years and always recited this prayer as they worked: "We are three and thou art one and we love you." One day the Bishop decided to visit and was shocked to learn that they did not even know The Lord's Prayer. The Bishop spent the next three days with the monks teaching them to pray "properly". Finally the monks could recite the correct prayers so the Bishop and his retinue climbed back onto  their boat and left the island. A little while later a lookout on the Bishop's boat called everyone's attention. "Look! What is that across the water?" They looked back and saw the three monks running across the surface of the water. They were calling out to the Bishop; "What was that prayer? We've forgotten the words again." "Go back to your old prayer." said the Bishop. "We are three and thou art one and we love you." The monks ran back across the surface of the water to the island.

At this time we have the opportunity to love more effectively in the most simple way that we can, to learn to use love more consciously; to return to what is most basic. We are called to live in the present for the sake of the present. We live in a time bound culture with expectations of the future. We are still hooked on a vision of the future as an upgraded version of the present. We cannot put new wine into old skins, the old skins are disintegrating.  Many of us choose to live the illusion that life as it is will get better, we choose multiple methods to go numb, to deny what is present right now. It is very difficult to recognise the illusions implicit in our ego driven, materialistic culture. T.S. Eliot says; "Humankind cannot bear much reality."

There is no doubt it is difficult to witness, to be attentive without judgement,  and yet it is essential. It is  also important to KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOUR. There is a saying from the Koran: " Even if you know the world is going to end, plant a tree."

To help me with REMEMBERING, I find the names Ya Alim and Ya Wasi most helpful. Both names, repeated together on the breath, help us to stretch the capacity of our hearts, to open further, to lovingly embrace whatever comes into our field. The heart knows no limits, it is only our small wounded selves that places those restrictions. Opening our hearts frees us to be a loving presence for self and other.
 
 
I have been deeply touched this week by a statement released by the Maslin family from Perth whose three children and their grandfather were killed in the MH17 plane disaster in the Ukraine. In a statement they said:
  "We live in a hell beyond hell. Our babies are not here with us - we need to live with this act of horror, every day and every moment for the rest of our lives. No one deserves what we are going through. No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for our children, no hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for Grandad Nick. No hate in the world is as strong as the love we have for each other. This is a revelation that gives us some comfort... We want to continue to know about your lives, all the good and all the bad. We no longer have lives that we want to live by ourselves. So we'd like to take the chance to thank everyone, all our incredible friends, family and communities and to tell you all that we love you very much. Pain is not a story."
At this same time as I am touched by the out pouring of grief for the victims of the plane disaster in the Ukraine, my heart is opened by images of Jews and Arabs who refuse to be a part of, or condone, the horror and bloodshed that is currently taking place between Israel and Palestine. Surely these are images of love that transcends hatred.
As this week unfolds I see images of a woman overwhelmed by grief as she hears the news of the loss of loved ones in a plane crash in Taiwan.  And today I hear of  an Air Algerie jetliner with 116 people on board crashed in a remote area of Mali. There is no doubt that we are living in a chaotic world. War, terrorism, natural disasters, extinction of species...

In my own journey, there have been times when I have been overwhelmed by grief and pain. Words of Rumi have assisted me through the heartbreak:
                        Heartbreak is a treasure because it contains mercies
                        The kernel is soft when the rind is scraped off.
                        O Brother, the place of darkness and cold
                        Is the fountain of life and the cup of ecstasy.

With all this horror abounding, I ask myself how can I contribute at this time when I and my loved ones are not directly affected by these tragedies. My life has shown me the value of remaining centred in my heart. If we get caught in the drama, we are likely to get lost ourselves. This is one of those times when we need to hold a steady centre when all around us is spiralling out of control. This is a time when life is calling us to act strongly, to fully express the divine power within each of us in order to respond to a challenging situation. I believe it is time to activate the burning power of love within. When we witness these horrors, our capacity for compassion can be aroused.

How do you find that place in your heart?  How do you pray? Do not under estimate the power of prayer. No matter where we are, we can contribute. Imagine a world where compassion and love beyond hate are the responses to horror and tragedy.

I find it most helpful to centre in my heart and repeat the sounds Ya Qaa-Deer and Ya MooQ-Ta-Deer, allowing the sounds to ignite the burning power of love and compassion. When I do this I notice I begin to feel calm and centred even in the chaos that swirls around.
 
 
Thirty years ago I was sleeping in a swag on a rough sandstone ledge overlooking  a magnificent valley. I awoke at dawn to hear a voice repeating:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.


Mesmerised, I lay completely still, listening. The voice repeated the poem again. I lay still and listened to the sounds of the valley waking up.  I didn't hear the voice again but I knew I had been gently nudged to wake up, to listen deeply.

Curious, I later discovered I had been woken by the words of the poet Rumi. That experience has stayed with me all these years and I continue to be inspired not only by the poetry of Rumi but also the profound spaces that unfold when I listen with my whole being.

Ten years later I was profoundly influenced by the teachings of Aboriginal educator and artist, Miriam-Rose Ungenmerr-Bauman from the Daly River area in the Northern Territory. Miriam-Rose teaches of Dadirri, inner deep listening and quiet still awareness. "Dadirri recognises the deep spring that is inside us. It is something like what you call contemplation...There are deep springs within each of us. Within this deep spring, which is the very spirit, is sound. The sound of Deep calling the Deep."


I have spent many years learning to listen deeply; in the desert, in the rainforest, by the sea, in the city and to other people. I have found that listening is not just a function of  my ears but  also  of my heart and my gut, indeed my whole body. When I am prepared to engage my whole body in listening, I sense an attunement with the other. When I listen to another in this manner I am able to suspend my judgements and to truly be with the other, I don't have to have the answers or even try to find the answers. This leads to an expanded place of pure presence and access to the wisdom within and without. It seems that deep listening opens doors to the unknown, to other worlds. Again I am reminded of the last two lines of Rumi's poem:

The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.


In the west, with all our focus on busy-ness and doing, we tend to "go back to sleep", to be unconscious of the infinite wisdom within and without. We are unaware of the exquisite gift we have of our own basic five senses; sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. We do not realise that these basic senses can help us to "go back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds meet."

Deep listening is a way of hearing in which we are fully present with what is happening in the moment without trying to control it or judge it. We let go of our inner clamoring and our usual assumptions and listen with respect for what chooses to be heard.

Listening to what ever arises in the moment is a meditative process, a form of prayer that allows us to explore a sense of spaciousness that leads to an experience of peace. To experience our own spaciousness is to recognise our true nature, a felt sense that has nothing to do with personal history, ideas, behaviour, failures or accomplishments. Listening deeply can open a doorway to this sense of spaciousness and peace that is always there yet easily ignored.

In another poem, Rumi says:
There's a moon inside every human being.
Learn to be companions with it. Give

more of your life to this listening. As
brightness is to time, so you are to

the one who talks to the deep ear in
your chest. I should sell my tongues

and buy a thousand ears when that
one steps near and begins to speak.


It can be helpful to centre in your heart and allow the sounds of the names Ya Sami and Ya Mujib to help you still your thoughts and find the silent place within from which you can listen, to wake up to a greater reality. Practise listening without speaking. When you do this you will be able to attune yourself to the wisdom of your different inner voices.
 
 
'The disciple of fear wants to be safe, happy and in control. The disciple of love wants to be present in whatever.'                                              Richard Moss

How difficult it is to be present to Whatever, especially when we feel powerless in the face of overwhelming challenges, especially when there is nothing we can do to change a situation. For many, the tendency is to dissolve either into denial and unconsciousness, "sleepwalking towards catastrophe" or to be overwhelmed and paralysed by grief and despair. For others the response is to move into action mode often trying desperately to fix the unfixable, driven by the fear that wants to be safe, happy and in control.

In general,  we do not understand how powerful it is to simply witness from the eye of the heart. Most of us have not had access to that deep spiritual lesson. In the west, we have been conditioned to believe that outward action is the best response to all challenging situations and all crises.  When we step back from a situation or relationship and witness with the eye of compassion, when we are simply present with another we are able to access a wider perspective and gain more clarity, allowing a natural unfolding to occur. To witness is not to observe without heart. When we are present to a crisis we offer all of ourselves, our presence says more than words.

At the same time as we witness it is equally important to acknowledge the pain, grief and powerlessness that we may personally feel. It is by holding  the paradox of simply witnessing without judgement  as we simultaneously allow ourselves to feel our own pain and grief that we can arrive at a third place, the opening of the heart and the release of the power of love. Pain and suffering can be a doorway to a greater connection to the Light.

I could watch the world news with the eyes of fear, leading me to feel most unsafe and out of control. Many choose to switch off. However, I choose to be aware of what is going on in the world, to witness with the eye of the heart. I grieve for the citizens of Syria, of the Ukraine and Russia. I grieve for the citizens of Japan following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, for the citizens of Korea, North and South, for the citizens of the Sudan.  I grieve for the refugees turned away from Australia, my own country. I grieve for the world. We are all global citizens, everything is in our own backyard. I grieve for the earth.

Currently I am confronted by the challenges I experience personally as well as by the challenges and crises my friends and family are facing. It seems that at this time no one is excluded.  It is so difficult to simply watch a process in which we are deeply connected and concerned. I have found that when I see a situation from both my own point of view and that of the other, I am able to expand my horizons and identify with a force that is much greater than my own small ego. I have chosen to be present to Whatever, to the mystery, to be a "disciple of love", as Richard Moss says. When I follow this path I am more easily able to remain centred in my heart and witness with the eye of compassion.

I have found the two divine names, Ya Raqib and Ya Darr extremely helpful in being fully present to a situation with the eye of compassion at the same time as I allow the pain to be present. Reciting these two names  together on the breath helps me to silence the destructive chatter of the mind and to simply be present to Whatever.
 
 
Recently I awoke in the night to hear the words:
The friction that is necessary to cause the suffering that will defeat the Mind and open the Heart


When I heard these words I felt a profound wave of calmness rise through my body.
Like so many others at this time, I seem to have been finding my way through a minefield of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual challenges.
The physical pain was still clearly present and yet I was not consumed by it.
The mental, emotional and spiritual challenges were still present in my life and yet I lay suspended in profound peace.
At that time, the friction and the suffering evaporated into the vastness of the present moment.
Sometime later, I again became aware of the physical pain and the mind chatter. Both the peace and the suffering were present simultaneously.
After a while my thoughts turned to memories and images of beautiful pearls that I have seen. For many years I have had a particular fascination with the irregular Mabe pearls, often known as blister pearls. These pearls grow on the inside of the tough outer shell of the oyster, rather than in the centre of the tender flesh.

All pearls begin with a piece of sand or grit which serves as an irritation to the tender flesh of the oyster. In response, the oyster builds up layers of nacre, gradually growing the pearl around the source of irritation. From irritating circumstances a lustrous thing of beauty is grown.

Affliction and trouble in our lives are as essential as the grit is to the pearl.

Contemplate for a moment how you would complete this statement: “If I had not suffered that, I would not now be...”

My own sufferings have taught me many things about myself that I could have learned in no other way. The friction and the sufferings are real, often tortuous, they are not theoretical concepts.  Following a very traumatic event, many a helpful friend suggested that I get busy and forget about the circumstances  that caused the suffering, however, deep inside I knew that I had to allow the grit to work and allow the pearl to grow. I am so glad that I did.

The following poem by Rumi helped me to make sense of and stay in the centre of the suffering rather than to try to fade it or fix it.


“The grapes of my body can only become wine
After the winemaker tramples me.
I surrender my spirit like grapes to his trampling
So my inmost heart can blaze and dance with joy.
Although the grapes go on weeping blood and sobbing
"I cannot bear any more anguish, any more cruelty"
The trampler stuffs cotton in His ears: "I am not working in ignorance
You can deny me if you want, you have every excuse,
But it is I who am the Master of this Work.
And when, through my Passion, you reach perfection,
You will never be done praising my name."


Life itself asks us to let go of fixed opinions, the stories we tell ourselves that create the painful blisters, the grit that can create the pearl. Some wonderful lustrous nacre has grown around some of the painful stories I have told myself in the past.

It seems to me that my troubles, afflictions, conflicts, frictions and failures can all serve to polish the heart, to polish away the strongly held opinions and attitudes that keep me caught in illusions that keep me separate from love and life.

I have found it most helpful when in this place of friction and suffering to centre in my heart and as I breathe, to repeat the name Ya AaKh-eeR to help me to let go, to release attitudes that are harming me. Ya Akhir helps me to let go, to surrender.

I recall that when I was drawing the mandala for 74 Ya Akhir several years ago I was well aware that a pearl was asking to be present in the centre.

 
 
When we hear stories of divine grace, of miraculous healings, of unexpected gifts, many of us think that these things must happen to someone else.
Twenty years ago I was studying the Psychology of Christian Mysticism. I was deeply immersed in several Christian Mystical practices, one in particular asked that we meditate daily for three months on the statement : "If you met Jesus on the path and he offered to make you whole, to heal you, would you say yes?" 
My first response was to say "Yes, of  course!" However, as my practice progressed and deepened over the weeks, I came to realise that my "yes" had conditions on it, that in fact maybe I could not fully surrender. Perhaps I did not feel worthy of such divine blessings. I recognised that I was not actively ready to let go of long held beliefs about my family dynamics. I found my compassion came with strings attached to judgements.
And then other questions arose. What is healing? What is wholeness? ...
And then, when we least expect it, the blessings of divine grace can completely change our lives. We cannot know when or how we will experience these blessings. We can, however, open ourselves to the healing energies of the Divine.
Rumi says:
Be helpless, dumbfounded,
unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
to gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty.
If we say we can, we are lying.
If we say No, we don't see it,
that No will behead us
and shut tight our window onto spirit.
So let us rather not be sure of anything,
beside ourselves, and only that, so
miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
we shall be saying finally,
with tremendous eloquence, "Lead us."
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
we shall be a mighty kindness.

Often when we are in pain, physical, emotional, or spiritual it is important to consider what we really need right now, and, if it is offered, are we willing to receive it? When we open to the Divine, when we fully surrender, we may receive blessings from unexpected sources. Kabir says:
When the Day came,
The Day I had lived and died for,
The Day that is not in any calendar,
Clouds heavy with love
showered me with wild abundance.
Inside me, my soul was drenched.
Around me, even the desert grew green.

There are two Divine Names that help us to surrender to unknown blessings and healing. We cannot, however, hold expectations about the form of the healing or blessing. Our limited, small self often holds tightly to our own ideas of healing and wholeness, thus closing the doors and windows to a much greater reality. As Rumi says:
Be helpless, dumbfounded, unable to say yes or no.

Reciting the names Ya Wahhab and Ya Razzaq together can help us to surrender, to open ourselves to receive healing energies from the Divine.
Centre in your heart. Breathe the sounds Ya Waa-Haab Ya RaZaaQ into your heart. Imagine the blessings of the Divine showering over you and cleansing your pain, filling you with light.
You can also repeat these sounds silently as you move through your day.
 
 
Sometimes we are worn down by ill health, misfortune, by challenging life circumstances. We may be exhausted by continually facing adversity. Invariably we cannot change the outer world. We can, however, change our response to life events. When we recognise that we are so worn down we need to respond, to surrender and not drive ourselves further into a powerless state. Paradoxically, at the same time as we surrender we need to take action and recognise the support that is available to us from the Divine, to stop depleting our own, often brittle, fragile, limited strength. We need a special kind of resilience. Rumi says:
There are two kinds of resilience: one acquired,
as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts
from books and from what the teacher says,
collecting information from the traditional sciences
as well as from the new sciences.

With such resilience you rise in the world.
You get ranked ahead or behind others
in regard to your competence in retaining information.
You stroll with this resilience
in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always
more marks on your preserving tablets.

There is another kind of tablet, one
already completed and preserved inside you.
A spring overflowing its springbox.
A freshness in the centre of  the chest.
This other resilience does not turn yellow or stagnate.
It’s fluid, and it doesn’t move from outside to inside
through the conduits of plumbing-learning.

This second knowing is a fountainhead
from within you, moving out. 

And yet when we are so worn down it is really difficult to recognise that our true worth, our own inner strength comes directly from the Divine.
Ya Aziz the resilience that Rumi speaks of, has the qualities of being engaged in life, having a sweet nature and being strong at the same time. It allows us to discover that we have been caught up and trapped in the fixedness of ego when, in reality, our true nature is a condition of continuously flowing from the source of all. When this realisation breaks through, the fixedness breaks. the ego releases its grasping and can move into flow with our true being.
It is at this point we are more open to actively engaging resources from another dimension.
Ya Jabbar  is a healing strength that allows us to act in the world. Interestingly the equivalent root is used in the Hebrew word Gabri-el, the angelic expression of divine power and healing. Ya Jabbar means the strength to continuously heal all things all the time, the strength to heal brokenness. When we surrender to Ya Jabbar we invite the highest source to heal what is broken down. Again Rumi's words help to understand this:
Trust your wound to a teacher's surgery.
Flies collect on a wound. 
They cover it,
 those flies of your self-protecting feelings,
your love for what you think is
yours.
Let a Teacher wave away the flies
 and put a plaster on the wound.
Don't turn your head. 
Keep looking
 at the bandaged place. 
That's where
the Light enters you.
And don't believe for a moment
 that you're healing yourself.

When we recite Ya Jabbar together with Ya Aziz we are able to access an enduring healing strength so that nothing can shake us. Breathing the sounds Ya Jabbar and Ya Aziz into our heart activates a resonance that invites assistance from divine realms. These sounds together help to lead us to a deep well of strength, courage and determination.
 
 
There are times when we feel overwhelmed by pain, when we have to face the worst that has been done to us and the worst that we have done to ourselves. Only when an experience leads us to the edge of our own resources, to that day when we say “I can’t do it anymore,” are we ready to surrender, to call on a higher power source.

This is a vital spiritual experience. Our small world must be shaken up for us to realise that we are part of a much larger world. We need intense upheaval in order to shake loose, to unplug from our habitual thinking.
We have to start with powerlessness – and powerlessness is anathema to most of us in the West. Only when we can truly say “I cannot get through this on my own. I can’t fix it, change it or understand it,” do we come to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity and serenity. It is at this point that we have been readied to turn our will and ourselves over to a higher power.

Rumi says: 
             
You are so weak. Give up to grace.
 
            The ocean takes care of each wave till it gets to the shore.
 
            You need more help than you know.

 I am reminded of the Serenity Prayer so often associated with Alcoholics Anonymous: 
             
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
             
The courage to change the things I can,
             
And the wisdom to know the difference.

 I believe that we are all addicts. 

     We are addicted to our own way of thinking.
     We are addicted to the need to know, the compulsive desire to 
          understand and control.
     We are addicted to getting it right, to our own idea of  perfection.
     We are addicted to focussing on what is not working. We miss the big 
        picture.
     We are addicted to intensity, to drama. We have a low tolerance for 
         boredom.

Ponder those addictions. They apply to almost all of us. All addictions have an underlying basis of fear. 
Ya Ra’uf can heal the fears from which the addictions arise.

The sound of Ya Ra’uf has a frequency in the heart that is gentler than the wings of a butterfly. The semitic origins of the word Ra’uf are also found in the angelic names of Seraphim and Raphael, the archangel of healing. When we call upon Ya Ra’uf we are in essence calling upon the angelic forces of healing. We give up to grace. The sound code itself invites the angelic healing forces to be present. Those forces long to help us as much as we long to be helped.

 We can face the very worst that we have done with Ya Ra’uf, with compassion and with gentle indwelling love.
Embodying Ya Ra’uf is particularly helpful when what is being directed specifically towards us is aggressive hostility that causes mental anguish.

With Ya Ra’uf we are expressing love from the deepest place allowing the possibility that that love can flow through to the deepest place in the aggressor.  
 
Prayerful repetition of Ya Ra’uf can provide profound healing medicine for the soul.
 
 
Right now many people are facing extreme challenges in their lives. We all know times of intense chaos, times when life calls us to act out of the conviction of our own deeply held values, to fully express the divine within us.
If we get caught in the drama, we are likely to lose  ourselves. We need to hold a steady centre even if all around is spiralling out of control. This is not easy.
At these times we may tend to compromise, to lose sight of our own unique essence, our own true purpose in life. Rather than running away, trying to minimise or fix the problem, we need to turn honestly towards the fundamental reality of our own situation.
I am reminded of a Sufi story of a fox and a tiger.

One day a man was wandering through a forest when he came upon a fox who had lost his legs. As he was wondering how the poor fox managed to survive, a tiger came along carrying its prey. The tiger ate what it wanted and left the rest for the fox. The next day the man came back and watched. The tiger again left food for the fox.
"Aha!! So that is how it is done. I'll try the same." said the man.
So he went home and sat in the corner of his house and waited for the universe to provide for him. He waited for days and days and nothing came. He was starving. Finally he heard a voice: "You have not grasped the fundamental reality of your own situation. You have legs. Be like the tiger, not the fox."

The challenges you are facing may seem overwhelming. You may feel powerless. You may feel you need someone else to help you as you do not yet have awareness of how you can help yourself. 
Prayerful repetition of Ya Qadir with Ya Muqtadir, together as a pair, offers an antidote to the feelings of overwhelm and powerlessness.
 The vibrational qualities of Ya Qadir help us to experience power, spaciousness, endurance and value. Ya Muqtadir helps us to ground the divine purpose of our lives.
No matter how challenging,  trust that there are no mistakes. Trust the
situation itself. Nothing is ever wasted or lost.