Experiencing Divine Love through Spiritual Dependence

My reflections on the following two quotes from Nursi’s Noor letters:

“Spiritual dependence (‘ajz) is a path, like love, that takes you closer to God. However, the way of dependence (powerlessness) is shorter and safer than the way of love.”

“Spiritual dependence, is like love, but it is a safer path. It takes you to become the Divine beloved through the way of servanthood (‘ubudiyyah)”

How can we experience the unconditional divine love in our hearts? Of the many paths, here are two prominent ones: the first is to concentrate on our love of him, the second is to concentrate on our neediness to Him.

The second way has been called the way of servanthood, the way of the Prophets, or the way of of the Quran. Recognition of our dependence on God is a way, like love, to come closer to God. However, the way of neediness is shorter and safer than the way of love.

In both ways, the goal is to reach unconditional divine love. But, why is the way of neediness safer and shorter?

When we utilize the path of love to reach the divine, there is “me,” someone other than God, that loves God. There is duality in the source of the loving action, which will need to eventually go away as the seeker of God (murid) is proceeding in their spiritual journey; hence it is longer.

Whereas in the way of spiritual dependence, the concentration is on the recognition of my total dependence on God, which is to recognize that I do not possess any ability, any quality, by myself. I am not the owner of myself, nor my abilities. I cannot even claim that “I” love God, since that would be imagining that I have an independent love attribute. So, in this path, which is also called the way of servanthood (ubudiyyah), trying to bring love to my heart is not something I have to concentrate on, but it is something that I am given when I recognize my total dependence on God. When I recognize that each moment I am given all my abilities, my life, my seeing, my hearing, my thinking, my being, then I start to feel the grace that is giving everything to me out of its beauty.

In this approach, there is no duality, whatsoever. I experience total unconditional love, but not as a feeling I have to try to bring (sometimes this might take me to illusions, too). Rather, love is a feeling given to me, as a result of this attraction (magnetism, injizab). Similar to the magnetism that occurs between minus and plus, a magnetism occurs between my nothingness (0), and God’s all encompassing love (1). When I concentrate on the fact that everything “I” have is given to me, I recognize the giver, the owner of all these attributes within me…

In this approach, there is no danger of misunderstanding the divine love as conditional to our love of Him. In other words, there are no two parties involved. On the opposite, we experience the divine love, as unconditional tender grace from the Divine (shafaqah), similar to a loving mother to her child. It is one comprehensive love that sweeps all my being, and it showers it with all the attributes it needs. I am not a party involved in the process, but I am only the witness to the unconditional love that is overflowing.

This type of divine love is much more comprehensive and transforming… It is pure energy, pure spirit, something that needs no condition in expressing itself, unlike the conditional love that might need a lover, and a beloved.

In the second way, the human is not the seeker of God (murid), but is sought by God (murad). Since the human is only recognizing their nothingness and complete dependence on their Source, the Source is encompassing them with His Loving Grace… or rather, the human is becoming aware of the loving Grace that is already here and overflowing. This is called the realization of Divine’s nearness to us (aqrabiyyah ilahiyyah).

In the first way, we might see more spiritual drunkenness from time to time, whereas in the second way, although the “murad” might experience spiritual ecstasy, they are generally sober, since they do not see anything of themselves that could make them feel spoiled.

With Love and Peace,

Omar

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