hundred million years ago by particular fish. So we are just an amazing unity of the universe. The body at some level, the bodymind, the human being, knows this intuitively. The utterances of prophets and articulated in wisdom traditions are coming from the profound truth of things. Science is slower because it doesn’t proceed with that kind of profound intuitive grasp; it proceeds with a kind of mass of empirical evidence, which is measuring things outside of us, and then slowly building that up. I think the truth is arrived at first subjectively, and now we happen to be in that time when the scientific enterprise has caught up in an empirical way. One isn’t superior to the other, but what’s really thrilling is the power that is going to be available for uplifting humanity, as we see this deep correspondence. That’s how I see it. The universe is reflecting on itself through the human being, and it first comes forth mystically, subjectively, intuitively, and then rationally, empirically. We could say that the mystery understands things, but the images and ideas it uses to understand things are other than that which it is. That is, I can describe myself – I can say I studied mathematics, and I’m 61 years old, and I’m married. All these things are true, but the power that’s describing them is who I am. I am capable of describing myself, but the mystery itself remains beyond images…The power that gave birth to the image is still different than the image. At some level, the mystery of who we are is ultimately unsayable. Even after millions of years of exploration, we will not have exhausted infinity. What I’m hoping for, right now, is that we will come to appreciate the way the self that is mysterious and infinite is present in each being, not just in humans. 33
Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 1
The origin is so vast, and I think that will always be the case. But I think there will be a deepening of the direct understanding of who we are. Going from cosmos to cosmogenesis, we start to see the way in which our self is itself the entire history of the cosmos. We’re learning more details about that. The origins of anger, jealously, and so forth…now we have a sense of it going back millions, even billions of years, so it’s a new pathway in from the scientific orientation, one we can combine with meditation and a mystical approach.
An Inquiry: I’m thinking about a previous conversation in which you talked about practices in everyday life that cultivate the kind of presence, awareness, and relatedness we’ve been talking about. You gave an example of standing at the foot of the ocean, communing with the ocean, being with the way the water moves, imagining all of the life within the water, and actually intentionally developing an ability to be in conversation beyond language in ways that allow us to experience the language of the wave, the tree, the star, and to develop that kind of direct perception you refer to in your discussions of science. Brian: Yes! Exactly. We can be using science to move the mind in that direction, toward a more direct encounter. Again, we’re immersed in origin, in what I call the “all nourishing abyss,” and so moment by moment things are being created. I think there’s actually a Sufi cosmology called Continuous Creation, where every moment, every instant, the universe is being created anew. That’s exactly this point of view. So that’s the excitement that I get out of it. It’s about how we listen, and about