Music as Word of God

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Speculum
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Only a part of?

Postby Speculum » March 26th, 2008, 4:25 pm

Another thought on the Ibn 'Arabi text.

At about the middle of the second paragraph at TZF's Ampers&nd, there is ...

His Veil is [only a part of] His oneness; nothing veils other than He. His veil is [only] the concealment of His existence in His oneness, without any quality.

At the Note related to the word "veil", I have:

In the text, the note here reads "That is, phenomenal existence".

The words in square brackets -- [only a part of] and [only] -- appear like that in the text of the booklet.

What has bugged me about those lines from my first introduction to them is the phrase "only a part of".

As I read the rest of Ibn 'Arabi here (and in the rest of the booklet, and elsewhere), I don't see how he could suggest that "God" has parts; that is, how the "veil" could be "only a part of" His oneness, suggesting that other things are "other" parts of His oneness. That just doesn't sound like Ibn 'Arabi to me.

I wonder what the Arabic word or phrase is that is here translated as "only a part of", and what alternative translations there might be for it. Because, again, for me, "only a part of" doesn't work.

Of course, I understand what is meant there, but throughout, Ibn 'Arabi is insistent that there is He and nothing but He, and the idea, even the possibility of "parts", just does not seem to fit.

So, I read the sentence this way:

His Veil is He; nothing veils other than He. His Veil is His concealment of His existence in His oneness, without any quality.

For me, that rhymes with the rest of the booklet. And it rings true. The veil is wholly He, the concealment is wholly He, His existence is wholly He. Even the target of His concealment is wholly He. Just as, further on the text, Ibn 'Arabi reminds us --

His Prophet is He, and His sending is He, and His word is He. There was no mediator nor any means other than He. There is no difference between the Sender and the thing sent, and the person sent and the person to whom he is sent. The very existence of the prophetic message is His existence.

No parts.

Elsewhere on TZF I have said that the illusion (that I am me, and God is God) is itself Divine (or God), because if God is Infinite, there is nothing else it can be. That is, for me, the illusion that I am "me" is as much His Oneness as is Awareness that I Am He. There is naught but His Oneness, and it does not have parts.

Am I nitpicking? Probably.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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windabove
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Re: Music as Word of God

Postby windabove » March 26th, 2008, 8:15 pm

I don't think you're nitpicking, just being very precise, and this author demands such precision of his reader.

As for brackets, I believe you are correct in assuming that they are not to be read as we would parenthesis, that is, parenthetical to the statement, but instead read as an offering toward clarifying. We normally do not encounter this definition-on-fly device because it is almost completely unnecessary when writing for a readership of the same language. When writing or translating for a reader of a different language though bracketed elements become very valuable. The Amplified Bible, as one example, makes extensive use of brackets to insert additional and/or alternative defining elements not parenthetical to the meaning, but to convey in English the non-equivalents of the original language. The purpose of these insertions is to force more precision on the understanding and to the contrary not to add multiple meaning, ambiguity, or contradictions. Now for a little nitpicking.

His Veil is He; nothing veils other than He. His Veil is His concealment of His existence in His oneness, without any quality.

Well, the author doesn't actually say His Veil is He, does he, though he says nothing veils other than He, so we might reasonably make that equivalence, BUT instead the author says His Veil is His oneness AND the concealment of His existence in His oneness...whoa, big difference! The justification and clarity for such distinction resides in those brackets.

Another example, we could read,
His veil is [only] the concealment of His existence in His oneness, without any quality...
as
His veil is the concealment of His existence in His oneness, without any quality...
and just be done with it, but the author doesn't actually say His veil does any veiling, does he? The key is the word "only" amplifying to the phrase "the concealment", which together reveals that His veil is not His concealment.

I know this may be nitpicking beyond tolerable, and I'm not suggesting that there is a right or wrong way to read Ibn Arabi. However you read it is the right way to read it. All I am saying is, for me, the more carefully and closely I read, making finer and finer distinction, the more revelatory its effect on me.

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Speculum
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Re: Music as Word of God

Postby Speculum » March 29th, 2008, 5:03 pm

... the more carefully and closely I read, making finer and finer distinction, the more revelatory its effect on me.


Agreed! I have to say, I truly love the process reflected in these posts, and have exercised it as regards everything I have read and otherwise encountered along my path over the years. There is a danger, I know, of getting so caught up in split hairs, that we stall our progress. (What's that dictum from college philosophy class about the mule that starves to death while standing equidistant between two bales of hay?) Still, I have found, and continue to believe, that pushing the mind to dig deep into its reasoning power, to struggle over words and their meaning, to distill out all the curlicues and unnecessaries, to force words that demand my allegiance to earn it, is a valid spiritual practice, for it vacuums out the corners and recesses of the brain in a wonderful way, and uplifts the spirit.

... the author doesn't actually say His Veil is He, does he, though he says nothing veils other than He, so we might reasonably make that equivalence, BUT instead the author says His Veil is His oneness AND the concealment of His existence in His oneness...whoa, big difference!


This distinction, if I read it correctly, presumes there is a difference between Him and His Oneness.

Which begs a fundamental question: Does God have qualities? Can an Infinite Being have qualities?

That is, in this context, does God have oneness, or is it that God is oneness?

However far I wander in discussions of this kind, I am always driven inwardly back to the realization that has been seared into my brain, here articulated as, "If God is Infinite, then God is all there is, and all there is is God", which in this context means that if there exists "oneness" (whosever it may be), it is wholly God. Likewise, if there exists a veil (again, whosever it may be, and whatever may be its purpose), it is wholly God. And that is so precisely because if it is not wholly God, then it does not exist, because all that exists is wholly God because God is Infinite and therefore wholly everything everywhere always simultaneously and spontaneously.

Just so, God's Grace is wholly God. God's Love is wholly God. God's Wisdom is wholly God. And so on.

We can separate a thing from its qualities because we perceive a separative universe. Just so, our lives as we perceive them are composed of many different things (people, places, things, ideas, days, weeks, galaxies, etc.). But from God's point of view, there is no such thing as "my life" or "the universe" or "an idea". They are all He, all Identical.

Many Teachers (that is, those who See as God) express this idea wonderfully; among them, besides Ibn 'Arabi, is especially Nisargadatta, who repeatedly reminds us (in the book I Am That, for example) "You have brought in duality where there is none" and "I make no distinction between the body and the universe" and "What I appear to you to be exists only in your mind".

Again, when the Gospels Teacher said "this bread is my body", I am convinced he meant for us to understand that at that Moment, the bread is all that exists, and it is Me. At the next Moment, the wine is all that exists, and it is Me. And still again, at the next Moment, His Oneness is all that exists, and it is Me. And, yes, the entirety of it all is likewise Me.

Of course, we perceive those statements to refer to a series of things: "the bread" and "the wine" and "the oneness" and so on. But that''s because that's the way we perceive everything. But in Truth, there is no such thing as "and"! Just as there is no such thing as a "next" moment. It is all One Moment. And the One Moment is Me.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust


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