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A Hidden Treasure

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan

Imagine yourself floating in space with outspread limbs. Thus suspended in midair your recumbent form gives itself over to a delicious languor, and one by one your senses close down. The eyes cease to see and the ears cease to hear. Smell and taste go dormant. Afterimages linger for a time, but in the absence of new stimuli the eidola that haunt the halls of memory slowly fade into oblivion. The void that surrounds you now pervades you. You are dead to the world—and yet you live.

As a sensing subject, your field of perception is just one of the innumerable interpenetrating searchlights that together illuminate the lineaments of the astronomical universe. Other humans perceive other angles of vision, as do all manner of animals, plants and animalcules. We may even conjecture that stones and rivers register the landscapes to which they belong, albeit after a fashion so raw and elemental as to be inconceivable to the diurnal human mind.

Let us, therefore, expand the scope of our thought experiment. Imagine that not only does your soul withdraw into itself, but that all souls likewise withdraw, and in withdrawing, resolve into a single over-soul that now recedes into its own inner deeps, the ancient taproot of creation. All is perishing except His Face.i

Reality holds its breath. All is still and silent. Life lives, but without any sign. The Earth was without form, and void.ii

Sunk deep in unity, the One engulfs in its abyss the shimmering wealth of all that ever was and all that ever will be. Obsidian and jade, tropical waterfalls and Olympian peaks, the attar of roses, wild honey, herds of aurochs, hieroglyphs and cantos, cathedrals and soup kitchens, melancholy, mirth, the Aurora Borealis and the Pleiades, the reveries of teeming worlds beyond number—all these are present and yet absent. Absent because there is no witness. Darkness was on the face of the deep.iii

Eluding the grasp of sensation, evading the reach of intellection, utterly outstripping the powers of apprehension of every knowing mind on every planet and plane within the manifold multiverse that is its flower, the immortal life of the One is now as it always was and forever will be, world without end.iv There is no trace from the traceless. Only a silence pure and deep beyond all imagining.

Occulted within its shadowy drapery, the One luxuriates in the secret knowledge of its own irrefutable reality and unfathomable limitlessness. It knows that it is not a being but Being itself. I am that I am.v Nothing came before it and nothing lives outside it. It is alone.

And in its solitude, by and by, it succumbs to an aching loneliness. It is everything, but it has nothing and no one. What it lacks, it wants. It wants itself. I was a Hidden Treasure and I longed to be known, so I created the world that I might be

Overcome with longing, the master passion destined to instruct every gesture of the centillion and one things soon to have their day in the sun, the One draws itself to a point. From that point, a center that is everywhere inside a circle that is nowhere, the One radiates its plenitude. Time and space unfurl like roaming tendrils and the Alone exults in the rapturous dream of multiplicity.

Image Credit: Alone in Mexico, Shoshana in 1969

Pir Zia Inayat-Khan is a scholar and teacher of Sufism in the lineage of his grandfather, Hazrat Inayat Khan. He received his B.A. (Hons) in Persian Literature from the London School of Oriental and African Studies, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion from Duke University. Pir Zia is founder of Seven Pillars House of Wisdom, and also of Sulūk Academy, a school of contemplative study with branches in the U.S. and Europe. His most recent books are Saracen Chivalry: Counsels on Valor, Generosity and the Mystical Quest and Caravan of Souls: An Introduction to the Sufi Path of Hazrat Inayat Khan, both published by Sulūk Press, an imprint of Omega Publications.

Read more about Pir Zia Inayat-Khan


i Qur’an 28:88
ii Genesis 1:2
iii Ibid
iv Isaiah 45:17
v Exodus 3:14
vi Hadith Qudsi

Comments (5)
  • Exquisite and says so much…so being with the sharing.

    — Sophia Viginia Dilkusha on April 24, 2012

  • thank you for blessing us with this poetic vision of our unbreakable link with, in, and of the Beloved

    — dilawar on April 24, 2012

  • a breathtaking vision, so beautifully and poignantly expressed.  Thank you.

    — amber chand on April 25, 2012

  • Once, after making the climb to Mt. Timpanogos cave and absorbing the beauty of the treasures found in the form of extraordinary columns, delicate stalactites and stalagmites, I allowed my mind to wander to a time before the cave had been discovered. It takes hundreds of thousands of years to grow a stalactite and for most of that time, human minds didn’t even know of the beauty of its existence…still, truth is that beauty began and grew as a hidden treasure. I have thought about that in terms of the things that are sealed in my very own heart that I cannot even imagine, let alone, conceive…it takes my breath away!

    — Hakima Pamela on April 26, 2012

  • Thank you very much to Pir Zia for this Divine, Sublime and real experience.That’s it!

    — vogele on January 25, 2013

19 April 2012

Tagged Under
mysticism, revelation, soul, meditation, light, imagination, death, nature meditation, senses, life, oneness, imaginal realm, reimagination,
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