Empty your knowing. “I struggle with this over and over and over again. The irony of being willing to learn from a spiritual master is that I recognize I don’t know it all like I sometimes think I do! Sidi will say something that I agree with and I’ll say to myself, “Oh, I knew that,” which is being full of my own knowing.
On the other hand, Sidi may say something that I disagree with and I’ll mull it over, contrasting what he said against my own knowing and noticing the conflict between them. So either way, I’m not empty.
It is a big challenge to empty your knowing. This is a major focus of Sidi’s teachings-cleaning our past, cleaning our veils, cleaning our pictures, cleaning all the burdens that we carry around with us, and cleaning the knowing and the beliefs of our minds. This cleaning happens through healing and through the love of Allah.
Emptying yourself isn’t something that you can “will to happen”. Most of the time, emptying your knowing is a result of doing spiritual practices. I’d recommend aiming towards emptying your knowing and then be willing to take in his teachings even if they sound weird or you don’t like them. See how his teachings sit with you. The Sufi practice of Remembrance is an excellent tool to help you “sit” with Sidi’s teachings.
Another way to empty your knowing has to do with your heart being “soft and melted.” A few years ago Sidi said, “to receive the teachings in the Qur’an you must let your heart be soft and melted.”
I love those two words, “soft and melted,” because that’s the way I’ve been trying to be every time I’m with him. When we’ve set our intention to empty our knowing and we allow our heart to be “soft and melted,” it is like listening with the “ears of our heart.” Our heart can grasp the teachings at all levels. So for those of you who aren’t having an experience or who want to go deeper, allow your heart to be “soft and melted” in Sidi’s presence.
Let your heart be open, soft and melted, even if what he’s saying is difficult to understand or if he’s saying something that bothers you. Work on keeping your heart soft and melted. Then the teachings come in because it’s not simply his words that are coming from him, there’s a whole transmission and energy. He’s transmitting the qualities of Allah and they can come right into our heart if we are willing to receive them.”
~Nura Laird, Dean of Education and student of Sidi al-Jamal