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Only ecstasy can understand ecstasy, inspired by the great Hafiz

I was recently listening to a YouTube lecture on the great Persian poet, Hafiz. When referring to Hafiz’s work, the speaker Richard Rudd said, ‘only ecstasy can understand ecstasy’. It blew me away. I instantly knew what he meant but had never heard anyone vocalise it like that.

He was referring to the ecstatic states or deep sense of joy felt by highly sensitives. The opposite being sorrow and pain.

As you know I have been doing inner work for the last nine years. Exploring my inner life, bringing my shadows to the surface, shedding conditioning, healing traumas, and integrating them into my life so that they don’t manifest in unconscious behaviours and limiting beliefs.

In 2021, I was taken to the darkest parts of my soul, having to confront deep pain. The deepest work I’ve done to date. I say I was 'taken' because I did not choose to go. Who would??? It wasn't pretty! Instead chaotic, and messy. I was forced to question my attachments and ego. I learned through this process that my ego had still been running the show despite me ‘thinking’, I was now ‘conscious’.

Rumi meets with his followers for the last time
Rumi meets with his followers for the last time

This, in fact, is the spiritual path, the constant dance between consciousness and unconsciousness. I’d been here before but this time it was different. Different because I thought I was already on the path I was 'meant to be on'. I realised however there was still work to do and my ego was forced to face some harsh truths. I realised that my worldly desires were 'still' misaligned with my soul which yearned for purity and simplicity. The veil had once again been lifted.

Following this, I reduced my exposure to social media for a while because something inside changed. Following what felt like a loud traumatic experience, a quiet resided. A stillness. I craved anonymity which isn’t realistic when you ‘have’ to be in the world. And in fact, spiritual life isn’t about removing yourself from the world entirely but rather taking your learnings and using them to 'be' and serve, without attachment and ego.

Another profound occurrence took place. I felt a visceral desire to immerse myself in Sufi teachings. They say 'when the student is ready, the teacher appears'. At this point in my life, the Sufi poets and mystics were my teachers. I was learning about Ibn Arabi, Hafiz, Kahlil Gibran, Rumi and Kabir. I lost myself in the journeys of Lilian Silburn and Irina Tweedie, both Western spiritual seekers who travelled to India to be trained by Sufi masters. I felt as though I was cocooned in beauty.

Ironically, what I am now able to offer as a coach, comes from 'more' of a knowing place. From having lived what I teach. This manifested recently in a wellbeing session I delivered to the staff members in the educational establishment where I work as I was able to hold space without attachment. Not focussing on me but purely on serving.

Some colleagues later reported that they'd been able to release suffering which had been unconsciously carried for months. Now they were conscious of it, they could make the necessary changes to nurture themselves going forward. This is transformation.

Feeling deep emotion can be lonely. It can set you apart from the world. What I’ve learned however is, the more I embrace my ecstasy and despair, the closer it brings me to my truth and therefore freedom.

Thank you for reading.

Saima x

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