Order

Order is a sign of intelligence. The order we see in the universe is a sign of a very high intelligence we might call God, and the order we experience when we all drive on the left is a sign of practical intelligence among men.

We can see order in the movement of the stars and planets, in the seasons on Earth, in the cycle of life and death, and in our daily lives.

Abdullah said we need order in our lives if we are to be good householders, good husbands and wives and sons and daughters, and we need to have acceptance of our place in the order of those roles. For children, a sense of order might start out with simply getting out of bed in time for school, or keeping their rooms tidy, or having a shower without being reminded.

One of the laws we live under is ‘cause and effect’ which is also called the law of karma. This means that everything that happens has a cause somewhere, so there is always order whether we see it or not.

This first story is from Chan Buddhism.

About 1000 years ago during the Chinese Tang dynasty, an old monk set out on a pilgrimage to Wutai Mountain in Northern China, where the Bodhisattva of Wisdom once lived. Although a frail old man, he was treading the long dusty road alone and begging for food along the way.

After many long months, one morning he looked up and saw the majestic mountain in the distance. By the roadside, there was an old woman working the field. The old monk stopped “Please tell me,” he asked the old woman, “how much longer will it take me to reach Mount Wutai from here?” The woman just looked at him, and then returned to her hoeing.

He repeated the question a second time and a third time, but there was no answer from the old woman. Thinking that she must be deaf, the monk decided to press on. After he had taken a few dozen steps, he heard the woman call out to him, “Two more days! It will take you two more days!”

Annoyed, the monk called back, “I thought you were deaf. Why didn’t you answer my question earlier?” The old woman replied, “Master, you were standing still when you asked the question. Before I could answer I had to see the speed of your pace, and how determined was your walk!”

Abdullah also says that order comes to us from the Sun through our conscience and through the teaching which lays out a system for us to follow.

When asked, “What determines the order in a Sufi organization?” He answered that “It is the inner order that is important, not the outer hierarchy. There is an inner order which Sufis are taught to develop from their meditation on the heart. That is the beginning of it.”

The second story is called the night of the Neter (Neter is an ancient Egyptian word for a god). Retold from “Her Bak: The Living Face of Ancient Egypt” by Isha Schwaller de Lubicz.

There was once a young boy called Her Bak who was in training for the temple in Egypt 3000 years ago. Every day he prayed to the holy statues of the gods and one day one of his teachers said he was ready for a test.

He was told to fast all day and then at night he was taken to a secret place with a stone room covered in hieroglyphs. Inside he found himself in very dim light facing a very old statue of the Neter, the supreme god Ptah. The teacher instructed him “You will spend the night alone in front of the Neter and bow down before him and pray to him.” The door was bolted and he was left alone.

Her Bak could see that the floor in front of the Neter was worn smooth from all the prayers that had been done over hundreds of years. He did some prayers, but as time passed he began to feel very uncomfortable. It is a great honour to be here with the Neter, he said out loud to himself… and yet I feel nothing. Perhaps I am not good enough?

But I want to know the true Neter.

Neter, why have they brought me here?

You give no answer.

You are made of stone, yet all the wise men bow before you and call you Lord of the world. All powerful Neter where are you? If you are human then you must live on Earth. If you are not human then why do they give you human appearance?

I don’t want a human god that can die. I am human. I am not powerful and good. I want a god who is better than anything in this world – but what good does wanting do?

More time passed as he lay quietly and listened to the beating of his heart.

Her Bak sat up and said, I know this is my heart, but I don’t know anything else. I don’t know you Neter – if you are a god you know everything, so answer me! Why have you made me so ignorant? My heart is more alive than your statue – why should I worship this? I have a right to know since they make me kneel before it!

His voice grew louder. What is sacred about this statue? What is sacred in this whole world? Do I believe in this statue? Do I believe in you Neter?

Her Bak got to his feet and faced the statue. Shaking his fists in its face he shouted. Speak to me! Reveal yourself! I want the true Neter! I don’t want this image! And with that he spat into the Neter’s face.

All was silent. Her Bak trembled and burst into tears. He turned away from the statue and threw himself on the ground and cried “I worship thee true Neter of the world. Reveal to my heart thy face, I am calling thee!”

At this his master stepped out of the shadows.

“Oh master I have…” Her Bak began.

I know what you have done said the master. The Neter you are seeking is within you. You are his true temple. But to know this, first you had to give up the image of the Neter.

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