EXISTENCE IS SUBSTANCE AND LIFE IS SHADOW
Comparatively, Existence is what his body is to man, and life is as the cloth that covers the body. The same body changes clothes according to the seasons, time and circumstances, just as the one and eternal Existence is always there throughout the countless and varied aspects of life.
Shrouded beyond recognition by the cloak of life with its multifarious folds and colours, is Existence unchangeable. It is the garb of life with its veils of mind, energy and gross forms that "shadows" and superimposes on Existence, presenting the eternal, indivisible and unchangeable Existence as transient, varied and ever-changing.
Existence is all-pervading, and is the underlying essence of all things, whether animate or inanimate, real or unreal, varied in species or uniform in forms, collective or individual, abstract or substantial.
In the eternity of Existence there is no time. There is no past and no future; only the everlasting present. In eternity nothing has ever happened and nothing will ever happen. Everything is happening in the unending NOW.
Existence is God; whereas, life is illusion.
Existence is Reality; whereas, life is imagination.
Existence is everlasting; whereas, life is ephemeral.
Existence is unchangeable; whereas, life is ever-changing.
Existence is freedom; whereas, life is a binding.
Existence is indivisible; whereas, life is multiple.
Existence is imperceptible; whereas, life is deceptive.
Existence is independent; whereas, life is dependent upon mind, energy and gross forms.
Existence is; whereas, life appears to be.
Existence, therefore, is not life.
Birth and death do not mark the beginning or end of life. Whereas the numerous stages and states of life which constitute the so-called births and deaths are governed by the laws of evolution and reincarnation, life comes into being only once, with the advent of the first dim rays of limited consciousness, succumbs to death only once on attaining the unlimited consciousness of infinite Existence.
Existence, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-present God, is beyond cause and effect, beyond time and space, beyond all actions.
Existence touches all, all things and all shadows. Nothing can ever touch Existence. Even the very fact of its being does not touch existence.
To realize Existence, life must be shed. It is life that endows limitations to the unlimited Self. Life of the limited self is sustained by the mind creating impressions; by energy supplying the impetus to accumulate and dissipate these impressions through expressions; and by gross forms and bodies functioning as the instruments through which these impressions are spent, reinforced and eventually exhausted, through actions.
GOD SPEAKS, pp. 288-290
1973 © Sufism Reoriented, Inc.