Sheikh Burhanuddin - The Journey Of A Modern Sufi Mystic
Interview by Iain McNay
Iain: Hello and welcome again to Conscious TV, my name is Iain McNay and my guest today is Sheikh Burhanuddin. And Sheikh was suggested by one of our viewers. I had a look at his life, his story. And there is some fascinating things there and I am really happy that he has come to London to do the interview with us. Welcome Sheikh. And I like to start when you were very young because you were telling me on the phone that when you were very young you were very drawn to nature and you had to get your mother's permission to spend a lot of time in nature. So what was going on at that time, what do you remember from that time?
SB: Hm, When I was very young I always felt a very strong calling to nature and it was the place where I felt most peaceful and most connected somehow. And I loved to watch the animals, I tried always to come close to the deers in the forest. It was a forest close by to our home and finally it came to a point that I asked my mother to stay in the forest over night also and I was very interested in plants, which plants you could eat, which plants you couldn't. With one plant I ate I was not so lucky, but I managed (laughs). And I felt very integrated into the forest. I was watching the forest keeper, you know, the one that professionally looks after the forest, and their team, and it was always my joy to watch them. But they never found me. Even so I made little tents because when I slept I liked to sleep in it or I had to try to protect it and I always slept in the wintertime in the forest which is not as bad as it sounds because the snow keeps you warm in a way so I made my homework at home but the rest of the time I basically spent in the forest.
Iain: And were any of the other children interested in that?
SB: When I became ten I had a great need of a friend and so I was asking God somehow to have a friend and in fact then he came and we spent from then on every day together in the forest as well, not sleeping there because his parents did not want that. But we shared almost everything.
Iain: When you say you asked God what did that mean practically ?.
SB: Well, you know, it's very difficult to speak about God. I use it as a word. I could call it also Existence or I could call it the Supreme Intelligence or whatever you like, you know, what is easier, but I use the word because in a way it's the word which tells the most. But it always kept conflicts the most. So that's not my intention but if I had to write a book, the first sentence would be: God exists.
Iain: Because there's so much confusion in the world about God when people say they act in the name of God.
SB: Well, if you have a confusion on that, and I meet people who have that sometimes, then I say you don't need to call it, you don't need to give it a name. You call it Love, call it Truth. You can say: God is Truth, but you can also turn it around: Truth is God. Or God is Love, you can turn it around: Love is God. So if you just keep to Truth and Love you can never go wrong. If you go just with God it can happen that you go wrong as we see in so many movements. There is a danger.
Iain: And then when you were ten you found a photograph in a book, didn't you, that really drew you?
SB: Yes, I was coming into a library and I was looking and somehow a book fell in my hand. It was from, oh I forgot it, it was a man, an Englishman, I think, or an American, who wrote about his travel experiences through India. Pleitner, I think, was his name. And I opened the book and there was a photograph from Ramana Maharshi inside which I didn't know that it was him. But it touched me so strongly that I thought I have to have it. But I didn't have the money to buy the book. So I came the next day back with a blade and I cut it out and I went home. And later, when I was 18, I came back to the book shop and paid the book. (both laughing)
Iain: Wonderful. And I think a little bit later you also say you met the Bible, when you were very young.
Iain: And you met Carlos Castaneda.
SB: Yeah, that was very important and that corresponded very much with my nature thing, you know. And so I started to practise a lot of things which he described in his books, for example walking in the nights in the forests, with his technique he described in one of his books, you know, to bring your legs very up. (lifts one of his hands)
Iain: So describe that - so you were Carlos Castaneda
SB: And I tried that out.
Iain: So you were walking in the forest at night and you say it was big steps, high steps.
Iain: And what did you feel that did for you?
SB: Hm. Not too much really, not too much. Somehow I understood of course, if you make higher steps you will less stumble in the forest
SB: So that's a practical and an advisable thing to do.
Iain: Did you ever have any fear?
SB: No, no.
Iain: Did you hear strange noises?
SB: No, there is not one noise in nature that makes me to fear.
Iain: Where do you think this attraction to nature came from to start with. Were your parents drawn to nature?
SB: Not at all. My mother actually, she was sometimes walking with me, but she was not exactly a woman so much nature-oriented. I really can't tell you. It just happened.
Iain: And then when you were around fourteen, which is incredibly young for what you wanted to do, you wanted to find a master.
SB: In fact, I wanted to find a master much earlier but when I was fourteen it became very much a pressure. And I felt a need, a very urgent need to find a man who is like Jesus for example. That was one of the orientations. And then with fourteen also Osho Bhagvan appeared on the scene. Very attractive. And when I saw him I always thought that my master should have a beard, you know, and it was somehow always clear to me: A master must have a beard.
Iain: Did you ever spend time with Bhagvan?
SB: I had been in India in the years eighty-eightyone.
Iain: And it was in Poona.
SB: Yeah, I was in Poona and I lived literally twenty meters away from his home but when I came he had made a pause and so I didn't really meet him face to face. But I lived very close to him and I saw him two times in his bathroom.
Iain: Ok. (smiles) so, because I was a Sannyasin of his for three years. Yeah, many years ago. And then, I was looking at notes here, at eighteen you went to India.
SB: Yeah. For the same reason. To find a master.
Iain: Yeah. Did you find a master there?
SB: No. Not at that time. Ahm, it was in a way also very frustrating, because I thought, you know, I hadn't read anything about India before. The only information I had was with a book from Hermann Hesse: Siddhartha. There was the picture of India for me and as it was not the time of the internet also you had go to libraries and this and that and I wasn't somehow interested having information in advance. So I didn't buy a traveller book, you know, like Lonely Planet or this kind of things. We actually escaped from Germany because my friend was still minor aged, so we had to go by surprise in a way and we were not prepared at all what is going be there and our first contact with India was Calcutta, which was in the eighties still a town of poverty and overpopulation. People died in the street and they were collected in the morning by lorries. Very, very strong impressions for us.
Iain: What was pulling you, did you just remember what the energy was that was pulling you to follow this path?
SB: Well, I always had India in my mind, you know. And, it is difficult to say if you have not an external trigger that actually makes you to move. So I had very little external trigger. Everything was triggered somehow as there has been a plan settled down a long time ago. And I just had to follow it. And in a way in my view it is like this, that there is for everyone of us already a history laid down long time ago. But it is not in all dimensions developed. Let's say two-dimensional. It is where you are born, it is what will be your name, what will be your shape. Certain things, your outer movements are basically defined, but how you are in your inside, that's up to you.
Iain: So would you say then when people go through difficult periods somehow they've lost their way in their plan?
SB: No, you have to fall to develop, you know, that is a principle. You cannot develop yourself if you don't have crises, if you don't have breakdowns. That's not possible.
Iain: So often people say especially on their spiritual journey that something goes terribly wrong, maybe with a teacher or with their health or something, they tend to say: well, I went off course and I did not follow my path. But you are saying: that helps to build up their strength, their character somehow.
SB: There is a saying in Sufism that says: where the Dervish falls down is the place where he stands up
Iain: Yes, I can connect with that personally.
SB: Yeah, I think everyone can.
Iain: So when you were in India you decided to spend three months in solitude and just wrote notes.
SB: Right, yes.
I : So how did that take place, were you living in a cellar at the time or...?
SB: No, I was in a place which was called Dharamkot, that's near Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj, that's quite popular a place nowadays. A Tibetan place with Tibetan Buddhists mainly, and in Dharamsala was the head quarter of the Dalai Lama, I think still is. And because before I came to India, I came with fourteen in contact with Buddhism. Somehow I entered India as a Buddhist. But I could not find a Buddhist master really. I wasn't really feeling much with them, you know. I always thought they are monks, what can they possibly really know about life, about relationships, about daily life issues? So I always was thinking: The master I know, I want or I am looking for must be a master who lives in this world, who shares somehow what I am experiencing.
Iain: So you were in this period of three months when you were silent. Was that easy for you to do? it must have brought up a lot of things because you were having no dialogue.
SB: When you go into silence it is maybe in the beginning a little odd but very, very quickly it develops as a very peaceful thing, not to have to speak. It is an incredible relief.
Iain: I can imagine that.
SB: And also the effect it has on people is very nice. They are much more tender, much more present in a way and much more sensitive towards you. So it was a very happy time. The difficulty was in fact to return. As I had the agreement with my friend to do it only three months which was already a lot, so he had to do all the shopping, you know, and all these kind of things. And I think it was in some way more a challenge for him than for me. So I agreed with him that three months is it and then I'll come back. When it came to the end it was very difficult for me to come back. I actually did like it. If it was up to me I would have stayed silent.
Iain: It's such an alien thing to our modern world, isn't it ? In the west anyway this is. Everything with social media, everything is action, action, action all the time. It's as if it's something that is forgotten really.
Iain: We'll come on later because now you've been on what you call seclusions, which was also very important to you. In the end of this period of three months you had a very dramatic experience, didn't you?
SB: Yes, where I lived there was a waterfall nearby and I was always very drawn to that waterfall. So finally I made my way towards it and when I sat down there I had a very strong experience which drew me out of my body and I started to travel and I had a very strong light experience. The light was kind of a conscious being and I was determined to stay there, so I was asking it if I could stay here. And the answer was: No, you can't stay here. And I was asking: Why, why can I not stay here? And he said - it was a male voice - there is people that need you. And I said: Who is needing me? There is only my mother, and she would be fine, I was saying (laughing). And there is no other. I have only one friend, he would be fine also. So there is no-one who needs me. And he said: There is and there will be. And so you can't stay. You have to come back. And then I was sent back somehow and this was sad, actually. It was a sad moment. I felt repelled in a way, because I thought this would have been the ideal life, you know, just leave, stay there and be happy.
Iain: When you say you were repelled, what was it that you repelled you about coming back to the world?
SB: Well: living. Living in this existence has a certain struggle, has a certain effort, right? And I did not have any idea what I could do in the world. Even though I had been a musician from very young and I was very active with the music actually, which was not told to you because somehow it was not appearing in the interview. But I was very, very drawn to music and I spent a lot of time exercising the instrument, I played guitar and so my idea was actually to become a musician but that is not really an easy career, you know. Let's say it like this.
Iain: So, you came back into the world and then, I think it was a couple of years later, you met Krishnamurti in Switzerland.
SB: I met Krishnamurti when I was nineteen and that was in Salem, in Switzerland in his tent and it was a perfect day, really a perfect day. The sky was blue and it was pleasant weather, pleasant temperature, sun shining and it was really extraordinary. And the place where they put the tent is a beautiful place, there is mountains around and it is really beautiful. So I could get a good place in the tent, nearby the seat, and he was already in his nineties I think, and very strong affected by the Parkinson he had. So when he came he was trembling, he could hardly make the way to the chair, but even so his presence was enormous. And then he did a thing which is...I came only later to know it...that is actually really an impossible thing. He tried somehow to fix the microphone and as he was having such a strong tremor he couldn't really make it. Then came an assistant but he didn't like the assistant to do it for him. So he closed his eyes and he concentrated and the tremor stopped and he fixed it and then he started again and what he used to do then is to put his hands under his legs.
Iain: Yes, yes I understand, so to...
SB: To control it somehow, not to make it visible also and I will never forget the silence before he spoke, it was incredibly dense and when he started his first sentence it was almost like a bullet hits you. Very, very strong.
Iain: There is something I did not mention but you told me, that when you were young you also used to go to sit in a church because the silence was very important to you.
SB: I did that when I was entering in school actually, in elementary school. On my way was a church, a Protestant church, and it was open, it was open always. And my habit was to go after school to sit there and to enjoy the silence there.
Iain: I might guess that was always at the background when you were wanting to be in the forest in nature there was always this pull to silence somehow?
SB: Now that you say it actually it looks like, but it wasn't a conscious thing for me at that time. It was more of an instinctive need that I felt it is good for me.
Iain: But you were able to trust your instincts.
Iain: But other people can't, especially kids.
SB: Well, I think it was something I always relied very much on it.
Iain: So just to continue the sequence of your story, you then again saw a photograph of someone: Sheikh Nazim. Do I pronounce it right?
Iain: Nazim. And again you were pulled by a photograph and then he became your teacher, your master.
SB: I was sitting in an esoteric bookshop in Freiburg and there was a similar chair like this (pointing to a chair next to him) and it passed by a woman which was a little bit out of herself, let's say. She already had somehow made a scene in the shop, and so the shopkeeper said: Please leave the shop. She had a book in her hand and the book was about Sheikh Nazim and before she left she threw the book in my lap and she was saying: This is for you. And she went off. So I took it and I turned it around and there was a little picture of Sheikh Nazim and when I saw his picture I was very, very attracted. I mean he was an outstanding beauty. The most beautiful man I have ever met, really. And that was very good captured in that picture.
Iain: And you became his, what do you call it, disciple? He became your master?
SB: Yeah, yeah.
Iain: So that was the person that you thought you were looking for.
SB: Yes. Yes.
Iain: So how was that, now you had found your master?
SB: He was and is the Love of my Life.
Iain: This is so interesting, because I know you are married and I presume you have a beautiful marriage but you talk about your master being the love of your life.
SB: Yes, yes. Well, if you meet a real one which is not that easy, if you meet beyond that a king, a king among the real ones, Yamaha Baba, Ramana Maharshi, I call them Kings. Kings of Saints, Kings of Masters.
Iain: What were the qualities he had that were so special to you ?
SB: Well, it was first of all his incredible love which he emanated which was just pouring out of him. And if you came in his field, in his presence, you felt utterly safe, utterly recognized, utterly embraced, utterly loved and protected. You were so secure and it was so absolutely evident, obvious, that he is just living in God, living in Love, every single moment. It was magic, really magic.
Iain: And one of the things he encouraged you to do is to go on what you call seclusions, what we might call retreats more in the west.
SB: That was later, the first thing actually he wanted me to do is to stop playing music. That was the first thing.
Iain: How was that?
SB: That was really, really hard. Because my whole emotional life was somehow going through the instrument and to take that out, take that away from me left me very fragile in a way.
Iain: And why did he ask you to do that?
SB: Ahm, I can only speculate in a way. Because he never explained anything. He was just saying: If you want to go forward you have to stop. All that. You don't listen to music, you don't play music. When you hear a radio playing somewhere you leave. You don't watch films, you don't watch movies. Nothing. And somehow, if you do that, first of all it makes you aware how much we are addicted to sound, permanent sound and how much sound is in the world all the time, that's another thing. And nowadays it's factor one and so I think he wanted to make me sober in a way. So that you experience yourself without any kind of crutches.
Iain: Experience yourself without any kind of crutches... So it's just a raw "you" there whatever that is.
Iain: It's tough, that's right, very tough.
SB: For a young man it was tough.
Iain: But your devotion to him and your commitment to him was enough, strong enough to go with it. Did you have doubts at the time?
SB: No, no. I was so crazy in love, that if he would have forced me to run naked through the city I would have done that.
SB: I can say my trust towards him was total.
Iain: And so I am interested in the seclusions as you call them because you were telling me you had forty days in a small cell just having a light soup every day. You didn't leave the cell for forty days.
Iain: That's incredible commitment with the sitting, does it mean you were just sitting there for forty days ?
SB: Well, you know the ego is very clever and if you do a thing with a limited time you can sit it out, if you are not ready. You just somehow can avoid yourself. To be watched to be seen. Maybe not 100 percent but if you are really willing to know yourself I think every method can be bypassed. So it sounds like a strong thing or a great thing and of course the solitude in itself has a certain effect. The eating just the same soup every day has a certain effect but those things were always easy for me. Fasting, any kind of discipline or ascetic thing was easy for me. But to know yourself you have to be ready. You must really want it. Because whatever you watch will be against the image you created.
Iain: Explain that again: Whatever you watch will be against the image created. What exactly do you mean by that?
SB: Well, we all create images about ourselves. We create roles and it's easy to understand that if we see how we interact differently with people. We have an interaction with our wife, we have interaction with working people around us, we have an interaction different with the teacher in school or the boss. We usually have different roles in which we slip very fast and most of it unconscious. And we create a role first of all about ourselves. How we want to appear, how we would like to be seen. And if someone doesn't agree with that image we feel attacked. And so when you start to observe yourself you will see for example - I give you a vey easy example - for example in the system we work first with complaint. Then you watch complaint and...
Iain: This is when you are complaining about something or somebody on the outside.
SB: It can be any kind of complaints. Let's start with little complaints. Little complaints are: The coffee is not hot enough. It's raining again. The bus is not punctual. All kinds of odds, of obstacles which we meet and we permanently complain about. Then the next step would be: People don't understand me, don't respect me, don't value me. A higher degree of that would be to feel like a victim in your life. Then with your wife or with your husband. A wife may say: My husband never listens to me, he doesn't give me real attention, he is there but he is not there and so on and so on. Then we would go to the very big complaints: The government is useless (Iain laughing). The ecological situation is disastrous. Humans are not worthy, they are horrible.
Iain: We'll discuss more on this at the end because this is a whole process that you have developed, but what you are basically saying it's about clearing the mind of all our programming - is this correct? And coming back to something more essential that's not so much the "us" but the real "us" in terms of our human form.
SB: Ahm, the mind of course has a purpose, but on the emotional side the mind is the one entity which conflicts us and which filters us also towards reality. I mean, every person who says that he has a spiritual interest has to make one question. And this is: What is the purpose of life for me here? What is my purpose in life? And many people want to find a mission or they think they have a special mission and you find once they think they should become a healer and you have these millions of Reiki masters in every country and you have all kinds of healers and whatever. But in my point of view we have a common mission and this is to reach reality. Because in that everyone will start to see and to understand what we should stop.
Iain: But you say: Reach reality. But that in itself is controversial what reality is.
SB: That's correct. But in the unconscious station you always have a feeling that you need to reach, you need to fulfill, you need to conquer, you need to strive. In your mind. And this is what you find very much in the Advaita scene. If you have a clever mind and you can put words somehow cleverly together you can talk yourself into, thinking that you understand and thinking that you are present. But that's not the case, it's just another image you create of yourself as an enlightened person who can function and who can maintain that role as long as he has a certain setup. You always find a certain setup.
Iain: You used the word feeling. So it comes back to the feeling that you must improve, or you must follow. So it's coming to a place - you know I am just trying to find the right words in more layman terms - but were you in neutral, would that be right? So it is a neutrality there, where you don't need anything.
SB: Neutrality is something I like very much.
SB: It is the neutral force which holds our world together. In physics as well. So in Sufism the neutrality is the divine force. If you have trouble you have to bring the neutral force inside.
Iain: Ok, I want to pick up - I am looking at the clock, we have about 15 minutes left - so I do want to talk about - and you mention about healers, so I know there is an English healer called Stephen Turoff who is somehow quite influential for you. Do you want to talk us through what happened with him?
SB: Hm. Yeah, he was very influential to me and we are still connected. We don't see each other very much but we have a kind of soul connection, let's say. Stephen Turoff why soever is a very controversial person but he is one of the true healers I met. I met others, not much because there is not many. But he is a real healer, let's say. In his early years especially he could almost heal any kind of thing in any state. And I came in contact in fact through my master. Because he sent his wife why soever to him. And he healed her. She had cancer in the uterus and he took it away from her. And it never came back. So from then on many of us went to him. And then I came in a situation that my mother should have had a heart operation because they found a hole in one of, I don't know, valve, or I don't know, where they found a hole but...
Iain: There is a condition, in the heart there is a condition,
SB: Exactly. So I said to my mother: You know what, Mama, why we don't go there and we try first this before we make this very serious heart operation. And my mother, God thanks, was a very easy person, a very special person really and she said: Ok, we go there. So we went there and he cut her womb open from left to right .
Iain: This is with a knife?
SB: With a knife, yeah.
Iain: Wow. Without anasthetic - just bumm (makes a cutting across hand gesture)?
SB: It was actually not a surgical instrument, it was not a scalpel, you know, it was more a knife like you would use for meat, you know, but small, small, like for a kitchen I mean, I don't know how to describe it.
Iain: A kitchen knife.
SB: Yeah, a kitchen knife, So he went into the belly of my mother, like this, pfum, (shows a hitting movement) with full power, like this, not subtle. It was rather really more to kill her, the way it looked like, than to heal her, right? So when I saw that, you know, I was really medium sized worried we can say. But he had a very strong emanation also, you know. So when he came in he was around sixty and he had a - how do you say this when you have a (bends forward) ...?
Iain: A hunch?
SB: Yes, a hunch and he limped also, he was limping and he was an old man, you know in a way. Or elder. And then he did that thing and he was looking at me, smiling sometimes, you know, because he understood I was pretty impressed by what was going on (laughing) with my mother. And my mother, you know, she couldn't see because she was laying down, so she did not really notice and she looked at me because he asked her something so I had to translate for her. And that was really strong, it was really strong. And then he asked me for my prayer beads and I gave them to him and he put them into the womb of my mother and he bathed the, he soaked them (shows with hand movements) in her belly, you know, and then he threw it to me and I was like - aeh, ok - and then he says: Smell. And I was, I smelled, it was rose! Rose! Imagine. So I don't know what he did but he opened a rose garden in the womb of my mother, you know, literally. And then he threw things out and then he closed the thing and then you could see a scar, you know (makes a hand movement). And then he operated me. Yeah, that was really strong as well. He also cut me open but not at the belly down but here, like more this field (shows the solar plexus area) near the solar plexus, just under the rib cage, you know, and he went with his hand inside and he took my heart in his hand, you know. Literally, from inside. And that feeling, I mean, you can't forget that, I mean that was really blowing my mind. And on top of that - he was somehow searching, you know, he came with the fingers and he started to search on my heart, but that was a really, really strange feeling. And then he grabbed something and pulled it out (laughing). Yeah, he pulled it out. And I was saying: Stephen, what did you pull out of my heart? and he said: Something which was not good there. And then he also asked me to bend forward and he started to hammer my neck with a chisel, you know, and a hammer. Imagine! And I felt that blood came out and that it was running down my back and I was thinking: God, what he is hammering on my neck? you know. It was a little frightening, I can say, but it was not painful. Then he closed it and at the end he embraced me and he was saying to me: Why don't you believe in the love of the Father? That was very strong.
Iain: Why don't you believe in the love of the Father...
SB: That's what he said. And it hit me very strong, hit me very strong. And so we came in a kind of contact and you know, he is doing all these magic things somehow. You see, the strange thing is that he - I don't know - he does real things but he does also things which are not real. And that gives a very weird factor. And in his personality he has a kind of naivity, let's say, or innocence. I don't know how to say it. And for example he got a lot of these photographs. He is photographed in very extraordinary images. Like there is rays of light coming on him or coming out of him, you know. There is things appearing in pictures like vases or things like this (making a round shape with his hands)
I; I'm going to move on, I'm just looking at the clock, I am sorry..
SB: Well, to make it short: He is not very skilled, let's say, presenting himself.
Iain: Yes. And the thing was that that had encouraged a very dramatic effect on you, that's what I am interested in and you were - I am looking at the notes of what you told me on the phone - you were in darkness for a time and then you awoke and didn't feel the same at all, did you?
Iain: Just talk us through that briefly, how you...
SB: Well, we had a seminar with Stephen, the first one actually he ever made and it was in Como and I think Sheikh ??? was there, if I'm not mistaken, right? (talking to an invisible person next to him) yeah, I think you were there. And it was intense, very intense, and he explained things about physics and this and that, and during the seminar I already felt something happening with me. But I couldn't really grab it, you know, I just felt internally the need to clear out everything in my life situation, just to clarify everything. And then, as a next step came, somehow detached from my personality somehow, I don't know, from my personal role of perfect image. And I was somehow moving, moving inside and I fell in a kind of dark whole darkness, blackness, not just dark but blackness.
Iain: Like a void? Could you say it was a void?
SB: Yeah, probably, with a colour black clearly. Where there was nothing than this blackness. But the blackness wasn't giving me fear, it was more that is was like embracing me, you know, like more coming into the womb of your mother somehow. But it was very, very black, velvet somehow, it's difficult to say. And something purified it. Let us say it like this. And I came in a very deep silence, very, very deep silence and I felt then after some hours, I felt unconscious, I fell asleep and in the morning I woke up and I noticed that everything was very shiny, very intense, very colourfully bright, very communicative. And when I came out of the house - I had a view on the lake, Lake Como and - it was a beautiful day and it was overwhelming, really overwhelming and the beauty of what I saw was so immense, the connection to the sky, everything was embracing me, you know, and I was part of a symphonic happening. It was incredible. And I came in a kind of ecstacy
Iain: And that stayed for a time, didn't it? because Sheikh Nazim I think got a little concerned about you and...
SB: No, no, Sheikh Nazim didn't get concerned, but part of people around me got concerned and then there was one Brother who also was a friend of mine, and he called him. And he was saying that I am appearing pretty different, let us say like this. And Moulana said tell him to come and tell him also that he can't do it alone. He is now in Maqamad Hamadhani (???) , that's what he said. And so I came and wanted to come because I wanted him to see me. And so I arrived in Cyprus and he was entering and I was standing in front of him then and he was saying: Is it Burhanuddin or does he just look like him? And he looked at me and he took his hand over my face and he was saying: I accept your light. And then we prayed and in the coming days I had very strong experiences with him because I understood that he was the only one who could hear me. And also I could hear him.
Iain: And that's a true master, isn't it? Someone that can really hear you.
Iain: So I am looking at the clock and we actually need to finish this interview, so we are doing a part II, I show a part II. So if you watch the internet you can catch up after part I.
So thank you for watching part I of the interview and I hope we'll see you for part II.
Iain: So welcome to part II of our interview with the Sheikh. We are just going to continue with his fascinating story and then look a little bit more in depth about the work he does.
After this experience it took you I think three years, didn't it, to get back to really be able to function in the world.
Iain: So what happened through that three-year period?
SSB: Well, I was first of all very blessed with a loving wife. Even so she was definitely scared. The easiest were my children in fact, they took it very nice and very sweet, and I was basically looked after, by people. Because I was not able to really take care of myself at that time.
Iain: So it's like your character had been blown away. I am just trying to summarize here so we can understand it.
SB: Yeah, you could say that.
Iain: So your human functioning was compromised somehow.
SSB: Yes, I was overwhelmed about the intensity in which I lived and also the perception how I see people. So sometimes I could hear their mind and I always felt very, very clearly what is happening to them. But I couldn't speak long things, so basically I was saying things very short. And sometimes maybe too cryptic or not understandable. I slept very little or nothing. I rested but I didn't sleep, I wasn't going into sleep anymore. In fact my nights were busier than my days. I was doing things let's say, I call it like this: In the spirit world. And I lived very much in between the worlds. Somehow more on the other side than here.
Iain: And so was it a gradual process to come back?
SB: Well, it was a very gradual process, but it was initiated by the command of Moulana that he said: You are not useful in that state for others and you have to come back and you have to learn to live with it in a social way. And I don't know how he helped me, but he helped me. I think one of the magic parts of Sheikh Nazim was that he was really the master of the invisible. And he arranged things for you in the invisible. He could manipulate the matrix in any degree which you can imagine. So he somehow arranged my life.
Iain: So I wanted to come on just to talk a little bit more about what you call seclusions what we might call retreats. Did you still do those sometimes?
SB: I have short kind of seclusions.
Iain: Yeah. So, just tell me more about what happens, I'm interested for myself in what happens in a short seclusion.
SB: Well, it depends very much on your will, how much you want to know yourself. You may have noticed that if you go really - if you start looking, if you start watching yourself, very quickly you come to your fears. We can say that basically our common prison is our fears. All our personalities are surrounded by our fears. All our images at the end of the day have the root in fears. And to pass through fears is very necessary and in the system which I received from my Sheikh the steps that bring you to a point that you allow everything to be whatever you observe. You don't try to transform it or to push it away or anything like that. You start to accept as a first step to allow everything to be there, with you. Whatever it is. And you should have a neutral friendly, slightly friendly, attitude and to watch yourself. But that means you don't judge, you don't say: This is good, this is bad, this is this, this is that. No. And you do that in the position what we call the single player part, which means there is no other. There is helpers, this could be a wife for example. Helpers are people who hurt us and we hurt them. And in the unconscious mode we can say that everyone who comes close to us will be hurt Si or Si. Yes or yes.
Iain: So again: Everyone that comes close to us will be heard.
SB: Whoever came close and whoever comes close, unless, unless we are not really deeply conscious, will get hurt. That's what happened.
Iain: Ok, hurt
SB: Will get hurt. And you will get hurt by that person. This is a law. That's one of the things we have to accept.
SB: So if there is still that mechanism happening that you hurt and that you get heard, that means there is still work, right? So that also has to do very much with the fears. So to pass through one fear the possibility that you allow yourself to go beyond fear is really enlightening experiences.
Iain: So when you are on seclusion and probably this happened to you more in the past, and now your fear comes up, you are staying with the fear and you are saying you have a slight friendship with it? I think that was your word.
SB: The first is to accept. The second thing is to agree. That's already completely different.
Iain: What is agreement?
SB: Agreement means that you really from the depth of your being you allow things to be.
SB: Because acceptance is: You start on the surface. You say: Ok, ok. I let it be. But agreement is that it sinks down that you really don't want to move it any more, you don't want to touch it, you don't want to change it.
Iain: It's just that's the hardest thing not wanting to change something when you don't like it. That is the biggest human challenge I think.
SB: Well, that is, whatever you want to change, it's always because you want to recreate a role. But you have to look to the image which is beyond, behind the mirror. And if you want to reach presence you can't come with an image there. You can't come with a role into presence. That doesn't work. You have to forget yourself somehow, you have to be you without you. There is the moment you are in, if not: No. Whatever you wish, whatever you try to calm down, it is not working like that.
Iain: Because you talk about the single player mode and the multi player mode.
Iain: So just explain a little about that
SB: Well, the multi player mode is the usual mode in which we live. That means we accuse people, we accuse circumstances, we make others responsible for how we feel. We want to criticize, we want to punish, we feel disappointed, we feel frustrated. We think to the past, we think to the future. Everything becomes a player, our car, our flat, age, time, everything is a player. And in that play you try to sell yourself, to appear and you want the other players to confirm you, that's not going to happen, really. Not stabilized. So in the single player mode you understand that there is no other so you imitate the divine position. Let's assume for a moment God would exist. There is a creator, right? Now to whom he can complain? To which shoulder he can lean? What can he say? He did it all. He just has to see, right? How can he be in bliss how can you be in bliss seeing everything?
Iain: You see, I think for most of us in the west I can understand what you are saying and I can see the possibility of just the single player mode. In a way in my term it's almost like you take responsibility for whatever is happening.
SB: There's one side effect of it.
Iain: But let's say you are in a prison cell in Syria or something ,were not really a tourist, you haven't done anything wrong particularly and you are there and you are getting beaten up and it's terrible food and it's just dreadful. To not kind of stay in single player mode then and not blame the outside when you are in so much probably physical and also emotional pain is a huge, huge challenge.
SB: It's both. You see, whenever you come in a very extreme situation you have very strong forces and there is one which may drive you crazy and there is one exactly the opposite. A very strong situation is not a situation which is necessarily worse than a good situation. Don't misunderstand me, you know. I am not saying this is what is good to do to people or - we don't go there. But let's say it will happen to you, you get kidnapped, why soever and you end up in a prison in Syria and you are...whatever. But whatever it is the process is always the same, you know. You look to yourself, you are there. And now, in such a situation in fact it's much easier, you know, to go into your single player mode. It does not matter whom you make responsible - what does it help you? You are there you are pressed in yourself. Because in my understanding every obstacle which happens to you is an invitation to make you realize that the answer is not outside, it wants to press you inside. All our existence finally presses us inside. Age presses us inside. When we get elder we don't have any more the sexual attractivity as we had when we were young. So already that is again something which wants to invite us inside. So, an accident, a sickness, whatever it is which stops your planning towards the earth, towards the outer existence is an invitation towards the inner.
Iain: Yeah, yeah. This reminds me - as a kind of example - I was talking to someone a time ago. My wife Renate and I were involved with a charitable Prison Phoenix Trust and they do good work, they basically send people into prisons to teach yoga meditation. I was talking to a guy, he is out of prison now, he was in for twenty years, for he murdered two different people and for other crimes. And when he first went to prison he was put in solitary confinement for a year. This is someone with no spiritual training. And I said to him: Wasn't that incredibly hard? And he said: No. It was the best thing that could have happened to me, because I was able to take the time and realize what I had done and start looking inside. It turned out he was actually uneducated but actually a very bright, smart guy. But yes, to have that time if you are able to do that, I can see great value in that. I just want to finish off by one thing you have said to me or I picked up from the notes that were sent to me was that true enlightenment is collective. Can you just talk about that?
SB: Did I say that?
Iain: Well, it was either you said it on the phone to me or (laughing) it was in the note sent to me.
SB: I think it is in connection with... You can be in peace for your own with everything, you can't be happy with everything. So as long as there is suffering, as long as there is our planet exploited and mistreated, our Mother, let's say, we can't be in a complete peace. In myself, in my own personal story, in my own cosmos it is possible, but in the moment we blend to each other we have to find our hands together (opens his arms), we share always a common aim. So the final destination would be that everyone comes home into himself and we see together with one eye, with one heart, with one thought how everything is.
Iain: So this single player mode cannot be the final destination, because there it's still focussed on oneself to some extent.
SB: Well, the single player mode is somehow imitating a kind of reality but it is not an egoistic just-looking-after-yourself-thing. That must be really understood. It is not that I don't take care of others anymore. But, you know, a helper can be a very egoistic person.
SB: While, let's say in the single player mode you don't become a helper but you become more a servant.
Iain: Yes. Ok Sheikh. I've enjoyed the interview very much, I find it very interesting.
SB: Thank you.
Iain: I love your story as well. I know it's only a story but it's a great story.
SB: Thank you.
Iain: And thank you everybody out there for watching Conscious TV and I hope we'll see you again soon. Good bye.
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