A core teaching of Islam is not to associate anything with God.
God is beyond all association.
This is why we would not make an image of the Divine. It is beyond all image-form.
Ibn 'Arabi often shares — the inability to perceive is a perception itself.
We are often looking to grasp the divine. To conceive of it.
What if our incapacity to conceive is a gift? In not perceiving, we are free of the limitations of perception.
And this not-seeing, this emptiness of seeing — becomes a kind of seeing.
The word for associating idols with the divine is shirk.
Ibn 'Arabi provides the inner teaching in sharing, even when you worship an idol, you are worshipping the divine.
I associate the complexity of the spiritual path with mathematics.
I was sitting with the teaching of association, and googled the mathematical term, "associative property."
Here's what I found:
"This law simply states that with addition and multiplication of numbers, you can change the grouping of the numbers in the problem and it will not affect the answer."
And here's what I reflected on.
By the rules of associative property, there is a boundedness.
Within the causes and conditions of this ruleset, associated forms — the A, B, and C — lack a kind of freedom.
They can move around, but they remain the same. The relational product remains the same. Even though they have an apparent freedom through movement.
I thought about us as humans, in our perception of ourselves as living in the sensory world.
That which is associated is limited. Dependent, even.
There is the world of form and there is that which is outside the equation. Beyond all association.
If we are to find our freedom — perhaps it is not in moving around the chess pieces on the board. Changing our relative position.
Perhaps it is in looking to be in orientation towards that which is beyond all association.
That which powers the rules of the game.
If we associate simply, we might think the ally is an idol.
If we look with complexity, recognizing that our inability to see is a perception itself, we can hold ourselves in a place of not-knowing.
We orient to mystery and complexity, more quantum than linear.
Holding ourselves in a super-position, and perhaps even wondering about our identity.
What does it mean to be human?
What are we called to?
And what can we see with our heart?
What if the heart is an organ of perception?
How do we cultivate that seeing?
Perhaps in the imaginal realm the rules of mathematics operate differently.
Still with properties, but properties that might afford new planes of possibility.
The heart and possibility, inviting us to see.