A spiritual aspirant wrote about the realities (haqaiq) of Tasawwuf that dawned on him after staying in the company of Hakim al-Ummah Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanawi(Allah have mercy on him).
Hakim al-Ummah approved of them calling it absolute (‘ain) gnosis (irfan) and added some explanation to each of them (written here in bold).
‘1. The foremost thing is the remembrance (dhikr) of Allah. It is to be in all conditions with involvement of heart and tongue.
This seems limited to the level of superficial thinking and self conversation. It has to be accompanied with (active) contemplation (fikr). Though in your vocabulary you may consider this to be a branch of remembrance. In Holy Quran contemplating ones (yatafakaron) are mentioned after (yatadhakaron) those who remember Allah.
2. Being honest and cognizant of Allah (taqwa) is all matters.
Both in external (dhahir) and internal (batin) matters. As it says in the Prophetic tradition that taqwa is here pointing towards his chest.
3. Being vigilant in observance of the absolute essential (faraidh) with excellence.
Accompanied with the Sunna and reward-able actions. For excellence in good actions actions can not be achieved without them.
4. Avoidance of all that is sinful. That is both major and minor sins.
This also includes the external and internal actions, as Allah says ‘leave external sinful and internal also’.
They includes from the blame worthy morlas arrogance, ostentation, love of money and fame,etc.
Repent immediately if they are committed (by mistake).
However, the rights of other individuals including the financial dues are not forgiven by repentance alone (one has to recompensate for them or ask forgiveness).
Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3 page 31