by MuHammad Nezhmi
PEOPLE Who passionately want to be wise, “spiritual” and Sufis and so forth all confront an enormous barrier. That barrier should be obvious and in fact it is the purpose of virtually all the dervish-work and preparatory study to make this point clear. What keeps people from BEING their selves as they most truly are is — precisely — desire.
IT Is a matter of being after the wrong thing.
“BEING A Sufi” at this point is a social issue.
IT Is a social distinction and mere question of other people’s opinions.
WHY Would anyone of sense be so overly concerned with the approval of others?
MOST People are in such a condition that they can only give wholehearted approval to THEMSELVES only a bare fraction of the time — usually just for a few moments after some shopping outing to the maul or an emotional session in church, or the masjid. Or a good stiff belt of whisky, a puff of marijuana.
THIS Is the same as the condition for a good long time of the one who “wants to be a Sufi.”
THIS Is why the very first task for beginners must be one of silent and prolonged self-observation. Only when one knows something at least of all of the ways in which one is, oneself, a braying and altogether-normal, unexceptionable, ass can one hope to take into ones heart all of humanity and existence and begin leading a magical life — instead just trying “to do magic,” get laid and be on Tee Vee and so forth….
ALAS, Oh Man, no amount of sitting about the coffee-bars and being seen by young people to be reading certain books makes one a Sufi — no more than reading those same books in the garage can turn one into a Buick! In just the same way, being called “President” doesn’t make it so.
[Emmett R Smith
[all transcription rights reserved
[18 October 2006]