by Mohammad Nejmi
The one who comes through the struggles of life more and more every day to do the work of the Sufi has a strong will, and more than enough love to go with it.
One hears and reads a lot about “saints” among the Sufis, and in Morocco these men and women really are sought out for their healing powers. Sometimes then you will find there that those playing at being Sufis put on holy clothing and a magical air, with long whiskers (frequently full of food crumbs) and oversized strings of prayerbeads and so forth. It is mainly to get widely known and looked at by everybody when one goes to the market or the mosque, and it is much the same thing as far as we can see as the money-making shenanigans of the TV preachers here in America. Of course this sort of stuff is seen as a quick short cut and yet not much as a rule comes out of all of it — although every so often in the papers one does read of a police raid on some cult or the other. Not that sometimes Sufis do not run quiet places where people in need can learn to do new tasks. But the deepest work of the Sufi in all cases remains one and the same, namely changing for the better the here-and-now lives of everyday men and women. Sufi work is at least as often hidden as not simply because of the limits on all outer forms of possible help. In all dimensions really, the work is to turn all that is shameful, cruel and wicked about life into simple happiness, peace of mind and the means to a quiet heart.
As a rule the Sufi has begun with making over him- or herself. After all much of their lives beforehand have been lived by Sufis as we all do, in thrall to all the fear and anger, greed, lust and laziness you can imagine. Along the way in the usual way, others sooner or later have been cruelly hurt too. Also the Sufi-to-be in our American setup as well as the muslim lands has been just as bullheaded as everyone else in their bellering “I can too do what I want to, man!” This gets said whenever people anywhere are called to book on their bad way of living, and Sufis after all have long seen that people caught firmly in the clutches of God and the Devil most of the time say this. Namely that they are “free.” All of it, and the nonstop lying, is human enough too, because the Sufi-to-be of course needs to have at least as healthy a dose of the “self-esteem” of the psychologists as everybody else does today running around loose. After all, the whole human story for us all begins in utter selfishness. It is the bodily self-love of all beasts, and only in time can it become the tale of a bigger and bigger self. The goal is a self that at last takes into safety in the minds and hearts of calm and goodnatured men and women all that has been, is now or ever shall be, all things and all creatures. This sort of fulfillment is needful because all men and women are potentially thinking beasts with a thinking beast’s need also for meaning.
In the middle of all this hopeful beastliness of course, the sins of laziness and anger, greed and fear and lust, all of that proves to be after all really worthwhile too. Selfishness helps to build up at last the needed guilt. Guilt alone it seems can help to drive each one of us finally to give up hope in an endless rehash of the same old outward swindle over and over — and, just maybe, to look at the bigger picture. For the “sin” of the religionists is all about self-love too, although what can grow with regret is maybe not so much love as the sheer size of the self, the I-ness of the beast! A bigger self may seem really opposite especially now to what is needed most of all, but unless a man or woman are morally ill sooner or later they will all notice that while they may be having a good time of it — for awhile anyway — others around them often are suffering from life very badly. One can only turn away so often and then it becomes a question of what to do? In turn, simply caring here-and-now while generally right and good in itself is always sooner or later just plain no longer enough, as some people at least come to ponder all the misery yet hidden in time to to come. Unbearable fellow feeling for another in pain is terrible. It is still worse especially when as is so often true there is nothing one can do right now. This is a frantic and terrible thing to live through, helpless to another in agony. On top of it the thought of an unchanged moral future only makes the whole business worst of all. But it also can mark the opening of the door of possibility. If this happens and in the full light begining to stream into the mind, then one sees that the line between “me” and “you” can be safely put aside. Growing up a little bit more doesn’t mean that socialism is going to happen, or Hugo Chavez or somebody! This sort of sensible realization must take place of course in the hearts and minds of men and women for starters, after which the effects will begin to appear on the outside of life. We have already shown something of the reality of thought and dreams and now, as the will and love of men and women more and more become one and the same at least here and there in the world, it is good to remember the words of Ferret, a 2008 mathematics graduate:
“When it is obvious that there is nothing more at all you can do about it, that’s the time to go in for complete fantasy!”
[Emmett R Smith
[all transcription-rights reserved
[14 June 2008]