header pic header text

Volume VIII - The Art of Being

The Privilege of Being Human

Chapter VIII
Selflessness - Inkisar

Selflessness does not only beautify one's personality, giving grace to one's word and manner, but it also gives a dignity and power, together with a spirit of independence which is the real sign of a sage. It is selflessness which often produces humility in one's spirit, taking away the intoxication, which enriches the soul.

Independence and indifference, which are as the two wings which enable the soul to fly, spring from the spirit of selflessness. The moment the spirit of selflessness has begun to sparkle in the heart of man, he shows in his word and action a nobility which nothing earthly – neither power nor riches – can give.

There are many ideas which intoxicate man, many feelings there are which act upon the soul as wine, but there is no stronger wine than the wine of selflessness. It is a might and it is a pride that no worldly rank can give. To become something is a limitation, whatever one may become. Even if a person were to be called the king of the world, he would still not be the emperor of the universe. If he were the master of earth, he would still be the slave of Heaven. It is the person who is no one, who is no one and yet all.

The Sufi, therefore, takes the path of being nothing instead of being something. It is this feeling of nothingness which turns the human heart into an empty cup into which the wine of immortality is poured. It is this state of bliss which every truth-seeking soul yearns to attain. It is easy to be a learned person, and it is not very difficult to be wise; it is within one's reach to become good, and it is not an impossible achievement to be pious or spiritual. But if there is an attainment which is greater and higher than all these things, it is to be nothing. It may seem frightening to many, the idea of becoming nothing; but human nature is such that it is eager to hold onto something. What man holds onto most is his person, his individuality. Once he has risen above this, he has climbed Mount Everest, he has arrived at the spot where the earth ends and heaven begins.

The whole aim of the Sufi is, by the thought of God, to cover his imperfect self even from his own eyes, and that moment when God is before him and not his own self, is the moment of perfect bliss to him. My Murshid, Abu Hashim Madani, once said that there is only one virtue and one sin for a soul on this path: virtue when he is conscious of God and sin when he is not. No explanation can fully describe the truth of this except the experience of the contemplative to whom, when he is conscious of God, it is as if a window facing heaven were open, and to whom, wherein he is conscious of the self, the experience is the opposite; for all the tragedy of life is caused by being conscious of the self. All pain and depression is caused by this, and anything that can take away the thought of the self helps to a certain extent to relieve man from pain, but God-consciousness gives perfect relief.


checked 24-nov-2015