Tuesday, July 3, 2012

On Making a Living, Sustenance and Satisfaction with One’s State

Know this: If you forget the truth and do not apply it in your life, you will leave the path sooner or later, for forgetfulness of the truth shows lack of trust in God, and lack of the peace brought by satisfaction with one’s lot. Trust in God shows your knowledge that you are unable to do anything by yourself, and that you know very little. Therefore you are humble: you count on Him, the All-Powerful and All-Knowing. That will give you peace of heart. The evil of your ego may tell you: “So sit where you are, and let Him feed you!” To think this way is unlawful; fear it, for it is a sin. Do not listen to your ego, yet take care of its needs. In this life you will have to be with others who push you as your ego pushes you, and there will be people of power among them. Try to be with those you know, for in this life it is hard to know who is a foreigner and who is a native. Don’t settle in one place. Keep moving. Try not to know anyone or let anyone know you. If you find someone insinuating himself close to you or sneaking up on you, bringing you things, your ego will tell you: “It is God who has made him discover your need and put that generosity in his heart.” Do not take what he brings. If you took anything, give it back, for that person has been watching you and is trying to buy you by satisfying the needs of your ego, not your true need. This is not sustenance sent by God. Even if you are about to die, don’t accept this kind of gift. If something unwanted and unexpected is brought to you, examine yourself closely, what you have and what you lack. If you feel pressure or discomfort in acceptance, do not accept that thing. Return it to the one who brought it. If, in addition to the feeling of discomfort, you also suspect that it is unlawful, neither accept what is brought nor the one who brought it. If you feel no pressing hunger and if what is brought to you comes to you unexpectedly, if you feel no discomfort in taking it and if it is lawful, take the minimum you need and return the rest. However, do not stay in that place anymore. If the one who brought you this gift happens to be among the rich and powerful and insists upon your staying, leave. If he indicates to you places of worship where you could go, in lands where he has connections and influence, you need not refuse. All these exercises will strengthen the truth in you. Know that if you do not follow this advice, you will be tyrannizing yourself. Do not listen to the talk of the idle “Sufi”, who sits and does nothing and say “My Lord is sufficient for me,” for he has suffered all the things about which I have warned you. Do not be idle, for the best and the most lawful sustenance that comes from God is that which you have gained with your own two hands. (The Tree of Being:Shajarat al-kawn. An Ode to the Perfect Man. Interpreted by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti. Archetype Pub. London, 2005)

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