The parable of the stream and the desert

The Tale of the Sands

A stream, from its source in far-off mountains, passing through every kind and description of countryside, at last reached the sands of the desert. Just as it had crossed every other barrier, the stream tried to cross this one, but it found that as fast as it ran into the sand, its waters disappeared.

It was convinced, however, that its destiny was to cross this desert, and yet there was no way. Now a hidden voice, coming from the desert itself, whispered: ‘The Wind crosses the desert, and so can the stream.’

The stream objected that it was dashing itself against the sand, and only getting absorbed: that the wind could fly, and this was why it could cross a desert.

‘By hurtling in your own accustomed way you cannot get across. You will either disappear or become a marsh. You must allow the wind to carry you over, to your destination.’

But how could this happen? ‘By allowing yourself to be absorbed in the wind.’

This idea was not acceptable to the stream. After all, it had never been absorbed before. It did not want to lose its individuality. And, once having lost it, how was one to know that it could ever be regained ?

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Am I fit to follow the Sufi path?

(Notes from listening to Hazrat Asad Rasool ( circa 1996)

Mosque ceiling, Uzbekistan1. Do not believe Shaitan (or your doubts) when he says, “you are not fit for this”. Use will power to sit regularly in meditation.

2. We are separated from Nature and from Truth and therefore from God.

3. What are the needs of people? They wish to be relieved from mental tension (suffering).

4. There are two kinds of cure (as in medicine), symptomatic and causal.

5. The cause of our suffering is estrangement from God.

6. Overcoming this estrangement requires the development of true spirituality. This is not the same as “spiritualism” or the cultivation of “cultic” practices or beliefs.

7. True spirituality is hard to define. In this Sufi path it is attainable via transmission from the teacher. The teacher is able to transmit the means of receiving blessings from the Almighty just as the transmitter enables the broadcast of TV programs.

8. Just as the TV receiver needs to be “tuned in”, in the same way the student of the Sufi teacher needs to be able to receive the blessings.

9. The aim of this is not the gaining of spiritual “powers”. The aim is only to achieve closeness to God.

10. God is merciful, and if we take one step towards him he takes 10 steps towards us.

11. This closeness can also be achieved by the love of the student for the teacher.

12. The teacher “offers up” the love received from the student towards God. In this way the teacher acts as a sort of channel by which the student can get closer to the Almighty, or the Holy Essence.

13. At the first step of the meditation the student turns their attention to the “heart”.

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