The following three prose/poems are the first stepping stones on the road that leads to the peak of Unity. Although they do not deal directly with Sufism, religion, mysticism or philosophy, they contain elements from all of these. Basically, they offer wisdom and good advice. And as the Prophet said, (the basis of) “Religion is good advice.”
(by Rudyard Kipling)
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
(by Max Ehrmann)
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
In whatever religion you have been taught,
however you have been brought up,
and however you have understood your teachers…
On these levels you will understand and grasp this message.
It is not enough that this message be believed.
It is a message to be lived.
The essence of universal religion is peace and truth,
With love for and kindness to all the creatures of the Earth.
Now is the time to express this essence in your own life.
A beginning must be made,
And the place to begin is with and in yourself.
You would reform the world? Begin with yourself, Brother!
The message of the unreformed reformer seldom inspires reformation.
The heart of all religion is Love;
And righteousness,which is love in action,
Is the fulfillment of religion.
Love not only family and friends!
For love limited is love denied.
Seek peace within yourself and seek too,
within yourself the divine breath of life.
Persist in these things! Do not let up for a single moment!
Through your faith and through your deeds you shape your life
And help shape the lives of others, as well.
What a responsibility!
The spirit finds in you its agent and also its partner;
And to the degree that you are aware of this and act on it,
Your life is enriched.
A revelation will occur to you…
A revelation higher than your most exalted dreams.
The new age is coming,
And in it there will be a realization of the Oneness of All.
Differences between the various religions will disappear.
The good, which is in each of them,
Will be fused and will become the common goal of all mankind.
Know that you have the power to choose.
Choose Love, not hate;
Choose gentleness, not violence;
Choose holiness, not evil.
Dare to believe the reign of love and peace is coming soon.
Ready yourself for it.
Ready yourself for it with deeds of righteousness.
Righteousness is the door-opener,
And beyond the door is love.
May power divine enter every aspect of your life
endowing it with the rewards of material accomplishments,
The treasures of purposeful existence,
And the eternal light of spiritual achievement.
Two interesting articles by Idries Shah on Sufism:
By Arthur J. Deikman:
(Note: The appearance here of these articles is due to their introductory nature.)