Junaid, a famous Sufi mystic, was in the market-place with his disciples. He always coached his disciples using real-Life situations.
Don’t identify yourself with your problems and feelings. Stay detached. And you will be in peace.
A man was dragging his cow by a rope. Junaid walked up to the man and said, “Wait!”
He then told his disciples: “Surround this man and the cow. I am going to teach you something.”
The man stopped obeyed Junaid and stopped. He was also interested in what he was going to teach these disciples and how he was going to use him and the cow.
Junaid asked his disciples: “Who is bound to whom? Is the cow bound to this man or is this man bound to this cow?”
“Of course,” the disciples said, “The cow is bound to the man. The man is the Master, he is holding the rope, the cow has to follow him wherever he goes. He is the Master and the cow is the slave.”
And Junaid said, “Now, see, what happens.” He took out a pair of scissors and cut the rope – and the cow escaped!
The man ran after the cow, and Junaid told his disciples, “Now look what is happening! Now you see who is the Master; the cow is not interested at all in this man – in fact, she is escaping.”
The man was very angry. He asked Junaid: “What kind of experiment is this?”
But Junaid was busy explaining the learning to his disciples: “And this is the case with your mind too.
All the nonsense – your memories, fears, anxieties, grief, guilt, all that and more – that you are carrying inside is not interested in you. You are interested in it, you are keeping it together somehow – you are becoming mad in keeping it together somehow. Only you are interested IN it. The moment you lose interest, the moment you understand the futility of it, it will start disappearing; just like the cow, it will escape.”
This beautiful Sufi story teaches us the power of detachment and the futility in identifying with situations and emotions. The more we identify, the more we will suffer. When we fail at something, for instance, we are quick to label ourselves as a failure. Wrong. Failure is an event. It is not a person. Similarly, you make a mistake. It is an event. Don’t identify with the mistake by feeling guilty. Just learn your lesson from the mistake, from the experience, drop the guilt and move on. It’s all a mind-game at the end of the day. The more importance you give to what your mind is saying, it will lead you and hold you hostage. The moment you disregard your mind, it will, like the cow in Junaid’s story, stop leading you. And you will then be free and at peace!