A Sufi parable and a Sunday lesson

Don’t identify yourself with your problems and feelings. Stay detached. And you will be in peace.

Junaid, a famous Sufi mystic, was in the market-place with his disciples. He always coached his disciples using real-Life situations.

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!  

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On living free

Some people you meet in Life will be cantankerous, scheming and unethical to the core. Let them be. Who they are, and what they do to you, need not__and must not__change the way you deal with them. A common response we, good, ethical, warm and kind folks, have to such people is that we become depressive or angry or vengeful. This only creates more negative energy in us. And that, you will agree, is simply not worth inviting into your Life!
Here’s a Zen story which is awakening.

Two monks were washing their bowls in the river when they noticed a scorpion that was drowning. One monk immediately scooped it up and set it upon the bank. In the process the scorpion stung him. Unmindful, he went back to washing his bowl and again the scorpion fell into the river and began drowning. The monk saved the scorpion one more time and was again stung.

The other monk, who was watching this spectacle, asked him, “Friend, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know it’s nature is to sting?”

“Because,” the first monk replied, “to save it is my nature.”
So, stay true to your nature. And let no one affect it. This does not mean you must suffer in silence. There surely are other means to express yourself than to retaliate in a similar manner as the one who’s causing you pain. When you are filled with anger and act from that impulse, you breed negativity in you. When you are negative, your inner peace gets affected. When your inner peace is disturbed, you are held hostage by debilitating emotions. And that essentially means you are not living free!
Think about it: Do you really want to forsake your freedom because someone acted foolishly?