Every person is deeply untrustworthy. Not because you’re deliberately untrustworthy, but try the best you can, and understand that you will fail.
As we’ve understood nafs in our tradition, nafs is your individual identity. The sense that you have that you exist as a discrete, separate being. But the root condition of our individual existence – for all human beings is exactly the same.
Whatever they do to you: they can imprison you, break your legs, hang you upside down by your toenails. They can torture you for a hundred years until you die. One freedom they can never take away from you is your right to define the character of the world around you. And that’s all that matters. Because all of us are going to end in the grave, including the Melemas of the world. So what does matter? All that matters is your capacity to affirm the world. Nothing else matters.
His mercy isn’t just about what He gives, it’s not just in this affirming way. His mercy is also about what He withholds. He withholds Himself from us, because if He didn’t, we could not be. He withholds the necessary implication of that which is very small in the face of that which is overwhelmingly vast.
One can’t have a sense but end up recognizing that you are pickled, quite literally pickled, in blessing. The interesting thing, of course, is that most of us don’t experience it like that. Most of us don’t experience a sense of security, a sense of fulfilment as our basic condition.
The trunk called the human virtue produces two main branches that all other virtues and branches flow from or start from. And the two branches are generosity and courage. All human virtue is in these two broad classes. There isn’t a third. There are only these two.
There is a naiveté that we suffer from when we think it’s up to others to give us the Divine Encounter. Understand that the only thing that helps the Divine Encounter is your own effort, and tt’s guaranteed you’re going to die. You’ll get back to Him. What’s the fuss?