The qasida that we sing most frequently “Aheemu wahdee” has really three operative stanzas in terms of instructions and its significance that spontaneously this has become the qasida that we sing most frequently because it really, it is a summary of our Path. In those three stanzas the whole of this endeavour is summed up.
The measure of a man’s freedom is the degree to which he can stay courteous under provocation. Conversely, the extent of the man’s slavehood and bondage is the degree to which he can be provoked.
The taste that we ascribe to the world is the taste that we acquire. So if you ascribe to the world sweetness then you acquire sweetness and you are therefore sweet to the taste. If you ascribe to the world bitterness then you acquire bitterness and you are bitter to the taste. Eventually your body carries the message.
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.
So it is always understood that the people on this path, are called the fuqara. Why are we called the fuqara? Because we are of the poor, we are of the underprivileged, we’re supposed to be – you might not be financially or materially poor – but you supposed to be not of the ruling elite. You are supposed to be of those who are without authority.
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.
All things that happen, happen with Him, through Him, from Him, to Him – by His Idhn, by His permission. It is not like little parcels of energy are being given out. It is like you are floating in the sea and the sea is Him and all of us are different refractions of that sea and that any power that you have is not your power. All ability to act, all ability to animate, all ability to move is Him.
How is it then that we have an experience of an independent existence because what that suggests is that nothing that happens, nothing is independent of Him. Why do I experience that I have independent power?
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.
When we look at our young children, you can see when they look at a plant they’re overwhelmed. When they look at an animal they are completely aghast. We were all like that at 8 months or 6 months. What happened to that fascinated light magical being?
Your inner reality is one that is unspeakably majestic. We are that which cannot contain Him is His instrument which is designed to be subordinated to your service. But, the crux is that you subordinate yourself to His service. And that you don’t construct your life on the basis of what you think you want. You construct your life on the basis of what He wants.