From the newsletter, Sufis Speak
The age old search for truth has so far been out-shouted and often drowned by the more aggressive demand for obedience, conformity, to established creeds or concepts. The Sufi Order and its church-like organ, the Universal Worship, claim TRUTH as its goal and substance — not a “truth” that someone is going to tell you about, but the truth that each one can seek and find, honestly. This, claims the Sufi, is the right and duty of this present age, as contrasted to earlier periods where the majority of humanity did not and could not have such a demanding goal. Various virtues, such as purity, loyalty, compassion, were stressed, and these virtues were good and proper but failed to fully develop under the reign of dishonesty that prevailed.
A devoted people, portrayed in the Sunday funnies, believed a “sacred tree” contained manuscripts and treasures proving the greatness of their people. The King, goaded by his curious woman, chops down the tree and finds it empty. The King has broken the spirit of the people and must die.
Upon exactly such illusions have we lived. We talk about HISTORY. What is history? Concepts of historians, shared by the believers. One day we may discover what, if anything, was ‘true’ of the traditions. This effort is already being made, but we are happy to jump to conclusions long before there are any. Our most wi de-spread national magazine recently wrote, referring to the Dead Sea Scrolls, “Luckily, these documents do not rock our Faith”. Would it have been bad if the documents had revealed that we had been wrong and would have to change our faith, in the light of truth? Actually, they did. And some are changing their “faith” for the better.
The light of truth shines, not only upon religion, or politics, or science, but upon the simple relationship between two or more humans or between man and animal or man and plant. All day long you meet people who tell you with all firmness that friend Bill or Mary are stubborn, stingy, unreasonable, forgetting altogether that they know nothing, absolutely nothing, about Bill or Mary, except that they are living expressions of the eternal Creator and just now expressing exactly what that living Creator wants them to express at just this moment. They will change tomorrow and even in the next second.
One sufi, Inayat Khan said, “Whatever any man or woman does or says to me, I see it as God doing or saying, and whatever I say or do to them, I know I do or say it to God.”
In such a concept there is no room for judgment. A sufi does not judge. Or I must correct myself: Some who call themselves Sufis do judge. Recently a man who called himself a Sufi tore up a robe he was wearing in the service of a Universal Worship, flung it on the altar in a furious resentment over what another, who called himself a sufi, had done. This other sufi had not killed anyone, had not called names. He had loved. Some would say loved too much or loved the wrong one. What made them think they knew, and could judge another man or woman? What do we know of love, even “our own” love?
We know this much, that in the organization of any present state, or nation, there is a frightening starvation of the creative force of love. Young men and women kill themselves daily and hourly to fit into the traditional patterns. Their longing to serve and build the nation into which they were born is frustrated by a thousand bonds and rules. Their longing to create, in turn, new generations are slapped down, by pills, regulations and abortions, instituted by people who have not even tried to see and observe the pulsation of LIFE seeking always new expression.
Some have managed to emancipate themselves to some measure from the choking influence of established traditions. For example, in communities that are more or less self-sustaining, with their own economics, supply, income, outlay, the members can choose their own l life form. In many such communities there are no pills, no abortions, LIFE is honored, tended, loved, cared for and developed in harmony. Why, say some critics, what about the population explosion?
Another sorry superstition. There are areas in the world where sober limitation of life expressions would be an advantage in cooperation with other, more important efforts. Here in the United States there are vast wastelands that could be cultivated, and inhabited. Our problem is not overpopulation but under-achievement. One prominent food resources scientist, presidential advisor Karl Brandt even goes as far as saying, “Wish I could write a book, this underpopulated world of ours. Many underdeveloped countries need more, not less people to develop a proper agriculture as basis for industry…”
What is lacking is feel for the entire dynamic humanity. Those who have that feel know a thousand ways to feed and house and care for those living now and those who would come, but stilted, twisted theories firmly holding both learned and unlearned minds in captivity prevent the seers from being heard.
The sufis, or some sufis, are not alone in seeking truth. The yogis, nearest cousins to the sufis, have tried through generations. For fifty years, at least, yogis have crisscrossed the United States but the basic concept of truth was so foreign to the majority here that all they got out of the term Yoga was some exercises and what they called, but do not grasp, “transcendental meditation”. The purpose of all the exercises and all the meditations was to foster that concept of truth that permits suspension of judgment, that permits another man or woman to act his, her way without criticism, judgment, demands.
For each single individual is a precious and quite unique creature and messenger from the Creator, who longs for us to realize this.