The essence of God is love and the Sufi path is a path of love. It is very difficult to describe love in words. It is like trying to describe honey to someone who has never tasted or even seen honey, who doesn't know what honey is. Love is to see what is good and beautiful in everything. It is to learn from everything, to see the gifts of God and the generosity of God in everything, to see the gifts of God and the generosity of God in everything. It is to be thankful for all God's bounties.
The Truth is the Kadim, the Ancient One; He is the being who has no beginning. Where can the one who is "created afterwards" find the one who has no beginning? How can he understand Him? Where is the soul and the great God that has created everything? It is that power that is within you, by means of which you move and attain liberation. It is the soul, but what is it when you have placed the soul underneath your arm?
Sayings of Bahauddin Naqshband, from The Masters of Wisdom, by J.G. Bennett (Bennett Books, 1996; available from Threshold Books)
There are three steps to achieving eternal life by dying to the world. The first step is to protect oneself against the love, the ambition, the lust, the pleasures of this world, whose attractions pull us down to it and whose illusions distract us from Truth.
When I closed my eyes, I found myself among a few hundred students seated before a teacher of majestic presence. As I shifted my position, I put my hand on my head and was surprised to feel a twisted lock of hair at the top of my head. Then I remembered that I was Chinese. Suddenly, I remembered many other things as well.
Excerpt from The Drop That Became The Sea, by Yunus Emre (Threshold Books, 1989)
Today for some reason I'm crying a lot again. I have also suffered a major relapse: my obsession makes itself conspicuous again, overshadowing everything else! And I really thought I'd outgrown that! But I suppose that would be too simple, such a sudden change after being stuck for so long. Hz. Mevlâna says: "There is that in me that has to be told 50 times a day, Stop hunting, step on this net". I suppose that's how it is, the relapse is something that says to me: Stop hunting, it doesn't work the way that you imagine.
Veterans of the Psychedelic Revolution of the 1960's might recall with pathos the battles waged against the conventional consciousness of the day. The enemy, as they saw it, was the self-righteous state of mind which believed it had a monopoly on reality and which at the same time had a shadow side of cruelty and insanity. Tens of millions of volunteers opened up their synapses, let the uncensored truth into consciousness, and saw for themselves that most of modern life looked patently insane when seen against the backdrop of nature and eternity. For all its misguided power, they saw conventional consciousness as naively ridiculous. And they considered altering one's state of consciousness as a way of cleansing the unrealities of social conditioning. Such an approach was not only revolutionary, it may have been an evolutionary necessity. Perhaps it allowed enough people to see the disastrous fate society was hurtling toward and to begin to change that direction.
Since the beginning of consciousness, human beings, both female and male, have walked the path of reunion with the Source of Being. Though in this world of duality we may find ourselves in different forms, ultimately there is no male or female, only Being. Within the Sufi traditions, the recognition of this truth has encouraged the spiritual maturation of women in a way that has not always been possible in the West.
When Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Human beings are asleep, and when they die they will awaken," it was not just a poetic reminder but objective fact. His further advice, "Die before you die," suggests the possibility of awakening from the subjective dreams of this life and entering the state we will know as death while we are still alive.