27 Oct Are You Teachable?
One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful. ~ Sigmund Freud
MAN: “I wish to learn. Will you teach me?”
SUFI MASTER: “I do not feel that you know how to learn”
MAN: “Can you teach me how to learn?”
SUFI MASTER: “Can you learn how to let me teach?”
I have been a teacher for 50+ years now. I teach what most people do not consider pertinent to their lives, which they define as the constant flow of needs and desires that seem essential to their ideal of happiness. Throughout my career, I have found that most people simply want their moods altered (as well as their depressions) by circumstances that seem pleasant, gratifying and even, in many cases, extreme. That’s it…nothing beyond. They say that the paradigm of something “greater than themselves” was never, not ever, a consideration for how they would live in this life, in this world.
This is very foreign to me for I can see no other purpose in this world but to serve it through something greater than human desire. There is more to living than just the ol’ eat, drink and be merry kind of thing. How can they not question their own existence here on earth?
Alas, I am a mystery to you...and you are an enigma to me. ~ Siraj
Most people suffer from spiritual apathy. Their genetic pride and vanity runs their lives and makes a mockery of the life they are living. They are easily fooled by the state of their emotionality and overwhelmed by their senses. They have made their lives a cesspool of complications through their incessant need for gratification to offset their unbridled compulsions, which daunt them day in and day out. They seek only the “happiness” that gratification appears to offer. All in all, life is merely a means to an end of their genetic desire for what they believe is security.
In a feeble effort to overcome their human deficits, many people try to acquaint themselves with some sort of spirituality through books and/or online resources…as long as this quasi-spirituality does not interfere with their favorite and most cherished gratifications or what they believe are their “passions” (ie the obsessions of their lifetime). They do not realize the hole they are digging for themselves by doing this, nor do they care.
An authentic spiritual practice is to move against the genetic disposition of our humanity. ~ Siraj
This is not an easy task as our pride gets in the way. Undoing our obsessive, dualistic mindset is a noble cause in a lifetime. But it requires a certain amount of patience and loving kindness that our human heart cannot offer us. We must change how we approach our life to a more selfless way.
Here’s a perfect story that illustrates what I am sharing with you. If you get this, if you can realize the power of this Sufi story, you will know that you have the acuity to enter into an authentic spiritual practice:
A great king who had been successful in all the ways of life finally started feeling frustrated, so he began searching and found a Sufi Master. He went to see him and said: “I am ready to do anything and you must know that I am a man who has never been a failure in anything; whatsoever I have done, I have done it and I have succeeded.”
To this the Sufi replied: “You have succeeded in the world, but that very success proves that you may not succeed here. Different laws apply to the world about which you are inquiring.”
The Sufi went on to say: “A man succeeds in the world if he forgets himself completely. That is the rule. A politician succeeds if he forgets himself completely; then you cannot compete with him. If he is obsessive and almost mad, he succeeds. A man succeeds in getting riches if he is completely mad, obsessed and neurotic. You cannot compete with a neurotic man. If you have any sense left you will not be able to succeed in the world. In the market only madness succeeds. One has to forget oneself completely, that is the rule, the law. But here, in our world, just the opposite is applicable – one has to remember oneself.”
The king laughed. He said: “Whatsoever the rule is, I have never failed anything. You say and I will do.”
The Sufi said: “Okay, then this is the examination you must pass – just five minutes are needed. If for five minutes, only for five minutes, you can remember a certain thing that I will say to you, you may become my disciple.”
The king said: “What is to be done?”
And the Sufi said, “Whatsoever I say for these coming five minutes you must say only: ‘Yes sir, I believe you.’”
The king said: “Okay, let us begin!”
The Sufi said: “I am the greatest man in the world.”
A little suspicion arose in the mind of the king but he said outwardly: “Yes sir, I believe you.”
Then the Sufi said: “When you were born I was present there.”
This was even more doubtful, because the king was older than the Sufi, who was himself a young man. Now it was certain that he was lying, but still he tried to remember. It was hard. Now he was losing the track, but still he said: “Yes sir, I believe you.”
Then the Sufi said: “And your father was a beggar.”
The king forgot completely and said: “You liar! I don’t believe a single thing you are saying!”
The Sufi said: “Five minutes were too long, only one minute has passed. Already you have forgotten. You could not remember even for five minutes. You are disqualified. Go and face the Karma of your own consequence.”
The Sufi is showing the King that his old mind, his rational business mind, will NOT be relevant in the world he is asking to enter. The spiritual world is transcendent of the human experience. There is no possible way in which the human heart, based in the genetic dispositions of dualistic thinking of “right and wrong” and “love vs hate,” can understand the spiritual Heart. The two can never mix.
Why? Because the hubris that comes from genetics is more important to most people than their authentic Heart. Most are selfish like the King and they will succeed in the world, while missing the most important element of their own life. This element is one that only applies to the Laws of Love…true and complete Love.
What is that element? Humility.
Most people have little or no humility within them. People feel helplessness and call it humility. Helplessness has nothing to do with humility. Nothing! ~ Siraj
No one can make another “sincere.” Sincerity comes with futility. Our endurance for human mischief is formidable. If a person has not lived in the “sickness” of their own futility for a long enough period of time, they will not be able to realize how deeply out of rhythm they are with the Laws that govern the pulse of Life. We must become, as Lao-tzu said, “sick of our sickness.”
The Laws of Life (the bigger picture) are totally different from the rules of engagement that we have here on earth, with each other. I teach what awakens the Heart and bridges us to the “other shore” where our Soul awaits our presence. But most people remain loyal only to what sustains their survival…not to what would propel them into awakening.
I once met a man, Morty, who was very wealthy by owning and operating junkyards. He was obsessed with his work. One day, Morty suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack in one of his junkyards at only 34 years of age. It was quite a shock to his family. At his funeral, a Rabbi whom I dearly loved and respected, gave a eulogy for Morty, saying:
“Morty reminds me of a man who came to the King and asked if he could have all the land that he could walk in a day! The King, smiled and said, “Why, of course!”
So the man walked and walked through the desert and at the end of the day, dropped dead of heat exhaustion.
Then the Rabbi said: “In the end – Morty, for all of his efforts in this lifetime, only got six feet.”
So I will leave you with this Master’s advice:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” ~ Jesus
Live for that which you can take with you through death - wake up all you “Mortys” out there!
Inner work is not for sissies! It takes real courage to live in an authentic spiritual practice
Awakening must be more important than the pedestrian guilt and shame of not being “perfect”
Blessed are they that are not offended in me - reach beyond your human defenses in order to realize and break through your self-imposed glass ceiling
Everything that is being shown to us is about Love - we cannot afford to be insulted...be teachable!