THE IMPORTANCE OF GRATITUDE AND THE ART OF SAYING GOOD-BYE by Rahal Eks
We're truly living in rough and unrefined times where things often get increasingly more barbaric and rude. Recently I was "blessed" with a variety of impacts of this type. Please don't get me wrong, I'm far from complaining, just telling my story based on real facts and quite nasty at that. Yet I'm grateful for these experiences and manage - against all odds - to turn them around, transform them, and get something positive at the end of the day. Years ago I would have cried, screamed and pulled my hair in agony and self-pity. Now I take things philosophically as they say and laugh/love a lot more - however, I do arrive at new conclusions and my private entry visa policy to my personal inner circle reality has changed dramatically. I'm getting - thank Allah - tougher and more critical. In other words, it is getting more difficult to convince me of the mostly doubtful glories of many contemporaries and their games and ego-battles and/or laziness and delusions. It's like making gold - you start with a lot of unrefined material and melt it down to the essence! In this view less is more and more becomes less!
We have passed the half-way point of Ramadhan and... my personal khilwat/retreat is also still going on. All in all an intense and most revealing time, fine-tuning the over-tunes to increase harmonics and strengthening the inner being with the aim to become more de-LIGHT-FUL. Each step of the process has to be enjoyed. Each moment deserves an expression of gratitude. Add to this cocktail Afdhere's "program" to really keep rocking things with the right questions and reflections. In other words: It's a full house action gig on all fronts.
Now coming back to the original theme. Having gone through quite a few dramatic moments in my own life and always recuperating from things I've learned to be very, very grateful indeed and realized it is vital to any spiritual path, the Sufi Tradition and Islam of course included, no matter how one wants to turn or twist things, there is no way around this basic fact - it is as important as the concept of basic "adab"/manners.
Believe it or not, there are people one shouldn't help - but often it is hard to figure that one out in advance. At present I'm digesting the impacts of two people who compete with their negativity, ingratitude and lack of adab.
Case 1 is a person of Middle Eastern origin and quite artistic and rather talented on that level. For years he has milked me for advice, Tarot readings on the phone, dhikr requests and to help him solve his many mundane troubles since monsieur has not really arrived on planet earth. It was my Ya Sabur/patience training par excellence and honestly I tried to help him with loving kindness Sufi-style. Some days ago he came to see me in person asking for another favor and I did what he requested, the full program. "Could I use your bathroom?" he asked politely once we were finished dealing with his issues and requests. "Sure!" After some minutes I heard him wash his hands and he came out to say good-bye and leave. Meanwhile I became aware of a strange and unpleasant smell and inspected my bathroom. With great shock I noticed monsieur did shit on my toilet seat without cleaning it! I did the job, only to note a moment later with greater horror that he had also left a huge piece of shit a meter away from the toilet on the bathroom floor! I had to wash the entire place and wondered if this was an accident or done on purpose as an unorthodox good-bye present by a nutty psychopath? No matter what, the fact is disturbing and highly annoying, to say the least. Two days later he called as if nothing had happened and turned quite pushy demanding further things on the help front. I purposely exploded with all my might, trying to wake him up a last time - in vain. Then came my killer question: "What was the bathroom gig all about?" Monsieur freaked out and hung up the phone, only to re-call me a few minutes later and insult me for my lack of adab and for daring to accuse him - and insisted being innocent. "Sorry mate," I replied, "I don't have a shitting jinn in my flat, nor did any evil unknown neighbors sneak in doing this, it was you, let's face it!"
In the following days he tried to bother me again on the phone, however, I did decline talking to him again, there are definite limits to my patience with crackpots and he won't ever enter my flat again. Amin!
Case 2 was a supposed personal friend and a supposed dedicated member of the Sufi halqa who also enjoyed a lot of help on the material level, the health-level and the spiritual level. It all began turning sour with a fat lie and then things went all the way downhill. Still it was hoped that things would return into the old and previously higher maqam - in vain. No, things got worse like a determined kamikaze flight! Naturally the question came up "why?" - of course everyone is always entitled to leave a Sufi group and decide on another course, it is a free world - however, the question is how to depart and say good-bye. The person in question tried to be "modern" and used a brief facebook inbox mail to say "adios" and that although we happen to be at this point in the same city and could have had a personal encounter in 3D reality, or at least a phone conversation.
Behavior like that has the charm as if getting divorced or finish a relationship by SMS text message - the throw away culture at its peak - and this style ain't modern in my eyes but cowardly, lacking good manners and style. It is oozing with ingratitude - and I don't just mean that in a personal way towards me, I'm referring above all to the ingratitude towards Allah, towards the Sufi Tradition at large, and towards a variety of formerly established honest and caring friendships.
Now what is the good I got out of these two cases? And how did I react?
Easy as apple pie: I wrote an e-mail and a postal letter to the case 1 person, wishing him all the best, but requesting to stop all contact and phone calls from now on because I may not and cannot help him any more in any form or shape, nor do I want to.
In contrast I shall not reply at all to case 2's "adios mail" on facebook and just fade out as if I had passed away, doing a dead Fred number with the motto: "No answer is also an answer!" Realizing that the secret always protects itself, as the Sufis say. Spot on! You can bank on that, even in times of a global finance crisis, lol!
I feel liberated, light - embracing the void that makes room for something new more positive to manifest, that's a gift. And it already did. Right now. We just had a lovely Mushkil Gusha night - yes, it is Thursday night and we remembered - the still alive and practicing hardcore of the group just left now and I'm writing these lines with Andalusian Sufi music from Morocco playing in the background: "Omar Metioui - Fuente del Amor Secreto/fountain of secret love..."
It is a still warm summer night and a breeze is coming through the open balcony door. I might go for a ride on my bike - after all the night is young! Celebrating a new beginning without negative and ungrateful souls and hopefully next time setting up stronger filter mechanisms when screening those who pretend to burn with passionate interest for the Sufi Path (the majority are straw-fire people and not suitable to really enter the circle of the friends of the Friend). I will put up a new sign at my door: "No spiritual tourists please!" Here we only want those with the potential for burning love and whole-hearted dedication, the moth type willing to burn in the candle's flame and give up its illusionary identity. Ya Haqq wa ishq bashad! Saludos Rahal!