Story-day is for cultural exploration, puraanas and parables and finding out about leading lights in spiritual philosophy.
We are following the text "Beyond Sorrow" in which we explore the nature of suffering and how to manage and move through difficulties.
The second essay in the publication is another lengthy one. Again the essence only will be conveyed here and your are encouraged to follow up with purchase of the book, or exploration of Sufi Poetry - which is the focus of -
SEPARATION AND SUFFERING
William C Chittick.
Mr Chittick takes the propensity of Sufi poets for using the term 'Beloved' as a place to lay blame for the torture of their souls. Most Sufi poetry can be read exactly as if it were, indeed, love poetry between a man and the object of his desire; but of course, it is raised to the level of spirit and the longing the seeker ought to have for the sought.
The Beloved can sometimes be cruel and often is called as such in these writings. The basic point of such verses is that Man, in his self(ego)existence, cannot see things as they are. The idea that we bring a 'death to the ego' is often perceived as being painful and unnecessary, yet it is in the pursuit of 'joys' that we actually experience torments, for they are distractions from our true purpose, which is to reside in the divine. It is said, then, that God makes suffering in order to force Man to look Higher. There is a flaw, in that Man just does not realise that his hardships are due to his separation from That.
The first step towards relief from the angst of life is to recognise this 'pain' and to acknowledge the Higher. The Sufi philosophy is that the saints and sages suffer most, as they are fully aware of the condition of being separated from that which they love most; then there are descending levels of 'pain' according to how aware each one is, whether they are 'righteous' (second only to saints), whether the 'excellent' and so on. The more Man suffers, the greater will be his desire to be relieved of it. To attempt any fleeing or avoidance of the sufferings placed before us by God is to attempt to flee or avoid God. The only way to flee from suffering is to seek refuge from one's own ego; in surrendering that, one must then accept whatever comes before one. The philosophy then moves into the concept of reproach as being proof of Love; the very fact that God 'beats us' with one strife or another, it shows that He is aware of us and Loves us and wishes us to correct ourselves. This is the essence of reproach.
Unless Man realises a desire and Love for the work which must be done, both inwardly and outwardly, he will not perform it at all well. There needs to be a 'pain' (as in need) in order to accomplish, whether it be for trade or kingship, religion, science, the arts… whatever it may be, it must entail a level of pain in the form of a need to follow it and an angst to complete it.
In all, to be successful in attaining a union with the Beloved and relieving oneself of suffering, selflessness (egolessness) is an essential component.