The Soul that Moves the Body of the World

By Shaikh Kabir, Washington, D.C presents an excerpt from a talk given by Shaikh Kabir at theLincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., October 8th, 2016
You who are relatively conscious, relatively compassionate human beings have an awesome responsibility. Whether you believe in God or not, whether you believe in an eternal soul or not, whether you are totally secular, religious, or spiritual, there must be something you hold sacred, something before which you feel humble, something you want to serve or honor. You may call it wisdom or truth, you may call it Gods law, you may call it enlightenment. Whatever it is, align yourself with that truth, with that presence, with that higher consciousness. It is in that presence that we will find the clarity, guidance, and courage we need. Ask for the guidance and inspiration that can be found deep in the human heart, and when we have found that, each of us must also become effective, committed activists working for justice and truth, putting our lives on the line.
Instead of trillions of dollars being spent on senseless, unwinnable wars, we could work toward a foreign policy based on magnanimity and compassion. We could create a global Marshal Plan and put the resources of war toward bringing clean water to the planet, toward ending hunger, toward increasing the bonds of friendship with other nations instead of threatening them.
Faith (iman) bears the fruit of happiness and positive energy. All negativity is a form of faithlessness (kufr).
Sacred activism is the bridge between the invisible and visible worlds, between the world of possibilities and the everyday world we live in. If we are going to bridge these two, we need to connect through our own deepest being, through our inner presence, our spiritual heart. We can do that right now, fulfilling the purpose of our being here together today.
They say the wise jokester Hodja Nasreddin was once walking his donkey along a cliff, when his donkey tripped. The donkey tried to catch its footing, but the unfortunate animal ended up falling to its death. Hodja would explain, Apparently, the donkey had learned to fly, but had not learned to land properly.
So often we cling to moments when our faith has made us fly. It may be a retreat. It may be a pilgrimage. It may be a walk in the woods when the leaves have shown their true colors. Flying is a delight. And when we have that experience, we are full of happiness and positive energy.
The question, though, isnt always how well we fly, but how well we land. How do we reply when someones sarcasm cuts us? How do we respond when we lose a job? How do we face false accusations or deal with a spouse who has stopped loving us or react to something as simple as the contents of a trash bag emptying across the kitchen floor? Do we embrace our faith in those moments and still allow the happiness and positive energy to flow through us, or do we turn our backs, if for a moment, on the Reality that is Love.
Throughout my mothers life, she tried to teach me how to land. But it was her last year with usa year when cancer ravaged her body to the point where she didnt even look like herself anymorethat she taught it the best. Near the end, she said, I dont fight cancer. I dont need to. Either God heals me, and I get to see you another day. Or God doesnt heal me, and I get to see God.
Yes, she still experienced sadness and pain and would have been happier to have avoided all of it. She did not deny that. But at the same time, she also never repented for her faith; she never turned her face away from God to dwell in negativity. And this buttressed her to her very last breath.
The last words she offered came to us after she was already gone. A devout Christian, she asked for her favorite bible verses to be read at her funeral:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
[Philippians 4:4-9, NASV]
The Mevlevi tradition teaches us the same. In The Rumi Daybook, we read how Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) was once asked how to avoid the wrath of God. Jesus replied that when you feel the urge to complain, give thanks instead. Exaggerate your gratitude. He didnt say difficult circumstances would necessarily change. What he said was that, by showing gratitude, you will generate love. And this generating love is an act of Creation. This is an act of Healing. This is an act of Power. In this act, may we fly.
And for those who dont feel it? Theres no need to despair, no need to lash out at oneself and succumb. Give thanks anyway. Because even in giving false thanks, Allah sees it as an act through which we are seeking Hus love. Yes, we will landbut unlike Hodjas unfortunate donkey, we will do so safely in the tender arms of the Most Compassionate Beyond All Measuring of Compassion, the Most Merciful Beyond All Measuring of Mercy.
~ Joseph Simpson lives with his family in Morehead, Kentucky. He turned up on the Helminskis’ doorstep one day in 2015.

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