Hafiz: Just Looking for Trouble--Wielding the Sword of Discrimination
"Just Looking for Trouble," a poem by Hafiz, tells us about wielding the sword of discrimination.
"Always discriminate--your body, your house, the people and the world are all absolutely unreal like a dream. Always think that the body is only an inert instrument. And the Atman within is your real nature."--Swami Vivekananda
I once had a student
Who would sit alone in his house at night
Shivering with worries and fears.
And come morning
He would often look as though
He had been raped by a ghost.
Then one day my pity
Crafted for him a knife
From my own divine sword.
I have become very proud of this student.
For now, come night
Not only has he lost all his fear,
Now he goes out
Just looking for trouble.
--Hafiz(from The Gift, translated by Daniel Ladinsky)
Night Will Come
Sitting alone in one’s house does not necessarily mean being physically isolated in your dwelling. It is locking yourself up in the idea that you not only live in the body, but are the body.
While the former idea is more liberating and less fearful, because at least when the body inevitably goes back to dust, there is something that has been living inside and thus is independent of the body. On the other hand, thinking you are only a body is a living death. At any moment you may be gone and with a whole host of nasty ways to extinguish you. For some parts of your life you may have the daylight of pleasures when everything is going your way, the way you want things to go. Yet all days end and nights follow, and so do the moods of despair when the world seems out to get you.
In the night that Hafiz speaks of, is the time when fears arise. You live in fear if you are worried about securing and providing for the body. Watch a bird and how it nervously eats, looking up with every few mouthfuls, ever-vigilant of danger. Look how many people work jobs that provide security, despite the fact time drags them down with heavy hearts.
Do you? In your security shell of daily normalcy do you hide?
You may even think that everything is all right, that it is just the way life should be; and, after all, you find moments of contentment purchasing what the world has to offer. But the night surely will come, and with it comes the dreams and the nightmares. Dreams are the place you cannot control (unless you become lucid in the dream) , especially if you cannot control your daily mind.
Sleep is a mini death. How you go to sleep is a good example of how you will die. Is your mind scurrying about between what you did or didn’t do earlier; then to the future with concerns about what might befall you? Or does the mind simply sink into the moment of sleep, like a boat being cast into a lake? If you have fears when going to sleep you will encounter those fears in some form in your dreams. Just as when the body drops at death.
If something has not been resolved then ghosts, unredeemed, will come and haunt the mind. And so you will look like you have been raped in the morning. The vitality goes. Victimhood enshrouds you and you go out into the world smelling of fear, attracting more circumstances to reinforce being a victim. And the dreams become worse. The daily stench of fear grows. And life literally turns to hell.
Master and Student
Now remember that this person in the poem is a student. We are all students and life is our classroom. Some of us consciously may know that we have a teacher, and that teacher could be alive or no longer have a physical body. Teachers are indispensable. Only a fool thinks he knows it all. Whether a teacher knows best that does not matter so much. But if a teacher is truly a teacher then that teacher loves the student, and that love is needed when we forget that we are love.
So Hafiz, out of love for his student, sees his student floundering. The pupil is caught in that vicious cycle of being afraid and creating fearful circumstances; so the teacher acts. The knife that the teacher gives comes from his sword. And being that they are both out of the same material they are the same. It is just that the knife is a little easier for a student to wield; while the sword is for the master.
What is this sword? It is the sword of discrimination. It is the blade that cuts away all illusions and thus all fears. By sitting in silence and then cutting away mentally everything that seems to make up who you are, you will come to the place of Limitless Being. It is easy to think that your spouse, children, work, hobbies, clothes, home, car, looks, friends, money--even your body, moods, personality, or more subtly, your thoughts and beliefs—all add up to who you are. Yet when you wield the sword of discrimination. and say with each aspect of your life they are only a passing phenomenon (which is no more permanent than a leaf on a maple tree), then you will begin not to keep your focus on grabbing hold of them all. Nor will you chase after or run from them. After some time you will begin to realize that none of these things are you at all. And the fear begins to melt back into the shadows.
Freedom and Causing Trouble
Now the teacher begins to be proud of the student, for the student has begun to learn, or rather unlearn. When night comes, when the old wounds and bitter thoughts and feelings arise in the darkness, the student is not shaken anymore.
For with the blade that you wield you know that such phenomenon is simply just that, and has nothing to do with you. Like the master, you have learned that the world of passing forms offers nothing to you to gain or to lose. You have come to your Being where no one was ever born, nor can anyone ever die.
Free, the student begins to say and do the darnedest of things, not caring about what family, friends or anyone might think or say. And because there is now freedom from conditions, love can manifest fully in its unconditional nature. This is the trouble that Hafiz speaks of, because it is trouble for those who want to stay in their rooms shivering with fear. Meeting someone who is fearless and free from the conditions of the world, who can no longer be controlled--that is great trouble.
So be free, and cause a whole lot of trouble!
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Nondualism and the Art of Becoming Human
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Inspirational Quotations: Sufi Wisdom
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