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Week 15 Readings

Week 15 Readings

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Published by Abdur Rahman

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Published by: Abdur Rahman on Dec 03, 2013
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 Weekly Readings
Adab & Devotion
This week turn from our exploration of
adab
, to explore the closely related theme of devotion. This week’s
reading contains one reading from the Masnavi on the theme of adab, and another on the theme of devotion, alongside a short personal account. In working with these texts, we suggest this four step approach:
 
Read this selection, out loud if possible, seven times.
 
Dwell upon the phrase or sentence that touches you.
 
Ask yourself what relevance or application this has to yourself.
 
Finally, sit in the afterglow of these reflections and open yourself to whatever new insight or message the Divine might have for you.
Text 1: Adab
 
‘Even though you're not equipped,
 keep searching: equipment isn't necessary on the way to the Lord. Whoever you see engaged in search, become her friend and cast your head in front of her, for choosing to be a neighbour of seekers, you become one yourself; protected by conquerors, you will yourself learn to conquer. If an ant seeks the rank of Solomon, don't smile contemptuously upon its quest. Everything you possess of skill, and wealth and handicraft,
wasn't it first merely a thought and a quest?’
 (3.1445-1449)
Text 2: Devotion
‘Whatever it is you wish to marry,
 go, absorb yourself in that beloved, assume its shape and qualities. If you wish for the light, prepare yourself to receive it; if you wish to be far from God, nourish your egoism and drive yourself away. If you wish to find a way out of this ruined prison, don't turn your head away from the Beloved, but
bow in worship and draw near 
 (1.3605-7)
 
 
Devotion Rahima McCullough
This week our theme is devotion. The Sufi path is a path of devotion. At first glance this seems like a simple concept.
We hear that someone is “devoted to their family,” or “devoted to their
sport." Perhaps we have listened to (and even sung along with) Olivia Newton John singing
“hopelessly devoted to you.”
But what does it mean to practice devotion? One dictionary defines devotion as
 
the fact or state of bein
g ardently dedicated and loyal.” In another, to be devoted is “
to give all of something,
especially your time, effort or love, or yourself, to something you believe in or to a person” So
devotion means giving, giving deeply, loyally and ardently, from the heart. A Sufi wishes to give herself to the Infinite, to God, to her or his highest human potentialities. We may believe we are devoted to the path and to God, do our daily priorities support this belief? To what or to whom are we actually devoted, at this time in our life? When we look at how we spend our time, and how our priorities manifest during our day, what can we see about the actual objects of our devotion? We are also inundated the demands of family, work and the distractions of life in our society. Devotion is not only measured by the amount of time we spend in prayer and meditation or studying sacred scripture and the writings of the masters, it also manifests itself in how we fulfill our obligations. Our tradition does not call for forsaking the world, rather that we integrate our spirituality, our devotion into our everyday activities. Can I remember my Sustainer as I clean the bathroom or change a dirty diaper? Can I manifest compassion and forgiveness while dealing with an angry co-worker or difficult relationship? Do I perform my work beautifully and with attention regardless of how mundane? One step toward true spiritual devotion is simply taking inventory to see where our devotion currently lies and if it manifests in all aspects of our lives. For some of us that answer may be yes. But even for the most devoted among us, we need be constantly working to purify our devotion. The ego can love and be devoted to something outside itself but this is a conditional love and devotion. The ego can consciously or unconsciously become the real object of devotion
 cloaked in devotion to God. Perhaps we become attached to our spiritual work because of how it feeds our ego. We feel pious, we experience a spiritual high, we receive attention or we satisfy a sense of duty. If our ego is not gratified with the results of our spiritual work, we give up.

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