Chapter 2: With Nothing to Lose
I have heard about a great Sufi mystic, Abraham Adam. Once he was the Emperor of Bokhara, then he left everything and became a Sufi beggar. When he was staying with another Sufi mystic he was puzzled because every day the man was continuously complaining of his poverty.
Abraham Adam said to him, “The way you abuse it, it may be that you have bought your poverty cheaply.”
“How stupid you must be!” the man retorted, not knowing to whom he was talking, not knowing that Abraham was once the emperor. He said, “How stupid you must be to think that one buys poverty.”
Abraham replied, “In my case, I paid my kingdom for it. I would even give away a hundred worlds for a single moment of it, for every day its value becomes more and more to me. No wonder then that I give thanks for it while you lament it.”
The purity of the spirit is the real poverty. The word sufi comes from an Arabic word safa. Safa means purity. Sufi means one who is pure in the heart.
And what is purity? Don’t misunderstand me, purity has nothing to do with morality. Don’t interpret it in a moralistic way. Purity has nothing to do with puritans. Purity simply means an uncontaminated state of mind, where only your consciousness is and nothing else. Nothing else really enters into your consciousness, but if you hanker to possess, that hankering contaminates you. Gold cannot enter into your consciousness. There is no way. How can you take gold into your being? There is no way. Money cannot enter into your consciousness. But if you want to possess, that possessiveness can enter into your consciousness. Then you become impure. If you don’t want to possess anything you become fearless. Then even death is a beautiful experience to pass through.
A man who is really spiritual has tremendous experiences, but he never accumulates them. Once they have happened he forgets about them. He never remembers, he never projects them into the future. He never says that they should be repeated or that they should happen again to him. He never prays for them. Once they have happened they have happened. Finished! He is finished with them and he moves away from them. He is always available for the new, he never carries the old.