Chapter 6: The Passion for the Impossible
In that emptiness.surrender. That emptiness flowers into surrender. In that emptiness you are not, something new arrives. The seeker is no longer there, the will has disappeared, but the seeking is there, the longing is there - even more so, because the energy that was involved in the seeker has also become longing. Now you are simply thirsty, knowing perfectly well that you cannot do anything. That moment of utter despair brings grace - that’s what Sufis call baraka, what Hindus call prasad.
When you have fallen flat and you cannot move even a single inch on your own, when you have again become a small child and you are crying and screaming for your mother, the mother comes. But you have to become helpless again.
The question is important. You ask: “I am not clear. Is being a Sufi a matter of will?” Yes, in the beginning it is a matter of will. Each journey towards God starts in will but never ends in will. The first step has to be of will - and will takes you a long way towards your utter defeat. Half the journey is done by will-power and the other half is done in surrender. Will leads to surrender.
This will look paradoxical to you. Will flowers ultimately into surrender because it is will which makes you aware that on your own you cannot do anything. You have done it. You have seen it fail. So the first step is in will; half the journey is in will. And when will has disappeared there is blessing, prasad, baraka.
So if you ask me definitively whether it is will or surrender, I will say it is both and neither. Will and surrender are like two wings of a bird. They both help, they both complement each other. Even while they are opposed to each other they are complementing. Their very opposition creates movement. It is just like your two legs - they are opposed to each other. Through their opposition energy is created, and you can move. Will and surrender are opposites but deep down part of one whole.
Every seeker starts in will and ends in surrender.
The second question:
Why do great philosophers and so forth, say such beautiful things and yet remain such a mess?
Philosophers are like fences - they run round a lot without getting anywhere at all. Yes, they are exactly like a fence - it goes round and round, but it never reaches anywhere. Thought is a vicious circle. One thought leads to another and so on, so forth, but you go on moving in a circle. You do a lot of running, but you never reach anywhere. Thought is inconclusive. Thought cannot give you the conclusion, it only pretends. It is a pretender. Conclusion comes through experience - that’s why scientists have moved towards the lab, experimentation, and the religious mystics have moved towards the inner lab, the experience. Religion is the science of the inner and science is the religion of the outer.