Chapter 3: Out of Context
Sufism is psychology in the true sense of the word. It depends on the inner. But then one problem arises: when you listen to the statements of the Sufis, be very alert. Don’t translate them according to your understanding, otherwise you will miss the import. Rather than bringing the statements of the Sufis to your understanding, you will have to rise in your awareness and go closer to the Sufis.
These are the two ways to understand.
For example, you are here with me. One way is: whatsoever I say, you translate it, reduce it, to your understanding. That is one way to understand it. In fact, it is a way of misunderstanding it. The other way is the right way to understand: when you fall in love with something that I say, then try to come closer to my awareness. Then meditate more. Then become more self-aware. Then witnessing has to be grown. Then more energy has to be poured into observation, so that you can rise a little higher from your ordinary plane of understanding. Then you will be able to see the point.
The problem becomes very complicated because Sufis use very simple language. You can understand it. As far as language is concerned there is no problem. But as far as the message is concerned, there is a great problem. The statements of the Sufis are coded messages - simple on the surface but carrying great treasure in them.
Sufism is not a doctrine, hence it is not intellectual. It is existential. It is total. Intellect is only a tiny part. But somehow this calamity has happened, that the intellect has become dictatorial, that it has usurped all the power that you have, that it has become totalitarian, that it has become the master. Sufis say the intellect is a great servant, a good servant, very useful, but a bad master. It can’t be the master.
In fact, no part can be the master. Neither can the heart be the master. Neither the hands nor the feet, nor the kidneys, nor the lungs - no part can be the master. The mastery belongs to the organic unity. Man’s being should be a democracy in which every part has its say, and where every part functions at its maximum, is not hindered. end out of the harmony of all the parts arises self-remembering.
So one thing to be reminded of: Zen is anti-intellectual; it is not so with Sufism. Zen is irrational; it is not so with Sufism. Sufism is a very balanced view. It is neither intellectual nor anti-intellectual, it is neither rational nor irrational.
Sufism says: Intellect has its own place; it is a good machine. It has to be used, but only as a machine. The machine has not to become a master. This vision of man functioning as an organic unity is one of the greatest contributions to human consciousness from Sufism. Neither the heart nor the head nor anything else has to become the boss. There is no need for any boss in your being. All have to function; nobody’s functioning has to be hindered.
And out of the harmony of all the parts functioning arises that great grace called self-remembering. It is neither of the mind nor of the soul nor of the body, but of all. It is a trinity. It is total.