Farid, I remember these Sufi stories because of your name. Farid is the name of a great Sufi master. You are right: “I feel and know in my heart, I am your disciple.” I agree with you.
You say “I don’t feel I am yet a devotee although I aspire to be one.” Just drop the aspiration and you are one. Only the aspiration is blocking the way. Aspiration is simply a beautiful name for desire, for greed.
Just drop the aspiration and there is no hindrance to your being transformed, transmuted from disciplehood into the wider world of a devotee. And you have certainly stumbled upon a beautiful fact, which cannot be possible just through intellect. You say, “Is it in the nature of being a devotee that one knows one has become one, or does the innocence of the devotee make the awareness of it not possible?”
The second part of your statement is correct; the very nature of the devotee makes it impossible for you to recognize it. There is no space left to stand aside and see. Every knowledge, every awareness needs a distance. You have to stand aside: then you can see and watch, and you can know and you can be aware.
But the devotee has lost all distance between himself and his knowing. He himself has become awareness. Now who is there to be aware of awareness?
This has to be understood: you cannot be aware of your awareness, because if you can be aware of your awareness you will be falling into a very logical regress. Then you will have to be aware of your awareness of your awareness…and there is no end to it.
Finally you will always have to decide “Now, this is enough!” In fact you cannot be aware of your awareness because you are awareness. It comes from the recognition of the master. He can see the transformation, the change of the climate in your being. And every master has many things to do. One of the most important things, the final thing, is to give you the indication, the kiss on your forehead recognizing that you have entered into the most mysterious experience of life.
Farid, you will never become aware of your being a devotee, but your longing to be a devotee is a hindrance. Drop it immediately! Don’t take time dropping it, don’t postpone.
There are things that should never be postponed, because the tomorrow is never certain. There are things that have to be done just here, immediately, and you will see many doors opening which your aspiration was blocking.
But once you enter into those mysteries you will not be aware, because you will become the mystery itself.
What does it mean to be in the middle?