by: Nahid Angha, PhD A student of Sufism avoids falling into falsehood by learning how not to mistake imagination and assumption for the truth of reality. Pursuing what is not ultimately real takes the seeker deeper into the gulf of unknown desires and longing for the material world. In order to reach the truth of ultimate reality, which is the goal of a Sufi, one must remain in a stable balance, since living in harmony in the state of equilibrium is the environment where spirituality will have the chance to grow. The logic of this necessity is straightforward: When one is continuously pulled by the diverse cords of desires and transient information one cannot remain stable and in the state of equilibrium. Cutting the strings of attachments does not prevent one from enjoying life and learning how to approach the reality within, but rather disciplines one in the control of oneâ€™s life. Instead of a limitation, it frees one from being controlled by all the unknown or even known forces that surround every one of us. Teachers have instructed their students to practice three kinds of tark. 1. tark in the world of matter, which is to step beyond the world of illusion by understanding the limitations and the superficiality of the sense perceptions, as well as learning not to mistake mere information for knowledge; 2. tark of paradise, which is to leave the promises of an unknown tomorrow and remain steadfast in learning for the sake of understanding, instead of becoming greedy for a reward, 3. tark of tark, which consists in becoming free from the boundaries of dimensions and limitations. At this level, the salek has freed himself from any attachments, including those of tark.
The person seeking spirituality seeks a tranquility that impurities prevent. The same rule exists for a personâ€™s environment, habitation, and worship. One parallel to this is the modern subject of ecology; the pure balance which ecology demands has been a practice ever kept sacred by Sufis and their students. Impurity holds no promise. It cuts the continuation of life short. A human being should not only establish his own survival in the most promising manner but also the betterment and survival of his environment, generation, culture and the world in general. Whatever prevents a human being from such accomplishment is in fact impurity. Badness reflects the inner state of constant struggle and emotional turmoil. Unless one frees oneself form these agents of self-destruction one will not arrive at the gateway of life. Excerpt from Nahid Angha Ph.D., Principles of Sufism, San Rafael, CA: International Association of Sufism, 1991, pgs. 18-19.
Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 4