بخش 61

کتاب: ملت عشق / فصل 61

بخش 61

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 5 دقیقه
  • سطح سخت

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Ella

NORTHAMPTON, JUNE 19, 2008

Beloved Ella,

Thank you for being so compassionate. I’m glad you like my story and that you think about it a lot. I am not used to talking about my past with anyone, and it strangely makes me lighter to share all this with you.

I spent the summer of 1977 with a group of Sufis in Morocco. My room was white, small, and simple. It had just the bare necessities: a sleeping mat, an oil lamp, an amber rosary, a potted flower by the window, an evil-eye charm, and a walnut desk with a book of Rumi’s poetry in the drawer. There was no telephone, no television, no clock, and no electricity. I didn’t mind. Having lived in squat houses for years, I couldn’t see why I shouldn’t survive in a dervish lodge.

On my first evening, Master Sameed came to my room to check on me. He said I was more than welcome to stay with them until ready to leave for Mecca. But there was one condition: no drugs!

I remember feeling my face burn, like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar. How did they know? Had they been rummaging through my suitcase while I was out? I’ll never forget what the master said next: “We don’t need to look through your belongings to know you are using drugs, Brother Craig. You have the eyes of an addict.” And the funny thing is, Ella, until that day I had never thought of myself as an addict. I was so sure that I was in control and that drugs helped me with my problems. “Numbing the pain is not the same as healing it,” Master Sameed said. “When the anesthesia wears off, the pain is still there.” I knew he was right. With conceited determination I handed them all the drugs I carried with me, even my sleeping pills. But soon it became apparent that my determination was not strong enough to pull me through what was to come. During the four months I stayed in that small lodge, I broke my promise and strayed badly on more than a dozen occasions. For one who chose intoxication over sobriety, it wasn’t hard to find drugs, even as a foreigner. One night I came to the lodge dead drunk and found all the doors bolted from inside. I had to sleep in the garden. The next day Master Sameed asked nothing, and I offered no apologies.

Apart from these shaming incidents, I managed to get along fine with the Sufis, enjoying the calm that settled on the lodge in the evenings. Being there felt peculiar but oddly peaceful, and though I was no stranger to living under the same roof with many people, I found something there I had never experienced before: inner peace.

On the surface we lived a collective life where everyone ate, drank, and performed the same activities at the same time, but underneath we were expected and encouraged to remain alone and look within. On the Sufi path, first you discover the art of being alone amid the crowd. Next you discover the crowd within your solitude—the voices inside you.

While I waited for the Sufis in Morocco to safely sneak me into Mecca and Medina, I read extensively on Sufi philosophy and poetry, at first out of boredom and lack of anything better to do, then with growing interest. Like a man who had not realized how thirsty he was until he took his first sip of water, I found that my encounter with Sufism made me yearn for more. Of all the books I read that long summer, it was the collected poems of Rumi that had the most impact on me.

Three months later, out of the blue, Master Sameed said I reminded him of someone—a wandering dervish by the name of Shams of Tabriz. He said that some people regarded Shams as a brazen heretic, but if you asked Rumi, he was the moon and the sun.

I was intrigued. But it was more than simple curiosity. As I listened to Master Sameed tell me more about Shams, I felt a shiver down my spine, an odd feeling of déjà vu.

Now, you are going to think I’m crazy. But I swear to God, at that moment I heard a rustle of silk in the background, first far off, then drawing nearer, and I saw the shadow of someone who wasn’t there. Perhaps it was the evening breeze moving across the branches, or maybe it was a pair of angel wings. Either way, I suddenly knew that I didn’t need to go anywhere. Not anymore. I was sick and tired of always longing to be somewhere else, somewhere beyond, always in a rush despite myself.

I was already where I wanted to be. All I needed was to stay and look within. This new part of my life I call my encounter with the letter f in the word “Sufi.”

Love,

Aziz

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