SixtyEightesus was asked, What is the most difficult thing in this world and the next? He said, The wrath of God. They asked, And what can save us from that? He answered, Master your own wrath and anger towards others. When the mind wants to complain, do the opposite - give thanks. Exaggerate the matter to such a degree that you find within yourself a love of what repels you. Pretending thankfulness is a way of seeking the love of God. Our Master, Shams, said, To complain of creation is to complain of the Creator. He also said, Hatred and rage lay hidden in your unconscious. If you see a spark leap from that fire, extinguish it, so that it will return to non-existence from where it came. If you insist on matching anger with anger and promoting the flame of rage, it will spring faster and faster from your unconscious, and become more and more difficult to put out. Chase away evil with something good, and you triumph over your enemy in two ways. One way is this - your enemy is not another persons flesh and skin, it is the contagiousness of their hatred. When that is cast out of you by an abundance of thanks, it will inevitably be cast out of your enemy as well, because everyone instinctively responds to kindness, and you have left your opponent with nothing to fight against. It is just like with children, when they shout names at someone and that person yells bad names back, they are all the more encouraged, thinking, Our words have had an effect. But if the enemy sees their words bring about no change they lose interest. The second benefit is this: When the attribute of forgiveness comes forth in you, other people realize they have not been seeing you as you truly are. Then they know that they are the ones to be reproached, not you, and no proof puts adversaries to shame more than that. So by praising and giving thanks to detractors you are administering an antidote to that hatred in them, for while they have shown you your deficiency, you have shown them your perfection. Those who are loved by God can hardly be defective. Thus, let us praise those who criticize us, so their friends will think, It is our friends who are at odds with the Sufis, since the Sufis always speak well to our friends.
Though they are powerful,
Pluck out their beards politely.
Firmly break their necks,
Though they are high and mighty.May God assist us in that!
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Copyright © 1999 by Doug Marman