A seeker journeyed to a far village in search of a certain Sufi renowned for his wisdom. At the village he learned that the Sufi lived on a nearby mountainside. Although darkness was falling, he set off up the mountain towards a bright light, certain that it was there he would find the Sufi.
When he reached the source of the light he was surprised to find nothing but an oil lamp with moths fluttering around it. As his eyes grew accustomed to the dark, the seeker noticed a dim glow a short way off.
Walking over to it, he discovered the Sufi reading by the light of a candle. “Why are you sitting here in the near darkness when there is a much brighter light over there?” asked the seeker.
“As you can see,” replied the Sufi, “the bright light is for the moths, leaving me here in peace to study by the light of my candle.”
From: The Little Book of Sufi Wisdom
Mulla Nasrudin decided to start a flower garden. He prepared the soil and planted the seeds of many beautiful flowers. But when they came up, his garden was filled not just with his chosen flowers but also overrun by dandelions.
He sought out advice from gardeners all over and tried every method known to get rid of them but to no avail. Finally he walked all the way to the capital to speak to the royal gardener at the sheik’s palace.
The wise old man had counseled many gardeners before and suggested a variety of remedies to expel the dandelions but Mulla had tried them all. They sat together in silence for some time and finally the gardener looked at Nasrudin and said, “Well, then I suggest you learn to love them.”
There was once a forest of trees, which lived a magnificent and beautiful life. Due to the natural development of their surroundings, the trees “climaxed,” and then gradually died, giving way to smaller species that lived below them. Various groups of bees made their nests in the hollow trunks of these dead trees and became very happy making honey. Gradually, the trees, one by one, began to decay and fall.
The various groups of bees debated amongst themselves why this should be and concluded that it must have something to do with the various merits of their hives. Some felt that when a tree fell, the bees in it were being punished for improper belief. Others felt more charitable and wanted to bring the homeless bees to their hive, saying “It could have been us, after all.” Still others felt that the hives of the homeless bees must have been flawed in some way from the beginning and so were predestined to fail.
The trees gradually continued to fall, one by one, and each time one fell, the bees in those trees still standing developed more speculations. Finally, all the bees were homeless and had to move on. Each group had been caught by surprise, believing their hive to be the true one destined to survive and bring in a new age. Each hive had failed to recognize that all trees fall eventually, and so it should finish its work and find another forest before it lost its tree. Each had failed to look further than its own hive and consider the effects of the tree, the soil and the rest of their ecology and its own survival.
From: The Sufi Book of Life
Once upon a time, a sultan set up a competition with a very rich prize for the most accomplished visual artistry. He invited teams from around the world. Both China and Greece sent delegations of artists. Each side could order whatever materials it wanted, and the wall of a room was provided for each to do its work. A curtain separated the two rooms.
The Chinese team asked for a plethora of paints made from many different plants and minerals, which provided an unimaginable array of colors. The Greek team asked only for materials for sanding and polishing.
When the two teams were finally ready, the Chinese unveiled their wall first. They had used every color of the rainbow, in a most harmonious design. The sultan was dazzled. Then the Greeks unveiled their work, throwing back the curtain between the two rooms. They had used no paint, but had polished their wall to such a degree that it reflected the work on the Chinese side. Through the play of light and air, the Chinese design seemed to move, and was even more fantastic and beautiful.
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