A few years ago I read a story about the Sufi woman, Rabia al-Adawiyya which I am now sharing with you.
Rabia was an old woman with failing eyesight so it was a bit difficult for her to see. One evening, just as the sun was setting, there was a bit of light still on the road, people found Rabia sitting on the road searching for something. Her neighbours came to help her and asked “what are you searching for?”
Rabia said, “that question is irrelevant. The fact is that I am searching, so if you can help me, help.”
They laughed at her and said, “have you gone crazy? How can you say our question is irrelevant? If we don’t know what you are searching for how can we help?”
Rabia said, “okay, just to satisfy you…I have lost my needle. I am searching for my needle.” They started helping her then realized it would be a futile search since the road was so big and the needle so small.
So they asked Rabia, “please, tell us the exact spot you lost it otherwise it is far too difficult and we could be searching forever. Where did you lose it?”
Once again Rabia said, “that question is also irrelevant. How is it concerned with my search?”
They stopped and said, “you are most certainly mad!”
Rabia said, “fine, if you must know, I lost it in my house”.
They asked her, “why are you searching here?”
At this Rabia said, “because here there is light, and there is no light inside”.
I absolutely love this story, not only for its light humour but more so for the thought-provoking questions it brought to the fore.
What am I searching for?
Am I enlisting the help of others without providing the necessary information?
Am I looking outside because I am afraid to face the darkness within?
True transformation, the one that brings about something new….different, involves the darkness. The insect world serves as a great teacher for us in that regard (lifecycle of a butterfly is a well known example).
Psycho-spiritual transformation – transformation involving the body, mind, emotions, and spirit; is widely sought after today as more and more people are realizing that we are living in an inside-out universe. This simply means that the results we expect to bring about physically/materially must first exist internally….we can’t be expecting to have (as an example) solid, beautiful, honest relationships with others when we do not first have that relationship with SELF.
As you continue (or think about beginning the journey) to design YOUR path while practicing the art of SELF-CARE, keep Rabia in mind.
Intimate knowledge of SELF is the necessary foundation to creating the life you would love living.
Begin your journey on the inside….
As always, I look forward to our conversations. Here’s an open invitation to comment below and share or send an email if you are more comfortable with that method.