Constancy on the Sufi Path

Salaam and Greetings of Peace:

The term “constancy” is taken from the Qur’anic passage in which God tells His Prophet (pbuh): “Be constant, as you are commanded.” (11:112)

On the Sufi path, one walks with the feet of Love, and constancy, or steadfastness, provides the provisions needed to carry one forward.

Constancy means to step out of your self and stand firm with God. Feeling hurt, making excuses, getting distracted, being irresponsible, making claims, all serve to block the development of constancy or steadfastness in the darvish.

Abu Ali Jauzjani said: “Practice constancy; don’t go looking for miracles, for it’s your nafs that want miracles, while God wants only constancy from you.”

Alhamdulillah! May we stand firm, and not waver on the path of Love, meeting difficulties and afflictions with courage. If someone treats you badly, apologize to him! If someone irritates you, be thankful! If affliction visits you, consider it a necessary cure!

This is the way of the Sufi on the path of Love. 

- Adapted from Discourses on the Sufi Path by Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh.

 

Ya Haqq!

 


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20 Responses to Constancy on the Sufi Path

  1. pbsweeney says:

    This is another one that I could print out and keep in constant reminder. I often have the discussion with myself when I flare up in some emotional response, become distracted by the behaviors of others and so on, that I am just being human and that I can’t help it. Well, this is the biggest excuse of all in my repertoire, along with wasting time feeling guilty or bad about it!

    So thank you for this; I love reading it and hearing it and keeping it close to my heart.

  2. Achelois says:

    Your master is such an intelligent man. He says so much in such little words. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  3. Shahrzad says:

    Interesting and at the same time beautiful. Good, i am learning something new about Sufism. I studied Sufi books so much. Did you ever traveled to Ghuniyya?

  4. Dipti says:

    Dear Brother.. such a wonderful lesson .. difficult to practice and that is why these constant reminders and zikr of Allah is necesaary to keep us on the straight and true path . May he bless us all ….

  5. Aaminah says:

    Asalaamu alaikum,

    AlhamdulAllah.

  6. ned says:

    Constancy is the hardest thing. We’re so limited, and if the being isn’t willing to fully surrender, we fall from the spiritual path easily. That’s also part of the process; we can’t let our mistakes bog us down and weaken ourselves further by telling ourselves, oh I’m a sinner, I’m a fool, I’m so ignorant, etc. You have to observe the lower nature with detachment and calmness, and realize, well, this is human nature, but it’s not my true nature. The really hard part for me is observing these lower movements *without* constantly mentally labeling everything. The mental judgments really drag me down a lot; I often can’t seem to silence my own criticism of myself. And that really weakens me and is counterproductive because the “repressed” lower movements then pop up on their own from time to time.

    The mind, no matter how hard it tries, can never control anything; the right to rule our being belongs only to the soul.

  7. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Sisters:

    Thank you all for the kind and insightful comments :) Indeed, constancy is a difficult state to attain, and why the Sufi path takes a lifetime to slowly, slowly traverse. And Ned, you are completely right. The lower self is not our true nature, it is part of the evolution of human beings and, inshallah, we eventually grow past the self-recrimination and doubt.

    May God bless us all on your journey.

    Ya Haqq!

  8. Aafke says:

    The concept of constancy is so underrated, as is the ability to carry it out.
    I found this very inspiring, just at this moment in my life.

  9. Merryweather says:

    Beautiful through & through! A great reminder. Encouraging… Thank you Brother Irving! :) Peace be upon you.

    I think I will save this passage in my dairy :)

  10. But the whole problem is ” how to be constant?” All the great Faiths in the world would have us leave fickleness, but is it not human to be fickle — the seduction of the dialogic. When we do one thing, the other beckons…
    & is it wrong to be human? After all ordinary folks are so many that one wonders that God loves them more than a perfected constant woman or man.
    I repeat: How to be constant?

  11. Irving says:

    Salaam Dear Friends:

    Of course that is the question: How to be constant in the face of human emotions and frailties. It certainly cannot be done overnight, perhaps not in a lifetime, but God is the most forgiving, and every attempt is a gain. All faiths teach this need for constancy, and only by practice does it become part of the heart and the mind. Here are two old posts from this blog that may help:

    http://darvish.wordpress.com/2007/02/01/a-walk-with-god/

    http://darvish.wordpress.com/2008/01/05/being-thought-full-of-god/

    I think the key is to have patience with your own shortcomings. If you fail a hundred times, come, come again, as Rumi said. And so here is another post on patience:

    http://darvish.wordpress.com/2007/04/04/waiting-for-god/

    Constancy, like happiness, is not a state we reach, it is a process we go through every day in the choices we make. Both God and the Devil are in the details of our daily lives, and I pray that we, with God’s help and guidance, may find our way.

    Ya Haqq!

  12. ned says:

    One of the ways in which I’m starting to look at it is as follows: if I can’t forgive my own mistakes, how will I ever be a vessel of compassion and healing for others, perhaps those who have made worse mistakes?

    Viewed in this way, every single mistake we make itself becomes a sacrifice or an offering to the Divine. And this requires tremendous, tremendous humility — we have to learn to play our role, whatever it may be at any moment, whether it is to fail or to succeed, with full faith and trust that the Divine is there.

    Something related that I have been thinking about lately are the limitations of morality in general, the constant fixation on good and evil. The thing is that both human good *and* human evil are relative to the highest Good, which is the Divine. So the mind’s judgments about good and evil are usually really ignorant and have only relative value. This is something to keep in mind, because if we are to attain the type of constancy and steadfastness that you are speaking of, we have to learn to forgive ourselves. Milarepa, the great Buddhist sage, used to be a mass murderer — yet through constancy and steadfastness he was able to transform himself and attain enlightenment (though he had to pay the karmic retribution for his misdeeds first). If there was hope for Milarepa, there is hope for all of us yet.

    If the Devil himself can be redeemed, I have no doubts that it will be done. Let’s start by working on our own hearts, and never give up.

  13. Maithri says:

    Dear brother,

    I learn so much every time I visit here.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom with the world so freely.

    Sending you the blessings of light,

    Love and peace, M

  14. Joubin Houshyar says:

    Salaam,

    “Be constant, as you Are ~!! Commanded !!~” (11:112)

    These means that Constancy is a matter of Choice — “you are Commanded” — and “Be constant” is a matter Decreed for any who ‘obeys’ as s/he Is Commanded.

    Forgive yourself as you forgive your wayward donkey. Make nice but don’t let the Khar ride you.

    /& Salaam

  15. Hi Darvish, I love the Sufi mystics! “Be constant as you are!,” so true, a thought repeated ever so often and always in the Upanishads. Just also as in the Bible, “Be still and know that I am God.”

  16. Sounds right to me. There are big troubles and small troubles – say, starving to death vs. being irritated with a coworker – but whatever the scale of trouble, acceptance, in some form, is the only way forward that is sane.

    I’d only add that I’ve found the process and even the outcome of accepting big vs. small troubles somewhat different.

  17. Safiyyah says:

    Alhamdulillah! In Spanish, the word “resentimiento” means to “re feel” i.e., over and over and over and over – you get the picture.

    What a waste of love energy!

  18. ned says:

    It occurs to me that your blog’s tagline accurately reflects the real meaning of faith and constancy: “I will walk a thousand leagues in falsehood, that one step of the journey may be true.” – Junayd

    Meaning every misstep and mistake is only a greater Good in the making, all suffering and pain the preparation for Bliss and Joy, all ignorance the precursor to the reign of Wisdom. But to have the faith to be able to see this! What a challenge!

  19. Consistency. It is one of things that gives meaning to life. At the same time it is also one of those things which is easier said than done. :)

  20. Saha says:

    I always have to remind myself that Allah is the most forgiving and merciful, otherwise it would be too easy to lose hope. And when I remember how merciful He is, it is such a feeling of warmth. Huwa Tawabbur Raheem.

    Constancy is part of changing ourselves so that Allah will turn to us….and yes, it is so, so hard to achieve. I struggle, knowing that what I desire is right there in front of me, and yet I have built up so many walls, I don’t know it yet.

    thanks again brother, for another lovely reminder.

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