Understanding The Mind In Sufism

“The garden of the world has no limits, except in your mind.” – Rumi

I setup this blog:  SufiAdrift in December of 2014.  At the time, I was 34 or near bouts, and I had already began to question the world around me and my purpose, both physically and spiritually, within it.

Since then, I’ve had to experience allot, by this I mean be tested on different aspects of my life including fitness, health, wealth and relationships, which only contributed in turning my focus more on my heart and its link to my spiritual side.

I don’t need convincing that a spiritual side, to us all individually, exists.  I know it does.  I just need to understand how to access my spirituality more easily, more regularly and more importantly control it as best as I can.  The spiritual side should be every part of your life as the physical side is.

Earlier in February of this year, I traveled to visit my Sheikh (Spiritual teacher).  I’m supposed to meet him ideally once every two weeks, or at least, once every month.  This visit came after a long hiatus, probably stretching about a year, and for a Mureed (Spiritual student) this isn’t acceptable.  A gap this long doesn’t help progress but in fact can be damaging to say the least.  Nonetheless, the Sheikh and I, spoke about the strength of the mind.  I was told:

The mind is what causes the trouble in the first instant.  If it is weak, it becomes lazy and increases the laziness in the entire body.  A weak mind looks for excuses to halt individual progress.  It find excuses to blame it’s laziness on evil, on the devil and convinces you that it’s the evilness or the devil that is causing you from doing good, from praying as prescribed, and preventing you from bettering yourself.  Yet if you have a strong mind your determination makes you do the right thing no matter what.  A strong mind pushes aside all negativity and keeps negativity controlled.  A strong mind doesn’t look for excuses and doesn’t always seek excuses not to perform as best as it can.

I understood this message and instantly realised that my mind has become weak and lazy on the things I should be doing to improve my faith, my character and both my health and spirituality.  Yet on things that are not important, time wasting and insignificant I’m happy to stay focused, spend more time than what I can afford and despite knowing that these unimportant, time wasting and insignificant things I’m happy to do in reality don’t benefit me at all and only do one thing – waste my valuable time.

Since this important meeting with my Sheikh, I’ve returned home and worked on making my mind strong.  I’ve taken the advice from my Sheikh and implemented the mentality to simple get up and get on with it as opposed to finding excuses not to.

So far it has worked.  It’s improved my day and night.  It’s made me focus more on ensuring that I’m praying five times a day as prescribed in Islam.  I’m also ensuring that I continue to read, without fail, the additional voluntary prayer prescribed by my Sheikh.  I’ve had little lapses here and there but nothing that I couldn’t control in an instant.

Still it is not easy.  I find that there are moments when my mind searches for an excuse or wants to apply a condition “if I wait another 10 mins before I do an activity, it’ll make it far better” but the 10 mins waiting simply turns into an hour or other distractions come into play (a phone call or a knock at the door).  To challenge the mind and remain strong has ensured, however, that these excuses are becoming fewer and not as regular.

The key message to take away here is to “keep the mind strong” and make the “mind work hard for you” as a “weak mind adds no value to your life”.