The following is a lesson from the Women’s Sufi Course by the Universal Sufi Order.
The emotional aspect of self-actualisation is about knowing your limits.
For example, how much pain can you bear? How patient can you be? Suppose you have lost everything; how patient can you be before you reach the point where you begin to complain to God? Under what circumstances will you give up?
لَا يُكَلِّفُ اللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِلَّا وُسْعَهَا
I will not burden anybody more than he is able to bear.
God knows the limit of our Lower Selves and he will not burden us with more than we can bear.
You will never know your limits unless and until you adopt spirituality, because only in spirituality will you be asked to enhance your patience. When you are asked to enhance your patience, you will come to know of your limits.
For example, recognise how you feel when something doesn’t go your way. If you feel irritated, agitated and angry, then that is when you are at the threshold of your limit.
Many people get angry in those circumstances but if you tell them so, they deny it and rather say, ‘No, I am frustrated’. That is inaccurate.
When there is a consecutive series of failures that build up and reach their peak, the emotion you feel as a result is called frustration. Emotions resulting from a one-time failure cannot be called frustration.
If God is more benevolent on someone else as compared to you, how do you react? Some people will feel jealous if they have a problem with someone who God is more benevolent upon. But those who have a problem with God will not feel jealous here; rather, they will complain to God.
HDE Gohar Shahi has said, ‘Never ever complain to God for any shortcoming because it has been reported that those who often complain to God end up making God angry.’
According to emotional actualisation, if you feel jealous of anybody, you should count how many favours God has done upon them and count how many he has done upon you; you will end up counting more for yourself. Nevertheless, it is in our animal nature to have a problem when we see somebody has something we do not have.
How you behave emotionally is very important for a Sufi.
There is a Bollywood movie called ‘Saajan’ in which the lead actor plays the role of somebody who doesn’t have a leg. He can’t walk without help so he uses crutches. He loves a woman but he feels that he is disabled, so he goes to church to complain to God.
Tearily he complains, ‘Jesus you only gave me one leg. Why didn’t you give me two?’
Suddenly he notices a man who has no legs saying, ‘Thank you, Jesus, you gave me two hands’.
Then he realises that this man, who doesn’t even have two legs, is grateful to God. On the other hand, he himself at least has one leg – more than that man – yet he had still been complaining about it. [He feels ashamed of himself].
Sometimes, it is more about your attitude towards life. It is about your perspective – how you look at it.
Know Your Limits
If you know what will infuriate you, perhaps you can tell others not to do things to trigger you. You should know your limits and how much pain you can bear.
Especially when you are learning to love God, people around you begin to trouble you. Once you adopt the spiritual path and everybody turns against you, then if you decide to quit [spirituality], you will have just rejected God.
Sultan Haq Bahu said, ‘If you want to be a lover of God, then only live for love; nothing else. Let your heart be as tall and broad as a mountain.’
Do not be a timid human being. If people give you a little pain in the way of God, don’t just assume that there is something wrong with spirituality. Ask yourself: is it wrong to love God or learn to love God?
Do not forget that God said that calamity and pain have been attached with his love.
You must emotionally actualise yourself and know what you can cope with while learning to love God. When God grants you his love, calamity, pain and problems will come along with love as dowry. One who loves God has to be patient with the undue criticism and blame from different relations. After you have been granted God’s love, the calamity and pain will be upgraded. You will not breathe without pain; you will not be able to love without pain.
Emotions: A Symptom of Love
Whenever you love anybody – either a human being or God – people don’t want to take it. If you want a lot of enemies, fall in love either with a human being or God. When you fall in love with a human being, you will have relatively less enemies. The moment you fall in love with God, all hell will break loose. Everywhere you go, you’ll find enemies.
Love is full of emotions. It is an explosion of emotions – an everlasting outburst of emotions.
The moment you realise that somebody that you love doesn’t have an outburst of emotions for you, know that love has exited from their heart. As long as love is dwelling inside the heart, there is an everlasting outburst of emotions.
An exhibition of emotion is a sign that the core of love is still intact in the heart; if there are no emotions, there is no love.
There is a secret tunnel in you: its mouth is your heart and at the other end is your Ana (Higher Self). This is the path of love.
If you quit the path of love of God because of any pain, criticism or threat you will only quit when there is no outburst of emotions in your heart for God’s love. Otherwise, the moment somebody stops you from loving God, there will be an outburst of divine emotions [which will never allow you to stop loving God].
You would never cut off ties with your parents on account of something negative you hear about them over the grapevine. If someone tells you that your father is a thief, the likely response from you will be, ‘I know my father. You are wrong’. Similarly, do not allow negative propaganda – which often is propelled at those who follow the spiritual path – to deter you from God’s love. If you allow yourself to be half-convinced that spirituality is wrong just because of something negative you hear, [that would be irrational].
The Spiritual Master is the one who teaches you to love God. He is like a spiritual father to you because he raises your souls up to the divine standard, enabling you to love God. Just as you would never end your relationship with your biological father over hearsay, you should apply the same approach when it comes to your spiritual father, the Spiritual Master.
Emotional actualisation and emotional well-being are extremely important for the seekers of the Sufi path.