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The Story Of The Shepherd:

A certain man named, Wasim, heard a shepherd on the road praying, "God, where are you? I want to help you fix your shoes and comb your hair. I want to wash your clothes and cook for you. My sheep and goats are yours. Remembering you is..."

Wasim was confused and asked the shepheard, "Who are you talking to?"

"The one who made us and made the earth and sky," the shepherd replied.

A little upset, Wasim said, "Do not talk about shoes and socks with God! Only something that grows needs food. Only someone with feet needs shoes. Not God! Use appropriate terms. What you say is right for us beings, but not for addressing God."

The shepherd apologized and wandered out into the desert with a sad face.

Then a sudden revelation came to Wasim. God's voice said, "You have separated me from one of my own. Are you here to unite or to sever? I have given each being a separate and unique way of seeing, knowing, and saying things. What seems wrong to you is right for another. What is poison to one is honey for another. Purity and impurity, sloth and diligence in worship, all mean nothing to me. I am apart from all that.

Ways of worshipping are not to be ranked as better or worse than one another. It is not me that is glorified in acts of worship. It is the worshipers. I don't hear the words they say, I look inside at the humility. The openness is the reality, not the language. Forget phraseology. I want burning. Be friends with your burning. Burn up your thinking and your forms of expression!

Wasim, those who pay attention to ways of behaving and speaking are one sort. Lovers who burn are another. Don't shout at the lover. The 'wrong' way he talks is better than a hundred 'right' ways of others. The love-religion has no code or doctrine. Only God."

Wasim ran after the shepherd following his footprints. He finally caught up with him and said, "I was wrong. God has revealed to me that there are no rules for worship. Say whatever and however your loving tells you to. Yours is the truest devotion. Through you a whole world is freed."

The shepherd replied, "I have gone beyond even that. The divine nature and my human nature came together. Bless your scolding hand. I cannot say what has happened, but I am now seeing another dimension. It cannot be explained."

When you look in a mirror you see yourself and not the state of the mirror. The flute player puts breath into a flute. Who makes the music? Not the flute. The flute player!

Whenever you give thanks, it is always like the shepherd's simplicity. When you eventually see through the veil to how things really are, you will find yourself repeating, "This is definitely not like we thought it was!"

Note: This story was narrated by Rumi in, "Teachings of Rumi." I titled and rewrote it.


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