What Rumi Can Teach Us About Inner Peace (Even If Your World Is Crashing Down)
You look at it with pride.
Your first car.
A shiny, new Renault Duster.
You love everything about it. The shimmering silver colour. The smell of newness. Even the lights inside seem special.
You take your car out on your first drive. You cruise down the neighbourhood. A big smile on your face. Life is sooo good. But, all of a sudden you hear the sound of friction against the side of your new car.
OMG! Your new car just got horribly scratched.
Before you can stop the driver of the other car, it zooms away.
You feel wrecked inside. Almost violated.
How could this have happened?
You’re depressed the whole day. Instead of celebrating your new car, you feel rage. How could that person scratch your new car?
You think to yourself, “Why me? Why is the world against me?”
Have you ever felt like this?
We’ve all been there. We get obsessed over mishaps in life, that have no consequence. We blow things out of proportions, don’t we?
When things don’t go our way
We have a certain expectation of the world–it should work in a certain way. But more often than not, it doesn’t.
When things go wrong, we get stressed. Even small things, like not getting our tea or coffee on time, can make us moody for the rest of the day.
We know we should remain calm but it seems impossible.
This is when spiritual teachings can help us find inner peace. Once you understand why you get stressed, you’ll find it easier to maintain a feeling of serenity.
No matter what.
Here’s a story by Rumi that can show you how.
The story of The Tattoo Artist
For our new book Sufi Comics – Rumi, we’ve illustrated the poem “The Tattoo Artist” by Jalaluddin Rumi.
Rumi tells us:
Bear the pain of detachment and you will find inner peace.
We lose our inner peace because we are too attached to our possessions. It’s almost like we see ourselves in our possessions.
Over time, we allow our possessions to define our identity. And any events threatening our possessions become a threat to our identity.
We are now in a fight for survival. We have to protect our belongings. And ourselves.
But once we detach ourselves, we no longer identify ourselves with our possessions. Our possessions become just tools for a higher purpose.
And we remain at peace irrespective of what happens to our possessions.
So how do we detach from our possessions?
How to find inner peace
Does detachment mean you have to renounce all your possessions? And live the life of an ascetic? No. Not at all. Imam Ali (as) expresses it beautifully in the saying
“Detachment is not that you should own nothing; It’s that nothing should own you”
The key to detachment is to realize nothing in this world belongs to us.
Sounds strange? Take a pause and reflect.
What possessions have we come in this world with? Fancy Cars? Beautiful Property? Expensive Clothes?
Nope. None of those. We came with nothing.
From all we’ve accumulated, what will we take back when we die?
That’s right. Nothing.
What you might think is yours, was never yours in the first place.
So what you lost, you never really lost.
Our possessions just change hands.
Everything belongs to the One who created it. And whatever is in our control is a gift from the Creator.
Your responsibility lies in making the right use of the things you’re in control of.
The moment you realize this, you’re more at peace–irrespective of your life’s circumstances.
You also find yourself to be more generous. You’re able to give away things you previously found difficult to let go.
It’s like the verse of the Qur’an that says “Never will you attain the good until you spend from that which you love the most.” (3:92)
Don’t delay taking this journey
When you start practicing detachment, you may find yourself rebounding back to your old way of thinking.
It’s ok. That’s normal.
I often find myself getting attached to possessions.
Practicing detachment is a journey.
With each step you take, you become less irritable. Less anxious. Less angry.
You build an inner spiritual fortress helping you face bigger challenges in life.
And when you face a crisis, you’ll be like the eye of the storm.
People around you will wonder “Wow. No matter what happens he’s always so calm. How does he do it? I want to be like him.”
Begin this journey.
It’ll change your life.