Contrast this approach with that of the mechanical religionists, who merely cultivate obsession. Fariduddin Attar gives a tale of the great woman Sufi Rabia, when she was ill. A certain scholar came to see her and, as he sat beside her bed, he repeated again and again arguments about the evils of the world.

But Rabia could see through this and told him that he obviously loved the world very much. People speak again and again of things which they love, whether they do so in pleasant or unpleasant terms. To be attached to something, favourably or otherwise, is the basic condition. ‘If you had no truck with the world,’ Rabia reminded the man, ‘you would say nothing about it, favourable or otherwise.’


Learning How to Learn
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