A Sufi Story for a Sunny Sunday in Boulder

From Shaikh Nazim at SufiSpot:

One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley.

A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect.

There was not a mark or a flaw in it.

Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen.

The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart. Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, “Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine.

The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. It was beating strongly … but full of scars. It had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in … but they didn’t fit quite right and there were several jagged edges.

In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing. The people starred … how could he say his heart is more beautiful, they thought?

The young man looked at the old man’s heart and saw its state and laughed. “You must be joking,” he said. “Compare your heart with mine … mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears.

Yes!” said the old man, “Yours is perfect looking … but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love. I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them … and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart … but because the pieces aren’t exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared. Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away … and the other person hasn’t returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges … giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too … and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting.

“So now do you see what true beauty is?”, said the old man.

The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands.

The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man’s heart.

It fits but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.

The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man’s heart flowed into his.

Let’s hear it for tattered old hearts, well-used and freely-given.

Have a wonderful week, everyone.

UPDATE:  In comments, Bilal from SufiSpot informs us that Shaikh Nazim is not the actual author of this story.  Bilal says, “This story has been inspired by Shaikh Nazim’s teachings, however, this was written by one of his students.”

Thanks to Shaikh Nazim’s student, then, for coming up with this story!

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9 thoughts on “A Sufi Story for a Sunny Sunday in Boulder

  1. Hawk Sr. says:

    Worth far more, infinitely more, than what NYTimes and Salon.com combined had to offer today.

  2. adreampuppet says:

    I love photos of the Shaikh. I read somewhere that Sufis are encouraged to cast their eyes downward as a sign of their humility while living in the presence of Allah. I think it’s clear that Shaikh Nazim has utilized this practice down through the years.

  3. Bilal says:

    Thanks for the wonderful linkback. This story has been inspired by Shaikh Nazim’s teachings, however, this was written by one of his students.

  4. adreampuppet says:

    Thanks for the correction, Bilal. I will update the post to reflect the story’s actual author. And thank you for your blog, which I’ve added to my links list. I’ll be checking in frequently!

  5. Bilal says:

    No Thank you for your wonderful blog! I visit it on daily basis.

  6. adreampuppet says:

    To know that you’re visiting every day, Bilal, inspires me to post more frequently!

  7. charm says:

    hi… i had been looking for a copy of this story for so long…. my ex-boyfriend included this in the first ever card he gave me… the story really struck me because i was so the same with the young man… would rather not have too much interaction because im scared to get hurt…. but then after reading this story, i let myself fall in love… i got hurt in the end…but i just look back at this story and remember that he may have hurt me but the history we had together left a really great mark in my heart…. 🙂

    thanks so much! 😀

  8. charm says:

    hope you wont mind if il repost im my site too…? thanks so much!

  9. adreampuppet says:

    Hello, charm — nice to have you here. Please feel free to post this story on your blog; I’ll come check it out. I’m glad that you found it, and that it ties back to a memorable time in your life.

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