“Out of this Darkness and Into the Light: Through the Path of Humility” by Rev. Summer Albayati
(First Published in UU Mystics Winter Newsletter, 2017)
One of my favorite books is Out of Darkness Into Light by Rahman, Elias and Redding. This book blends, beautifully, various spiritual teachings from Islam, Judaism and Christianity. One such teaching to help us find the light comes from the Sufi teacher, Saadi of Shiraz. The story goes something like this:
“As a child, Saadi of Shiraz sometimes took part when his father, a revered teacher, spent the night in prayer with his devoted students. One night all the disciples fell asleep during the vigil, but not the young Saadi. Feeling quite proud of himself, he said to his father, ‘Look at them! You might think they were all dead!’ To which his father replied, ‘Beloved son, I wish you also were asleep like them, rather than slandering them.” (p.128)
This beautiful story taught Saadi that the path of humility was best. As Unitarian Universalists, sometimes we can be self-righteous and think we know the right way to be in the world. Yet we find ourselves at a difficult time in our nation’s history. It is a dark and confusing time for liberal faith traditions. We now find that our values are being challenged and are at risk of being lost forever. This may scare us as we embark on a new journey — one that feels as though the light is disappearing — leaving us completely in the darkness.
It may help us to remember that to be humble is considered one of the paths out of the darkness and into the light for mystics. Certainly for Sufi mystics, one must have humility to truly become one with the beloved — a unity immersed in love.
Now is the time to ask ourselves this: How do we cultivate a humble way of being when we may believe that we hold the only truth? How does humbling ourselves — a type of surrendering — give us strength at such a difficult time in our country’s history? Can we let go and let God — allowing ourselves to have a deep faith that love will prevail?
Let us challenge ourselves in the months to come. Prayer, surrender, self-reflection are all tools we can use to humble ourselves and perhaps find the light that will draw us out of this darkness. May it be so. Ameen.