Thought for the day - the safety of permanence is a myth

Siyaha, the act of travelling, a forward movement or progress, stops men becoming complacent or too comfortable with their surroundings, with the world. Religious nomads, some sufi never stay in the same place for a matter of weeks, so determined are they to fight the complacency of settled life. The sufi must follow a path, and a path must lead somewhere. If man stays still he becomes stale and inflexible, attracted to routine instead of the path. Sufis are taught that to love what is fixed or permanent is a natural desire for man. It is just one more desire to be conquered. The sufi should also know that the idea of things being fixed, the safety of permanence, is a myth. Nothing remains but the journey, whether it involves physical or mental progress.
That perennial wisdom resonates with my recent posts about neuroplasticity, and there is so much classical music can learn from it - forward movement or progress stops men becoming complacent... if man stays still he becomes stale and inflexible... to love what is fixed or permanent is just one more desire to be conquered... and especially that the safety of permanence is a myth. The wisdom comes from Eamonn Gearon's contribution to the inspirational anthology Meetings with Remarkable Muslims. My header photo was taken in Qena in Upper Egypt, a city we very much hope to revisit. Reader's wishes for our safe return to the UK were very much appreciated. We are now back in safer climes, but our thoughts are with the many remarkable Egyptians we met in their vibrant but troubled country. Normal blogging, or perhaps that should read abnormal blogging, resumes next week.

Also on Facebook and Twitter. Photo is (c) On An Overgrown Path 2013.


billoo said…
Dear bob, this was such a thought-provoking post. I'm not sure I agree with you, though. I think we're divided: half of us does want this travelling (or constant unveiling, if you like) but I think the other half wants permanence, continuity, peace and a sense of place. As a well known Muslim prayer goes: grant me the good things of this world and of the next.

I think we want/need both..a kind of broken circle (or spiral).

Titus Burckhardt has this to say on depictions of heaven...

'Paradise is an eternal springtime, a garden perpetually in bloom, refreshed by the living waters,; it is also a final and incorruptible state like precious crystals and gold. The crystalline state is expressed in the purity of the architectural lines, the perfect geometry of the arched surfaces and the decoration in rectilinear forms; as for the celestial springtime, it blossoms in the stylized flowers and fresh, rich and subdued colours of ceramic tiles.'

(from Art of Islam)

Keep well,


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