Your journey is changing you, and it hasn’t even started yet, the master said to Shams. Yes, Shams realized, and he remembered another of his forty rules:
“The quest for Love changes us. There is no seeker among those who search for Love who has not matured on the way. The moment you start looking for Love, you start to change within and without.”
And here comes another one of my favourites.
As a Sufi, [Shams of Tabriz was] trained to accept the thorn with the rose, the difficulties with the beauties of life. Hence followed another rule:
“The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.”
And the seventh one is about the separate worlds of the lonely and solitary. Most of us are plagued by loneliness and it is the effort to be solitary that sets us free. In a solitary world, a relationship between two people is then that of two free souls uniting and coexisting.
“Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually, it is best to find a person, the person who will be your mirror. Remember, only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.”
What Shams is describing here, I think, is the fundamental difference between religiosity and spirituality.
“You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a mosque, synagogue, or church. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him: in the heart of a true lover.”