Opening To The Light

“An intending disciple said to Dhun-Nun the Egyptian*:

‘Above everything in this world I wish to enrol in the Path of Truth.’

Dhun-Nun told him:

‘You can accompany our caravan only if you can first accept two things. One is that you will have to do things which you do not want to do. The other is that you will not be permitted to do things which you desire to do. It is “wanting” which stands between man and the Path of Truth.’”

This is from one of my all-time favourite books of Sufi stories “Thinkers of the East” by Idris Shah.


It is very difficult – to abandon that wanting. How does one even do that? After all, any desire to abandon it is just that – wanting. A dead end?

Not really, just a paradox, of which there are plenty on this path, in fact the more the longer you travel.

But in essence, this is about surrender.

If you sense that this word troubles you, ask yourself why. You will quickly discover that the reasons are out of another field of life altogether. After that, all is left is for you to choose between your ideas and your deeper yearning.

The first resistance we feel comes from the – partly conscious, but mostly hidden – notion that one has to surrender to someone. Although that is not the true goal, it is – usually – the way we learn.

The thing is that there is no one in the truly “spiritual realms” – whether on this Earth or on the “inner planes” – that wants to subdue us, use us for their own advantage, make us do something contrary to our true needs. **

What is really meant by surrender is moving into the state of complete openness and trust that are needed for us to let our own, innate light through.

It is because we have identified with our story, because we have settled into the perception of ourselves being separate and having the presence, the will, the life energy that is solely our own, that we now have to do that – re-connect with the “bigger Self,” re-enter our power, our Light.

The surrender is needed in order for us to fully let go of all the stifling ideas, feelings, beliefs that have grown from the untruths of this world.

And one would think that allowing for one’s power, the fullness of joy, the brightness of perfection to come through should be a natural, easy task.

Only, it is terrifying. And that is the second, and the main, reason we are so eager to escape as soon as we are faced with the chance of opening to our vastness: nothing scares a human being more than being offered the realisation of one’s own magnificence.

What we call our ego, our nafs  senses its demise and puts up all the walls it is able to build at once. We can understand what is happening, but that understanding only helps a tiny bit.

So go easy on yourself, acknowledge the discomfort, the fear, the stunned feeling in your stomach… Only remember, that within all that whirlpool of emotion and seemingly reasonable thinking there is a part of you that is unaffected by the turmoil,  the part that is quietly rejoycing.

And it is that part that has to be given the right to choose your further steps.


* Quoted from: Idris Shah, Thinkers of The East, Penguin Books 1974, p.145. More often, you can find the name of this Sufi Master spelled as Dhul-Nun.

** To safeguard yourself from the abuse be sure that whenever you are being asked to submit to a teacher, while your mind and emotions might be on fire, the peace deep within your heart is unaffected.

Absolutely do seek advice if you feel that you might be a subject of an abuse of power! Do not allow the peer pressure to suppress your hurt.

Both of these things *do* happen on a spiritual path: your teachers are human, and your fellow practitioners sometimes value the group container over anyone’s personal integrity.

If you need to talk with someone about this, you can send me a message using the contact form on this site.