How to Balance Spiritual Practice with Worldly Responsibilities

Feb 19, 2016 | Sufism

man-with-baby-in-the-air There’s a question that’s been coming up a lot lately in conversations with students and beloveds in our community. It’s the question of how to balance spiritual practices with the responsibilities of being in relationship, taking care of children, managing a job and taking care of all the basic worldly responsibilities. What is the purpose of the spiritual practice? For starters, it’s to purify the heart and to bring all your actions to be in service of the Most High. Purification of the heart and service to God are two main tenets of Sufism. In the words of the famous Sufi poet, Jalal ud-Din Rumi, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers that you have built against it.” Purification of the heart is the true desire of the Sufi – to release the distractions and density from the ego self and the material world, and to live a life immersed in God’s love. It’s hard to find and release those barriers to love when all of your time is spent on the worldly activities that helped to establish them. Yet, we can’t leave the world in order to purify the heart, and certainly, that’s not the plan. The task is to see God’s face in everything in the world without leaving the world. Our guide Sidi, Shaykh Muhammad al-Jamal, referred to this as “being in the world and not of the world.” So, of course we want to dedicate time for spiritual practice, and regardless of how much time you can dedicate in this limiited time-space reality to doing spiritual practices, you can make your life an eternal spiritual practice. You can set your intention to see God’s face in everything in the world. Set the compass of your heart to face God, and ask to be shown: “Beloved Allah, please help me to see Your face in the faces of my family. Please show me Your hand in the work that I do. Please help me to see You in the situations that seem counter to Your love and mercy.” Le illaha illa ‘llah. There is no god but God. There is no other, only God. God is ever-present and eternal. There is no place that God isn’t or that isn’t God. So, to make your life a spiritual practice, see the face of God in everything and be in service to God in your interaction with everything that you see. Know that when you love your children, you are loving God. When you care for them, you are serving God. Know that when you honor the heart of your beloved, you are honoring Allah. Make your service in your job to be a service for God. Make every action a service for God. Set the Name of God, or the essence of God, to be the lens through which you see and hear and which you serve. Know that every breath you take is the breath of Allah breathing you. Then the heart naturally turns to bow in gratitude. The heart is filled with joy and love. The barriers of the heart and densities of the body are washed by the flow of the water of the light and love of Allah. Then seeing the face of Allah in everything and serving Allah in every action invokes the flow of mercy that purifies the heart. Al-humduli’llah! All praise is due to Allah, The One, Most High, All-Forgiving, Ever-Compassionate. We are on a journey of forgetting and remembering, and forgetting and remembering… and Allah sent the Mercy to precede us. So, most of all, have mercy for yourself. Have a beautiful weekend. Blessings and gratitude for you! Mastura Graugnard on behalf of your friends and family at UOS