One-Handed Basket Weaving
There was a dervish who lived alone in the mountains,
who made a vow never to pick fruit from the trees,
or to shake them down,
or to ask anyone to pick fruit for him.
"Only what the wind makes fall."
This was his way
of giving in to God's will.
There is a traditional saying from the Prophet
that a human being is like a feather in the desert
being blown about wherever the wind takes it.
So for a while in the joy of this surrender
he woke each dawn with a new direction to follow.
But then came five days with no wind,
and no pears fell.
He patiently restrained himself,
until a breeze blew just strong enough
to lower a bough full of ripe pears
close to his hand, but not strong enough
to detach the pears.
He reached out and picked one.
Nearby, a band of thieves were dividing
what they had stolen.
The authorities surprised them and immediately
began the punishments: the severing
of right hands and left feet.
The hermit was seized by mistake
and his hand cut off.
but before his foot could be severed also,
he was recognized.
The prefect came. "Forgive these men.
They did not know. Forgive us all!"
The sheikh said, "This is not your fault.
I broke my vow, and the Beloved
has punished me."
He became known as Sheikh Aqta,
which means, "The teacher
whose hand has been cut off."
One day a visitor entered his hut without knocking
and saw him weaving palm leaf baskets.
It takes two hands to weave!
"Why have you entered without warning!"
"Out of love for you"
"Then keep this secret which you see
has been given to me."
But others began to know about this,
and many came to the hut to watch.
The hand that helped
when he was weaving palm leaves
came because he no longer had any fear
of dismemberment or death.
When those anxious, self-protecting
imaginations leave, the real,
cooperative work begins.
(Mathmawi III, 1634-1642, 1672-1690, 1704-1720)
I write to you with happiness and anticipation today; that your counterproductive imaginations begin a hiatus that simultaneously launches the most productive period of this part of your life. Be well. I love you.
The 'Kan EWA