40 principles of Sems-i Tabrizi* - 40 rules of traveling souls and open hearts

The 40 principles below are translated from Turkish, and it was very difficult to catch the same meaning. Anyway the meaning depends on the reader. Sems-i Tebrizi is a Sufi figure who lived in the 13th century and was the best friend, sort of "soul mate" of Mevlana, the main figure in Sufism. While reading the recent book "Ask" (Love) of Elif Safak, I came through these principles and wanted to share them with you. Sorry for possible mistakes.

1) The words we use for the Creator are a reflect of ourselves. If we think of God as fear and shame, so we are fearable and have something to be ashamed of...But if we see love, compassion and kindness, it is because we possess these qualities.

2) The pursuit of Truth is conducted by the heart and not by the mind. Use your heart as a guide, not the head on your shoulders, be one of those who knows his devil, not one of those who kills him.

3) There are 4 levels of reading (Qur’an): 1st one is superficial, we read what we see...the second one is internal, we interpret after what we know. The 3d one is the internal of the internal. The 4th one is hard to reach, can't be explained with words.

4) If you look around you can find a face of God in each thing, because He is not hidden in a church, in a mosque, or a synagogue, but everywhere. As there is no one who lives after seeing him, there is also no one dying after seeing him. Who finds Him, stays forever with him.

5) The chemistry of mind is different from the chemistry of love. The mind is careful, suspicious, he advances little by little. He advices "Be careful, protect yourself" Whereas love says "Let your self, go!" The mind is strong, never fells down, while love hurts itself, fells into ruins. But isn't in ruins that we mostly find the treasures? A broken heart hides so many treasures.

6) Most of conflicts and tensions are due to language. Don't pay so much attention to the words. In love's country, language doesn't have its place. Love is mute.

7) We can't find the Truth only listening to our own voice's echo. We can find ourselves only in someone’s mirror.

8) Whatever happens to you, don't fall in despair. Even if all the doors are closed, He will open a secret path for you that no one knows. You can't see it yet but so many paradises are at the end of this path. Thank God! It is easy to thank after obtaining what you want, thank before having what you want.

9) Patience is not sitting and waiting, it is foreseeing. It is looking at the thorn and seeing the rose, looking at the night and seeing the day. God lovers are patient and know that the moon needs time to become full.

10) Wherever you go, east, west, north or south, think of it as a journey into yourself! The one who travels into itself travels the world.

11) The midwife knows the birth is painful, the baby forces its way. You have to be prepared to pain and difficulties if you want to reborn.

12) Love is a travel. All travelers whether they want or not are changed. No one can travel into love and remain the same.

13) There are more fake guides, teachers in the world than stars. The real guide is the one who makes you see your inner beauty, not the one who wants to be admired and followed.

14) Instead of resisting to changes, surrender. Let life be with you, not against you. If you think "My life will be upside down" don't worry. How do you know down is not better than upside?

15) God is busy to make us internally and externally become. We all are some unfinished artworks. All things we live are there to remove the lacks. God works on each of our lacks, because becoming aims at perfection.

16) It is easy to love God when we know He is perfection. The difficulty consists in loving the human with his good and bad. We mostly know as much as we love. Only loving God but not its creatures, you can never really know, neither really love.

17) The real dirt is not outside, but inside, in our hearts. We can wash all stains with water. The only one we can't remove is the grudge and the bad intentions sticking to our hearts.

18) The whole universe is sum up in the human being. Devil is not a monster waiting to trap us, he is a voice inside. Look for your devil in yourself, not in the others. Don't forget that the one who knows his Devil, knows his God.

19) If you expect respect from others, show it first to yourself. You can't expect from others what you don't give to yourself.

20) It is pointless trying to know where the way leads. Think only about your first step, the rest will come.

21) We all have different faces, characters and names. If God wanted us to be all same, He would have done it. Not to respect the differences, to accuse the others for our faults is not to respect God.

22) When a real lover of God enters a tavern, he sees a holy place. When a sot enters a tavern, he sees a drinking place. Whatever we do, it is the intention that makes the difference, not the appearance or the label.

23) The life we live is just a colorful and deposit toy. Some of us take it so seriously and fight and cry for it. Some of us break and throw it. Either we give extreme importance, either not enough. Better to stay far from extremes.

24) If the human being is a proud and honorable creature of God, he shouldn't forget to act that way, even if he falls, even if the whole world is against him, even if he ends as a slave.

25) Don't search for heaven and hell in the future. Both are now present. Whenever we manage to love without expectations, calculations, negotiations, we are indeed in heaven. Whenever we fight, hate, we are in hell.

26) The universe is a complete unique entity. Everything and everyone is bound together with some invisible strings. Do not break anyone's heart; do not look down on weaker than you. One's sorrow at the other side of the world can make the entire world suffer; one's happiness can make the entire world smile.

27) This world is like a mountain. Your echo depends on you. If you scream good things, the world will give it back. If you scream bad things, the world will give it back. Even if someone says badly about you, speak well about him. Change your heart to change the world.

28) The past is a fog on our minds. The future? a complete dream. We can't neither guess the future, neither change the past.

29) Destiny doesn't mean that our lives are already decided. It is a stupidity to accept everything and say "It is destiny". Destiny doesn't show the whole life, only the end of some roads. We are not completely masters but surely not victims.

30) If you are insulted, if you are accused, if they gossip about you, don't say anything bad. Don't be the one who sees the shame, be the one who corrects it.

31) To get closer to Truth and Right, we need a beautiful and soft heart. Every human learns one day or another to become softer. Some accidentally, some because of disease, some suffer from human loss, some other from material loss...We all face these situations, but we can either see the good in it and open our hearts, or unfortunately see an another occasion to lock it forever.

32) Remove all the walls and curtains so you can get closer and purely love your Creator. Have principles but do not use them to exclude or to judge the others. Stay far from idols, specially from those you made from your own principles. Have a powerful faith, but do not play the powerful.

33) When everyone is trying to be something, be nothing. Range with emptiness. Human should be like a pot. As the pot is hold by its emptiness inside, human is hold by the awareness of his nothingness.

34) Surrendering is not a weakness. At the contrary it is strength. The surrender stops living in boiling water and starts living in a secure place.

35) We can only learn and advance with contradictions. The faithful inside should meet the doubtful. The doubtful should meet the faithful. Human slowly advances and becomes mature when he accepts his contradictions.

36) Do not worry about tricks and cheat. If some people are trying to trap and hurt you, God is also trapping them. Hole diggers fell in their holes. No bad remains non punished, no good remains non awarded. Have faith in justice and let the rest be.

37) God is a very precise, punctual worker. There is a time to love and to die for everyone.

38) It is never late to ask yourself "Am I ready to change my life, am I ready to change myself?". However old we are, whatever we went through, it is always possible to reborn. If each day is a copy of the last one, what a pity! Every breath is a chance to reborn. But to reborn into a new life, you have to die before dying.

39) If parts are always changing, the whole remains the same. A dead good man is replaced by a good man, a dead bad man is replaced by a bad man. While the whole remains the same, every day is different.

40) A life without love is a waste. "Should I look for spiritual love, or material, or physical love?", don't ask this question. Discrimination leads to discrimination. Love doesn't need any name, category or definition. Love is a world itself. Either you are in, at the center...either you are out, yearning.