The need for religion

The words their hearts grow pliant can be glossed ‘their hearts grow less hard.’ The barrier in question may be spoken of as hardness of the heart or rust on the heart or clouds over the Moon or as a dragon that guards access to the Fountain of Life. If it were not for this barrier, there would be no need for religion in the ordinary sense, for Revelation could come directly to each man in his Heart which would then refract the Message to the mind and to the rest of the psychic substance. There would thus be a perpetual flow and ebb between the Self and the self. But as things are, a special Messenger has to be sent that he may transmit to others what his Heart receives.

– Martin Lings

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Becoming a Sufi

If it be asked what qualification is necessary for entry into a Sufi order, or what is it that impels anyone to seek initiation, the answer will be that the clouds in the night of the soul must be thin enough to allow at least some glimmer of Heart-light to penetrate the gloom.

A Shaykh of this century, when asked how it was that would-be novices came to him although his disciples made no attempt to proselytize, replied that they came because they were “haunted by the thought of God.” In other words, they came because the clouds were not thick enough to keep out the awareness of spiritual reality.

– Martin Lings