The One Thing
There is one thing in this world which you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there’s nothing to worry about, but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life.
It’s as if a king has sent you to some country to do a task, and you perform a hundred other services, but not the one he sent you to do. So human beings come to this world to do particular work. If you don’t do it, it’s as though a knife of the finest tempering were nailed into a wall to hang things on.
You say, “But look, I’m using the dagger. It’s not lying idle.”
Do you hear how ludicrous that sounds? For a penny an iron nail could be bought to serve for that. You say, “But I spend my energies on lofty enterprises. I study philosophy and logic and astronomy and medicine and all the rest.” But consider why you do those things. They are all branches of yourself.
Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your lord. Give your life to the one who already owns your breath and your moments. If you don’t, you will be exactly like the man who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall for a peg. You’ll be foolishly ignoring your purpose.
Rumi, as rendered by Moyne and Barks in Say I Am You