What is Our State?
The thirteenth-century Sufi mystic, Shams-e Tabrizi, reminds us in the book of that name that death is a reality for which we should prepare by overcoming attachment to this world.
When the soul became involved with form and developed affinity for it, the upper door closed. The soul was left with no liberty to return to the other side. It perceived, for example, wealth, respect, wife, friend, and partner, and it experienced many pleasures on this side. Thus, it became inclined towards this direction. Now it feels a thousand deaths if someone even mentions dying to it but, if it could only see the wonders of the other world, it would be eager to go there. Seeing that, dying would not be viewed as death, but rather as life.
Death is one thing and shifting is another. For example, if you live in a small, cramped house where you cannot enjoy the light or extend your legs, when you shift to a huge house where there is a flower garden and flowing water, that cannot be called death.…
These words are a clear mirror in which you can find a complete reflection of your own state. If you are ready for death in whatever work or condition you choose, then that is good. When you cannot decide between two occupations look in the mirror and ask which is worthier of death. You must either sit like a clear light, receptive and waiting for death, or strive intently to receive this state.
Shams-e-Tabrizi, Rumi’s Perfect Teacher