Lots of enemies scattered about. Everybody is somebody’s enemy. Attack is a major sport.
People who are at war with their fellows and people calling for peace on earth all attack.
I think everyone needs to look a bit deeper and I’ll start with me.
I tread the Sufi path, but I am really just a beginner. I just got my learner’s permit. After years of meditation, I see in myself a mixture of personalities, loving, hating, lazy, productive, generous, selfish, on and on.
But I am not as upset about it as I used to be.
As I continue watching my thoughts through meditation/mindfulness, I begin to observe my negative reactions closer and closer to their arising. This sometimes gives me the opportunity to keep my mouth shut instead of saying something I cannot take back. Quite grateful for this.
But I have more work to do. Just yesterday, I was waited upon by this person I judged as cold and perfunctory, and I felt myself becoming cold and perfunctory. Interesting.
Rumi, one of the greatest Sufi masters, cautions us about enemies in a most challenging way.
Creation is based on opposites, we are constantly at war.
My states of mind and body are constantly opposed.
Since I ceaselessly struggle with myself, how can I be in harmony with others?
I watch my “states” surge like armies, at war with each other.
Contemplate that same war within yourself.
Why then are you at war with others?
Perhaps you have no way to escape unless God redeems you from this war and brings you to true peace.
(Paraphrased from The Mathnawi, Book 6: 50-57, Nicholson translation)
As a friend noted, Rumi wrote this in his last years, testifying to the fact that even the greatest saints must be constantly vigilant.
So the question is – just who is the enemy?