posted on Jul, 15 2005 @ 02:20 AM
Sufi masters claim that people can be classified into three categories: raw, cooked, and burnt.
When people are raw, they are undeveloped and unrefined, lacking skill and grace. If it is true that small people talk about others, mediocre people
talk about themselves, and big people talk about ideas, then raw people are small and mediocre. They gossip, exaggerate, spread rumors, and sow
conflict, destroying the peace of families and society. Attempting to raise themselves up by bringing other people down, raw people dominate the
conversation, bore you with their stories, their pets, their woes, their hurts, their grades, their awards, their jobs, their spouses, their children,
and their fears. Skillful at monopolizing, they are the guests whom every host dreads.
Can this raw state be transformed? Sufi masters say that it can. What is required is the spark of knowledge, which initiates the long process of
cooking. This is a large order. It usually takes two parents, several brothers and sisters, many school mates, dozens of teachers, a good and
patient spouse, several mishaps, and about five decades of trial and error, before the cooking really begins. The result? Sufi masters say that the
result is a modest, caring, responsible human being, whose awareness, common sense, and poise produce knowledge, responsibility, and happiness. No
one person can take credit for this achievement, for there are many cooks at work at one time or another. And whatever the virtues of each of the
cooks, it makes no difference in the end, for it is the fire that does the transforming work.
The final stage, according to Sufi masters, appears only after prolonged cooking. The heat must be turned up and held there, against all the rules of
ordinary cooking, until the student (disciple) is burnt. Being burnt means that all traces of ego are consumed in the fire of service and love. A
time-honored exercise to "turn up the heat" is to avoid using the word "I" in your conversation, first, for a day, then for several days. Next,
avoid using the word "I" in your thought.... Then, when you have mastered that, use the word "I" when necessary.... Sufi masters say that those
who are burnt leave no trace of egotism. They walk through a room and do not leave a "trail of smoke"--a trail of self concern, hunger for
approval, or discord.