The Nafs

Sufis call the wantings nafs. From the urgent way lovers want each other to the sannyasin’s search for truth, all moving is from the mover. Every pull draws us to the ocean. Rumi says it’s important to live the wantings as they come and not get stuck somewhere, stagnant. He was asked once what to do about a young man caught doing some indecent act. The story doesn’t mention what exactly—masturbation, peeping-tomming, whatever wild wantings young men think to do. Rumi told them not to worry about it. “It just means he’s growing his feathers. The dangerous case is a kid who doesn’t do indecent acts, who then leaves the nest without feathers. One flap and the cat has him.”
Coleman Barks commentary in The Essential Rumi

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