The Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship
A chapter from the newly published book, Enough for a Million Years.
A question was asked of Bawa Muhaiyaddeen: Why are there so few good people in the world today?
Everything God created is good. We were all created pure, as pure souls made out of light.1 God didn't create any bad people. He pushed out all the darkness and kept all the goodness. So, tell yourself, "Now, if I bring in the darkness, I'll just be taking back what God pushed away. But if I can avoid doing that, nothing but goodness will remain in me." Therefore, the question to ask is, "Since we were all created good, can I stay good? Can I be good?" That's what every human being should strive for.
If you see evil in another, what you're really seeing is the evil in yourself. Think about it. That person is a mirror, reecting back to you your own faults. You are seeing yourself. Whatever you are feeling toward that person is something that's in you. Whatever you think about him is something that's in you. In everything you do, you're exposing something that's in you. In any judgment you make about someone, you're actually judging what's within you. The enmity or differences you feel toward someone come from the enmity and differences that are in you. But it's also true that the love you have for someone else comes from the love that's in you.
You will see others as good if you become good. And when you do, all lives will respect you, even the sun and the moon. But as long as you aren't a good person, you will see evil in anyone you look at. So try to become good. If you become good, you won't see a single person in this world as bad. Instead of thinking that there are only a few good people, it would be better to think, "Everyone is good. The Creator is good. I should become good, too."
If you put out a fishing net and catch thousands of fish in it, the first thing you will do is separate them into different species. But the ocean doesn't separate them, does it? And the net doesn't separate them, saying one fish is different from another. The fish all live in the sea together and are caught in the net together. You are the only one who separates them. So, instead of separating people into categories of good and bad, do what the water and the net did and accept them all as equal. Then you will cease to see any divisions. It's your thoughts that create these differences and divisions. Both the water and the net embrace everything that come to them.
Similarly, truth embraces everything that comes, and gives equal treatment to all. It accepts all and treats them with unity, love, and compassion. It sees all lives as equal to its own life. This is what truth does. When you come to this state, you too will accept all lives as your own. You will show the same consideration to others as you do to yourself. You will feel empathy for the hunger and sorrow of others, just as you do for yourself. Then you will understand who is bad and who is good. Any bad that you're seeing out there is actually the bad within you. Once you cast out the enemy within, you will see everyone as good. Learn to think that way. If you do, you will see lots of good people. Until then you will keep seeing only a few as good.
- M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
October 14, 1981
1. The soul was just a tiny point in the world of the souls. Then it was brought here. It was joined together with the body to see and understand the many things in the world, to discover what is right and what is wrong, to see what heaven is and what hell is, what truth is and what falsehood is, what patience is and what anger is, what tastes good and what does not taste good, what is beautiful and what is not beautiful. The soul was sent here to study and understand all these things. The soul is inside of you. There are many other things inside you too. They are in shadow form, but the soul is a light form. (From the book Why Can't I See the Angels? Children's Questions to a Sufi Saint by M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen.)