by Navid Zaidi
Come, come, whoever you are.
Lover of leaving- it doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows
A hundred times, a thousand times.
Come, come again, come.
( Rumi )
There is no such thing as sin. Sin does not exist. Most of us grew up believing that a sin was an act of disobedience or ingratitude toward a God who is both separate and punitive and that our life depends upon God’s assessment of our worthiness.
The word sin has a literal translation of ‘off the mark’. In this sense, behavior that religion has taught us as sinful is conduct that is off-the-mark or away from God. This is not a reason to immerse ourselves in guilt and use up life energy attempting to somehow make amends. We place the responsibility for correcting the conduct on a God who is external to us. Thus we hope that this external God will forgive, and we find ourselves laden with guilt and anxiety over whether we deserve to be forgiven. We become immersed in thoughts of sin and punishment. These ideas disempower us by stressing that we are weak and wrong. This becomes an obstacle in finding peace and growth.
Rumi gives us an illumination of hope that we can transcend the horrible notion of being sinners cloaked in guilt awaiting punishment. We can dispel the thought of sin by replacing it with the thought that every situation in life is a trial and we have several choices open to us. We, the human beings, are attuned to a different type of knowledge, i.e., the type of knowledge that necessitates the toil of patient observation and slow accumulation. It expands only by the method of trial and error. Therefore, error is an indispensable factor in the building up of our experience and it’s nothing to be feared.
Rumi gives us an empowerment of viewing trials of life as lessons and opportunities to choose differently.