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Looking Through the Sufi Prism

Hiren Panchal
by Hiren Panchal  |  19th Aug, 2013 in Life

Sufism is about personal experience, not about blind subscription to a path or a premise. It’s about space, not restriction. It’s about experiment, not status quo. It’s about freedom, not rules.

A wag once wanted to know:

Does one need to reject the material world in order to be spiritual?

Can we be materially rich and also spiritual?

At Litmus, we think that’s possible.

Spirituality is not about shunning the world. It’s about making the world a better place to live in. Sufism is not about renunciation. It’s about passionate involvement with the good, bad, and even the ugly. Nature has blessed us with countless gifts – the oceans, the skies, the trees, the shade, a child’s dimpled smile – to enjoy, explore and cherish.

There was once a time, when we wore our professions on our sleeve – plumber, herbalist (Haqeem), musician, artisan, and farmer. Today, we wear them in our attitude to our work.

If Sufism is about “dying before we die,’ let’s strive to die a small death every day. Overarching our imagination to touch the rainbow of an idea, letting its colours fall and slip from our outstretched hands like small granules of sand, and reveling in the moment, while seeking divinity in every unit of work that we produce. There can be no price tag on this quality of work. Such idealism and humility comes with years of passionate involvement with our work, and that doesn’t come easy. It comes with a lot of sweat, drive and discipline.

Sufis claim that we can be rich and ascetic at the same time. Poverty figures nowhere in their grand scheme of things. The same can be said about ideas – the more you share, the more ideas come back to you, multiplied in value.

As designers and copywriters, we have always felt rich and rewarded.

A Sufi once wrote, “The wise servants of God are like the earth. They accept every type of refuse to be cast upon them and yet nothing issues from them but sweetness. Both the righteous and the sinner walk upon it.”

We try to infuse and reflect a big portion of that attitude in our work. We don’t believe we have all the answers, but we do try to look for them. Yet, once in a while, a strong idea takes birth, with a will of its own. Instead of brushing it aside or altogether dismissing it, we embrace it and let it live. With a will of its own. Almost always, those ideas live longer than the others.

Sufis do not believe anything is ugly. As they say, “nothing comes from him except goodness,” we try to ensure that nothing must come out of our work, except value for our client; more value than what he brought to the table, when he walked into the Litmus office. Creative force can be a catalyst with the power to turn every piece of coal into a sparkling diamond.

In Sufism, you can ascend the pyramid of excellence only through application and experience. That implies an extended period of internship; integrity, insight (into consumer behavior and experiences) and a touch of intuitive knowledge. Sufism eliminates the audacity of “the man who knew too much.” On the contrary, Sufism is a journey that starts with zero and ends at, well….infinity.

That’s why at Litmus, we discourage “boxed” thinking. We encourage our mates to put themselves in the consumer’s shoes and think like a consumer.

Sufism to us is about unlocking the full potential of an idea. Seeing the oak in an acorn. It’s about personal experience, not about subscription to a premise. It’s about space, not claustrophobia. It’s about freedom, not rules.

When we let go of all dogmas, when we release ourselves of all tension, when we begin to spot beauty in everything, when we expand our distorted vision, we begin to appreciate life in Technicolour. That’s when we gain true insight. The Sufi path is about freedom, and the promise of fulfillment.

In the end, Sufi thinker Massud Farzan put it best, “Sufism is a unique phenomenology of Reality. The psychology of Sufism is Sufism itself; the art and science of Sufism is the very practice of Sufism.”

Hiren Panchal

Director, Litmus Branding Pvt. Ltd.
Ahmedabad, India
Hiren Panchal is a Co-founder and Promoter at India based Branding Company, Litmus. He sharpens his views with analytical mindfulness. Just as his doer attitude wins over his believer attitude with a thin line, his thought leadership aims at making leaders and not followers in his team. His creative insights have created brands worldwide and he’s commanding in the industry for +20 years. Come to the point, he’s already there.