Rumi is a 13th century Sufi mystic who lived in Persia, the present-day Iran. He once said: “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.” We tend to associate bewilderment with confusion. Even the dictionary defines bewilderment as a state of confusion in which that which confuses is difficult to understand. This apparent confusion is experienced by the mind which, naturally, needs to grasp everything in clear understanding. Just on this same note, cleverness expresses that sharpness of mind to understand and figure things out. Whenever the mind feels bewildered, the sharpness of the mind is somehow blunted; the mind feels itself in the dark. No wonder this state of the mind is described as confusion. Yet, the mystic advises that we sell “cleverness” and buy “bewilderment.” This wise advice itself is already bewildering to the mind. How does one prefer an apparent state of “confusion” to clarity of understanding?
This question is again bewildering! This weekend, Jesus’ disciple could not understand how Jesus would give them His body as bread and His blood as wine. It was shocking to them, meaning that they were confused; they could not understand it. And because they could not understand him, they decided to quit following Jesus, just as some people quit coming to Church because they do not understand certain things. But we know there are mysteries in life we cannot fully understand. All that is required from us is to surrender to God in faith. As we draw closer to God in faith, our hearts learn another way of knowing spiritual things without too much explanation. In the daily events of our lives, we must make that choice: either to follow the Lord in faith or leave him and go on our way. But He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14.6). Hence Joshua confessed boldly that he and his family would choose to serve the Lord even if others refused to do so (Joshua 24. 15). This is why the mystic who knows spiritual realities by way of the heart than by head, offer this wise counsel, that bewilderment serves the soul’s journey to God more than does cleverness!
So many things I do not understand in my life, Lord. I realize every day that as I plan my life, I should give a big space for the surprise of the Holy Spirit; I do not pretend to have everything in my hands Lord; I do not pretend to be able to grasp fully the meaning of life or my life. All I want to know is that indeed, I have no place to go, for you have the word of Eternal Life (Jn. 6. 68). I cannot understand everything, but I can see with my heart that your hand guides me through every situation. To give up my cleverness and the claim of certainty is to be free; free to wonder and gaze at the inscrutable wisdom that is You, Lord. Just give me the grace to hold your hand even if I walk in the valley of darkness (Ps. 23), to realize that you are my Light and my Salvation (Ps. 27.1). I choose to follow you Lord, at all times!
What is it in your life and around you that is hard for you to grasp or control? Make a list of it. Consider that the Lord may be inviting you to a leap of faith through surrender to the bewildering. Each time you choose to surrender to God in faith especially when you are bewildered, you are accepting the fact that you cannot control everything in life. But that is all we need to truly rest secured in the Hands of our Heavenly Father. Try it this week. Have a grace-filled week.