Question: How can I train myself to be a good listener, especially to my Sheykh when he is giving Sohbet?
Open your ears. Be interested. When you are listening, don’t just listen with your ego. When you are listening, listen very sharply. Focus. Don’t listen to every other thing that is happening in your heart or around. Listen to that. The Sheykh can be telling that same Sohbet one hundred times, but every time he is showing something different.
So you are not going to just listen to that story and say, ‘ahh, I’ve heard this. I’m going to be busy with something else.’ You lost it. There’s a reason why he is repeating it. We are repeating ‘La Ilaha Ilallah,’ but every time you repeat that, there’s a different secret there. There’s a different blessing there. So, you are listening and the Sheykh is bringing up this story for instance, you must ask yourself, this is active listening, you must ask yourself now, ‘the Sheykh is putting the story here. Huh, this is interesting. Ah, this is because of this, this is because of that.’ While you are listening, you are thinking. You are not listening like a robot. Do you know what I used to do? I’m sitting down and thinking, ‘Sheykh Effendi, okay he is giving sohbet. Okay, he is starting with this,’ I’m listening and said to myself, ‘why is he starting with this? He is starting here, where is he going to go with this? Ah, he is going this way. He is going this way because he has already given all the points before. He’s taking the turn. Now he’s telling the story but he’s telling the story in a different way.’ And I’m thinking, ‘he is using this story to say this, but why is he saying this? It is to lighten the mood.’ I’m trying to understand not only what is being said, how it’s being said, why it’s being said. And I’m watching, and I’m listening and I go back and say, ‘this story, okay.’
We know how it is when the Sheykh they talk, you are going along with the ride. Then finally he stops and he says, ‘what was the last stop that we went?’ Everybody is lost. ‘What did I just say?’ He is speaking, speaking, speaking. Some interruptions happened, he stopped. He said, ‘you idiot, sit down. Don’t be robot.’ He finished that then he says, ‘okay where was I?’ Majority don’t know where they were because they were just listening like a robot. Eh, it’s okay. You understand. But listen to this and I’ve said this before. If you are sitting behind the best driver in the world, which is one of the title that Sheykh Maulana gives to Sheykh Effendi, in his car, and he is driving, what would you do? Majority of the people they are just going to be comfortable. Some will be sleeping. Some looking out the window. Some eating. But there will be very few who is going to watch this driver, how he is driving, ‘oh he is using it over here. The gears are like this. Ah, he’s shifting, he’s braking. He is looking over here. Why is he looking over there? Oh, it’s that.’ No one is really interested in him. This is natural in so many associations. They are interested in the blessings, in the barakats. But they are not interested in the work. You are going to get the blessings. But that is common. But if you are interested in the work now, that time you are specially chosen by the Prophet (asws). If you watch how he is doing it, you try to figure out, you will learn. You will get everything too, don’t worry. You will still talk a little bit. You will still catch the sight, but you are watching him and you are trying to put yourself in his situation. Now honor is given not to what lineage you belong to, not to how much money you have, not to who is cheering you and praising you. Honor is given as much as responsibility you have, that much honor you have. If you don’t have responsibility and you don’t carry that responsibility, doesn’t matter who you are, you are not carrying that responsibility, it is clear you don’t have too much honor. Do you understand?
So, you are sitting there, and you are watching him, one day maybe he is going to say, ‘you are watching me? Now watch what I’m going to do next.’ Now you start to have contact. He’s starting to send things to your heart. You are starting to communicate about how to drive. One day he’s going to say, ‘I’m not driving, you drive.’ ‘But I…’ ‘Drive! So many things I have to do and I have so much work that I can give to everyone, but you are the only one who is watching what I’m doing. Everyone else is sleeping. So that time we’ll never give him the keys to the car. Never.’ Then that time people are going to complain why like this and like that. I said, ‘because you just want to sleep. So sleep.’
This Jamaat is not for people who sleeps. Sheykh Effendi is teaching us how to maybe drive a little bit. I don’t know how to drive. I’m not claiming I know. I don’t know how to drive. But Sheykh Effendi is giving us that training. Then that time, once you are doing that, you cannot give him any excuse if you make an accident. You cannot just say, ‘I don’t know what happened.’ Literally if you are driving, an animal just comes up in front of you and you don’t know where it’s coming from and you hit it, you don’t have any excuse to say that that was an accident. Not in this way. Because somebody is always right, somebody is always wrong. What, you’re going to blame the deer? If nothing else, physically you are not seeing it, spiritually something is wrong with you for you to make that mistake. Spiritually there is something wrong. Either you are not connected, or you thought something wrong, or some interruption happens that’s why you lost control. But, no excuse. Do you understand? This much is enough.
Sheykh Lokman Efendi Hz
Khalifah of SahibulSaif Shaykh Abdulkerim el Kibrisi (qs),
OSMANLI DERGAHI- New York
12 Muharram 1437
October 13, 2016.