Every life is important
My teacher once told me a favourite allegory of the great sufi, Sheikh Hamza Maqtul.
A gnat was looking for a place to stay, and decided that the ear of the elephant was a good place. It was safely high, warm, and sheltered from the elements. Being of a learned disposition, the gnat sat in the elephant’s ear, and informed him of the decision. He dwelt in length on from where he came, and since the elephant raised no objection, the gnat set up home in the ear. Much time passed, the gnat raised many generations, and sent them into the world. He always felt a special relationship between the ear and himself, as pre-ordained for him—the ear was warm and welcoming, and very comfortable.
After some time, the gnat wanted to leave, and so he informed the elephant, but got no response. He did not want to leave without telling the elephant all the good reasons for which he was going away, and so he tried again and again, shouting louder every time. Finally, it appeared to him that the elephant understood, for his large host trumpeted and shook his head from side to side. The elephant had actually conveyed that the gnat’s going was of as little significance as had been his arrival, but sadly, there had been no conversation during his stay!
My teacher said that the learning here is not the uselessness of life, but about our judgement of what is important, and the trivialization of what is vital.
We remain obsessed with the rather unimportant questions—where did we come from, and where will we go, which is largely of little consequence. But we fail to focus on what is vital—our time in this life, and whether we are using it well: This human form is your chance to meet Him, Without this vital understanding, no act will aid you. Dwell with travellers of the true path, and meditate on Him.