Some books never lose their relevancy, no matter how old. Ibn Ata'illah's The Book of Aphorisms, written in the 13 th century, stands out as such. The book is a collection of 261 Sufi aphorisms, designed as a manual of spiritual development. Ata'illah guides us through his reflections and deliberations on how to live both outwardly and inwardly.
It is the most amazing book I've read this year and one that I see myself returning to ritually every year alongside Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet (Stephen Mitchell translation) and Allama Iqbal's Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa (Khushwant Singh translation). Here are some aphorisms that resonated with me:
Bury your existence in the earth of obscurity,
For whatever sprouts forth,
Without having first been buried,
For a seed to grow as a tree, it has to first bury itself in the soil. From the ground of insignificance, it sprouts forth to become a tree of significance, which yields flower and fruit. Likewis...