And I was stunned into silence because how do you encapsulate an ocean into a drop. Sufism is fundamentally indefinable as Nicholson observed long ago, it can only be felt. It is our Prophet's long vigils in Hira for enlightenment; it is Majnun's pursuit for Laila; it is Hallaj's last bloody sacrifice on the cross.
I would let the sages define it for you, and you can absorb their words to understand what -essentially-cannot be understood.
“He is a Sufi whose religion is God.”
BaYazid Bistami, the sublime Sheikh said:" Sufism consists in giving up repose, and accepting suffering."
Each of those answers differs. Each of those answers is a facet of the single reality that is the meaning of being a Sufi.
“Sufism today is a name without a reality that was once a reality without a name.”
That was said back in the eighth or ninth century.
“Sufism is an essence, a truth. There is no form, no ritual, no custom in it. It is pure essence.”
“The Sufi is one who possesses nothing and is possessed by nothing.”
“The Sufi is the one whose thought keeps pace with his footstep. The one who is where she stands. The one who is present here with feet firmly planted on the earth. The one in whom body and soul are united in presence, in awareness.”
“A Sufi does not see in the two worlds, in this world and the hereafter, anything with God except God. Nothing in addition to God.”
Not for a single moment does the Sufi imagine that anything could be additional, recognizing immediately, intuitively, that everything is essentially singular in its essence. The Sufi recognizes that this whole manifestation is one phantasmagoria that is the refraction and reflection of a single Light.
“The Sufis are like infants in the bosom of God.”
In the past five years that I have been a Sufi seeker, my understanding about Sufism has deepened every day and yet I still don't feel I understand enough. Sufism is like theory of relativity, its understanding constantly evolves as the seeker's perspective evolves but I hope these words can spell some misconceptions about Sufism and what it really means to be a Sufi!