The advice of a Sufi

Posted by Roddy Yazdanpour on

Long, long ago a gentleman from a faraway land, with the knowledge of weaving carpets, immigrated to Persia. When he saw Kashan he fell in love with the city and its people. Although the Kashani weavers made beautiful carpets, he decided to set up a factory to make new carpets with new designs that have never been woven in Kashan before. In the beginning there was some resistance to his business from competitors in Kashan and they were mocking him and laughing at his designs but his perseverance and passion paved the way for his success in such a way that soon his carpets were on demand and he started exporting them overseas. He made a big name for himself and his factory and the city of Kashan. He married a local girl and they had a son. The son also after school joined his father in the factory and he was helping him with the running of the workshop.

After a few years his father passed away and all the responsibility of this well-known factory and its name moved onto the son’s shoulders. A few months passed and when the new carpets came off the looms, the buyers could recognize the difference in production because these carpets were by far lower quality than the carpets his father produced. The son was frustrated since the business came down and the demand for their carpets dropped, so he sought advice. He went to a Sufi who was a spiritual man in town and he explained his situation to him. The son said: “After my father’s death I haven’t changed anything in the workshop. I have a hundred weavers which I kept after my father’s passing. We kept the design as before. We buy the same wool and dye it in the same way, but the end results are so different and I don’t know what else to do.” The Sufi answered: “One of these hundred weavers is the leader of the group and I have the feeling that he is upset with you. The way you talk to him might be different than your father’s way of talking to him. His feeling transferred to all the other weavers in your workshop. You need to find this leader and pamper him with love and kindness.”

The son was angry with the advice since the weavers are the ones that need him and his investment the most, in his mind, and they should be grateful to him that after his father’s passing he is still providing them with jobs and a livelihood. However, in order to run the factory better, he decided to change his attitude and try to find the weaver that is the leader of the group. Since he didn’t know who this person was that could have such and impact on all his other weavers, he decided to treat every single weaver by far more politely and kindly. He started to have conversations with each one and spoke about the history of the workshop and their personal histories with his father and also the different designs of carpets that they made for the past 30 years. He decided to ask each weaver to make a carpet in a design that they love the most and very soon when the new carpets came off the loom and ready to be seen by the buyers they were all admired, even more than before. The joy and the happiness in the workshop made the son bring new ideas and designs for the next series of carpets and the business that was dwindling went back to its former strength, even stronger than at the time of his father.

When the son visited the Sufi again to discuss the results he realized that he never found the leader of the group of weavers, but since his mind set has changed it didn’t matter. The Sufi with a smile on his face said to the son: “That weaver, the leader, is you yourself. You now are as good a leader as your father was since all the weavers follow your heart now.”

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