Yunus is a cleaner in a Baghdad house.
Every day he sweeps the same yard and hums the same song--it makes the time go faster.
Yunus has a lot of children he has to provide for.
He always dreams of the day when he'll be free to go to desert and meditate.
Many years pass.
All his children are married. He's free at last.
So off to the desert he goes.
He walks and walks under the scorching sun. But nowhere can he find water or shade.
Suddenly, there's a cloud of dust on the horizon.
As it comes closer, Yunus can see
FOUR RIDERS in it.
They're approaching quickly.
The yard sweeper, remembering stories about desert robbers, is scared out of his mind.
The men reach him.
Yunus, paralyzed with fear, watches them dismount.
But instead of drawing their sabers, they ask him if he cares to rest and eat.
Dumbfounded, he nods for yes, and the riders start mumbling something.
A familiar feeling washes over Yunus as he listens, but before he can remember...
A HUGE TREE GROWS OUT OF THE SAND.
In its shade, a table full of delicious dishes and a pitcher of ice-cold water.
Yunus, half-starved, eats and drinks to his heart's content.
Once satisfied, he asks the strangers:
"How long did it take you to master this magic?"
"The truth? Less than a day. A friend taught us that magical song. But he'd heard it from Yunus from Baghdad, a great sage disguised as a yard sweeper."
Upon hearing this, Yunus bows in all four directions and returns to Baghdad to sweep his yard.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
In the first part of this post I wrote about how we idealize and romanticize, crave and envy... even when it comes to personal growth.
I and Others are opposites, and Others always seem to be on a higher rung of the spiritual ladder.
But I believe there's a better way to look at this:
Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare your present self to your previous self.
How much have you grown? How have you improved?
Because spiritual evolution is not about becoming someone else. It's about fulfilling your own potential.
The work that you do on yourself is much more important than you think.
It's leading you to your best Self.
Your yard is precious. So go on sweeping it, and humming your song.
Return to Baghdad.
(I've translated the sufi story Yunus and his Broom from Croatian, changing it slightly -- found it in V. Krmpotic's book "Košulja sretnog čovjeka" (Happy Man's Shirt))