I started reading it some time ago, but then got distracted with other things and picked it up now, a few years later after it was first given to me. Some parts of it I find very interesting and they ring true.
On part that I like in the book discusses the Sufi saying above and talks about three types of people in this world.
1) ‘One thinks he has to do something; he himself is the doer. He does not trust the whole…he simply lives on his small energy, and naturally is defeated again and again and proves a failure. If you live on your very small energy against this vast energy that surrounds you, you are going to be a loser.
2) The second type of person, is on who thinks, “When existence is doing everything, I need not do anything. I’m not supposed to do anything.” He simply sits and waits. His life becomes more and more lazy, and there comes a point when he no longer lives, he simply vegetates.
These two types of people represent the East and West. The West represents the doer, the active type, and the East represents the non-doer, the passive type.
The West is driving itself crazy. The problem of Western humanity is too much action, no trust, too much dependence upon oneself, as if “I have to do everything” as if “I am alone” as if “Existence does not care a bit about me” Naturally it creates anxiety, and the anxiety is too much, unbearable. It creates all kinds of neuroses, psychoses; it keeps people always on the verge, tense, nervous….The West has succeeded in getting rid of the idea of trusting existence, has succeeded in dropping all kinds of trust and surrender. ..knows nothing of let-go …and that’s why in the West people are finding it more and more difficult even to fall asleep, because sleep needs a certain kind of trust.
…The East has succeeded in relaxing too much, …it has become very lazy. People go on dying, starving..they are not worried about it, they trust existence…neither do they do anything…”It must be the will of Allah.!”
3) The Sufi saying wants to create a third type of man, the real man…This is the meaning of tether the camel: do whatever is possible for you do, don’t shirk your responsibility, and then if nothing happens or something goes wrong, trust existence. Then it knows best. Then maybe it is right for us to travel without the camel. The third type of man is difficult – to trust existence and yet remain a doer. But now you are only instrumental; existence is the real doer you are just instruments in its hands…The religious person is one who goes on doing whatever is humanly possible but creates no tension because of it. The total of the energies will decide the outcome…I have to do, and yet I have to learn not to expect. The doing is a kind of prayerfulness, with no desire that the result should be such. Then there is no frustration. Trust will help you to remain un-frustrated, and tethering the camel will help you to remain intensely alive. The camel is not a fixed entity…It will depend on the context.’