The Forty Rules of Love is entitled in French Soufi my love (“Soufi mon amour“). This fascinating book is the story of love in various forms in the 13th century while a writer and a book reviewer fall in romantic love.
These rules are a guide for true and pure love. The story is absolutely compelling. I couldn’t put the book down.
Please find below my ten reasons why The fourty rules of love by Elif Shafak is such an amazing read:
1. How we think the world is how the world becomes
The forty rules of love is not a book about religion, however sufism permeates the whole book. This is very interesting and we can learn so much, whatever our religion and whatever religion it is.
The great Turkish woman author Elif Shafak says that “How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves.”
This idea can be found in quantum physics where the way we see the world eventually leads to the manifested circumstances of our life.
2. The heart must come first
I lived a very intellectual life before discovering meditation and yoga. I was all in my head, studying very well academically.
However, one piece was missing: the heart. I had built walls around my heart to avoid suffering. Therefore, I made terrible decisions, because I was out of touch with my intuition.
In her book, Elif Shafak writes: “The Path to the Truth is a labor of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge, and ultimately prevail over your nafs [ego] with your heart. Knowing your self will lead you to the knowledge of God.”
I love how connecting to the heart is seen as a way to self-awareness. I should teach that to my children in some form.
3. Knowing what we cannot control
Submission is a very interesting term because it is abhorred in the West. However, we can shift our perspective to see it as the wisdom to know when we cannot change things. The goal is then to focus on the things we can change.
“Submission is a form of peaceful acceptance of the terms of the universe, including the things we are currently unable to change or comprehend” says Elif Shafak in her book The fourty rules of love.
4. Accepting the challenges to overcome them more swiftly
“God never burdens us with more than we can bear.” We can do this my friend my sister. We all have challenges. May we not compare but embrace difficulty as a way to grow.
Moreover, The fourty rules of love reads: “Behind all hardships was a larger scheme.” and “Every incident that happens, no matter how colossal or small, and every hardship that we endure is an aspect of a divine plan that works to that end“.
Keep the hope, keep the faith my friend my sister.
5. Not being afraid of solitude but keeping in mind that fully living is being with someone
Solitude enables us to recenter, to look back at our life and make better choices onwards. “But eventually it is best to find a person, the person who will be your mirror. Remember, only in another person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.”
6. Welcoming changes
Learning to trust the unknown is a big thing for me. Whenever I feel uncomfortable, I now think of the beautiful things that await on the other side of the present moment.
Elif Shafak writes: “Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”
7. Purity, fasting and love
This morning I was talking to a dear friend about my fasting practice. I was explaining to him that coming to Istanbul was such a dream for me that I did a fast beforehand.
Fasting is a way for me to purify my body and my mind. I feel clearer.
However, I forgot this quote by Elif Shafak: “You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify your heart.”
What can I say about that? Love feels so new to me. Love and purity. So interesting. Love is definitely a life changer, of this I am sure. Elif Shafak writes: “If we are the same person before and after we loved, that means we haven’t loved enough.”
Love is such a mystery that even words are not enough to talk about it and experience its taste: “Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of love, language as we know it becomes obsolete. That which cannot be put into words can only be grasped through silence.”
What do you think my friend my sister?
8. We are one
You know me, I have said it again and again and it is the theme of one of my first videos: we are all humans. Borders mean absolutely nothing to me except administrative stress.
I believe we all belong to one family. So many authors write about this idea, each in a different way.
Elif Shafak says it beautifully: “everything and everyone in this universe is interconnected. We are not hundreds and thousands of different beings. We are all One.”
9. A plea for self-love
On this channel/website, we talk about self-love, self-respect and self-confidence. I do my best to provide you with practical tips on self-love.
Self-love is not a luxury but a necessity. Nothing good can come out of self-hate. I experienced it myself as I went down a spiral of despair and abuse. I encountered abuse in relationships only because I was abusing myself first.
The fourty rules of love reads that: “If you want to change the way others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself. Unless you learn to love yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved.”
If you find yourself into a dark and sad place, you can always start anew this second: ““It is never too late to ask yourself, ‘Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?’”
10. Where is love?
Love is such a mystery. However, the miracle lies within.
“Rumi says we don’t need to hunt for love outside ourselves. All we need to do is to eliminate the barriers inside that keep us away from love.”
Let’s finish on this beautiful idea: removing the barriers. From love, from abundance and from joy. I wish you the best my friend my sister.
The Forty Rules of Love in Turkish is entitled Aşk which means Love.