The danger [in associating with kings] arises from the fact that when kings enter upon the scene, and the spell of their influence gains strength, becoming like a great lamp, the person who keeps company with them, claims their friendship, and accepts money from them will inevitably speak in accordance with their desires. That person will listen to the kings’ mundane views with the utmost attention, and will not be able to deny them.
That is where the danger lies, it leads to a fading respect for the true source. When you cultivate the interest of kings, that other interest which is fundamental to the spiritual life becomes a stranger to you. The more you proceed down the path of kings, the more that direction where the Beloved dwells becomes lost.
Rumi was a Persian scholar and poet from the 13th century. He wrote several volumes of poetry as well as a set of discourses called Fihi Ma Fihi, often translated, “It Is What It Is.” He adhered to Sufism, which is a very mystical and philosophical branch of Islam.
The concept of God is rather unique in Sufism. It’s often explained like this. Think of an object being surrounded by countless mirrors. Each mirror will reflect the object. God is the object, and everything in existence is a mirror. God isn’t “in” everything, he’s one with everything. There’s no separation, no distinction. God and His creation are one. This metaphor and belief is derived from the hadith, “Whosoever sees himself, sees his Lord.”
When in touch with my core, my truest and deepest self, it means I’m in touch with God. We’re actively and intentionally one. There’s no struggle or denial. By choosing to be myself, and thus in touch with God, I’m able to fulfill my bubbling potential, to actively live my unlived life. When I choose to be myself, I’m choosing to be free and happy. To cultivate the interest of kings is to lose sight of the sun, it’s to lose myself and my sense of purpose. So I choose to ignore the interest of kings. I choose to be myself. I choose to truly live.