Salka Wind Blog

Posts on the Andean Cosmovision

The Tale of the Sands

I find that to write about salka and the Andean Cosmovision I need to write what I feel moved to write at any particular time. When I attempt to layout everything in order then my writing grinds to a halt. I just don’t seem to be able to write “what comes next” or “what must come before”. That is the value to me of writing this blog. I write what I feel moved to write. Later, after I have said everything I want to say, then I can write a book where I put things in (a sort of mystical) order and I can then write the connections between the concepts. This post belongs somewhere down the line in Thread B…but I haven’t started Thread B yet. I hope you will bear with me.


When I began to study the psychology of consciousness one of the approaches I was drawn to was Sufism. I would, however, like to set a context for that statement. What I studied were the Sufi teaching stories compiled by the Sufi scholar Idries Shah (1924-1996). Shah devoted his life to collecting, translating, and making available to Western society classic Sufi teaching stories. He viewed these as a way of nourishing the development of human potential to its fullest extent, while escaping religious (and any other) dogma.

To say that I understand Sufism from reading those stories would be like saying that a person who has read hundreds of teaching stories given by Jesus, but who has never read the Bible, nor studied Christianity, nor attended a Christian ceremony, understands Christianity…so either not at all or a lot, depending upon your view of religion.

The books of Shah offer a rich collection of several hundred Sufi teaching stories. Some are beautiful, and some are funny, and almost all are at least interesting. A few of Shah’s books concern the character Mulla Nasrudin. The Nasrudin stories are all humorous. Their humor arises from the actions of Nasrudin, who either reacts to a situation in an unexpected way or reacts in a way that brings to light and pokes fun at our normal way of thinking.  The value of the Sufi stories lies in their ability to give us new options for how we can understand and respond to life. They give us a route out of our habitual, domesticated mind, and open us up to possibly connecting with the non-domesticated, salka, side of our being.

There is a story from the Shah collection that I would like to share with you. It is called “The Tale of the Sands”. The following link is from the Idries Shah Foundation web site and so I feel comfortable in offering it to you as a way of accessing the material.  It is a very short story, only about a page long and is quite beautiful.

The Tale of the Sands (link to story)

The second-to-last time I read this story was almost 40 years ago.  I read it again just a week ago.  I don’t want to discuss what the story is about, for to do that would be to move from story mind to rational mind and then (to me) the value of the story would be lost.  I would like to share that my experience of the story has been enriched by my journeys into the Andean Cosmovision.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

I am delighted to have discovered that the Idries Shah Foundation has put several of his books online to be read for free. This includes Tales of the Dervishes (which contains The Tale of the Sands) along with The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin, and The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin. I bet you can’t read just one Nasrudin story. The entire collection of online Idries Shah books can be found here.

This post is being written at this time in deep sympathy to the three hundred and five Sufis (men, women, and children) who were massacred this week while worshiping in their mosque in Egypt. It is thought to be the actions of a religious faction who consider them to be heretics. This is the world we are living in waikis. Can we stay true to our hearts?

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1 Comment

  1. Indries Shah uplifts us with these tales. It is a heartbreak to learn of the massacre of Sufis.

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