A Pure Heart

When Bullhe Shah tells us that the divine is found by those of pure heart, it might make us think of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s explanation of purity, expressed in several places in his lectures. Milk, he says, may be called pure, and water is also pure, but if we put water in the milk, then neither the milk nor the water are pure. ‘Purity’ is a state of being to which nothing has been added.

What, then, is a pure heart? Or, to put it another way, what is ‘heart,’ and what can be added or withheld from it?

Every day, on social media, millions, or more likely billions, of heart emojis in various colours and with assorted characteristics – faces, hands, wings, clouds, rainbows and so forth – are sent around the world, usually meant to point in the general direction of some emotional connection. But, so far as that connection is a reality, it exists because our own inner heart is able to reflect. If one feels a fondness for a certain place, for example, perhaps a vitally charged river or a special hill overlooking the sea, an inspiring place of worship or some particular majestic mountain peak reaching up toward the sky, our feeling means that it is reflected in our heart. For whatever reason, the location awakens our heart, and conversely we value the location because we carry it in the only real treasure cave we have – the heart.

Many spend their whole life placing one object – or person or place or concept or experience – and then another in front of the mirror of the heart. Sometimes what we choose to reflect there proves to be unworthy of that place, and then we feel disappointment, and start looking for a replacement. But what would happen if we were able, just for a moment, to clear away all the objects, and let the mirror reflect the infinite?

Then perhaps we would see the laughing face of Bullhe Shah, saying, ‘You see? I told you so!’

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