Difficulties and hope

The world today faces a growing number of difficulties. In addition to the suffering caused by assorted oppressive regimes and the tension of various geo-political disputes, many of which are active wars or have the potential to escalate into unstoppable violence, we also have the ever more visible results of climate change (including fire, flood, famine, sea level rise and irreversible species loss) and the rapid spread of disease. No doubt the list could be expanded without much effort.

None of this, however, would surprise a mystic, who opens his spirit to see life as a whole. In this post about evolution, taken from a talk nearly a century ago, Hazrat Inayat Khan told his listeners, “The life on earth is difficult and with the evolution of the earth it will be even more difficult.” He explained that the growth of the world is not different from the growth of an individual, in that while we are young, we are innocent and care-free – a new born baby lives like an angel in heaven – but when we are older, we become burdened with many responsibilities, and have to cope with ever-multiplying problems.

Would it be spiritual to run away from these problems? Hazrat Inayat advises us not to; we should not try to avoid difficulties, he tells us. The Sufi path is to face the hardships of life, for they are part of our own growth and of the growth of the world. As he notes, the branches of the tree, which were unencumbered in the spring, later bend low under the weight of the fruit they bear.

Then, how should we meet these challenges? By adopting what Hazrat Inayat calls ‘nature’s religion,’ by which he means that every thought and action, no matter how worldly it might seem, should be consecrated as an act of service in the path of Truth. ‘Religion’ need not only mean some act of piety in a place of worship, but it can also mean making our whole life a form of worship.

And we should cherish hope. Metaphysically, we must meet with open eyes all challenges as part of our path, but psychologically we should train ourselves to always look upward, in hope. In Gayan, Boulas, we find this :
It is the spirit of hopelessness that blocks the path of man and prevents his advancement.

And in Gayan, Chalas, there is this promise :
With trust in God, with good will, self-confidence, and a hopeful attitude towards life, man will always win his battle, however difficult.

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