Glimpses: A Faithful Friend

Among his many gifts, Hazrat Inayat Khan was a very skilful healer, and a number of mureeds have recounted tales of his help with illnesses that seemed beyond the care of medical doctors.  But in addition to the wisdom and power of the healer, there must also be a belief on the part of the patient in good health, as Hazrat Inayat explains in the following anecdote.

I remember going to see a patient who had been suffering from an illness for more than twenty years and had lost every hope of getting better.  Several physicians had been consulted, and many different treatments had been tried.

I told her a simple thing to do; I did not teach any special practices, but just an ordinary little thing to do in the morning and in the evening. And to the great surprise of those at home, she began to move her hands and legs, which had been thought impossible. This gave them great hope, that a patient who had been so long in bed could do this, and to her too it was a great surprise.

I went to see them after a few days and asked them, “How is the patient progressing?

They said, “She is progressing very well. We could never have believed that she could move her hands and legs; it is the most wonderful thing. But we cannot make her believe that now after twenty years of suffering she can ever be well again. This illness has made such an impression upon her that she thinks that it is natural for her, and that to be well is a dream, an unreality.”

This gave me the idea that when a person lives in a certain condition for a long, long time, that condition becomes his friend unconsciously. He does not know it, he may think that he wants to get out of it, yet there is some part of his being that is holding his illness just the same.

One day, remembering this peculiarity of human nature, I asked someone who was brought to me to be cured of an obsession how long she had had this obsession.

She explained to me how horrible the obsession was, how terrible life was for her.

I listened for half an hour to everything she said against the obsession; but recollecting this amusing aspect of human nature, I asked her, “You do not really mean to say that you want to get rid of that spirit? If I had that spirit I would keep it. After all these years that you have had it, it seems unjust and very cruel to the spirit. If this spirit had not cared for you, it would not have stayed with you. In this world, is it easy for a person to remain so long with one? This spirit is most faithful.”

Then she said, “I do not really want to get rid of it.”

I was very much amused to see how this person wanted sympathy and help, but did not want to give up the spirit. It was not the spirit that was obsessing the person, but the person obsessing the spirit!

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