As Hazrat Inayat Khan continues he explanation of the art of personality, he now explores the role of feeling in this theme. The previous post may be found here.
The art of personality is not so difficult to learn. It is to learn to be thoughtful. Those who say much, very often say so little. Others who say little, they say much. It depends upon how it is said. In the Bible is said: “First was the Word and the Word was God.” That shows what power the word has. If we control our speech, if we know how to use a word, we know the chemical science of life and use it to the best purpose in life. Sometimes a person can change a situation by one word, and others cannot change it by a hundred hammers. There is a way to hammer and break a rock, and there is the way of the water. If the rock is in the way, the water will not hammer; the water will surround it, will run smoothly over it and make its way on the top of the rock, and in this way the waves will proceed.
If one only knew the art of personality. If a person is upset, among ten people who want to console him, there are nine who will upset him more, and there is rarely one who will console him. That also belongs to the art of personality.
And then we come to another aspect of the art of personality and that is sympathetic and right thinking. By right thinking all that one says and does naturally becomes right, because the root of every speech and action is in the mind. Naturally by right thinking one speaks rightly and acts rightly, one cannot do otherwise. But what generally happens is that one never thinks about right thinking in connection with oneself, always one thinks about it in connection with others. If there is any wrong, it is in the other one. And the most wonderful thing is that the one who is most in the wrong, is the one who sees most the wrong in others. That person who is full of wrongs, you will see, that person knows a thousand wrongs about a thousand people.
Besides, our experiences make us so pessimistic that if anyone said: “I have seen someone, such a nice and kind and good person,” we begin to doubt. Unconsciously our first thought is: “Can it be true? It cannot be true; there is no such a thing as good in the world.” And as soon as a person says: “I have seen such a wicked person”, everybody is interested, because they believe it. That shows that we hardly expect any experience that can ever be right.
And now coming to the fourth aspect of the art of personality, which is feeling. The great drawback of modern civilization is that man today thinks what is balanced and what is practical, is to think with the brain, to reason out things. But to feel with the heart, he thinks – that is not practical, that is not common sense. Therefore today a normal and balanced person is the one who lives in his brain, and the one whose heart is developed, is called a fanatic or unpractical. Imagine, after reading in the Bible that God is Love, we come to realize that the one who has less God in him is more practical, and he who has more God in him, he is good for nothing. When there is a discussion among intellectual persons it is understood to keep apart sentimentality: “Just discuss on the point, that keeps your reasoning clear.” But this takes away the beauty of life.
The art of personality is in that profound deep feeling which directs every thought, speech and action of man. When Jesus Christ said to the fishermen: “Come hither and I will make you the fishers of men,” He spoke to those who were absorbed in catching fishes at the sea shore: “Come here, I will teach you, (in other words), the art of personality.” It is therefore not a subject which I bring before you, it is a subject which Christ taught. It is the art of personality which the Prophets proved in their own lives to be of the greatest importance. The impression Buddha has left upon millions of people in the East who keep his image in the temple and see the expression of God in Buddha, what is it? Is it the theories and dogmas and teachings he has given? No, it is his personality which has given such a deep impression upon people that for centuries they have held it sacred. It has proved to be more precious than anything in the world.
To be continued…