Continuing with the extensive teaching on the awakening of the soul, Hazrat Inayat Khan now emphasises that it means simply awakening from a dream to reality, just as the passage from this physical life to the hereafter is a passage from illusion to the real. The previous post in the series may be found here.
The more one thinks of it and the more one glances into the hereafter, the more one will realize that what is behind the veil of death is awakening to another sphere as real as this, even more real than this. What is real? Real is the soul, the consciousness itself. What is past is a dream, what will come is hope. What one experiences seems real, but it is only a suggestion. The soul is real, its aim is to realize itself. Its liberation, its freedom, its harmony and peace, all depend upon its own unfoldment. No outside experience can make the soul realize the real.
Why cannot we see the soul? We can see the body and from our thoughts we can think that we have a mind, because thought manifests to us in the form of a mental picture. Why do we not see the soul? The answer is that as the eyes can see all things but themselves, so it is with the soul. The soul is sight itself, it sees all, but the moment it closes its eyes to all it sees then its own light makes it manifest to its own view. It is therefore that people take the path of meditation, the path by which they get in touch with themselves, with their soul. They realize the continuity of life which is immortal life, they realize the independence of life by getting in touch with their soul.
Now one may ask, ‘What about those who come in this world in a miserable condition, while others come in good conditions? Is it not something innate in the soul?’ No, it is something that the soul has carried along with it like the load on a camel: it is on its back, not within it. So it is with the load of the soul.
Another question is, ‘If the soul is awakened, how does it awake, and who awakens it?’ We see that the time for nature to awake is the spring. It is asleep all winter and it awakes in the spring. There is a time for the sea, when the wind blows and brings good tidings, as if it awakes from sleep; then the waves rise. All this shows struggle, it shows that something has touched it and makes it uneasy, restless; it makes it want liberation, release. Every atom, every object, every condition and every living being has a time of awakening.
Sometimes there is a gradual awakening, and sometimes there is a sudden awakening. To some persons it comes in a moment’s time – by a blow, by a disappointment, or because their heart has broken through something that happened suddenly. It seemed cruel, but at the same time the result was a sudden awakening and this awakening brought a blessing beyond praise. The outlook changed, the insight deepened; joy, quiet, independence and freedom were felt, and compassion showed in the attitude. A person who would never forgive, who liked to take revenge, who was easily displeased and cross, a person who would measure and weigh, when his soul is awakened, becomes in one moment a different person. As the emperor of India Mahmud Ghaznavi has said in a most beautiful line, ‘I, the emperor, who have thousands of slaves awaiting my command, the moment love has sprung in my heart consider myself the slave of my servants’. The whole attitude becomes changed. Only, the question is what one awakens to, in which sphere, in what plane, to which reality.
Sometimes after one has made a mistake, by the loss that mistake has caused, the outlook becomes quite different. In business, in one’s profession, in worldly life, a certain experience just like a blow has broken something in a person and with that breaking a light has come, a new light. However, one is not always to be awakened by a mistake. No doubt awakening very often comes by a blow, by a great pain, a painful condition, but at the same time it is not necessary to look for a blow. Life has enough blows for us, we need not look for them.