Jan 11th 1924
Man seems to have lost at this time a communication with himself by the tremendous responsibilities of everyday life. The Sufi Order by its initiation helps one to come in communication with oneself. This opens the door to the heart. All the mysteries and wonders of life are gained when one has got in communication with one’s own heart. It is therefore that we in the Sufi Order do not occupy ourselves with wonder-working or any other sort of communication; we only pay attention to communicating with ourselves in order to find our deeper self.
What is the difference between the work a Sufi does and that of another mystic? In the East the Yogi mystics are well known, and it is worth while to consider what difference there is. The Yogi tries to touch the infinite by diving deep into his innermost being; and the process he takes is to close himself and move as far away from the world as he can. And by doing this he reaches that depth which is the goal everyone is seeking. The methods of the Sufi differ from those of the Yogis in that the Sufi opens himself to all that is good and beautiful. He says that to go back to the infinite without having known all that is beautiful here is absurd. He wants to love all the beauty of the earth, and so he opens himself. Therefore his path is very difficult—to love and yet not to be attached; to be in the crowd, and yet in the solitude; to be in the world and yet to be above it.
Self-denial to a Sufi is different from what it is to those who deny themselves all things of life. Self-denial for the Sufi is the denial of the false self which one had as a conception of self. His whole concentration and meditation is meant to get rid of that false conception of himself. A Sufi says: Man’s very being is truth. It cannot be taught nor learned. It exists. The realisation must come by itself. There are no doubt some studies to go through, but that is not the main thing. Meditation and concentration are only taught to make it easy for a person to advance. Truth is not an object to be given, it is one’s own being. One can realize the truth by communicating with oneself.
The path that we tread is a delicate path. The less spoken of it, the better. We cannot keep it in too humble a garb. For the more we value it, the more it is necessary that it should be humbly kept. Nor do we urge our ideas upon others. Our service is a most delicate one and therefore we have a great responsibility, and we must not force our ideas upon any earnest seeker after truth. Our task is difficult, but by realizing it every day more, you understand my difficulty from your own difficulties. Our sacrifices in the service of God and humanity are a thousand times blessed.
There is one secret, which is: to try to maintain harmony in every situation. It is a very difficult task to begin with, but in time one will get accustomed to it. The first thing to be thought of is whether it will bring harmony, as God asks from us to do his higher work. You can only live in the world in one of two conditions: either being a peacemaker or a fighter, but one must be a good fighter in order to win every battle. Life is a continual battle, but warfare does not only ask strength, it requires some sense also. And to be a peacemaker one must be friends with everyone. However insignificant the person is, you must harmonize, else it would be impossible to live. This effort to harmonize causes a strain upon one every day. But still, in trying to harmonise, his life becomes easier and easier. And then it is like wonder-working. It is not only a story that Daniel tamed lions. It is much more difficult to tame human beings; for one must understand the psychology of human nature. There is an expression, which says: They rubbed him the wrong way — it takes a long time to get over this little error of rubbing someone the wrong way.
People think that there is an art to study or practise, but I say: Life itself is an art and if one can learn how to live, one has learned the only thing one really wants. Besides if you know the psychology of human nature, one sees how very often one overlooked an act of kindness to be done. Some natures there are who only need a word of human sympathy and of comfort, of kindness. If we do not listen to people at the right moment, very often we lose a battle which we might have won by having listened to him and having understood his wants. No strength is needed, only tact.
It is this wonder-working of the prophets which has done miracles. There is no greater miracle to perform than to create harmony in one’s life, one’s home, one’s office, one’s work. The more you advance in life, the more you will see people like children. If you rise above it, you will be able to create harmony. You must feel grown-up yourself; you must feel the power of the grown-up. No grown-up will fight with a child. The best thing to do is to waken in everybody the good that is in everyone. Very often a proud person, as you have overlooked his pride, feels his pride melt away at once. As soon as your pride stands against the proud person—then there will be a battle.
It is the continual desire to create harmony which creates the greatness in life.
adapted from Complete Works of Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, 1924 I