Hazrat Inayat: Self-Help and Attainment

There is a belief–and many have this belief–that external help can be had to further one’s attainment, help from saints, sages, masters, spirits, or angels. No doubt there is a great deal of truth in all this, and help comes as you ask for it and need it, and all kinds of helpers will help you as you call upon them. But at the same time self-help must not be neglected or ignored, for after all is said, self-help is the best of all help, and all will strive to help the one who tries to help himself. To what extent one should expect such external help can be best explained by the fact that to the extent of our wish and our willpower we attract help and power of accomplishment. In our desire for the accomplishment of good and helpful things we attract good helpers, and in the evil things one desires one attracts evil helpers. The Satanic side of life is ever ready to help man, as is God. As soon as a person has a determined evil thought all the means of help about one begin to manifest themselves. The help in good thoughts comes more slowly upon the physical plane, where with a bad thing it comes more quickly. Because pebbles, like the line of least resistance, are found everywhere, but diamonds are so rare! Evil motives and deeds take much less time to accomplish their purpose and less trouble, while good things are accomplished with great patience and perseverance. And the difference can only be realised in their results. It is, in truth, in the end that man knows what he has striven after. Evil has ever in the end a weakening power, while virtue is a strengthening power. A disappointment or a failure in the path of virtue will give more happiness in the end than success and accomplishment of desire in the path of evil. The loss which one has experienced along the path of virtue is far preferable to gain in the path of evil.

There are three stages in every wish: inclination, pursuit, attainment. It is after these three stages that the result of man’s wish is manifest and not until then that man realises his wish in its fullness. In the first stage the wish is apt to be in confusion; in the second stage there is an absorption in the idea and action; in the third stage there is the joy of fulfilment or a sorrow at the loss. But a result, later, may prove that one would even prefer the sorrow to the joy and its consequences, for even a joy may prove to be the cause of a greater sorrow. It is so easy to wish for a thing! But it is difficult to know if it will prove good for one or not, for what one loves today he may hate tomorrow; and if the wish of today be fulfilled tomorrow, when the time of love has expired and the time of hatred approaches, then it would have been far better had one forgotten the wish as soon as it was born.

To want a thing is an easy matter, but to want it continually is a difficult thing. And how much time man wastes on wanting things and then not wanting them! This wanting faculty works also in childhood. Therefore the great task in life is to watch our desires, to know, to understand, and to analyse: what I want, why I want it, and how I can get it, and what result will it be likely to bring about? It is the part of wisdom, when once you have studied and understood this question, to continue going forward intelligently, courageously and steadily along the path of attainment and to pursue the end.

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