The interface between the life within and the life without is of great importance to us, as Hazrat Inayat Khan explains. The previous post is here.
When we consider how many impressions, agreeable and disagreeable, without knowing the consequence of them, we partake of from morning till evening, in this way, without a person meaning to become wicked, he turns wicked. For in point of fact, nobody is born wicked. Although the body belongs to the earth, yet the soul belongs to God.
And from above, nothing man has got except goodness. With the wickedest person in the world, when you can touch the deepest depth of his being, it is nothing but goodness. Therefore, if there is any such thing as wickedness or badness, it is only that he has acquired it, and acquired it not willingly but only by being open to all impressions, since it is natural that every man is open to impressions.
No doubt the secret of what may be called a superstition, which exists in the East and sometimes also in the West, the superstition of the omen is in this, in the impression. For instance, there have been beliefs that if you hear the sound of a certain bell there will be a death in your surroundings, or if you see such a person good or bad luck will come to your family. People have sometimes believed blindly, and gone on believing for many, many years. Then other intellectual ones thought there was nothing in those superstitions, and have ignored them. But at the end of the study one will find that the secret of all those superstitions is nothing but the impressions; that it is only that what the mind has taken through the senses, has its effect not upon the body alone, but also upon man’s affairs.
There is the science of physiognomy or phrenology which goes as far as saying that what one acquires, helps to form the different muscles of the features and the head, according to what one has taken in his mind. And it is written in the Koran that every part of man’s being will bear witness of his action. I should say that it does not bear witness in the hereafter, it bears it every hour of the day. If one will examine life one will find that the mind and the body are formed from what one takes from the outer world. And there are the words of Christ: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” All that one values, it is that which he makes in himself; he creates in himself all that he values. No doubt when a person is an admirer of beauty he will always partake of all that he sees as beauty – beauty of form, of colour, of line, and beyond, the beauty of manner, of attitude, which is a greater beauty still.
No doubt at this time of the condition of the world, man ignores very much the beauty of culture and fineness. No doubt it gives a warning that the world, instead of going forward, is going backward, for the reason that civilization is not only an industrial development but a material culture, and if that is called civilization, it is not the right word for the right thing. The explanation of civilization is not very difficult to give. It is progress towards harmony, beauty and love. And when one goes back from these three great principles of life, one may be very creative, but at the same time it is not civilization.
No doubt every race and every creed has its principles of right and wrong, but there is one fundamental principle of religion, and one in which all creeds and all people can meet. And that principle is to see in action, in attitude, in thought and feeling, beauty. There is no action upon which there is a stamp that this is wrong or right. But what can be wrong, or wicked, is what our mind is accustomed to see as wrong or wicked, because it is void of beauty. The one who therefore seeks beauty in all its forms, in action, in feeling, in manner, he will impress his heart with beauty.
All the great ones who have come in the world from time to time to waken humanity to a greater truth, what did they teach, what did they bring? They brought Beauty. It is not what they taught, it is what they were themselves. The intellectual understanding of beauty is the talking of beauty. One cannot talk, one cannot speak enough about it; words are too inadequate to express either goodness or beauty. One can say a thousand words, and yet one will never be able to express it. For it is something which is beyond words, and the soul alone can understand it. And the one who will always follow in his life, in every little thing he does, the rule of beauty, he will always succeed, and he will always be able to discriminate between right and wrong and between good and bad.