At the conclusion of the previous post in the series, Hazrat Inayat Khan said that there are three aspects to the struggle of life: struggle with oneself, struggle with others and struggle with the circumstances of life.
And now the question is: where should one begin and where should one end? Generally one starts by struggling with others, and then one struggles all through life, and never finishes. The one who is somewhat wiser struggles with conditions, and perhaps he accomplishes things a little better. But the one who struggles with himself first is the wisest, for once he has struggled with himself, which is the most difficult struggle, the other struggles will become easy for him. Struggling with oneself is like singing without an accompaniment. Struggling with others is the definition of war, struggling with oneself is the definition of peace. In the beginning, outwardly, it might seem that it is cruel to have to struggle with oneself, especially when one is in the right. But the one who has penetrated deeper into life will find that the struggle with oneself is the most profitable in the end.
What is the nature of the struggle with oneself? It has three aspects. The first is to make one’s thought, speech, and action answer the demands of one’s own ideal, while at the same time giving expression to all the impulses and desires which belong to one’s natural being. The next aspect of the struggle with oneself is to fit in with others, with their various ideas and demands. For this a man has to make himself as narrow or as wide as the place that one asks him to fill, which is a delicate matter, difficult for all to comprehend and to practice. And the third aspect of the struggle with oneself is to give accommodation to others in one’s own life, in one’s own heart, large or small as the demand may be.
When we consider the question of the struggle with others, there are also three things to think about, of which the first is to control and govern people and activities which happen to be our duty, our responsibility. Another aspect is how to allow ourselves to be used by others in various situations in life; to know to what extent one should allow others to make use of our time, our energy, our work, or our patience, and where to draw the line. And the third aspect is to fit in with the standards and conceptions of different personalities who are at various stages of evolution.
Regarding the third aspect of this struggle, there are conditions which can be avoided, and there are conditions which cannot be helped, before which one is helpless. And again there are conditions that could be avoided, and yet one does not find in oneself the capability, the power, or the means to change the condition. If one studies these questions of life, and meditates in order that inspiration and light may fall on them, so that one may understand how to struggle through life, one certainly will find help and arrive at a stage where one finds life easier.
To be continued…