More about Attainment

In a recent post Hazrat Inayat Khan offers us some wisdom in connection with the attainment of our goals in life, urging us to focus our desires strongly and hold them steadily before us so they may bear fruit.  Someone unfamiliar with these teachings might be surprised that a spiritual master would give this kind of advice: are we not supposed to rise above all desires to discover our inner nature? What about the principle of indifference?  But in fact Hazrat Inayat gave many talks on what he called ‘Sadhana, the Path of Attainment.’ ‘Sadhana’ is a Sanskrit word meaning a way of attaining something and is usually applied to yogic exercises that help one toward the ultimate Reality. Why did Hazrat Inayat think it is important to us?

One possible explanation is that we live today in a constant flow of worldly activity, and by speaking of attainment Hazrat Inayat was using a language we can easily understand.  There are a few who are attracted by the thought of withdrawing from the world, although their vision of this is often more romance than reality.  The majority, though, are fully involved in the tumult of daily life: family, work, education, social engagements, and so on.  Inasmuch as we so often meet with frustration in our various endeavours, any counsel about attainment is sure to catch our attention.

But we can also see that the the fundamental process of attainment is the same, whether the goal is a material one or a spiritual one.  If we learn well the lessons of accomplishing our worldly goals, it becomes possible to very easily apply the same lessons to the inner journey.  Conversely, if we have not learned how to attain what is needed in the outer life then our inner journey will not go very far either.

And what is more, the further we go in life, the more we recognise that the inner journey and the outer are not separate.  Sweeping the floor can be a way of sweeping the dust from the heart; meeting with a colleague can be a way of meeting with the Friend.  As Hazrat Inayat says in another lecture, we do not need to be constantly praying; let the work you do be your prayer; that is the real attainment.

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