More about recognising God

In the recently posted talk about mastery in the world, Hazrat Inayat Khan quoted a very insightful piece of advice from ‘a friend of his murshid,’ that when a thousand thoughts distract us from our meditations, the problem is not so much in the thoughts as in our relationship to them.  To the one who was distracted, the friend said, You recognize another than God, you do not recognize God. You do not think that whatever comes before you is God and nothing but God, but you think that only God is God and all other is other. But you do not know there is no other than God. Whatever comes before us we should recognize as God. Whatever thought comes, we should say that it is nothing but God. Then in all our business, whatever it is, we shall see only God.

It is not easy to recognise the All-Pervading.  Generally speaking, the world could be sorted into a number of categories: there are those who have no conscious belief; there are those who have some belief, but one that is more conceptual than founded upon certainty; and there are some who have had some experience that confirms to them that behind their belief there is reality, however distant it may remain.

Those in that third group, quite naturally, tend to regard with great reverence whatever it was that helped them to that moment of recognition. If they were praying in a temple and had a moment of perception, then they naturally associate the Divine Presence with that temple, and with those prayers or rituals, and it may take a long time to recognise that the same Divine Presence is in everything outside the temple as well.  Or if they were in the solitude of nature and had some understanding, that will certainly deepen their love of nature, but it may be difficult for them to find the same truth in the city.

Such a phase is natural and understandable, but if we stop there, we are, as Hazrat Inayat says, standing still on the stairway that is meant to lift us upward, becoming fixated on the step rather than the goal to which it can lead us.  In the words of the friend quoted above, this is ‘to think that only God is God, and all other is other.’  If we would strive to recognise the Divine in everything that comes before us, everything would change.

And what is the barrier to that recognition?  Only our ego, the fundamental cause of all separation.  We may approve in principle of the idea that all is God, but when we are confronted by a difficult colleague, for example, my ‘me-ness’ is reluctant to grant him or her even a spark of divinity.  To put it a different way, the ‘otherness’ is not in the colleague, but in our own mind, and if we want to open our heart to Unity, we have to welcome the whole.  If we look at the colleague and recognise someone difficult, we have made separation, or we could say, we have placed ourselves in exile, but if we look at the colleague and recognise God, we have come home.

One Reply to “More about recognising God”

  1. Sakina Angeli Janssen

    Dear Nawab,
    This theme always reminds me of an English/American? popsong with these words: “What if God was one of us…just a stranger on a bus…” To recognize God in all and everything familiar and unexpected …is a beautiful challenge..Thank you Nawab,
    with warm regards,


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