More about the Religion of the Heart

The recently posted text of Hazrat Inayat about the Religion of the Heart indicated there are three steps in this path.  The first two are not difficult to grasp, although making them a reality is not so simple.  First, one considers the heart of the person in front of one–giving it the attention and reverence one might have on approaching a temple.  The second step is to consider the heart of the one who is not present in the same way; an example might be to not say anything about someone who is not present that one would not say in the presence of that person.

The third step is more paradoxical.  One turns inward now, to one’s own heart, and considers that the feelings one has are not ‘mine’ but are indeed the feelings of the Divine Presence.  We can perhaps think of the sometimes-used formulation of the Zikar, “This is not my heart, this is the altar of God.”

To make a reality of this step of the religion of the heart one must engage in a very serious examination of one’s feelings, both the momentary feelings that come and go, and our habitual attitudes of which we are often unaware, always asking if this is a feeling we wish to lay upon the Divine Presence. If we have a feeling of envy, for example, or blame or guilt, or any of the other ‘unlovely’ feelings that lurk in the chamber of the heart, would we not rather find a way of re-forming it?

And if we wrk with diligence, in time, we may come to recognise the reality of this third stage, which is, ‘I’ do not exist at all–all feeling, all thought and all manifestation is none other than Thy Divine Face.”


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