Contents Letter from Nuria
The Lonely Sheep, poem by Nuria
Trust in God, but Tether Your Camel First & 窶連ql by Karim
Mindfulness from a Sufi Perspective by Nuria
Open-mindness by Zora
The Power of Silence by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Sufi Movement Melbourne Winter Retreat
Photo credits: Cover & back page: Yaqin. Page 2: Nuria. Page 4: Ben Kerckx www.pixabay.com Page 5: http://www.siwallpaperhd.com/ Page 6: A Camel with his Driver. Attributed to Sultan Muhammed. Persian, mid-16th century. Page 10 & 11: Zora Page 12 www.nekbakhtfoundation.org/gallery Page 15: wallmag.tumblr.com Page 2 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 2 June 2016
Beloved Sisters and Brothers Winter 2016 This year is turning out to be a pivotal year for me and this has come as a surprise. It seems to be the beginning of a new cycle and I’m not really sure why – although everything is interconnected isn’t it? My book on ‘The Witch as Teacher in Fairy Tales’ is finally finished I think, and I am close to submitting it to a publisher. It is dedicated to our beloved Pir O Murshid Hidayat who turns 100 years old next August. I found that in immersing myself in the realm of the Creative Imagination, I have come to many realisations and understand that to go into this realm is to go into the realm where we ourselves are created. I found such richness and depth in the stories that I hadn’t fully understood before and have been able to explore this with Azad and the dear friends who have been reviewing the manuscript for me. The journey itself has been magical and I have been astounded by the synchronicities (miracles) which have manifested to support me. The whole world is one and when we are in tune, things happen as they ‘should’. One of the big realisations I had, is that we really can’t change anyone, or even give people advice. It is so often misunderstood and rejected. We can only accept people as they are and deal with them as best we can – in seeing the good in everyone, as well as recognising the ‘bad’. To suspend judgement really and just be in the moment. Azad has become interested in Mindfulness and so we participated in a lovely weekend retreat at Cloud Mountain Retreat in Dunkeld. Even finding the retreat at the time we did was amazing – we met the minister who married us (10 years ago) who is also a Zen master. He just happened to be running a retreat on Mindfulness at his retreat centre and he had room for us. This has also been life changing as I realise that the concept of Mindfulness is most certainly part of our Sufi practice. More of this later. Cloud Mountain retreat is close to Mt. Sturgeon and Mt. Abrupt at the southern end of the Grampians – very beautiful and peaceful. There was a lonely old sheep in the field next to the retreat house, and he captured our imagination. Everyone felt his loneliness. So I wrote a poem about him. Nearby there was a huge, ancient, gnarled river gum tree. It was so beautiful, full of life and energy that my heart opened and I fell in love. All I could do was walk around it very slowly and gaze up into it in wonderment – into its huge branches and see the spaces between... I have also just had my cataracts removed. What a difference in my seeing. We don’t realise how things creep up on us – like stress and not seeing clearly. I am so amazed at the brightness and depth of colour in the world – the pink breast of our Galahs especially is such a beautiful deep shade of pink. I saw it as pastel pink before. The world has come into sharp focus again. Mind you, I am also seeing dirt and grime in the household that I just didn’t notice before and also the wrinkles! Murshid Nawab’s Blog ‘The Inner Call’ has been a huge influence – we have access to our Teacher and the teachings in a way which addresses our daily life and concerns and we are able to comment and interact on the issues which speak to us. It is beautiful to see the feedback and comments from mureeds all over the world. It is strange how often the post seems to be aimed straight at me and my situation and I am so grateful to Murshid Nawab for guiding us in this way. Winter Retreat is coming up soon and I am looking forward to being with our Sufi community and family again. The topic is ‘The Perfection of Love, Harmony and Beauty’ and I notice that this phrase comes up in the Invocation as well as in the prayer Khatum. Perfection is a huge topic and fundamental to our understanding of the One and the world. The retreat will also lead us toward the winter solstice so that we can honour the coming of the Light and make a ‘wish’ for the New Year. With love and blessings to you all, Nuria
National Representative Sufi Movement in Australia
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The Lonely Sheep By Nuria
He was a shaggy, amber coloured sheep, badly in need of shearing. Alone in a large field â€“ pacing up and down like a lion in a cage. His friend long gone. He was happy when a mob of Kangaroo came to visit and he grazed with them. Tried to follow when they left and then was alone again. We did Tai Chi outside, watching him, as he stood stock still watching us. He had been hand-reared we think, but wary now of strangers. When approached he would stamp his little hoof and back away, but then came closer, until I could pat his woolly head and touch his little hard horns. He is part of all of us and so we longed for him to have company, a Friend. Paul told how the ram had put his cheek against his, and how he had kissed him on the head.
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Editorial Mindfulness is a cornerstone of any spiritual practice because we are either the slave or the master of our mind, and there are numerous practices in the Sufi tradition designed to draw us into a state of mindfulness including wazifa and zikr. Hazrat Inayat Khan states in Volume 13, Gathas: The horse is the symbol of the mind. When the mind is under control it is like a horse broken in, when it cannot be controlled it is like a restive horse, when its rein is not well in hand it is like a wild horse roaming about in the wilderness.
I recently read about a study conducted at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in the US where 75 volunteers were burnt with a thermal probe set at 50째, a level of heat most people find very painful, while their responses were recorded in an MRI. Subjects were then split into groups. One group got four days of real training on mindfulness, like deep breathing and meditation, and three groups got fake training, a placebo cream, or nothing. When they were tested again the results were dramatic: those without the mindfulness training reported a slight lessening of the pain but those who benefitted from the real mindfulness training reported 27% less physical and 44% less emotional pain. Morphine by comparison has been shown to reduce physical pain by only 22%. It makes you think about the power and effectiveness of true spiritual practice doesn't it? Yaqin Page 5 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 2 June 2016
‘Trust in God, but Tether Your Camel First’ & ‘Aql
To ‘tether ones camel’. What is it that we are being asked to do here as it is expressed in this oft quoted advice? The way it has always been used in relation to me and my personal ‘affairs’ would make it seem that this saying is intended to point me towards taking care of all those day-to-day things that are the concern of my individual self, as opposed to somehow expecting ‘God’ to look after them for me. As my ‘issues’ it is up to me to deal with them as best I can, and not to expect someone/something other than me to take care of them for me. This seems reasonable enough except when one starts to look more deeply into what it means to ‘trust in God’. If, indeed, God is, as it is expressed in the Qur’an, ‘closer to me than my jugular vein [neck vein]’ does He not know me better than I know myself? And if so, doesn’t He know even before I do myself what is good for me and what I should leave alone? Where then does the Trust in God but first tether your camel come into the picture? Are we not supposed to surrender completely everything to Him? How then does such a degree of trust brook this ‘self-interested’ approach as stated in this oft repeated piece of advice? It occurred to me that the answer lies in a more detailed understanding of this word ‘tether,’ particularly after reading of the etymology of the word for tether in Arabic: ‘aql. Etymologically, the Arabic word ‘aql, is related to the word that meant, ‘that which was tied to an animal’s feet to restrain it.’ For the Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula, one imagines – even now – such a word must have been extremely well used! Having spent time in desert country it is difficult to conceive of loosing ones mode of travel when out there in the wastes of sand, sun and wind. Tethering ones camel would have been a matter of course, reinforced by tales of life and death examples of those that failed to heed this necessary precaution against the animal’s natural inclination to wander off. Yet it quickly becomes clear, even to a non-Arabic speaking Westerner, that what is being spoken of Page 6 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 2 June 2016
in the use of this expression is not meant to be taken exactly literally, after all there are very few camels to be met with in ones daily life in the average suburb of modern cities. What then is this ‘tethering’ and ‘camel’ thing really about? The answer to this quickly leads us into quite deep waters indeed. Proceeding from the facts that we know, in that a) we are not talking about camels but we really do mean to talk about ‘tethering’ in the more westernised form we are familiar with, that of ‘restraint’, and, b) that the English translation/ derivation of this Arabic word for ‘aql is somehow deeply related to the mystics path we must choose to begin here. Although the word ‘aql does not appear in the Qur‘an in this form, derivations of it are found in the Qur‘an in at least 50 instances, according to Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi (The Divine Guide in Early Shi‘ism). According to this same author, the word may also be translated, depending on context, as “reason”, “intellect”, “intelligence”, or even “Science”, or “discernment”. The related form of this word - ‘aqla/ya‘qilu – is used, in conjunction with words of a similar syntactical and stylistic structure such as the verbs tafakkara (to think about God’s signs [ayat], to remember them, to meditate on them), faqiha (to understand, to grasp, especially the Word of God), tadhakkara (to keep God in one’s memory), and also sha’ara (to grasp intuitively the Word of God), and, finally, ‘alima (to be familiar with and to know how to recognise God’s signs). ‘The ‘aql found in the Qur‘an may be considered a kind of consciousness or perception of the divine, simultaneously consisting of immediate meditative reflection, remembering, intuiting, and deep knowledge that imply assent and submission to divine authority’, Moezzi continues. Early Imamism… exploits this religious domain of ‘aql to the extreme, going so far as to turn it into a capital aspect of its dogma in general, and of its Imamology in particular. According to the imams, ‘aql is the best, if not the only way of approach to and understanding of their teachings , in other words, without ‘aql the sayings of the imams remain incompletely understood, ineffective, or even incomprehensible. [Note 6 says: Quite often in the speeches of the imams one encounters expressions like, “’aql is the axis of our religion (al-‘aql qutb dinina), “ ‘aql is the axis around which the truth turns (al-‘aql huwa lqutb alladhi ‘alayhi madar al-haqq), “ ‘aql is what one leans upon in our teaching” (al-‘aql ma yuhtajj bihi fi amrina) etc.] To tether something, then, is to impede it following its own tendency to roam, which is something that – as human beings with a will that is separate from Gods – we are free to exercise. This ‘tendency to roam’ is the form that individual wilfulness takes only too often in our personal experience of life here on this plain of existence. Religious orthodoxies of various kinds are the very means that prophet’s of all generations bring to humanity in an effort to warn it of the dire consequences of such acts, and this is part of the ‘tethering’ that is spoken of here. However, to surrender our will to the Will of God is an act of freely choosing to restrict our own will… in fact it is we ourselves who must make the choice to tether ourselves to God, so this act is something even more closely aligned to our own inner workings than any mere adherence to an ‘orthodoxy’, of whatever stripe, ever could be. What quickly becomes clear to us as we pursue these thoughts and insights is the fecundity of this process. ‘Aql here used then is something infinitely more complex and subtle than any adherence to religion with its varied rules governing one’s day-to-day behaviour, dress code, eating restrictions, and so on, can really expose us to. Certainly we must choose to stick closely to these ‘rules’ and codes of conduct Page 7 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 2 June 2016
and behaviour, etc., however, that alone will never ensure our safe passage to our journey’s end. It has been said that, “without ‘aql, man is without religion, that is, without that which can ‘tie’ him back to God, man then forgets his condition as a creature and falls into impious selfishness,” and also that, “Self infatuation is proof of the weakness of ‘aql.” Clearly we are talking here now of something much more than just a ‘restraining device’, however useful that may be! Indeed, from the same sources we read, ‘ ‘aql is not just an acquired quality, but a gift from God. One might call it an innate faculty of transcendent knowledge…’. ‘Aql is not, then, knowledge in the purely worldly sense of the word, but a Knowledge that raises one up from this plain of existence to another level. It is also the faculty that enables this knowledge, and – finally - it is a gift from God. Put in the words of the eighth imam, “ ‘Aql is a favour from God…whereas good education is a quality acquired with difficulty.” All man can do is to develop, to actualise this ‘aql, this divine gift in the potential state; it is actualised with the aid of ‘ilm, the initiatory (sacred) Knowledge … . Ultimately we are to understand that ‘aql is a kind of incipient ‘organ’ of spiritual perception, granted to us by God in accordance with our aptitude, which we can choose to ‘tune-in’ to or not. However, without it as something that functions within us, our ‘religion’, however pious it may appear, can only be an act, therefore, hypocrisy. Ja‘far al-Sadiq, the Sixth imam, said: “The beginning of all things, their origin, their force, and their prosperity, is that ‘aql without which one can profit from nothing. God created it to adorn His creatures, and as a light for them. It is through ‘aql that the servants recognise that God is their creator and that they themselves are created beings, that He is the director and they are the directed, that He is the eternal and they are the ephemeral; they are guided by their ‘aql when they observe God’s creation, His heavens, His earth, His sun, His moon, His night and His day…It is thanks to ‘aql that they can distinguish what is beautiful from what is ugly, that they realise that darkness is in ignorance and that light is in Knowledge.” ‘Tethering one’s camel’ now seems to have taken on truly cosmic proportions. Without understanding this necessary step, from one concerning merely one’s earthly daily existence as lived in and through the body and concerned with things to do with our terrestrial life, to that of the suprasensible one, one cannot come to grips with the deeper significance of this idea of ‘tethering’ at all. It takes someone of the stature of a Ja‘far al-Sadiq to really open this up for us. To show that without attention to this inner capacity, gifted to us by God, no matter that we practice the prescribed prayers, follow the script as we may, we are little better than hypocrites. The possibility is there for us to open to this hidden, albeit incipient, organ of spiritual perception, to whatever extent we are capable. Will we do it? In the last analysis, it appears that we have the choice. Not, it turns out between ‘Trusting in God’ but ‘tethering one’s camel first’, but between recognition that their exists another level of being where these two things are not in some sense opposed to one another, but are a necessary concomitant each of the other. We cannot not tether our camel and claim to have trust in God. Each presupposes the other, and we have been given the organ that allows us to achieve this union. The rest is up to us. Karim Page 8 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 2 June 2016
Mindfulness from a Sufi perspective Mindfulness is an ‘awareness that arises through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment’ (Jon Kabat-Zinn) This definition really says it all – it sounds very simple but yet is very difficult to actually do! We have to remember that the past is done with and the future hasn’t happened yet, so there really is only the present moment in which to experience Life. The other thing is to shift from automatic pilot to awareness of our surroundings and of what is happening inside us, in our body/mind. You can go into Anja’s website for information – www.mindfulnessmeditation.net.au if you would like to know more. I really did this course partly because I wasn’t sure if I was meditating ‘correctly’. We are told to have a silence and meditation actually isn’t mentioned as such. It is of course covered in the volumes in that we first have to learn to concentrate, then contemplate and finally meditate. In the retreat I felt like I had not done a very good job of meditation as my mind was wandering, I was told that a good meditation is the one you have just done. It is practice! No judgement. What I have discovered is that our Sufi practices are designed to lead us towards ‘meditation’. Mindfulness has been around for thousands of years and comes from the yoga and Buddhist traditions. Breath is most important, so when we do our breathing practice, for example, the element breath, instead of thinking about the element we need to feel it and imagine the colour – this takes us into the present moment perfectly. When we are in the realm of imagination we are totally present. We are aware of our breath and of the element. Similarly in the other breathing practices it is to do them with awareness and not on automatic pilot. Simple! But not so easy. I would suggest that when we do our ‘meditation’ after our opening Prayers, followed by our Breathing practice, we then progress on to our Wazifa (let’s say Ya Wahabo) which we should do mindfully and by that I mean that we become very aware of our breath and the feeling of the chant on our body/mind but whilst not thinking about it, we then simply, in silence, put the word Wahabo on our out breath. When the mind strays, just bring it back to the breath and the Wazifa and feel the stillness and peace. It is good to set a timer or bell for perhaps 10 minutes at first and increasing as you feel more competent. There is a great app – insight timer, which you can download for free. It has different gong or bell sounds to use and you can set the time you want to meditate. This means you don’t have to worry about how long you have been sitting. You can even add ambient sound if you want to, like running water or monks chanting Om or music. It is also good to know that we are not meant to try and stop our thoughts – which incidentally is impossible, but rather to become aware of them and then return to the breath. I remember once thinking that I had stopped thinking! This is how the ego tricks us. We have to let go of thinking by being in the moment and feeling. Heart over head. Where have we heard this before? The difference too is that there is now much scientific research on the effects of Mindfulness so that we know that the structure of the brain can be affected and totally changed by our practice and that healing happens in the process. Why wouldn’t you want to do it? Nuria
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Photo taken at the Byzantine ruins of Mystras in Greece
It occurs to me that mindfulness is a misnomer for the practice of emptying out the mind. The clearing out of our personal mental noise in order to simply be present with what's actually happening. I suppose the term mindfulness implies that the mind is fully engaged with paying attention, mindful of this moment. As the Zen saying goes: “When you're sweeping, you're sweeping.” But you know all this. And there are so many great teachers and techniques available to us these days that we can search out the type of practice to best suit our sense of rightness. The aesthetics and discipline of Zen. The spareness and logic of Theravada Buddhism. The colourful archetypes and practices of Tibetan and Hindu traditions. The sage poetics of the Tao. The rapture of the Sufis. The listening silence of the Quakers. And all the other and many, many more possibilities. All offer techniques to shake-out or quiet our incessant obscuration of reality. “ This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.” Mary Oliver
When I was first being taught how to manage the unruly antics of my mind, I was lucky enough to be given some wise grounding. This is what I remember most clearly.
Listening. So simple that we can do it anywhere. In the supermarket checkout line. On a noisy tram.
No need of any special schedule or outfit. Let the sound run in one ear and out the other. Attach no opinion or response to what is heard. Just let it flow through. And do it often. As I write, I'm reminded Page 10 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 2 June 2016
of my Uncle Jack who was a very straight-laced gentleman accountant. He sat of an evening in his armchair listening to a symphony. His face blank and soft. That was his way I guess.
Relaxation. For this we were taught to feel cosy and have a good amount of time without
apprehension of interruption. A half hour at least. The challenge here is to find the sweet spot between repose and sleep and to be able to recollect the sensation of it at will later. Sweeping our attention systematically from toes to head, head to toes, maintaining attention on our sensations and feelings very precisely, as every fibre of the body-mind relaxes. Detecting. Staying awake and mentally agile. Acutely aware of what is there to notice. The breath, as always, a good indication of our state of relaxed attention. Possibly you can achieve this attentive ease while walking or swimming laps. I imagine it's possible.
Note the mind antics. It starts out with noting how busy we are with thinking. With comparisons
and opinions. Planning and reviewing. So busy that a heavy mesh develops between us and everything around us. A big thick filter. I often dramatise myself in action: "Oh Zora likes this", "Oh Zora doesn't like that". On and on ad nauseam. The ridiculous cementing of binary responses into how we concoct both ourselves and our reality. It gets more subtle when we can catch the connections between a sensation arising, causing a feeling, causing a thought and note them as they slip in a conga line through us. Buddhist teaching calls it dependent arising. You know the story of the unruly elephant who when walking through a town, was given a banana to hold in its trunk in order to keep it from destroying the stalls beside the road. Well that's like a mindfulness meditation technique. Something to hold on to while making our way through all the above difficulties. Basically I've come to see that once restlessness and resistance melt away, and there's enough concentration developed to hang on to the banana, the nub is then in the delicate alliance between repose and responsiveness. To establish a relaxed, available attentiveness. It allows for the natural flow -through of awareness, of spontaneity, of inspiration, of connectedness, of joy. It also gives us a keen eye to spot the tricky little rats who lurk about in the shadows of our mind. This, to date, is my understanding of mindfulness or maybe of open-mindedness. Zora
Above The Ridge. Photo by Zora
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The Power of Silence By Hazrat Inayat Khan Apart from the meditative silence, even in our everyday life silence is the most essential thing. There is an energy which becomes accumulated, functioning in the innermost of our being, and it is in the speech that one gives outlet to that energy. And that energy may best be called magnetism; it is inspiration and it is wisdom. It is therefore that you will always find in the less talkative person a greater wisdom than the one who is talkative. Apart from wisdom, from a physical point of view, a talkative person is all the time giving out an energy which, if he conserved, he can make a great vital power in himself. With some persons it becomes a passion to speak without purpose, without reason, they speak because they like to speak. If one knew what the Bible says about the word, that first was the word and the word was God. If one only knew what the tradition of humanity has been, it is the word. Those who have the esteem of the word, those who value the word, their word becomes precious. One word is worth millions and even millions are less than the price of their word. The great teachers of humanity have come and passed away, and what they have left behind them, which the world prizes more than anything, is their word. If we keep anything as most sacred now, whatever be our faith or religion, it is the word that has been given to us, it is the word which we keep as the most precious thing in the world. The moment that a person begins to value his word, from that moment he begins to think what he says. The one who has no value of his word, he is of little value to himself. The great person is he who stands for his word. However great a man, if he has no honour of his word he cannot be really great. It is such a pity that in this time of materialism we are losing the idea of the most valuable thing we have, and we have got it from the Heavens. For the word is heavenly, and what is in the word is the soul, the spirit. And when that word is uselessly used life is abused by it. Do we not see that there is one person perhaps who comes to us and speaks a thousand words, and not one word strikes us; there is another person who comes to us and speaks one word, but it penetrates, it makes impression. That word is of value. For there is a living word and there is a dead word. A living word has a life, it acts chemically, the dead word has no life, it is only a corpse. The living word will go and float in the space, it will go in the hearts of man and work, and the dead word will drop on to the earth and will be buried in the dust. And very often a person speaks because of his weakness. He is weak, he cannot control his idea, his thought, and it is helplessly that he drops a word that he would otherwise have kept and not spoken. A gossiping person, a person who criticizes another, you will always find is a person of a weak character. It is not that he likes to speak; it is because he cannot help speaking. It is just like a person who eats but cannot digest. Then a person cannot keep his own secret, when a person cannot keep the secret of his friend, he is a person who has no power of digesting, his conscience will always feel guilty, and his heart restless. There is another person who goes on like a machine, a machine which is hearing from the ears and speaking from the mouth, and it is going on all day, hearing what he speaks and it goes on like a machine. Is it not the experience of many of us, that very often we think, "Oh, I wish I had not said that to that person!" Is it not the experience of many of us when we think that, "I should not have spoken so rudely with the other person?" Or, â€œOh, what a terrible thing I have done, I have opened my heart to that person, I do not know what will become of it." Sa'adi, a great Persian poet, says in his poetry, "My intelligent friend, what use is your repentance after once you have dropped the word out of your lips?" To control the word is more difficult than controlling the most energetic horse. The one who Page 13 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 2 June 2016
controls his word, controls his mind. There is another way of looking at this subject. When a person is talking to those not yet evolved to his own way of looking at things, he may say things of a greater wisdom which will prove to be as pebbles in the place of pearls. It is a loss of words of a higher ideal, of some greater truth to a person who is not capable of understanding or appreciating. You would find it more thoughtful, more wise that you did not speak to him the word at that time, but prepared him to hear that word, even if it be for ten years. And then there are times when you meet with an evolved person for whom your words are of little importance. It is just like a child speaking to a grown person, which means very little to him. But the thing is this, that in doing so you will spoil his time as well as your own. Besides many will know how many disagreements between relations, between friends are brought about by useless talking. The talking had no importance whatever, but it has culminated perhaps in a great disharmony or separateness. There is an amusing story, that a woman went to the house of a healer, a magnetizer, and she asked him if he would tell her something, for she was in a great distress. This distress was that she had every day a disagreement with her husband. The healer said, "It is very easy, I will give you some sweets and you will put it in your mouth and keep your lips closed. Every day when your husband comes home just put it in the mouth." The remedy proved successful, and the woman came after the sweet was finished to thank him and ask for some more magnetized sweets. He said, "My dear lady, you do not need any more bonbons now. Just think that you have them and close your lips and everything will be all right." This example is for us all to learn, whether wise or foolish it is the only dignified thing possible. And now coming to a still deeper side of silence. What is silence? Silence is something which we consciously or unconsciously are seeking every moment of our life. We are seeking for silence and running away from it, both at the same time. Where is the word of God heard? In silence. The seers, the saints, the sages, the prophets and masters, they have heard that voice which comes from within by making themselves silent. I do not mean by this that because one will have a silence that he will be spoken to. I mean that he will hear the word which is constantly coming to him once he is silent. Once the mind has been made still, a person gets in communication with every person he meets. He does not need too many words, when the glance meets, he understands. Two persons may talk and discuss their whole life and they will not understand one another; and two persons with still minds look at one another - in one moment there is a communication. Where comes the difference between persons? It is by their activity. And when comes agreement? It comes by the stillness of mind. It is the noise which hinders a voice that we hear from a distance, and it is the troubled waters of a pool which hinder us seeing our own image reflected in the water. When the water is still it takes a clear reflection and when our atmosphere is still then we hear that voice which is constantly coming to the heart of every person. We are looking for guidance, we all of us search for truth, we search for the mystery. The mystery is in ourself, the guidance in our own soul. Besides this, very often a person meets someone whose contact makes one restless, but by remaining calm one makes the other calm. And it is not easy to stay calm and keeps one's tranquillity in the presence of a restless, agitated person. The teaching of Christ is resist not evil, and that means give not that troubled condition or respond not to the troubled condition of a restless person. It is just like partaking of the fire which will burn oneself. And now, how can one develop that power in oneself to stand in everyday life against all disturbing influences? For our life is exposed to this atmosphere every moment of the day. The answer is that one has to quiet oneself by the way of concentration. And now you may ask what I mean by concentration. Our mind is like a boat, a boat which is in the water, subject to be moved by the waves and subject to be influenced by the wind, both. And the waves for this boat are our own emotions and Page 14 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 2 June 2016
passions, our own thoughts and imaginations. And the wind is the outer influences which we have to meet with. And in order to stop the boat you ought to have the anchor to put in the water, that that anchor makes the boat still. And that anchor is the object which we concentrate upon. If this anchor be heavy and weighty then it will stop the boat, but if this anchor is light the boat will move and not be still, for it is in the water, it is in the air. But now coming to the question, that by this we only control the boat, but utilizing the boat is another question again. The boat is not made to stand still; it is made for a purpose. To make it stand still is only to control the boat first. Although all of us do not know this, but at the same time at the end of the examination this boat is made to go from one port to another port. Now, the sailing of the boat needs different conditions. And those conditions are that the boat must not be more heavily laden than the weight that it is made to carry. And so our heart must not be heavily laden with the things that we attach ourselves to, because then the boat will not go. The boat must not be tied and chained to this one port, for then it is held back and will not go to that other port for which it is made. The boat may be tied to one port for a thousand years, but the boat is not doing its work then. In the first place it must have that responsiveness to the wind that will take it to that port. And that is the feeling that a soul gets from the spiritual side of life. That feeling of the wind helps one to go on forward to that port to which we are all bound. The mind who is once concentrated fully must become a compass as they have in the boat, which always points to the same side. A man who has a thousand different sides of interest, that man is not ready to travel in this boat. It is the man who has one thing in his mind, all other things secondary, that man travels from this port to that port. It is this journey which is called mysticism; it is this journey which is called Sufism. The effort of the Sufi Message is to give the opportunity to those serious seekers after truth that they may come in touch with the deeper side of life. No doubt truth is never taught, truth is discovered. It is not the wonder working; it is not the life of phenomena that is the sign of the seeker. For it is in the search of truth that God is found, for it is in the finding of God that truth is realized. But where is God to be found? God is to be found in the heart of man.
Repose is the secret of all contemplation and meditation, the secret of getting in tune with that aspect of life which is the essence of all things. When one is not accustomed to take repose, one does not know what is behind one's being. Hazrat Inayat Khan
Page 15 Spirit Matters Volume 20 Issue 2 June 2016
Newsletter of the Sufi Movement in Australia