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Heart with Wings

Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan

In Loving Memory (1917-2016)

Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan as the Pir-o-Murshid and General Representative of the International Sufi Movement until 2016. In 2009 the Pir-o-Murshid Council was established and under this new administrative configuration Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan and Murshid Karimbakhsh Witteveen functioned as Joint-General Representatives. Murshid Hidayat continued to teach, write, compose symphonic music, and collaborate worldwide with prominent conductors and performers. Below are a selection of Murshid Hidayat's inspired and insightful lectures and writing.

Selected Writings and Lectures


Books by Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan

Oh Seeker, did you know…

Oh Seeker, did you know…
Responding to the call
for Unity of Religious Ideals
is like sailing
on the great waters of wisdom;
attuned to the Ideals of
Love, Harmony and Beauty;
guided by the compass of the Message in our time,
and driven by the energy of Spiritual Liberty;
while heading onwards
toward the Goal assigned by Destiny
and finally realizing
that the Sailor
is a ray of the all-pervading Divine presence
sailing in the Past, Present and Future,
on the infinite waves
of illusions.

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The Message

The Sufi Message is a Message of Spiritual Liberty, and therefore, it cannot be limited to just one type of presentation, just as the glowing light of the Sun cannot be confined within one single ray.

The Sufi Message, which is a world Message, is an appeal to harmonize with all beliefs, without forming of an exclusive community.

The great Ideal is to form a nucleus, uniting all beliefs in one and same service to God.

The Sufi Message is a Message of the heart, and there are as many rays of the Message as there are hearts reflecting its light.

The more one is able to reflect the light of the Message, experienced without any religious obligations, the more conscious one becomes of all aspects of its radiance.

The Religion of the heart is a religion, where "Unity of religious ideals" is followed unconditionally in search of truth, rather than following the followers of the followers of various religious reformers, in whose hands, the original message has been misinterpreted and mislead through the centuries, by those who confuse mysticism with fanaticism, and which the multitude uses as toys to play with, and the impostors use in power games.

All Messengers were bringers of new impulses of the Divine Message, intended for the welfare of humanity, and these are to be regarded with the same respect and veneration. There should be no place for comparisons or preferences.

As to Spirituality, this state of inner dawning does not mean drifting upon clouds of illusions; it means having the feet steadily on the ground of reality, and proving without pretense, to have acquired discipline of physical and mental impulses.

It is only when mastering the self, that one can possibly inspire others on the path, where honesty in spirituality is the watchword.

On the path of spirituality, one ventures to vanquish one's own faults, rather than judging others, whose faults are not very different to one's own. One tries to have control over one's own feelings, rather than misunderstanding the feelings of others. One treasures even the smallest sign of appreciation coming from those who are dependant upon one's sympathy.

The Ideal evoked in the Esoteric School of the Sufi Movement is to discover the Divine in all beings, to have patience with all, and perseverance with the efforts made on the path, proving thereby to be worthy of the trust received.

However small we are at the present time, let us unite as brothers and sisters, with the great ideal of bringing happiness to the world, and defying ignorance to prevail over the freedom of spiritual awakening, what ever be the prevailing Cultures.

For the spreading of the Message in our time, we need an organization, which is a responsible entity, available for the work to be done. In that organization, we should not misunderstand the different distinctions, as being spiritual grades; they should be seen as indications related to greater or smaller responsibilities, entrusted to some who willingly respond, in order to lead the Movement throughout the world. In reality, every Mureed is a representative, and every Mureed communicates in some way or other, different aspects of the message. Therefore, every Mureed is personally responsible for the dignity of the work in the Movement, and shall become conscious of this more and more, while working for a collective cause.

We must not think that the humblest or the most modest among us is not spiritual. Perhaps that one is the most spiritual; what do we know? Spirituality is too sacred to define or to specify.

Very often some methods within our same Movement may seem to be different, and the difficulties in interpreting the Message shall always prevail as long as the true ideal is not clearly understood.

We also have different grades for those who are ordained and initiated, as well as specific robe entitled to the leading workers. It must be understood that a robe is not given in order to distinguish one person as being superior to others. It is the distinction of the responsibility entrusted in the duty, and in the service given to perform.

Therefore it would not be right to distinguish according to grades or degrees or names or robes who is higher and who is lower, who is greater and who is smaller. In the eyes of God, no one is superior, and no one is inferior. We are all equal, we all stand equal before God, even the humblest among us, besides, even the one who is full of faults and errors.

One glance of favour of God can raise a person from the depths of the earth to the highest of heavens; and God's displeasure can cast a cloud over all one's goodness and piety and spirituality.

We, the servants of the Sufi Message, have joined together hand in hand, and we must not doubt for one moment how a handful of workers shall be able to fulfill the task for which we have be called.

Wherever the message of God was given to the world, its central theme and great ideal has always been the brotherhood and sisterhood of all of humanity.

Our confidence and trust in the Sufi Message must strengthen us to stand firm in the service of God and humanity, and we should never let ourselves become discouraged by the lack of response, which everyone experiences at some time or other in this ungrateful world.

Every message, which was intended for the welfare of humanity, has always grown, although it was entrusted to just only a hand full of followers; but the number of followers is not important. The mystery lies in the mystical power that is behind the Message.

Who shall take care of the Message?

God shall take care of the Message, and we few, who are brought together by Providence to work hand in hand. We are the guardians of this divine infant, and it is our most sacred duty to cradle the Message with selfless love and unshakeable faith in the ever-present Divine Spirit of Guidance.

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A Message in Our Time

The world Messengers have come to humanity with the great ideal of liberating the various religious diversifications from the dogmas and speculative theories about the abstract that have persisted through the centuries, maintaining thereby the specter of ignorant fanaticism even in this age when science has successfully catapulted factual knowledge as far as the surface of the moon.

There are so many historical facts about mystics and prophets, but have we ever given thought to the fact that “Buddha was not a Buddhist, Jesus Christ was not a Christian, Mohammed was not a Mohammedan. They were bringers of one and the same Message continually renewed, projecting the light within, upon humanity at large, beyond distinctions and differences which divide. To the question, ‘What is the Message?’ the answer differs in accordance with the understanding, because each person represents a different point of view, yet all claim to drink from the same water of truth, whether it be called a stream, a river, a lake, a sea, an ocean or the Divine source itself.

A world Message could be understood as an abstract energy, which becomes intelligible to humanity through the inspiration of those who, all down the ages, have re-kindled the light of the one Message, and whose magnetism resonates from age to age in the hearts of the devotees, varying in accordance to the interpretation given to the original word. The preservation of that resonance through the ages has always been dependent upon a continuous renewal of the original inspiration, and the characteristics of those renewals have always been related to the local social conditions, and cultures in the areas where they expanded. The mission of those renewals could be identified by the term “religion.” A religion, which is the materialization of the original Message, is continually reshaped over time, according to the understanding of various cultural reformers, who impose a way of thinking, adapted in word and form to the educational standards of the multitude, whereas the parallel development of science has always been focused on the search for definable facts, structured according to logical realty.

Over the centuries, the spiritual values of religion have been diversely formulated by the Callers from the pulpits, besides also variously understood by the followers of the followers, who do not realize that preconceived dogmas have nothing in common with the original word, which has always been destined to offer a helping hand toward the realization of Truth. Regrettably, the original Ideals are confined within the limitations of religious theories and are clad in artificial garments by those who do not see that following theoretical regulations in order to attain spiritual realization cannot be the goal; the goal is further still; and if one argues over the authenticity of the path, one is misled by the many differences, and one can never ever reach anywhere, other than disappointment.

Each religion strikes a characteristic tone, and if all would come together, alike as a religious symphony, one would then encounter the possibility of a unity of all original ideals, beyond the boundaries of religious differences. However, this does not mean indulging in a federative initiative; it only means discovering the golden thread running through all religious structures that reveals a profound oneness at the level of the original inspiration.

Sufism is neither a new religion nor a cult, neither a doctrine nor a secret institution. Perhaps one could say that Sufism is the same religion of the heart that has always been, ever since wisdom was wisdom. Therefore, the term “Sufi,” meaning wisdom, does not refer only to the ancient schools, known or unknown, where spiritual concepts have blossomed through the ages and subsequently materialized within various orders, but it also indicates the concept of wisdom revealed in the purification of the mind from pre-conceived ideas and illogical thinking, especially with regard to abstract concepts.

For a Sufi, the diversity of names and forms of the world’s religious tendencies are like veils covering the phenomenon of the Spirit of Guidance constantly manifesting at all levels of evolution. This explains why one of the great ideals of a Sufi is a broader outlook, reaching far beyond concepts of faith and belief, with a compassionate attitude when facing the tragic misunderstandings which divide the earnest followers of so many religious and philosophical traditions.

The Sufi thoughtfully avoids making a display of speculative concepts, only using the language of the heart when communicating with others, with respect for the various interpretations of the word Spirituality. Sufism is the path of renunciation of the ego, it is the path of love for mankind. It is not a speculative adventure; there is no searching after phenomena. Sufism does not mean being any better than anybody else, but to simply be a true human being, so that others might perhaps benefit from the example.

Sufism is a universal Confraternity of brothers and sisters, and before even venturing to tread on the spiritual path. It is a challenge, as far as one’s own conception of good and bad goes, but it is not a school where one learns how to crush the ego of others. To be victorious does not mean having victory over others, which is in fact an inner defeat. To be defeated is not necessarily a defeat; it might be an inner victory, the victory over the ego.

Another subject found in Sufi teachings is the ‘Alchemy of happiness,’ known in the fairy-tales, as a magic formula used to turn base metal into gold. This mystical illustration symbolizes so beautifully the basic principle of the inner school of the Sufis, where deep consideration is offered to the importance of transforming one’s gross ego, and the awakening of the heart.

Tuning the heart could be compared to the tuning of string instruments, where the strings are stretched to a chosen pitch. However, the tuning of the human heart is incomparably more delicate because the pitch to which it must be tuned is an inner pitch, which is only heard when the doors of the heart are open and the mysterious absence of the self miraculously reveals the silent tone within. What is the heart? Is it not the temple of God? And if so, could we really venture to invite the Divine Presence into that temple if impurities such as the ‘I am’ concept is there, along with all our doubts and fears and wants?

The Spirit of Guidance is the only true Teacher of all teachers; the source of inspiration to the world of science; the motivation of creativity in all Art, and liberty in social awakening. And to the Religious world, the Spirit if Guidance calls aloud for Unity of Spiritual Ideals, which is the condition for raising all understandings to a level of true human behavior.

The Message in our time is a Universal Message, expressed in a Universal Worship inspired by the history of the great religions, known and unknown to the world at large. The emblem representing this great Ideal is a heart with wings, where the heart symbolizes the great power of love, as it reaches upwards, borne upon wings of spiritual liberty into the spheres of Divine Consciousness. In this emblem, the five-pointed star represents the light of the Spirit of Guidance, illuminating the way all along the flight toward inner awakening, and the crescent moon represents the receptive and expressive qualities of the heart set free when the limited self is no more the spectator.

This emblem is one of the symbols adorning what is now known to the world as the altar of Unity of all Religious ideals. Upon this altar the burning lights represent the great world religions, as well as all those who, whether known or unknown to the world, have held aloft the light of Truth through the darkness of human ignorance. A further aspect of this Universal Worship is the reading of passages from various holy scriptures placed side by side, with the object of discovering the similarity found in all, provided that the teachings are received at a spiritual level of understanding, and the blessings of all the great Masters are so profoundly felt when one’s heart is open to the pure essence of all religious inspirations, and when these are seen as so many rays of light coming from one and the same source, which is meant to shine for the welfare of all humanity.

What is really experienced in worship? What is really understood by prayer, contemplation and meditation? Is it not, perhaps, the call of the heart which is then heard?

In the light of this understanding, one might eventually discover that all one wishes to obtain spiritually is already there, waiting silently within. The first and last lesson on the spiritual path is the process of tuning the heart. This process can be traced in all religious teachings, and in this process lays the whole secret of happiness and inner peace.

But what does this all really mean? It means that as beloved ones of God, we are expected to remind ourselves of the noble responsibilitiesm, which are ours.

There are numberless methods, numberless schools, and there are perhaps even more masters than disciples, but so long as the mask of the ego has not been dropped, ‘God-consciousness,’ which is in the all-pervading truth, shall never be accessible.

God-consciousness, which one might have been frantically pursuing, is in fact already there. But so long as this consciousness is not an expression of the heart, then whatever be the external appearance of spirituality, piety or morality, this all remains void of Godliness. If God-consciousness could be explained at all, it is certainly an unconditional reality of love, human and Divine; and it is with the great power of this profound realization that all brothers and sisters of all convictions humbly unite on the path of true religion.

Every effort towards the fulfillment of one’s life’s purpose, whether a material or a spiritual one, brings one step by step to the ultimate goal. This process could be seen as a humble contribution to the fulfillment of the Divine goal, since the entire creation is in a constant state of formation according to a central theme, whereby the self is lost, but finds itself again as a result of the widening of the consciousness, like the seed which finds the fulfillment of its purpose when rising as a plant and spreading out in full bloom in the rays of the sun.

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What Is Sufism?

At other levels of exchange, dominating tendencies are found in all types of enterprises, where employees are often submitted to unfair situations; and they are also found in Social activities and in unhappy family relationships, where one of the partners assumes inconsiderately the sole right to word.

On the other hand, the concept known as "Human Rights" implies being aware of one's own responsibilities, besides refraining from imposing one's will upon others unconsciously, and thereby ignoring the possible negative consequences. In fact, all actions are filtered through one's conscience, creating for oneself either happiness or depressing feelings of guilt.

Furthermore, Right and Wrong cannot be overlooked, because the atmosphere of one's personality reflects like a mirror an undeniable picture of peacefulness or unease.

Contrary to the methods of domination, the mutual understanding between Guide and Guided represents a completely different concept of relationship. At this level of interchange "Hierarchy" refers to an example of honesty, void of self-pretense, offered selflessly, rather than the imposition of dogmas, rules and arbitrary advice related to material problems. On the Spiritual path, "The Art of Personality" is a process where the ego is kept under control. The power of the ego is then sublimated to a higher level, offering thereby true sympathy and understanding to those who are dependent upon an example, as well as to those who are seeking spiritual guidance.

Wisdom could be understood as an ongoing process consisting of purifying the mind from the confinement of traditional concepts that do not correspond any more to our time. The wise refrain from making a display of speculative concepts, using preferably the language of the heart when communicating with others, avoiding thereby the perpetuation of confusing misunderstandings, which bring to life the specter of fanaticism.

When the concept of Truth falls in the hands of those who think that they know, it is then regrettably misunderstood and consequently confined within rigid forms, and clad in ancestral garbs, perpetuating arbitrary statements that are the fundamental cause of most conflicts; whereas Spiritual Ideals are destined to offer a helping hand toward the realization of truth, which cannot be the possession of only one chosen orientation.

One can be a bringer of happiness when working on one's own shortcomings rather than judging others, and overlooking all that which is disturbing, when others are not in agreement with one's own thinking. This process unfolds however, along a thorny path, where every step is a reminder of one's responsibilities. Many polish up their manners, but polish is not necessarily beauty, and a psychological approach is not necessarily sincerity, whereas tact that arises from the feeling heart reflects wisdom, which is regrettably liable to be misinterpreted as hypocrisy.

Physical appearance and psychological qualities are also not necessarily descriptive of moral integrity, and false pretense is a confusing example given to those who expect to experience truthfulness. We all have an ego, but nevertheless there is also beauty in the heart; and when coordinating these two opposite energies, one is then in harmony with oneself as well as with others, like the rose and the thorn which are both parts of one and the same plant. The rose offers beauty and perfume, whereas the thorn is ugly; yet both are sustained by the same root. The thorn that one is expected to vanquish is one's own ego, which is depressing to one's self, and which pricks deeply into the hearts of others.

As known from fairytales, there is a magic formula used to turn base metal into gold. This mystical tale symbolizes so clearly and precisely the work done in transforming the grossness of the ego into a humble attitude, where the 'I' consciousness is thereby re-modeled at a harmonious level. Modesty is not necessarily weakness; it is a feeling arising from the living heart, which is secretly conscious of its inner beauty, while at the same time veiling itself even from its own sight. This inspiring attitude is characteristic of the wise, who recognize that both impulses, ego and modesty, are just only sparks of the all-pervading indescribable energy constantly manifesting behind all initiatives.

Any role performed in the play of life soon becomes intoxicating, and under that spell, one cherishes the illusions of the game. However, no experience in life is worthless, and not one moment is really wasted, providing one is wise enough to thoughtfully re-consider the lessons learned from past memories. Even in a fall there is a hidden stepping-stone by which one might rise above one's shortcomings, discovering thereby signs of hidden guidance.

Every effort made toward the fulfillment of one's life's purpose, whether material or spiritual, brings one step by step closer to the ultimate goal, and can be seen as a humble contribution to the fulfillment of the divine purpose, which is in a constant state of formation according to a central theme.

When rising to the greatest heights, and simultaneously diving into the deepest depths, the false self-consciousness is vanquished, finding itself anew, as a ray of the all-pervading immanence of that indescribable energy constantly manifesting behind all impulses. The seed finds the fulfillment of its purpose, reaching deep into the earth as a root, while simultaneously rising above the surface, as a plant spreading out in full blossom under the rays of the sun.

Human Rights could be understood as an ongoing process consisting in purifying the mind from the confinement of traditional concepts that do not correspond any more to our time. Truth cannot be confined within descriptive terminology, nor can it be identified as being the property of one single transmission because of its universal nature. When Truth is formulated at the level of individual understanding, it is then diversified in various interpretations, just as pure water poured into colored glasses gives the impression of being shaded to the color of the glasses. Some declare having found Truth in Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or in many other religious beliefs, known or unknown to the world at large; but when the concept of Truth falls in the hands of those who think that they know, it is then regrettably misunderstood and confined within rigid forms, and clad in ancestral garbs, perpetuating thereby, arbitrary dogmas that are the fundamental cause of most conflicts. br />
Human Rights implies being aware of one's own responsibilities, as well as respecting the Human Rights of others; thereby refraining from imposing one's belief consciously or unconsciously. Psychological qualities are not necessarily descriptive of moral integrity, and false pretense is a confusing example given to those who expect to experience truthfulness. Right or wrong cannot be overlooked, because in all actions, one's conscience reflects like a mirror, a picture of either peacefulness or unease.

We all have an ego, but nevertheless there is also beauty in the heart; and when coordinating these two opposite energies, one is then in harmony with oneself as well as with others, like the rose and the thorn which are both parts of one and the same plant. The rose offers beauty and perfume, whereas the thorn is ugly; yet both are sustained by the same root. The thorn that one is expected to vanquish is one's own ego, which is depressing to one's self, and which pricks deeply into the hearts of others.



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Sufism

Beloved Sufi Brothers and Sisters,



Please kindly find this text, which I hope can help clarifying misunderstandings related to the word Sufism, especially in these difficult times where dramatic events are taking place in Europe, in connection with religious beliefs.



With hearty greetings from Hidayat and Aziza

The word Sufi means Wisdom as well as Purity, according to ancient Greek and Arabic etymologies, and both concepts suggest one and the same ideal. Wisdom is only there when the mind is purified from preconceived ideas and an illusory interpretation of spiritual concepts. There are as many descriptions of wisdom and purity, as there are seekers on the path, but these descriptions could never be honestly identified as being the property of just one belief. As soon as one attempts to define abstract concepts, one gets lost in the labyrinth of one's thoughts, and one builds up illusions, fashioned according to the limited horizon of one's own mind-world, assuming thereby that one is in possession of the only Truth.

Some declare having found Truth in Hinduism, others in Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, as well as many other religious denominations, known or unknown to the world at large; but when Truth is formulated at the level of human understanding, it is then diversified in various interpretations, just as pure water poured into coloured glasses gives the impression of being shaded to the colour of the glasses. Therefore, the aim of the call for “Unity of Spiritual Ideals” is an awakening to a broader outlook with deeper insight into the tragic misunderstandings, which divide earnest followers of various cultures.

As to the origin of the Sufi outlook, one could say that it is just as ancient as are the concepts of wisdom and purity, which have always been the source of inspiration traced in devotional worships all down the ages; and even though it has often been periodically appropriated by cultural streams during different periods of history, it has never lost its own identity.

Another subject found in Sufi traditions is the Alchemy of Happiness, mystically experienced in Love, Harmony and Beauty, as told in fairy tales related to the magic formula used in transforming base metal into gold. This historical legend symbolises the melting of the ego along the course of a thorny path known as the Art of Personality, where false identification are overcome, when discovering the Divine Presence hidden within, as a pearl in one's heart. This requires constant efforts in forging the character into a living example of wisdom, becoming thereby a bringer of happiness to brothers and sisters of all beliefs. Happiness is only there to the extent that one becomes oneself a true source of happiness, appreciating the good in others and overlooking that which disturbs when it is not agreeable to one's own thinking, thereby attuning oneself to the rhythm of all those whom one meets, and in whose example there might be a lesson to learn.

The Message of “Spiritual Liberty” in our time implies being liberated from such feelings as “my belief”, as opposed to “your belief`”. This Message is destined to be the religion of the heart; and since there are many hearts, there are just as many spiritual ideals springing forth from one and the same source. When the doors of the heart are open, humility awakens, finding oneself face to face with the Divine stream flowing onwards in line with the great Ideals of Wisdom and Purity, revealed thereby as the true essence of all that is understood by the term “Sufi”.



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Spirituality

Spiritual ideals cannot be the property of one particular transmission because of their universal nature. Spirituality is a call for the human rights of thought and feeling on the spiritual path. This call has been sounding ever since eternity but has not always been understood, which explains why various terminologies generally misinterpret the real meaning of that call. Besides this, what brings still more confusion regarding spirituality is that there is an endless number of self-proclaimed mystics, occultists, spiritualists, fortune-tellers and para-psychologists, whose missions seem to content those who are chasing after miracles.

Hazrat Inayat Khan has given us to understand that in reality everyone is spiritual, because life itself is spirit, and spirit is life-power, motivating the materialized garb of the self. Along life’s path, one tends to distance oneself from inborn spirituality, identifying oneself with one’s limited mental and physical status, without realizing that the all-pervading immanence of life is that indescribable power constantly manifesting behind all impulses.

Spirituality can neither be taught nor learned; it can only be discovered by way of the heart, but not through the word, which is limited to each one’s individual understanding; therefore spirituality really means rebirth, in the sense that one begins to discover that it has always been one’s birthright. Spirituality cannot be defined in words, in doctrines, in theories or in philosophical statements, but it could best be described as the perfume of true knowledge, although it has been illustrated in all ages in many folkloric fairy-tales, which give spirituality the appearance of being related to strange powers and miracles. Besides this, spirituality cannot be pinned down as the possession of a particular sect or cult, or as belonging to any religious belief.

When turning the pages of numerous literary illustrations, one invariably discovers a common denominator in all such tales, describing spirituality in terms of such attributes as “love, lover and beloved.” If spirituality could be confined within a teaching, it could be understood as a challenge to express “love, human and divine” in every circumstance, be it material, social, religious or human.

The mystic strives constantly to offer an example, so that others might be inspired to discover that love really means rising in love and not falling in love; whereas devotion means the fall of the false concept of self, followed by the rising of the consciousness of the true self. Regrettably, one always assumes that spirituality is something that can be obtained, and we do not know how. We are sometimes intrigued by a person who is considered to be spiritual because of appearance or for some other reason, but spirituality mostly remains just a dream.

The light of the glowing sun cannot be limited to just one ray. It shines in an infinite number of rays. In the same way, the light of the inner conscience is not reserved only for the so-called spiritual people; it also shines in the hearts of everyone, good or bad, but at different levels of intensity, dependent upon the transparency of the ego. But again, if one cannot get rid of the ego, why not train it appropriately so that it can be used for beneficial purposes? If we did not have an ego, we would not be able to accomplish anything, either good or bad.

The ego is like an engine with tremendously powerful energy, which can only be useful if it is kept under control, for material as well as for spiritual experiences. The most powerful locomotive engine is helpless if there are no rails to roll on, and what is the good of rails without an engine to roll on them?

There is a well-known theater play that asks, “To be or not to be?” and in fact, we all know that striving in this difficult life requires either to be or not to be. Therefore, we tend to assume that this method also applies in obtaining spirituality, but spirituality does not have any meaning, unless one discovers that to be spiritual means exactly the reverse of wanting to be something, or pretending to be something. Before making the first humble step on the path of spirituality, the idea is to realize that spirituality means losing the desire to be something and thereby unconsciously identifying one’s self with the divine presence.

We have all heard about heaven, and we imagine that to become spiritual means becoming higher and higher, but have we ever stopped to discover that everything that we might have wanted to obtain from up there, is already right here in our own hearts? There are numerous methods. There are numerous types of yoga, there are numerous religions, there are thousands of spiritual schools, but unless we try to hold the ego under control, we are wasting our time, and we are only facing disillusion, and disillusion in spirituality is much worse than disillusion in worldly affairs.

Truth is only Truth when one is not pretending to oneself or others about one’s supposed wisdom. Truth can only be Truth if it is expressed as a silent example of an awakening to the solution of the everlasting riddle: who, what, why, which, when, whence and whither.

As one proceeds onward through the darkness of human ignorance, steadfastly displaying the torch of spiritual liberty, one may perhaps discover that Truth could be interpreted as an invitation to become living examples of love, harmony and beauty, and, as living altars of all religious beliefs, to communicate to each in each one’s language while holding fast to the only secret there is in spirituality, inner peace and happiness.

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Seeking the Path

When extending the knowledge of matter, science is eternally chasing an ‘unknown’, whereas tradition obviously faces an ‘enigma’, related to the ‘indefinable’. Both know, however, that water is solid below a certain temperature, and is liquid or vapor at other temperatures; in the same way matter and spirit are different aspects of one and the same reality, of which both science and tradition only highlight one angle of the entire picture.

Obviously, beyond the limitations of factual knowledge and misleading cultural dogmas, matter could be seen as an involution of spirit at various levels of materialization; and spirit is recognizable in matter as etherealized vibrations, following scientific researches.

Over the centuries, factual knowledge, which progressively crossed the borders erected by fanatical traditions, is finally reaching onwards, step by step, leaving the multitude far behind the latest discoveries. Therefore a gap is developing more and more between updated knowledge and that of the population at large, related to outdated speculative definitions, which still seem to satisfy the fancy of the many.

We all know that even minor daily occurrences often have more than one side to them, which each person understands in their own way. This simple fact is not only experienced on planet earth, but it is also seen happening right up there, beyond the stars in the sky, which are like grains of dust, compared to the unperceivable radiance that shines in the infinite, far beyond human understanding.

All earnest attempts on the path of the seeker, contribute towards realizing the smallness of the horizon of one’s thinking, and this obviously awakens in one’s heart a deep feeling of humility.



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Various Paths of Realization

The brightness of a Light - Globe is subject to the transparency of the glass, besides the type of the wiring within the globe, which receives different potentials of volts corresponding to the structure.

In the same way, of the God-Ideal shining in all Religions, is subject to the truthfulness of the Leaders and the sincerity of the followers.

This is also experienced in various Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples known and unknown, visited by followers of different Cultures, each with more or less attachment to their own religion. Some feel the need for a moment of inner relaxation, and others feel the need to be relieved from a disturbed conscience; whereas others come with the hope to receive Godly help in difficult situations; and others, are drawn by the longing for inner communication with the unseen Presence, offering prayers of different natures, and calling for Blessings. Obviously, Diamonds, Rubies and numerous precious jewels are found in all Religions.

Truth, which is searched for in all Religions, cannot be limited within secret sects, where speculative interpretations are made available to the believers. Truth cannot be confined by descriptive terminology, nor can it be identified as being the property of one single transmission because of its universal nature. Some declare having found Truth in either Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, as well as in many other religious beliefs, known or unknown to the world at large; but when Truth is formulated at the level of individual understanding, it is then diversified in various interpretations, just as pure water poured into colored glasses gives the impression of being shaded to the color of the glasses.

Wisdom is an ongoing process consisting in purifying the mind from the confinement of traditional concepts, besides working on one's own pre-conceived ideas, avoiding thereby the perpetuation of confusing misunderstandings, which emphasize the specter of fanaticism.

Wisdom unfolds age after age through the inspiration of the bringers of the World Messages, which the followers regrettably re-model within dogmatic theories, whereas the original Ideals were destined to offer a helping hand toward the realization of Truth; but when Truth falls in the hands of those who think that they know, it is then confined within rigid forms, and clad in ancestral garbs, perpetuating false illusions that are the fundamental cause of most conflicts between the various beliefs.

We all have an ego, nevertheless, there is also beauty in the heart; and when coordinating these two opposite energies, one is then in harmony with oneself as well as with others, alike the rose and the thorn, which are both parts of one and the same plant. The rose offers beauty and perfume, whereas the thorns are ugly; yet both are sustained by the same root. The thorns, which one is expected to vanquish are those of one's own ego, which is depressing to one's self, just as the thorns of the ego of others prick deeply into one's own heart.

The process called 'The Art of Personality' unfolds along a thorny path, where every step is a reminder of one's responsibilities toward those who depend upon an example to follow. Many polish up their manners, but polish is not necessarily beauty, and a polite approach is not necessarily sincere; whereas tact, which arises from the feeling heart, reflects wisdom and intelligence, which is however, liable to be misinterpreted as being hypocrisy. Further more, physical make-ups are not necessarily descriptive of moral integrity, and false pretense is a dishonest and confusing example given to those who expect experiencing truthfulness.

As known from fairytales, there is a magic formula, used in turning base metal into gold. This mystical tale symbolizes so specifically the work done in transforming the grossness of the ego into a humble attitude, where the 'I' consciousness is re-modeled as graciousness and modesty, which is not necessarily weakness; it is a feeling arising from the living heart, which is secretly conscious of its inner beauty, while at the same time veiling itself even from its own sight.

This wise recognize that both impulses ego and modesty are just only sparks of the all-pervading indescribable energy constantly manifesting behind all initiatives. The conscience is the true spectator of all events reflected as images upon a mirror without causing any permanent alteration to the picture on the inner screen. Any role performed in the play of life, soon becomes intoxicating, and under that spell, one cherishes the illusions of the game, but no experience in life is worthless, and not one moment is really wasted, providing one is wise enough to lean from regrettable memories. Even in a fall there is a hidden stepping-stone, by which one might rise above one's shortcomings, discovering thereby, signs of hidden guidance.

Every effort made toward the fulfillment of one's life's purpose, whether material or spiritual, brings one step by step closer to the ultimate goal, and can be seen as a humble contribution to the fulfillment of the Divine Purpose, which is in a constant state of formation according to a central theme. When rising to the greatest heights, and simultaneously diving into the deepest depths, the false self-conscience is vanquished, finding itself anew, as a ray of the all-pervading immanence of that indescribable energy constantly manifesting behind all impulses.

The seed finds the fulfillment of its purpose, reaching deep into the earth as a root, while simultaneously rising above the surface, as a plant spreading out in full blossom under the rays of the sun.



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The Five Activities of the Sufi Movement

The Brotherhood/Sisterhood Activity Secretaries are responsible for the co-ordination and for the training of their assistants. This Activity was originally called the ‘World Brotherhood’. Its aim is to recognize that one has two opinions; one’s own, as well as the opinion of the other. The members have understanding for the followers of all religions and all beliefs. Using the website is a responsible job, therefore it is advisable to consult with the Peshkars in this connection. This Activity is open to the public.

The Universal Worship Activity Secretaries are responsible for the co-ordination and for the training of their assistants.

In this Activity, there are three levels of responsibility: The Minister/Cherag(a) officiates -The Senior Minister/The Siraj(a) ordains the Ministers/Cherag(a)s - The Most Senior Minister/The Siraj-un Munir ordains the The Senior Ministers/Siraj(a)s.

The Universal Worship Activity, which is a call for ‘Unity of Religious Ideals’, is also an appeal for respect of all beliefs.The Minister/Cherag(a) officiating at the altar, is seen as a light bearer of this Message, and is expected to be a living example of love, harmony and beauty. It is with an empty bowl, that the Minister/Cherag(a) comes up to the altar to kindle the lights of the great World Religions, known and unknown. The Minister/Cherag(a) is well aware of the fact, that the attendants at that ceremony expect respect to be offered to their own religion.

Chosen passages from the various scriptures referring to a given subject are read, indicating thereby the one and same inspiration, expressed in different terms along the ages. Prayers recited at that occasion invoke the great religious reformers, whose names are respectfully mentioned. This Activity is open to the public.

The Inner School Activity Secretaries are responsible for the co-ordination of the Inner School Activity and for the training of their assistants. The initiator has the responsibility of showing an example rather than imposing instructions upon the mureed. Speculative interpretations of truth can confuse the mureed; and the mureed can also dupe the initiator with imaginary stories, which obviously indicate false pretense. The initiator has consideration for the good sides of the mureed, and avoids mentioning any negative tendencies.

The Spiritual Healing Activity Secretaries are responsible for the co-ordination of the Spiritual Healing Activity and for the training of their assistants.

Spiritual Healing is for those who feel an attraction to that activity, therefore it should not be imposed upon mureeds who are not specially interested in that specific commitment. In the Spiritual Healing Activity no money is taken.

Furthermore, there is no need adding anything to the ceremony, which is performed without pretense. There is a clear distinction between honest methods, and those, which appear to be successful.

As to the Spiritual Healing Ceremony, the persons whose names are on the lists of the Spiritual Healing Ceremony, are those who have true belief in this Activity. Furthermore, in this Activity, there is a true feeling of responsibility in keeping the Spiritual Healing Activity at a high level, avoiding it drifting down to the level of a cult.

The Symbology Activity Secretaries Choreograph of the Rituals in the Symbology Activity, and are responsible for the co-ordination of those rituals, and for the training of their assistants.

There are two Symbology Activites. One is called Zirat, which means farming, from a symbolical point of view, referring to the work on the ego.

The other Symbology Activity called the Element Ritual, is a ceremony dedicated to the five elements. The idea is to be attuned to the vibrations of the elements, as experienced in Hindu and Zoroastrian Mysticism.

The elements can have a certain influence in our daily life and we have the possibility of making use of what these have to offer. When focusing on the earth element, one feels secure and stable. With the water element one discovers progressive impulses. The air element offers inspiration. The fire element fills one with energy. The vibrations of the ether element are closely related to the All-Pervading Energy.



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The Seven Aspects of Brotherhood and Sisterhood

From a Human point of view talking to each other in his or her own tone

From a Social point of view showing understanding for the opinions of others

From a Religious point of view promoting the unity of religious ideals

From a Moral point of view offering all that which is expected while expecting nothing in return

From a point of view of Wisdom being a living example of love, harmony and beauty

From a Mystical point of view freeing oneself from the illusion of the self

From a Spiritual point of view attuning oneself and others to the divine spirit of guidance



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The Golden Rules of Brotherhood and Sisterhood

It is so easy to talk about Brotherhood and Sisterhood but putting this great Ideal into practice is quite another thing. One might ask: how shall I proceed? Perhaps some of the following suggestions might be helpful in making a reality out of a dream.

One of the points to consider might be to realize that we are not the first ones to have ever had this dream. Numberless esoteric and esoteric movements, as well as religious institutions have had this same Ideal all down the ages.

One of the many basic principles to keep in mind when contacting others is to attune oneself to their religious commitments, besides their cultural and intellectual awareness. That is to say, being in harmony with their mind world and their feeling hearts.

Another point of consideration is to realize that Truth cannot be proven. It is untruth that fights frantically for recognition. Truth is above arguments and contradictions, and this is why it is so important to avoid aggressing the opinion of another and to respect the fact that others can have contrary opinions to ours, and still be right in their opinion, as we also desire for our own opinions to be respected.

Furthermore, there are so many beautiful souls who so much desire helping others, but how can one possibly solve other persons' problems if we are not able to solve our own ? It is when solving our problems that we discover the wisdom with which we might be in a position to help others with theirs.

Another sacred task is to hold high the Ideal of unity of religious Ideals which is the very essence of Brotherhood and Sisterhood because it is inspired by spiritual needs.

Perhaps one could say that all these suggestions besides many more can only possibly be put into daily practice when constantly attuning ourselves to the Divine Guidance which is channelled through the language of the heart, and which is the most sacred of all experiences, because one then radiates compassion which is the music of the soul when one has created within a living God.

Dictatorship, Social and Family Interchanges, Human Rights, Hierarchy, The Art of Personality, Wisdom

An old Hindu proverb says: "Imposing one's will upon others reveals a hidden inferiority complex".

This has certainly been seen over the ages, where Political Dictators ruled cruelly, even over countries that were not always theirs by origin. But obviously, no dominating situation ever lasts forever, and those dreadful memories only survive in history books.

At other levels of exchange, dominating tendencies are found in all types of enterprises, where employees are often submitted to unfair situations; and they are also found in Social activities and in unhappy family relationships, where one of the partners assumes inconsiderately the sole right to word.

On the other hand, the concept known as "Human Rights" implies being aware of one's own responsibilities, besides refraining from imposing one's will upon others unconsciously, and thereby ignoring the possible negative consequences. In fact, all actions are filtered through one's conscience, creating for oneself either happiness or depressing feelings of guilt.

Furthermore, Right and Wrong cannot be overlooked, because the atmosphere of one's personality reflects like a mirror an undeniable picture of peacefulness or unease.

Contrary to the methods of domination, the mutual understanding between Guide and Guided represents a completely different concept of relationship. At this level of interchange "Hierarchy" refers to an example of honesty, void of self-pretense, offered selflessly, rather than the imposition of dogmas, rules and arbitrary advice related to material problems. On the Spiritual path, "The Art of Personality" is a process where the ego is kept under control. The power of the ego is then sublimated to a higher level, offering thereby true sympathy and understanding to those who are dependent upon an example, as well as to those who are seeking spiritual guidance.

Wisdom could be understood as an ongoing process consisting of purifying the mind from the confinement of traditional concepts that do not correspond any more to our time. The wise refrain from making a display of speculative concepts, using preferably the language of the heart when communicating with others, avoiding thereby the perpetuation of confusing misunderstandings, which bring to life the specter of fanaticism.

When the concept of Truth falls in the hands of those who think that they know, it is then regrettably misunderstood and consequently confined within rigid forms, and clad in ancestral garbs, perpetuating arbitrary statements that are the fundamental cause of most conflicts; whereas Spiritual Ideals are destined to offer a helping hand toward the realization of truth, which cannot be the possession of only one chosen orientation.

One can be a bringer of happiness when working on one's own shortcomings rather than judging others, and overlooking all that which is disturbing, when others are not in agreement with one's own thinking. This process unfolds however, along a thorny path, where every step is a reminder of one's responsibilities. Many polish up their manners, but polish is not necessarily beauty, and a psychological approach is not necessarily sincerity, whereas tact that arises from the feeling heart reflects wisdom, which is regrettably liable to be misinterpreted as hypocrisy.

Physical appearance and psychological qualities are also not necessarily descriptive of moral integrity, and false pretense is a confusing example given to those who expect to experience truthfulness. We all have an ego, but nevertheless there is also beauty in the heart; and when coordinating these two opposite energies, one is then in harmony with oneself as well as with others, like the rose and the thorn which are both parts of one and the same plant. The rose offers beauty and perfume, whereas the thorn is ugly; yet both are sustained by the same root. The thorn that one is expected to vanquish is one's own ego, which is depressing to one's self, and which pricks deeply into the hearts of others.

As known from fairytales, there is a magic formula used to turn base metal into gold. This mystical tale symbolizes so clearly and precisely the work done in transforming the grossness of the ego into a humble attitude, where the 'I' consciousness is thereby re-modeled at a harmonious level. Modesty is not necessarily weakness; it is a feeling arising from the living heart, which is secretly conscious of its inner beauty, while at the same time veiling itself even from its own sight. This inspiring attitude is characteristic of the wise, who recognize that both impulses, ego and modesty, are just only sparks of the all-pervading indescribable energy constantly manifesting behind all initiatives.

Any role performed in the play of life soon becomes intoxicating, and under that spell, one cherishes the illusions of the game. However, no experience in life is worthless, and not one moment is really wasted, providing one is wise enough to thoughtfully re-consider the lessons learned from past memories. Even in a fall there is a hidden stepping-stone by which one might rise above one's shortcomings, discovering thereby signs of hidden guidance.

Every effort made toward the fulfillment of one's life's purpose, whether material or spiritual, brings one step by step closer to the ultimate goal, and can be seen as a humble contribution to the fulfillment of the divine purpose, which is in a constant state of formation according to a central theme.

When rising to the greatest heights, and simultaneously diving into the deepest depths, the false self-consciousness is vanquished, finding itself anew, as a ray of the all-pervading immanence of that indescribable energy constantly manifesting behind all impulses. The seed finds the fulfillment of its purpose, reaching deep into the earth as a root, while simultaneously rising above the surface, as a plant spreading out in full blossom under the rays of the sun.

Human Rights implies being aware of one's own responsibilities, as well as respecting the Human Rights of others; thereby refraining from imposing one's belief consciously or unconsciously. Psychological qualities are not necessarily descriptive of moral integrity, and false pretense is a confusing example given to those who expect to experience truthfulness. Right or wrong cannot be overlooked, because in all actions, one's conscience reflects like a mirror, a picture of either peacefulness or unease.

We all have an ego, but nevertheless there is also beauty in the heart; and when coordinating these two opposite energies, one is then in harmony with oneself as well as with others, like the rose and the thorn which are both parts of one and the same plant. The rose offers beauty and perfume, whereas the thorn is ugly; yet both are sustained by the same root. The thorn that one is expected to vanquish is one's own ego, which is depressing to one's self, and which pricks deeply into the hearts of others.



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Universal Worship

The Universal Worship is a call for ‘Unity of Religious Ideals’, expressed in a mystical ceremony inspired by the history of the great World Religions, known and unknown to the world at large. Upon the altar of the Universal Worship an emblem is seen representing a heart with wings. The heart, which symbolizes the great power of love, is borne upon wings of spiritual liberty. In the heart, the five-pointed star represents the light of the Spirit of Guidance illuminating the path along which the heart is on its way toward inner awakening. The crescent moon represents the receptive and expressive qualities of the heart, when the limited self is no more the spectator.

‘Unity of Religious Ideals’ is symbolized by six burning lights representing the great World Religions, and a center light relates to ‘all those who, whether known or unknown to the world, have held aloft the light of truth through the darkness of human ignorance.’ Prayers are also recited in dedication to the world Messengers.

A further aspect of the Universal Worship is the reading of passages from various religious scriptures placed side by side, with the object of emphasizing the inspiration offered in all the teachings. The blessings of the great Religions are profoundly felt as so many rays of light originating from one and the same source of truth, which shines for the welfare of all humanity.



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Spiritual Healing

Just as worldly occupations are helpful in order to hold a balanced condition when following the spiritual path, in the same way it would be wise to adopt medical assistance in those cases where spiritual healing is not the only appropriate line to consider, and when destiny decides to overpower all efforts made in view of a recovery.

Rhythm is the source from which magnetism unfolds and secures physical and psychological well-being. Therefore, an appropriate rhythm also applies in simple activities, such as lying down, sitting, standing and walking, as well as in sleeping, working, eating, and drinking.

Physical health also requires repose in all activities of the five senses, which normally respond automatically to incoming impressions. In this respect, it is wise to avoid useless loss of energy, although in certain cases, activity, which is stimulating, can certainly be taken into consideration.

Seen from another angle, breath is life itself, and since the five senses are coordinated through the flow of the breath stream (Prana), when acquiring subtility, the breath becomes more magnetic, and consequently, there is an increase of the inner awareness of the five senses (Shagal).

There are three characteristic types of breath. The first type is chaotic and has no distinguishable rhythm either in the inhalation or the exhalation. In the second type of breath, the inhalation and exhalation are done on different counts, each being on a different rhythm. In the third type of breath, the counts done on the inhalation and the exhalation are perfectly equal, and can therefore be harmoniously coordinated to the beats of a sacred word (Walking Wazifa or Fikar) or to an inspiring phrase.

The hands also communicate magnetism, which can be directed to the fingertips, like the finger-touch on the piano keys expresses the feeling heart of the musician. Moses is known to have carried light in his hands (Yadi Baiza), and Zoroaster is also pictured holding burning fire. There are many more examples related to magnetism, which can be awakened in the hands and can also be mentally visualized at any other area in need of spiritual healing. Prayer is certainly a deep source of healing magnetism, which reaches the depth of the heart of the patient, when expressed in audible words.

When spiritual healing is done at a distance, the image of the patient is held in mind as being in a perfect state of health, and the breath of the spiritual healer is attuned to the Divine healing power.

In Hindu metaphysics, Nada Bhrama or ‘Sound-God’ is referred to, as being life’s secret, because sound is motion, and nothing takes place without some type of energy as source of motion. When the spiritual healer is receptive to the power of Nada Bhrama, that energy is then offered as a humble service to those in need.



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The Mind World

The mind could be seen as a sophisticated Computer, where numberless programs are listed. These can either be downloaded at will, or they might flash by, unwillingly, at any time. The processing of these programs is what is called Mental activity. Among the various thought-programs, some can be understood from a logical point of view. Others require a deeper insight into the thinking world, because they proceed in attunement with the feeling heart.

Reasoning, which requires wisdom as well as the knowledge of facts, could be explained as being an evaluating process regarding decisions or actions to be taken. However, reasoning does require the ability to concentrate and to co-ordinate the thinking, there where the mind is confronted with the need of evaluating multiple facts.

Concentration could be understood as being a process where the thought is held under control when fixing it upon a chosen shape, color, sound or an association of these, such as a symbol or a Scenery. This specific discipline also requires the ability of de-concentrating, in order to secure the power of freeing the mind from undesirable thoughts.

Imagination, which is the secret of creative accomplishments, can be developed by visualizing made-up sceneries with closed eyes. One can either visualize oneself within those sceneries, or they can be seen at various distances. Details such as colors, sounds and moving object visualized within the scenery can be largely considered, thereby intensifying the creative nature of this process.

Observation is the process of receiving impressions through the five senses, which are like windows through which the consciousness is fully aware of all experiences. Observation is consequently the door opener to all worldly knowledge and accomplishments, either material or spiritual. Obviously, all decisions and actions taken were originally motivated by concentrated and coordinated reasoning, together with visualized imagination.

Memory is like a storehouse, where past impressions are preserved along various periods of time, according to the intensity of the experience registered at the time. When grabbing impressions out of the storehouse of the memory they suddenly re-appear in the mind.

Past impressions can also spontaneously flash by at any time, without having been called on. Furthermore, long forgotten impressions - since many years - can also suddenly re-appear on the screen of the mind for no logical reason, other than resulting indirectly from an automatic association with similar circumstances.

Love, human and Divine, is experienced at a level, where the thinking mind and the feeling heart are harmoniously attuned within the consciousness, leaving no space for self-identification.

Meditation cannot be called “Thought conditions”, but rather a sublimated condition, where the mind-world and the feeling heart are replaced by an all-pervading consciousness.



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Concentration, Contemplation, Meditation

Concentration has the quality of fixing in the mind the impressions received, and thereby securing their retention as thought patterns. This obviously explains why memory is so much dependent upon the correct observation of an image, as well as upon willpower, with regard to highlighting a given thought. Furthermore, thoughts may be steadily retained in the mind by the magnetic power of the feeling heart, like a magnet, which holds pieces of metal together by the magic of attraction.

Concentration may have positive or negative results according to whether it is willingly directed or whether it is an obsession of one’s own thinking. Therefore, if one is not able to delete disturbing thoughts, when wanted, there is some risk in becoming a slave to one’s own thinking. For this reason, holding and deleting are to be considered as the two main applications related to concentration, and should therefore be developed with equal emphasis.

Concentration can be developed through intensifying one’s observation of chosen shapes, colors, sounds or an association of these, such as a symbol or scenery. Thoughts and feelings could be seen as waves in the mind world, and when these no longer occupy one’s attention, one assumes that the waves have ceased to flush, but in realty there has only been a reduction in the intensity of their motions, which may stir up again and again through stormy waters each time that one ventures to retrace them from within the storehouse of the memory. Concentration can be practiced in five stages, each being a step further on the path of mental discipline.

1 Observation
2 Visualizing
3 Creative concentration
4 Visualizing the object projected at a distance
5 De-Concentration by erasing with eyes closed the object

Observation
When choosing an object of concentration, one starts by being aware of the impression made upon one by that chosen object. This can be very different from one person to another. For instance, the image of a candle may make a religious impression upon one person, and a decorative impression on another. The next step is to focus on the details, such as size, shape and colors.

Visualization
One visualizes with closed eyes all details previously observed, thereby reconstructing in the mind the entire picture of the object, including impression made, size, shape and colors.

Creative Concentration
A further stage of concentration is reached, altering in thought, with eyes closed, the picture which one is visualizing. One can imagine changes of details, such as size, shape and colors of the chosen object.

For example, one tries to see the object of observation as blue or yellow or green, or any other color. One could also imagine seeing new parts added to the object. For instance, the object could be seen as having a change in decorative details and shape, as well as many other imaginary alterations could be added to the visualized scenery. Another aspect of creative concentration is to multiply the object in numbers. For instance, instead of visualizing just the one object, one could imagine four of them placed side by side, creating thereby a more complex picture. One could also imagine, the candlestick placed upon an altar, adding the details of the altar seen in imagination.

Projective Concentration
This means visualizing the candlestick at a different location. For instance, one might imagine it being in the next room, or even seen placed in a far distant country.

De-Concentration
The holding of a thought is constructive inasmuch as it helps to bring about inner strength and steadiness of mind, whereas the other power, the ability to delete unwanted entangled thoughts, helps to free the mind of worries and fears.

Finally, after having experienced the holding of an impression and altering it with the help of imagination, the fifth step is so important to experience.

One starts erasing in one’s mind all the details of the visualized picture piece by piece. For example, if concentrating on a candle stick and holder, one begins by erasing the holder, then the candle, and finally the burning flame, leaving only the deep impression that one had of that object during the observation phase. Even the impression left, can be erased, so that the mind is perfectly cleared by the whole process. De-Concentration, is seen as the means of purifying the mind from useless thoughts, and the more one develops this ability, the more one discovers the secret of channeling one’s will-power appropriately.

CONTEMPLATION this deeper stage of concentration can have an inspiring effect, inasmuch as the mind and heart are attuned to the chosen ideal. Great achievements experienced through contemplation are certainly seen in the lives of famous men and women whose deeds and accomplishments have been profoundly motivated by the admiration that they themselves had for great ideals, which obviously inspired their own historical actions.

MEDITATION This level of consciousness is an escape from outer impressions, and at this stage the importance of thoughts and feelings fades away, offering repose to the mind world, as well as to the illusion of the self. The real self, the seer from within (Purusha) is all intelligence, yet it is only through the ability to see (Prakriti) that the seer sees. The very nature of the seer from within is to experience its own reality. This ability gives rise to the experience of being both the seer and the seen – the observer and the observed – the witness and that which is witnessed.

When drawing closer to inner awakening, one profoundly hopes to probe the depth of life, to discover the source of all things; to unfold the mystery of time and space, of matter and spirit; and at this stage one realizes that what one thought to be oneself, was paradoxically, at the same time, the All-Pervading Consciousness, just like a drop of sea water is an individualized entity, and yet it is at the same time the sea itself, seen in another dimension.



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The Art of Personality

The Art of Personality is a process where the ego is kept under control. The power of the ego is then sublimated to a higher level, offering thereby true sympathy and understanding to those who are dependent upon an example. One can be a bringer of happiness when working on one's own shortcomings rather than judging others, and overlooking all that which is disturbing, when others are not in agreement with one's own thinking. This process unfolds, however, along a thorny path, where every step is a reminder of one's responsibilities. Many polish up their manners, but polish is not necessarily beauty, and an overflowing approach is not necessarily sincerity, whereas tact that arises from the feeling heart reflects truthfulness, which is regrettably liable to be misinterpreted as hypocrisy.

As known from fairy tales, there is a magic formula used to turn base metal into gold. This mystical tale symbolizes so clearly and precisely the work done in transforming the grossness of the ego into a humble attitude, where the 'I' consciousness is thereby remodeled at a harmonious level. Modesty is not necessarily weakness; it is a feeling arising from the living heart, which is secretly conscious of its inner beauty, while at the same time veiling itself even from its own sight. This inspiring attitude is characteristic of the wise, who recognize that both impulses, ego and modesty, are just only sparks of the all-pervading indescribable energy constantly manifesting behind all initiatives.

Any role performed in the play of life soon becomes intoxicating, and under that spell, one cherishes the illusions of the game. However, no experience is worthless, and not one moment is really wasted, providing one is wise enough to thoughtfully reconsider the lessons learned from past memories. Even in a fall there is a hidden stepping- stone by which one might rise above one's shortcomings, discovering thereby signs of hidden guidance. Every effort made toward the fulfillment of one's life's purpose, whether material or spiritual, brings one step by step closer to the ultimate goal, and can be seen as a humble contribution to the fulfillment of the divine purpose, which is in a constant state of formation according to a central theme. When rising to the greatest heights, and simultaneously diving into the deepest depths, the false self-consciousness is vanquished, finding itself anew, as a ray of the all-pervading immanence of an indescribable energy constantly manifesting behind all impulses. The seed finds the fulfillment of its purpose, reaching deep into the earth as a root, while simultaneously rising above the surface, as a plant spreading out in full blossom under the rays of the sun.



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Crystallization of The All-Pervading Energy

Life, which is an All-Pervading Energy, is obviously revealed as the source of motivation in all aspects of manifestation. From the ‘Absolute’, a spark of consciousness unfolds, and out of this miracle, individual rays of consciousness are seen radiating in line with the universal principle of expansion and contraction. The ancient Sufi terms for these two opposite motions expansion and contraction are ‘Uruj’, and ‘Nasul’. The process of expansion followed by contraction could be seen as the original secret of Time.

The soul, in its purest form as a ray of the All-Pervading Energy, is also seen as an individualized energy roaming freely in ‘Angelic Spheres’, there, where there is no beginning nor end, no condition, no object, and which is not related to concepts such as good and bad, happiness and sorrow, gain and loss.

Those whose hearts are attuned to what one could call the Angelic Spheres obviously show most loving qualities; and those who show special signs of intelligence have obviously inherited that gift in some way or other from what one could describe for convenience sake, as the ‘Jinn spheres’. The Sanskrit word ‘Jnana’, meaning the world of thought, is where the soul becomes captive of the ‘I’ concept, while unfolding on its way towards manifestation.

The physical plane, which is to our knowledge the fulfillment of manifestation, consists of various shapes and substances, originated from the involution of spirit, also called the evolution of matter. These definable aspects of matter are seen in different proportions of the five elements, earth, water, fire and air, as well as within the vegetable world, the animal kingdom and the human condition.

The physical body, which is a universe in itself, bears traces of all conditions through which the original lump of clay unfolded along its journey through time and space. This explains why one can trace the qualities of the mineral kingdom in a rigid-minded person; in a supple-minded person one can trace the qualities of the vegetable kingdom, whereas the qualities of the animal kingdom can be traced in a person’s uncontrolled passions and fears.

All experiences received through the five senses are accumulated in the mind and kept in the memory through the power of the breath, which is behind all action, and which keeps the entire mechanism in running order. The body is motivated by Will-Power, the mind accumulates experiences, and the feeling heart is the clear mirror which reflects back upon the soul all impressions, without any modification in its brightness.

A child born on earth possesses characteristics, which it may have inherited from parents and ancestors, but at the same time the child possesses other qualities, some of which might be quite foreign to those of the parents, revealing evidence of affinities to that which it has not yet experienced. One finds among artists, poets, musicians, thinkers, and creators of all types traces of a genius disposition, which might have been inherited, in form of impressions experienced on the soul’s journey towards the human state of consciousness.

On its return journey, the soul could be pictured passing back through the same spheres through which it traveled on its way to manifestation; cleared, however, from all impressions acquired during life on earth, which constituted the garb of its individuality; and as a ray of sunlight, it de-personifies itself within the unconditional Absolute, the All-Pervading Energy.

Divine origin is seen in the divinity of the soul, whereas self-consciousness is born out of the illusion of duality; yet from a mystical point of view, both ends are destined to meet at the same level of consciousness as a manifestation of the Divine Heritage in the human being.



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Pranayama: The Science of Breath

The Sanskrit word Prana means the flow of All-Pervading Energy. Herewith are just a few basic references related to this vastly expanded experience. The breath could be pictured as rails on which the thought rolls. The thought is like a steam engine, which is of no use if it has no rails to roll on. It would go nowhere and would only topple over. This is exactly what happens to one’s thoughts if they are not kept in coordination with the breath. In other words, the thought is disorderly and incoherent if it is not guided upon the rails of breath. Awareness of the breath refers essentially to the fineness of the breath-flow. The rhythm of the breath-flow, is motivated by the state of mind, besides the influences of the environment. When one is irritated, angry, or worried, the breath-flow goes wild. The more one becomes conscious of the combination of breath and the state of mind, the more one has in hand a precious tool, which could be so helpful in daily activities. Pranayama also teaches the ability to direct the breath either to the right or to the left, awakening either the active energy (Jelal), or the responsive condition (Jemal), whichever is the most appropriate for the circumstances involved. Another practice is to visualize the breath-flow directed to a chosen area, or at a distance, while exhaling a slightly lengthened breath without any exaggeration in the count, followed by a refined inhalation. The thought is then automatically channeled along the breath-flow, but if the breath is un-restful, the contact wavers, like with a computer which coordinates information and becomes useless when unplugged. The feeling heart is, however, the captain on the ship, and it is also the inspiration of one’s thoughts and actions, but if these are steered in a different direction than the feeling heart, the ship goes astray. We have various responsibilities toward our families as well as social obligations, but we are also responsible for our thoughts and actions, since these can have such a great effect upon ourselves and others. Mahadeva, the king of the yogis, said that there is nothing that cannot be accomplished through mastery over the breath.



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The Five Elements and the Polarity of Breath

All elements are present to a greater or lesser degree in nature’s creation, and again, in each element all the colors of the rainbow may be seen; yet in each, one specific color is predominant. Furthermore, the elements represent different characteristics. For instance the earth element has the tendency to settle, the water to flow onwards, the fire to rise, the air to expand, whereas the ether element is beyond definition. All these tendencies have in turn indirect influences upon the rhythm of the breath, as it flows day and night in attunement to those specific conditionings. This explains why persons of different temperaments may be harmonious at certain times and not at other times.

Specific vibrations of the elements also have great influences upon one’s character, as well as conditioning one’s daily state of mind. For instance, the earth element encourages stability; the water element has a subduing effect; the fire element awakens the tendency of excitement; the air element inspires peace.

The condition of the breath is also related to other major factors such as positive (jelal) and negative (jemal) polarities. The characteristics of a positive conditioning are courageousness, determination and creativity, whereas a negative conditioning could be seen as receptivity, self-sacrifice and resignation. These two polarities, called Shiva and Shakti in Vedantic terms, may be likened to the sun and the moon.

There is also a third conditioning (kemal), which arises from the simultaneous merging of the positive and negative polarities, resulting in the annihilation of the original nature of each, thereby creating perfect balance. Paradoxically, in material activities, this situation can also attract failure, consequently to the falling out of the specific characteristics of the positive and negative conditions.

Furthermore, one’s state of mind can also be influenced, when visualizing the flow of the breath seen in association with a chosen element. For instance, when the breath is visualized in association with the earth element, one is attuning to the positive and steadiness related to that element. When associated with the water element, one is attuning to the purifying nature and the adaptability of that element. When associated with the fire element, one is attuning to the exiting and energetic characteristics of that element. When associated with the air element, one is attuning to receptivity and peace. When associated with the ether element, one is attuning to the All-Pervading Energy.

Obviously, the physical and psychological abilities, of which one disposes, certainly offer a number of possibilities. However, any abuse or misuse of these, is contrary to the noble principles of mysticism and can never be of any profit nor of any spiritual value. In every age, breath has been understood to be the source of energy, as well as the motivating impulse linking the two seemingly opposite polarities Matter and Spirit.

Obviously, nothing is more important than the quality of the breath flow. This life-giving energy can be visualized in any of the chakras along the Kundalini channels. It can also be focused at a distance, offering positive vibrations to those in need.



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Happiness

The ‘Alchemy of Happiness’, is known in fairy-tales, as a magic formula used to turn base metal into gold. This mystical illustration symbolizes so beautifully the secret key to happiness, which has the power of transforming the iron ego into a golden awakening of the heart. Tuning the heart could be compared to the tuning of string instruments, where the strings are stretched to a higher pitch, whereas the tuning of the heart reaches an inner pitch, which is only heard when the doors of the heart are open and the mysterious absence of the self miraculously reveals the silent tone within.

Happiness means understanding the wants and needs of the physical body, discovering the many mysteries of the mind, and seeking unfoldment of loving hearts. The heart is like a dome, which re-echoes uplifting or disturbing experiences that become in time the characteristics of one’s own personality. Happiness is a privilege; it is also a birthright. Therefore, it certainly is our duty to try to be happy. There is however a difference between happiness experienced in particular circumstances, as opposed to unconditional happiness, where one’s consciousness is raised to a higher level than just the ‘I am happy’ concept, selfishly obtained at the cost of others.

When envying others, it should be remembered that, although one might have less happiness than those whom one envies, one would have to pay a higher price than expected for that same happiness. Therefore it is also essential to overcome unreasonable jealousy, which is comparable to a lock closing the doors of the heart, following which happiness becomes inaccessible. When wanting happiness for oneself, one is faced with specific conditions, such as sincerely appreciating all that one has been granted, and having compassion for those who are not so privileged as oneself.

Displeasure as a result of one’s own pessimistic attitude causes obstructions, which could be overcome with wisdom, will-power, perseverance and insight into one’s own errors, rather than blaming others for one’s unhappiness. One of the many methods for overcoming displeasure is to focus one’s thoughts elsewhere than just upon oneself, and to ask oneself what could one do for others.

Among the many gifts of happiness, there is also the ‘Grace of Destiny’. This favor, which is sometimes meaninglessly bestowed upon the chosen ones, also has its price to pay in terms of responsibilities, which are unexpectedly placed on the path. Furthermore, glamorous destinies, as well as tragic ones, also appear to be contradictory to human interpretation of Divine Justice, which can only be justified, when considered intuitively from a mystical perspective.



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Destny and Free Will

Just as there are rails on which the train travels, in the same way, tracks are traced in our lives, along which the wheels of our actions roll either smoothly or chaotically, according to circumstances. While traveling along those tracks, one gradually discovers that there are two basic guiding rails, the unknown ‘karma’ or destiny, and the known ‘dharma’, or duty. During the trip, it could occur that the wheels might slip off the rails, and the consequence could be detrimental to ourselves as well as to others. Nevertheless, when will-power leads and wisdom guides, there might be a chance of successfully facing destiny’s fancies.

When involved in a project, it is wise to be aware of the fact that a gain can have a particular force of attraction especially under the spell of wealth, success and position, and one does not always foresee the consequences of their charm. A gain in one thing can be the cause of a loss in another case, and reversibly, a loss in one thing can be the cause of a gain in another case. In the constant struggle between gain and loss, gain is always on the side of the motive behind the project, because providence supplies unconditional support to one’s perseverance without discrimination, as to the moral values of the motive. Therefore, it is precisely at this point that one’s free will is put to the test, as far as the beneficial or destructive nature of the original motive is concerned.

A thought focused upon a project, is like the power of an arrow, carrying along with it the intended motive. This is why it is so important to be constantly aware of the cause and effect of all one’s thoughts and feelings; not only the conscious ones but also the unconscious ones; for, like plants have their roots in the earth, in the same way, thoughts are rooted in the mind, and are either consciously or unconsciously motivated by free-will thinking, which is ultimately our own responsibility.

A motive is like running water, whereas a project creates a channel along which the stream of thoughts flows. The success of an accomplishment is very much dependent upon the priority allotted to one among the many projects in view. If the feeling heart is the inspirer of the original motive behind the chosen project, all success is assured and the project becomes an ideal.



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