Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan
In reality everyone is spiritual, because life itself is spirit, and spirit is life-power, motivating the materialized garb of the self. The self identifies itself with its limited mental and physical status, without realizing that the all-pervading immanence of life is that indescribable power which is constantly manifesting behind all impulses.
Spiritual ideals cannot be the property of one particular transmission because of their universal nature. Spirituality is a call for the human right 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 employed to explain that call generally misinterpret its real meaning. Besides this, what brings still more confusion regarding spirituality is that there are endless numbers of self-proclaimed mystics, occultists, spiritualists, fortunetellers and parapsychologists whose mission seems to be to satisfy those who are chasing after miracles.
There is a well-known theater play that mentions the famous words “To be or not to be”, emphasizing the fact that striving in this difficult life requires one to choose to be. One might assume that this principle also applies to obtaining spirituality, whereas 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; in the case of spirituality, ‘not to be is to be.’
Spirituality cannot be limited within doctrines nor defined in words, and it cannot be taught or learned; it can only be discovered by way of the heart. Therefore spirituality really means rebirth, in the sense that one begins to discover that it has always been one’s birthright. Spirituality could best be described as the perfume of true knowledge, although it has been illustrated in all ages in many folkloric fairy-tales, which have given spirituality the appearance of being related to strange powers and eccentric behavior.
We imagine that to become spiritual means becoming higher and higher, but have we ever stopped to discover that everything that we have wanted to obtain ‘up there’ is already right here in our own hearts? Spirituality means losing the desire to impress others, whereby one comes unconsciously to identify with the divine presence; otherwise spirituality mostly remains just a dream, if one fails to see that the means to obtain inner realization cannot be the goal; the goal is further still.
Numerous methods are offered in view of discovering the Light of Truth!
There are also thousands of spiritual schools!
But unless one tries to hold the ego under control, one is wasting one’s time, and only facing disillusionment. Disillusion in spirituality is even more discouraging than disillusion in worldly affairs.
The ego is like an engine with tremendously powerful energy, but it can only be useful if it is wisely guided in all circumstances. In the same way, the most powerful locomotive would be helpless if there were no rails to roll on, and what is the good of rails without an engine to roll on them? In this context the engine obviously pictures the power of the ego, which is kept under control while rolling along the rails of wisdom.
One cannot get rid of the ego, but one can train it appropriately so that it can be used for beneficial purposes. Let us stop asking ‘What can others do for us?’ Let us start by asking ourselves, ‘What can we do for others?’
Before even venturing to tread on the spiritual path, the first step to take is to become a true brother or sister within the limits of one’s own conception of good and bad. One then realizes that to be victorious over others does not mean having conquered them, which is in fact an inner defeat. To be defeated is not necessarily to be conquered; it might be an inner victory, the victory over the ego.
The unfoldment of innate nobility inspires one to be conscious of one’s responsibilities. All disputes and disagreements fall away the moment the human spirit becomes conscious of its Divine origin, which may be seen in the aristocracy of the human spirit and at the same time the democracy with which one opens one’s heart to others.
Spirituality cannot be analyzed because it does not correspond to physical qualities nor to psychological definitions, but is recognizable in a natural tendency toward moral integrity and self-discipline. It is a condition where the feeling heart is constantly activated, unconditionally pouring out inner emotions, which have an uplifting influence upon those who are responsive to the effect of the magnetism of a spiritually awakened soul.
Spirituality means to offer others the fruits of one’s experience so that others might be inspired to discover the true light within. The light of the glowing sun is not limited to just one ray. That light shines in an infinite number of rays, cast in all directions. The light of truth is not only reserved for the spiritual seekers. It shines in the hearts of all. Nevertheless, the brilliancy of that light varies in its intensity, dependent upon the transparency of the ego.