The first and principal thing in the inner life is to establish a relation with God, making God the object with which we relate ourselves, such as Creator, Sustainer, Forgiver and Beloved. In every relation we must place God before us and become conscious of that relation so that it will no more remain an imagination; because the first thing a believer does is to imagine. He imagines that God is the Creator and tries to believe that God is the Sustainer, and he makes an effort to think that God is a Friend, and an attempt to feel that he loves God. But when this imagination would become a reality then exactly as one feels for one's earthly beloved sympathy, love and attachment, so one must feel the same with God. However greatly a person may be pious, good or righteous, yet without this his piety or goodness are not a reality to him.
The work of the inner life is to make God a reality, so that He is no more an imagination, that this relation that man has with God may seem to him more real than any other relation in this world, and when this happens then all relations, however near and dear, become less binding. But at the same time by that a person does not become cold, he becomes more loving. It is the godless man who is cold, impressed by the selfishness and lovelessness of this world, because he partakes of those conditions in which he lives. But the one who is in love with God, the one who has established his relation with God, his love becomes living, he is no more cold, he fulfills his duties to those related to him in this world much more than does the godless man.
(Hazrat Inayat Khan, Katwijk, The Netherlands, 1922)