Man is an engineer and at the same time man is a machine. There is a part of his being which works automatically, subject to climatic and personal influences and to favourable and unfavourable conditions. And there is another part in him which is the engineer part, and that which manifests from that part man calls free will. It is this outlook of life out of which comes the saying, "Man proposes, God disposes."It may be very well said that in the case of one it is more so than in the case of another. In one case, man continually proposes and God continually disposes; in the other case, it is quite on the contrary, man proposes and God grants. This gives one a key to understand the mystery of life, that the more the engineer part of his being is developed, the more man controls his life and affairs. But the more the machine part of his being is nurtured, the more helpless he becomes in spite of all the success in the world he may have. There comes a moment in man's life when man's efforts fall flat and he finds himself to be helpless before conditions.
Motive is a power for action and yet it limits power. The secret of the mystic is to be able to rise above the motive power in order to draw power from The All-Powerful. Once man realizes that he is an engineer and a mechanism at the same time, he studies that mechanism with which he must work, and he avoids being caught in this mechanism as the spider in the web. He keeps watch over it as an engineer to control and utilize this mechanism to the best purpose, in which the secret of mastery is to be found.
(Hazrat Inayat Khan, December 1925)