Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why is life so difficult?

No one will disagree that life brings challenges, but step back for a moment and ask the deeper question, which is why. Why is life so difficult? No matter what advantages you are born with - money, intelligence, an appealing personality, a sunny outlook, or good social connections - none of these provides a magic key to an easy existence. Somehow life manages to bring difficult problems, the causes of untold suffering and struggle. How you meet your challenges makes all the difference between the promise of success and the specter of failure. Is there a reason for this, or is life simply a random series of events that keeps us off balance and barely able to cope?

Spirituality begins with a decisive answer to that question. It says that life isn't random. There is pattern and purpose inside every existence. The reason that challenges arise is simple: to make you more aware of your inner purpose.

If the spiritual answer is true, there should be a spiritual solution to every problem - and there is. The answer doesn't lie at the level of the problem, even though most people focus all their energies at that level. The spiritual solution lies beyond. When you can take your awareness outside the place where struggle is ever-present, two things happen at the same time: your awareness expands, and with that new answers begin to appear. When awareness expands, events that seems random actually aren't. A larger purpose is trying to unfold through you. When you become aware of that purpose - which is unique for each person - you become like an architect who has been handed the blueprint. Instead of laying bricks and fitting pipes at random, the architect can now proceed with confidence that he knows what the building should look like and how to construct it.

(Deepak Chopra. Self Power: Spiritual solutions to life's greatest challenges. Harmony Books, 2002)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Longing in Our Heart

If you have ever been far away in the woods or the mountains, far away from population, consciously or unconsciously there comes a feeling of romance, the wind that is repeating the sound that is coming from the trees, the rock, the murmur of the water running, all are wanting to get back something that was lost. This particular feeling comes to human beings in the pleasure of everyday life. Then there is a joy that opens something in us; then there comes this yearning, and that feeling one feels on every side in the wilderness of the wood. There comes the feeling of longing, the deep yearning of the heart, the searching for something that has been lost.

When we look at the beings living around us we see the same thing. For instance, look at the birds and contemplate on their restless flying, the constant roaming of animals in the forest. The first thought that might come, one might think that they were searching for food. But he who has a deeper sight into the nature certainly will feel the restlessness sooner or later, the searching of that which is lost.

There is the same tendency contains human being, although human being has much interest in life by the various occupations, various moods, he finds thousand and one excuses for his restlessness, for his deppression, for his depressed restlessness. An illusion developed in man is, that reason always comes at his demand. There is always someone that will say to a poor man, "Sad for you that you are not rich."Someone comes and says, "You look depressed, i know there is so much sorrow, that is the reason." But reason is always at command and outside engaged and so cannot find the real reason that is inside. That reason is suppressed behind all the thing that was lost. Nowadays life never gives a man a moment to be tranquil, that he may have a time to breed upon true cause of continual unhappiness, also keeps him in illusion, always looking out, and he can never find it outside. It is as if he were looking for the moon on the earth, but moon is in the sky.

But  then you ask, "What has man lost?"and the answer is, "God himself," that perfect intelligence that is in every being, that intelligence what the Vedantist says is called 'light', the verses of Quran says is 'nur', which means light of God immanent in the world of names and forms, in all that consists in this world of variety.
Various forms of activity giving various results, men in this illusion keeps the same intelligence, to find its perfection in that state of consciousness where he can feel his own perfection. The religious, the mystics, the philosophers of all ages give the key to the secret. That is what sufism will bring back to humanity. Christ has said it so beautifully, "Be thou perfect, as thy Father in heaven is perfect."And the yearning in every soul is in the realisation of that perfection, of everything, every being in this world, consciously or unconsciously. There has been kept one thing in the whole creation to be like an alarm clock set on a certain time, that it will make a sound that one may wake up. That clock sounds through all activity in all evolution, when this is touched men wake up by the alarm. That was the word that was lost and it has its echo in the longing.

And now you will ask, "How can one listen, how can one find it?"That word rises from one's own heart, re-echoing in all mystics of this universe. If it is not rising from one's own heart it cannot be heard in the outer world. And you ask, "What is the sign? what makes it rise? who can hear it?"And the answer comes , "As soon as this word rises in your own heart you touch God, you touch perfection, what is in all beings. In all beings the soul rises to pick it up and begins to understand the divine tongue, the secret that was shut out so long seems to be revealed.

In ancient stories, in the stories of the Bible, it is written men speaking with trees, with running water, that repeats sounds coming from the rocks. A man without patience will not stop to listen, he hurries on, he is ready to laugh at such thing. But  there is nothing surprising or impossible therein. This world which is going on is the inheritance of man. This word only got true to the picture. It re-echoes in all things. Only man must be aware of this privilege, of this oneness which is hidden. The whole treasure of the universe is the understanding of the mystical idea.

The lack of religion, this increasing of materiality, what is it caused by? It is by the lack of knowledge of religion, it is the spirit of religion that is lost. Humanity cannot be turned all one way. The form does not matter, is nothing without the spirit. What is wanted is understanding of each other's fate, to respect each other's idea, to worship that is dear to our fellowman and of the other creatures. An effort to make the whole world believers of one faith would be as if the whole humanity, as if all the people has the same faces, would make the world very uninteresting.

The work, therefore, that the sufi has to accomplish, is to bring that idea of the mystic, that it is the spirit, not the form that matters, and to leave the belief of another out of the question, to understand their belief, to come to the realisation of the word that was lost, the seeking of every soul, that men may be enabled to reflect that picture of oneness, and so to hear the word that was lost, to hear it again sounding in one's own heart.

(Hazrat Inayat Khan)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How to progress in the spiritual path in everyday life

In the first place one must keep one's heart tuned. Intuition becomes closed when the heart is out of tune. Every individual is meant to have a certain pitch. One cannot be too good and one need not be. The question is that one has to be harmonious, friendly and pleasant.

Depression, ill-luck, bad influences are removed just by keeping oneself in tune. If one is tuned one agrees, disagreement shows a lack of tune. If one is in tune one will have health of mind and body both, it is the greatest healing. There are difficult nature and people of different grades of evolution, but we must try to agree with all. Some say that one cannot remain really honest if one wants to please all. But one need not be dishonest in agreeing with another. The difference is that it is more difficult for a person of a lower state of evolution to understand a person of a higher evolution. By harmony one can hold oneself. The most important thing is to be in tune. WHen one person is in tune he will tune all others in time.

Sometimes it is difficult to get on with people, the best thing is to endure. The endurance of gold, for instance, makes gold precious. If a person has all good qualities but he has no endurance, then he has no control of himself.

A child is helpless, but a sign of being grown-up is that one is independent. An unevolved person is in the hand of conditions. Freedom comes with true evolution. Freedom is an illusion as long as the person is not evolved, it can be attain by evolution. Man begins as a machine, he works by influence. As he evolved there develops in him the faculty of The Creator, the faculty of The Maker, to make his own destiny. The greater master he becomes the greater the faculty will be. First he is the slave of destiny, but in the end man becomes master of his destiny. One has no choice when in being the slave of destiny, but afterwards, when one has becomes the master of his destiny, one has choice. Our motive is that the soul may evolve every moment of the day. The stage of the master is the fulfilment of destiny.

(Hazrat Inayat Khan)

Signs of Spiritual Advancement

Perhaps youhave read the story of Daniel in the lion's den, therefore you can understand that there is no greater sign of spiritual advancement than man's personal influence; this is an example of advancement in spiritual life. People want to know whether they are progressing or going back. One need not see how much one has read or learned to find out if one has advanced. The principal thing is : if one attracts people or if one repels them, if one is harmonious or inharmonious. This can tell us how far we have advanced. No doubt one day is not the same as the other. Life is like water, and it will have its waves rising or falling.

Another sign of advancement is that we must become modest, kind, and respectful to others. Another sign is that we must have wisdom and power; if one has both these things one will create beauty in life.

Now a question is how to attain this advancement. Practices and exercises are the main things. We must have faith and trust in the practices we do. According to our faith we will succeed. Mind and body must be kept in a proper tune. For instance, one moment of excitement takes away the advancement of six months time. It is like a person who is making a necklace of pearls; if the thread breaks, he must do it all over again.

For those who walk in the spiritual path it is of great value to keep themselves tuned in the pitch which is necessary. The difficulty is to endure all the time many things which upset one, conditions which excite and exhaust one's patience. We must have the power of endurance in spite of all.

Life is a continual battle to fight, and in order to keep fit one must keep one's power reserved and preserved. This is done by keeping tranquil and equable in mind. Practices, concentrations, meditations and prayer will win the battle of your life.

(Hazrat Inayat Khan)

Monday, February 4, 2013

I choose to be happy!

Everyone has heard the expression, “What you sow is what you reap.” Obviously, if we want to create happiness in our lives, we must learn to sow the seeds of happiness.

We are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices. Some of these choices are made consciously, while others are made unconsciously. Whether we like it or not, everything that is happening at this moment is a result of the choices we’ve made in the past.

If I were to insult you, you would most likely make the choice of being offended. If I were to pay you a compliment, you would most likely make the choice of being pleased or flattered. But think about it: it’s still a choice.

I could offend you and I could insult you, and you could make the choice of not being offended.  I could pay you a compliment and you could make the choice of not letting that flatter you either. In other words, most of us – even thugh we are infinite choice makers – have become bundles of conditioned reflexes that are constantly being triggered by people and circumstances into predictable outcomes of behavior.

If you step back for a moment and witness the choices you are making as you make these choices, then in just this act of witnessing, you take the whole process from the unconscious realm into the conscious realm. This procedure of conscious choice-making and witnessing is very empowering.

When you make any choice – any choice at all – you can ask yourself two things:
First of all, “What are the consequences of this choice that I’m making?”
Secondly, “Will this choice that I’m making now bring happiness to me and to those around me?” If the answer is no, if that choice brings distress either to you or those around you, then don’t make that choice. It’s as simple as that.

(Deepak Chopra. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success)