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)