Mental Purification and Healing
Hazrat Inayat Khan
▼ MENTAL PURIFICATION
The Will •
Mystic Relaxation 1
Mystic Relaxation is of great importance, for the whole spiritual culture is based and built upon this one subject. Yet there is so little spoken and written about it. It has been experienced and studied by the seekers after truth of all ages, and it is by the full understanding of this subject that they attained to greater power and inspiration.
Life is rhythm. This rhythm may be divided into three stages, and at every stage this rhythm changes the nature and character of life. One rhythm is mobile, another is active, and the third is chaotic. The mobile rhythm is creative, productive, constructive, and through that rhythm all power and inspiration are gained, and peace is experienced. The further stage of that rhythm, the active rhythm, is the source of success and accomplishment, of progress and advancement, the source of joy and fulfillment. And the third stage of this rhythm, the chaotic rhythm, is the source of failure, of death, of disease and destruction, the source of all pain and sorrow.
The first kind of rhythm is slow, the second kind is faster, and the third is faster still. The direction of the first is direct, of the second even, and of the third zigzag. When one says that a person is wise and thoughtful, it means that he is in the first rhythm. When one says that a person is persevering and successful, he is in the second rhythm. And when it is said that this person has lost his head and has gone astray, he is in the third rhythm. He is either digging his own grave or the grave of his affairs; he is his own enemy. Everything he wants to accomplish, however much he wants to advance or progress, all goes down in destruction because he has taken this third rhythm, the chaotic and destructive rhythm. Therefore it is up to us to tune ourselves either to the first, to the second, or the third rhythm, and accordingly this will become our condition in life.
Have planetary influences, then, nothing to do with our life? Yes, they have, but how do even planetary influences work on us? If we have put ourselves in a particular rhythm, these influences have no power to bring about success or failure. If we only put ourselves in that rhythm there will be a similar result, and also the environment will react in the same way. If we are in favorable or in unfavorable, in congenital or uncongenial surroundings, it all means that we have put ourselves in that particular rhythm. When we experience success, good luck or bad luck, good or bad fortune, it is according to the rhythm we have brought about.
Where is this power to be found, how is it to be realized? If a person thinks about it, he can very easily realize it physically, mentally, and spiritually. There is a time when the body is in a perfectly calm condition, and there is a time when the body is excited, when the beat has lost its rhythm, is irregular, uneven; that is a chaotic condition. And when the body has a regular circulation and proper rhythm and even breath, then a person is capable of doing things, accomplishing things. When the body is restful, comfortable, relaxed, we are able to think. Inspirations, revelations come, we feel quiet, and we have enthusiasm and power. In Sanskrit the first rhythm is called Sattwa, the second Rajas and the third Tammas. It is from the middle rhythm that the word Raja has come, which means the one who has persevered with his sword and made a kingdom. His rhythm is the middle rhythm. The first rhythm is sometimes called Sand, which makes one think of the English saint. From this rhythm comes goodness.
In our life at a certain time one rhythm prevails, at another the second rhythm, and at still another the third. And yet in our life one rhythm is predominating through all changes, whether a person has the third, the second, or the first rhythm.
One who has the first rhythm has always power to accomplish things. And as it is with the body, so it is with the mind. Body and mind are so closely connected that whatever rhythm the mind has, the body has. And the rhythm, which is predominating in body and mind, that same rhythm is the rhythm of one’s soul.
There was a king who when a certain problem was brought to him by his ministers, used to say, "Read it again;" and the minister would read it again. Maybe after four times he would stop him and say, "Read it again," and the minister would do so. And after he had heard it three times, his answer would be perfect. But what do we sometimes do when we converse with people? Before the conversation has stopped, we have answered them. So impatient are we, and eager to answer and excited about it, that only one in a hundred people stops to listen to what another has to say.
It is the wrong rhythm, the chaotic rhythm which brings about chaotic results. Where does war come from? From chaotic action. When there is chaotic action, nations become involved in war. By chaotic action the whole world may be involved in war. People doubt the religious belief of Christ having saved the whole world. They cannot understand it. They say that man saves himself. But they do not realize that one man can ruin the whole world and that one man can save it. It is by rhythm that he can save the whole world. When there is a chaotic influence it works like an intoxicating drink in thousands of people, like a germ of disease, spreading from one person to another through the whole country. If that is true mechanically, then psychologically it can be true that one person’s chaotic influence can put the whole world in despair, though it is very difficult for ordinary people to understand this.
The Turkish nation was greatly depressed on every side, and the wars had made the country very poor. With nothing but disappointment all the time it had gone down and down. And then there came one man, Kemal Pasha, and his rhythm put life into thousands and thousands of dead souls who were waiting for some result, hungry from lack of food, disappointed with every effort. And one man brought cheer to them all and picked up the whole country. We can see what happened in Italy, where every action was powerless because of so many different ideas and parties. There was no united effort, no concentration. After the fatigue of the war, there came one man, Mussolini, who lifted up the thoughts of the whole country. And this is only the outer plane. In the spiritual plane the effect is still more powerful, only those who work on the spiritual plane do not manifest to view. What happens in the political world is known, but in the spiritual world great things happen and they are not known; but their influence is most powerful; because of their rhythm.
We see this in the life of Napoleon. Some appreciate his life and some do not. But nevertheless during his wars he was the inspiration and power and backbone of the whole country. It was all Napoleon’s spirit. And always, even during the greatest anxieties of war, he used to have moments of silence, even sometimes on horseback. And while he was having this silence he would recuperate all strength lost in the continual responsibilities of war, and he would feel refreshed after having closed his eyes. What was it? He had the key of relaxation. It is tuning oneself to a desired rhythm.
We should not be surprised or laugh at sages who keep one hand raised up, or stand perhaps on their head with their feet up, or sit in one posture for a long time. There is some reason for it. Those artists who know the different ways of the art of relaxation know how to bring about a relaxed condition in the body and mind. I myself, continually for about twelve years, had only three hours sleep at night and sometimes not even that. And all those twelve years I was never ill. I had all the strength necessary and was perfectly well because of the practice of relaxation.
The question is how does one relax? It is not by sitting silent with closed eyes; for when the mind is giving attention to the body by thought or feeling, then the body is not relaxed, because the mind is torturing the body. And when feeling is giving attention to the mind, then the mind is tortured. And this torture, even if the eyes are closed, even if we are sitting in certain posture, does no good. With relaxation one should consider three points of view: the point of view of the physical body, the point of view of the mind, and the point of view of the feeling. The point of view of the physical body is that one must accustom oneself to get power over, or to have influence on, one’s circulation and pulsation. And one can do that with the power of thought and with the power of will together with breath. By willpower one can bring about a certain condition in one’s body so that one’s circulation takes a certain rhythm. It is decreased according to will. One can do the same in regulating one’s pulsation by the power of will. No sooner has the will taken in hand the circulation and the pulsation of the body, than the will has in hand a meditation for hours. It is for this reason that sages can meditate for hours on end, because they have mastered their circulation. They can breathe at will, slower or quicker. And when there is no tension on one’s nervous or on one’s muscular system, then one gets a repose that ten days sleep cannot bring about. Therefore to have relaxation does not mean to sit quiet. It is to be able to remove tension from one’s system- from one’s circulation, one’s pulsation, and one’s nervous and muscular systems.
How does one relax the mind? The method for relaxation of the mind is first to make the mind tired. He who does not know the exercise for making the mind tired can never relax his mind. Concentration is the greatest action one can give to one’s mind, because the mind is held in position on a certain thing. After that it will relax naturally and when it relaxes it will gain all power.
Relaxation of feeling is achieved by feeling deeply. The Sufis in the East in their meditation have music played that stirs up the emotions to such a degree that the poem they hear becomes a reality. Then comes the reaction, which is relaxation. All that was blocked up, every congestion is broken down. And inspiration, power, and a feeling of joy and exaltation come to them.
It is by these three kinds of relaxation that one becomes prepared for the highest relaxation, which is to relax the whole being: body in repose, mind at rest, heart at peace. It is that experience which may be called Nirvana, the ideal of thinkers and meditative souls. It is that which they want to reach, for in it there is everything. In that condition each person becomes for the time as a drop that is assimilated or submerged in its origin. And being submerged for one moment means that all that belongs to the origin is attracted by this drop, because the origin is the essence of all. The drop has taken from its origin everything it has in life. It is newly charged and has become illuminated again.