Mental Purification and Healing
Hazrat Inayat Khan
▼ MENTAL PURIFICATION
The Will •
Insight may be likened to the view one obtains through a telescope. From a distance one can see a wide horizon. By getting this smaller horizon things become clearer because one sees them in detail. When there is a larger horizon things are not seen in detail but then there is a general outlook. And the same law can be applied to insight. When one looks at a person one gets a glimpse of his character, and when one looks at an assembly one gets a feeling of the assembly.
The heart is the telescope of the soul, and the eyes are the telescopes of the heart. Just as when seeing through spectacles it is the eyes that see, not the spectacles, so when seeing through the heart and through the eyes, what sees is the soul. The eyes have no power to see; the eyes have only the power to help the soul to see. The moment the soul departs the eyes do not see. And so even the heart is a telescope, which helps one to perceive and to conceive, all that one seeks. Yet at the same time the heart does not see; it is the soul that sees.
Just as there are some who have short sight and others who have long sight, so there are some who see things at a far distance with the eye of their mind but who cannot see what is near them. They have long sight. Then there are others who have short sight; they see all that is near them, but they cannot see further. It is said that there is a third eye that sees. It is true, but sometimes that third eye sees through these two eyes and then the same eyes see things more clearly than they would otherwise. By the help of the third eye one’s eyes can penetrate through the wall of physical existence and see into the minds of people, into the words of people and even further. When one begins to see, what happens first is that everything one’s eyes see has a deeper meaning, a greater significance than one knew before. Every movement, every gesture, the form, features, voice, words, expression, atmosphere, all become expressive of the person’s nature and character. Not knowing this secret, many people want to study physiognomy or phrenology, handwriting or palmistry. But in comparison with the clear vision all these different sciences are limited. They have a meaning, but at the same time when one compares these limited sciences with the insight that man has; they prove to be too small. Besides character reading is not learnt, it is discovered. It is a sense that awakens. One does not need to learn it. One knows it.
This is one kind of insight, but there is another insight, which is insight in affairs. Be it a business affair, a professional affair, a condition, a situation in life; once the insight is clear one has a grasp of the situation. For what makes things difficult in life is lack of knowledge. There may be a small problem, but when one does not know it, it becomes the heaviest and worst of all problems, because one cannot understand it. And one may analyze a problem and reason it out, but without insight it will always remain puzzling. It is the development of insight that gives one a clear vision in affairs, conditions, and the problems of life.
The faculty of seeing needs direction. For instance, in order to look to the right or left, or before or behind, one must direct the eyes; and this directing is the work of the will. In the twenty-four hours of the day and night it is perhaps at most for five minutes or fifteen minutes that one sees under the direction of the will; all the rest of the time one sees automatically. In other words one’s eyes are open, one’s heart is subject to all that can be seen, and one catches unknowingly the different things that attract the eyes and mind. All that one sees during the day and night is not what one intended to see, but what one is compelled by the life around us to see. That is why the thinkers and sages of the East in ancient times used to have mantles put over their heads, so that they did not see anything or anybody and could control their sight. The Sufis of ancient times used to keep their heads covered like this for many years, and in doing so they developed such powers that their one glance would penetrate rocks and mountains. It is only control of the sight. Yogis in all ages have worked not only with their minds but even with their eyes, attaining such a stability of glance that they could direct their sight to anything they wished to examine or penetrate. Eyes, therefore, are the representatives of the soul at the surface, and they speak to a person more clearly than words can speak; to one who can read they are the signs of the plane of evolution a person is on. A person does not need to speak to one; his eyes tell one whether he is pleased or not, willing or unwilling, whether he is favorably inclined or unfavorably inclined. Love or hate, pride or modesty all can be seen in the eyes; even wisdom and ignorance, everything, manifests through the eyes. The one who can trace the condition and character in the eyes certainly communicates with the soul of another person.
Not very long ago in Hyderabad there was a mureed, rather an intellectual pupil, and he liked to talk. His teacher was interested in his intelligent inquiries, and so he encouraged him to talk, whereas it is the custom in the East for the pupil to remain silent before his teacher. One day the teacher was in a condition of exaltation and his pupil as usual wanted to discuss and argue, which was not agreeable to the teacher t that time. He said in Persian, "Khamush," which means silence. And the pupil became silent; he went home and remained silent. And no one heard him speak after that, no one in the house nor outside; he never spoke anywhere. Years passed by and the man still kept silent. But there dame a time when his silence began to speak aloud. His silent thought would manifest and his silent wish would become granted; his silent glance would heal, his silent look would inspire. His silence became living. It was the spoken words, which had kept him dead all this time. The moment the lips were closed the silence in him began to live. His presence was living. In Hyderabad people called him Shaikh Khamush, the king of silence, or the silent king. By this I wish to imply that everyone has eyes, but to make the eyes living takes a long time. For eyes see so far and no further. It is the heart connected with the eyes that can see further, and if the soul sees through them it sees further still.
An entirely different question is how to get the eyes focused. If one wishes to look at the moon one must look at the sky instead of looking at the earth; and so if one wants to seek heaven one must change the direction of looking. That is where many make a mistake. Today in the West, where there is a very large number of students eagerly engaged in looking for the truth, many among them are mistaken in this particular respect; in order to see what can be seen within they want to look without. It is, however, a natural tendency. As a person looks without for anything he wants, he naturally looks for inner attainment also on the outside.
How can we look within and what shall we see? In the first place, to a material person "within" means in the body, inside the body. In reality "within" means not only inside, but also outside the body. This can be seen by the light inside a lamp: the light is inside the globe, and it is outside the globe too. So is the soul; it is inside and outside too. So is the mind; it is inside and outside, it is not confined inside the body. In other words, the heart is larger than the body, and the soul is larger still. At the same time the soul is accommodated within the heart, and the heart is accommodated within the body; this is the greatest phenomenon and is very difficult to explain in words. There are intuitive centers; and in order to see into the intuitive centers one has to turn the eyes back, turn the eyes within; then the same eyes which are able to see without are able to see within. But that is only one phase of seeing. The other phase of seeing within cannot be seen by that way, the pain and pleasure and joy and sorrow of every person that comes before one manifest in one’s own heart; one actually sees it. One sees it even more clearly than one’s eyes can see. But that is the language of the heart. The eyes do not know it.
Sages in the East used to be called Balakush, which means "He who took the draught of all difficulties." They regarded the difficulties of life as a wine to drink; once you drink, they have gone. They were not afraid of it; they did not want to keep out of it. They said, "If we keep out this time, next time it will meet us; it will meet us one day. If we escape one moment, another moment it will meet us. So let it come such as it is and let us drink it as wine." The principle of Mahadeva, of the dervishes, of the great fakirs of all ages is this one principle: to drink all difficulties as a wine, Then there is no more difficulty. When one is in tune with life, life becomes revealing, for then one is friends with life. Before that, one was a stranger to it. Attitude makes a great difference, and it is the difference of attitude that makes a person spiritual or material. Nothing else need be changed only the attitude.
The lesson we learn from the developing of our insight is not to become excited by any influence that tries to bring us out of rhythm, but to keep in rhythm under all conditions of life; to keep our equilibrium, our tranquillity under all circumstances. It is sometimes very difficult to keep our equilibrium when the influences of life are shaking us, and to keep our poise through it all, it is difficult in the face of influences, which are opposed to keeping a friendly attitude. But at the same time, because it is difficult it is a great attainment. To attain anything valuable and worth while we have to go through difficulty. But we do not pay for it; we learn without paying for it. It is something that we can practice in everyday life because from morning till evening we are continually among jarring effects from all side. There is plenty of opportunity for practicing this lesson of keeping a friendly attitude towards everyone, of meeting every condition courageously, and of taking upon ourselves all influences that come along. It is in this way that a greater insight into life is attained.
If there is anything that can make our comprehension clear, it is reason on one side and feeling on the other. A man in whom feeling is not awakened is awake and asleep at the same time. That which is living is not reason, it is feeling. Many think when the brain is working it is something tangible; one does not notice it working in feeling. But in reality feeling takes the part of the engineer and the brain is like the mechanism. The mechanism cannot work without the engineer; so the brain cannot work without the feeling behind it. These two things are needed to make knowledge clear. When a person cannot understand himself, his own imagination, and his own problems deeply, then how can he understand the problems of others? Then there is no communication between one person and another. Today friendship often means only a professional interest; human relations are formed by certain interests, worldly interests. Therefore man does not know what feeling is. The alliances of nations, the unions of working men, all these things are being formed on the basis of self-interest. I am your friend if you defend my case! Therefore when feeling, which alone is divine in man, which is the proof and sign of the spirit, and which is a divine heritage, becomes blunted, then naturally whatever life may be it cannot be civilization, even if one calls it civilized.
The day will come when man will live a fuller life, a more complete life of high ideals and great principles, when feeling in man will be as much awakened as reason. When that day comes the knowledge will be spiritual knowledge, not booklearning. One can feel everywhere, in colleges, in societies, in clubs, in any of the professions, that every person is seeking directly or indirectly for some knowledge; man feels that here is a knowledge, which is more real. Every person seems to be disappointed with his experience of life. He may be most successful in the world, it does not matter. He may be a rich man, he may have a high position, but he is disappointed, he is longing for something, which will satisfy him. What is it? It is not outside. It is within himself. He will find it on the day when he awakens to the reality of life. Once a soul is awakened to the reality of life, all other things matter little. What matters is that he understands clearly that what satisfies is within.
Besides, when once the heart begins to live, another world is open for experience. For generally what one experiences in one’s everyday life is only what the senses can perceive and nothing beyond it. But when once a person begins to feel and experience the subtle feelings of the heart he lives in another world, walking on the same earth and living under the same sun. Therefore be not surprised if you find beings who are living in another world while walking on this earth. It is as natural as anything can be for man to live in his heart instead of only living on the earth. The people in the East call it Saheb-e-dil, that is the mastermind.
And then if one goes still deeper within, one begins to live in the soul. Inspiration, intuition, vision, revelation are natural to this person. The soul begins to become conscious of its own domain. And it is the same kingdom of which it is said in the Bible: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God...." It is the soul, which begins to see.
And one can see still further, What enables one to attain to this stage is the way of meditation under the guidance of the right teacher.
The first thing to do is to get control of the glance. The next is to get control of the feelings. And the third is to get control of the consciousness. If these three things are attained then one begins to look within. Looking within helps a person very much in looking outside; then the same power with which the heart and eyes are charged begins to manifest outwardly. And the one who looks within finds, when he looks without, that all that is within manifests without. His influence is healing and consoling, uplifting and soothing. His sight, too, becomes penetrating, so that not only human beings but also even objects begin to disclose to him their nature, character, and secret.