Mental Purification and Healing
Hazrat Inayat Khan
▼ MENTAL PURIFICATION
The Distinction Between the Subtle and the Gross •
The Will •
The Expansion of Consciousness •
Insight shows itself in different aspects: in impression, intuition, inspiration, dream, and revelation.
How does one get impressions? All impressions reach the brain through the nerve centers. They are mostly taken in by the breath; but by this one does not mean the breath inhaled through the nostrils. He who is able to get an impression of a person need not wait to see how he will turn out; he knows it instantly. Very often one may have a feeling at first sight, whether someone will be one’s friend or prove unfriendly.
When someone comes and tells me, "I am very interested in your philosophy, but before I take it up I want to study it." He may study for a thousand years and he will not get to that insight. It is the first moment: either you are my friend or not my friend. When two persons meet a confidence is established; one does not need years in order to develop friendship.
Everyone receives an impression on seeing a certain person or looking at a certain situation. One may not believe that impression, but all the same it is there. The first impression tells a man whether he will be successful or not, whether a person is right or not, whether there will be friendship between two people or not. And when this faculty is developed, a person can get an impression of a place and of persons and of conditions. Impressions come to those whose mind is still; those whose mind is active cannot take impressions. For the mind is like water: when the pool of water is disturbed, one cannot see any reflection in it. Thus purity of mind is necessary. In which sense? All that is called wrong is not necessarily wrong; some things are called wrong because of a certain moral, a certain principle, originated by the mechanical action of the mind. When the mind is kept pure from all activity that disturbs it, then it becomes like pure water. Very often the water of the mind is polluted, but when the mind is in its pure condition, then naturally it can take impressions.
The mind may be likened to a photographic plate. If several impressions have been made upon it, then there can be no other impressions. That is why the mind should be kept pure from all undesirable impressions in order that every impression may be clear.
Intuition is still deeper, for by intuition one gets a warning. Intuitively one feels: this person will one day deceive me, or turn against me; or he will prove faithful to me, sincere, to be relied upon. Or in this particular business I will have success or failure. One knows it. But the difficulty is in distinguishing. The right intuition; that is the great question; or as soon as intuition springs up, reason, its competitor, rises also and says, "No, it is not so." Then there is conflict in the mind and it is hard to distinguish, because there are two feelings at the same time. If one makes a habit of catching the first intuition and saving it from being destroyed by reason, then intuition is stronger and one can benefit by it. There are many intuitive people, but they cannot always distinguish between intuition and reason and sometimes they mix them up, for very often the second thought, being the last, is more clear to one than the first. Therefore, the intuition is forgotten and reason remembered. Then a person calls it intuition and it is not so. Reason and intuition are two competitors, and yet both have their place, their importance, and their value. The best thing would be first to try and catch the intuition and distinguish and know and recognize it as intuition; and then to reason it out.
Besides, those who doubt intuition, their intuition doubts them. In other words, the doubt becomes a wall between themselves and their intuitive faculty. And there is a psychological action: as soon as intuition has sprung up, doubt and reason have sprung up too, so that the vision becomes blurred. One should develop self-confidence. Even if one proves to be wrong once or twice or thrice one should still continue; in time one will develop trust in one’s intuition and the intuition will be clear.
Women are naturally more intuitive than men. The reason is that a woman is more responsive by nature and more sympathetic; therefore she can perceive intuition more clearly. Very often a man may reason and think and yet not come to a conclusion, to a clear understanding, while a woman, or any more intuitive person, in one moment is clear about a certain question, a certain point. That comes from intuition. Intuition is a faculty of the heart that feels deeply, be it of a man or a woman; the quality of intuition belongs to a sympathetic heart.
The intuition of dogs and cats and of horses sometimes seems to be more clear than that of man. They know when there is going to be an accident, when death is going to occur in the family. They know beforehand and give people warning. But people are so busy in their daily occupations that they do not respond to the intuition of the animals. People in the East believe that small insects know about happenings and give a warning to those who can understand it; and it is true. Besides, birds always give a warning of storm and wind, and of rain and the absence of rain. Mankind naturally is more capable of intuition, but because his mind is absorbed by a hundred things, his deep feelings become so blunted in everyday life that he ignores the existence of intuition or inspiration, and so this faculty itself becomes blunted and he feels and knows less than the animals. The human body is a vehicle, a telescope, an instrument by which one can perceive the knowledge of one’s self within, of conditions, of others, and of everything outside.
The question is how does one develop this faculty of intuition? The first thing is self-confidence. When there is no self-confidence one cannot develop this faculty of intuition, because it comes more and more by believing in it. When a person doubts and says, "Is this an intuition, will this really help me, or shall I be deceived by my own intuition?" then naturally reason produces confusion in the mind and intuition is destroyed. There are many intuitive people, and their intuition has been destroyed only by this doubt which arises in their mind, whether their intuition is right or wrong. That is why they lose this faculty of intuition. Every faculty needs nurturing; if it is not nurtured it becomes blunted and destroyed; one can make no more use of it. Besides, a person may underestimate the value of this faculty in his life; he then naturally destroys it; and this faculty disappears also by a too speedy action of the mind. When a person thinks of a thousand things in a short time, the mind becomes too active and then one cannot perceive intuition, which needs a certain rhythm, a certain concentration.
A further aspect of insight is inspiration. The difference between inspiration and instinct is that what we recognize in the lower creation as instinct is the same as that which works through the human mind in the form of intuition or inspiration. One may say from a biological point of view that the lower creatures are born with a certain instinct such as the inclination to fly, to defend themselves with their horns or to bite with their teeth. All the faculties they show are born with them; they are not only the heritage brought from their ancestors, they do not belong to their family only, they are a property of the spirit. And from the spirit all living beings get guidance in the form of an inclination. What we recognize as instinct in the lower creations is inspiration in mankind. Today, as science is increasing and as materialism prevails, man is forgetting the heritage that he has from the spirit, and attributes all knowledge and experience to the material existence of the physical world. In this way he deprives himself of those gifts which could be called his own and without which man cannot live a fuller life.
Inspiration comes to poets, writers, inventors, and scientists. Where does it come from, what is its source? Why does not the inspiration of a musician come to a poet, why does not a poet’s inspiration came to a musician? Why should it reach the person to whom it belongs? The reason is that there is a mind behind all minds. There is a heart, which is the source of all hearts, and that here is a Spirit, which collects and accumulates all the knowledge that every living being has had. No knowledge or discovery that has ever been made is lost. It all accumulates and collects in that mind as an eternal reservoir. This is what is recognized by the seers as the divine mind. From this mind all vision can be drawn. The mind of the poet is naturally exalted, that is why it becomes enlightened by the divine mind. From the divine mind all that is needed manifests. It may be that a poet works without inspiration for six months on a poem, and it gives satisfaction neither to the poet nor to others, who find it mechanical. And there is another one who receives the inspiration in a moment and puts it down. He can never correct what he has written; he can never change it. No one can change it. If it is changed, it is spoiled. It is something that comes in a moment and it is perfect in itself, it is a piece of art, it is an example of beauty; and it comes so easily. That is inspiration.
Many have tried to imitate inspired people, in poetry or in scientific inventions. They tried, but they never reached that perfection which came in a moment’s time. Those who were inspired never searched after it, it came in a mood. All that comes from inspiration is living; it always keeps its value. There are writings of such poets in the East as Rumi of Persia, as Kalidasa of India; and now, after thousands of years, their writings are read by people and they are never old and people never tire of them. It is the same with Shakespeare. He has made a living world. The more time passes, the more it lives, and the more it is appreciated. It is forever living. That is the character of inspiration; and it only comes to the one whose mind is still and whose thought is absorbed in the beauty of the work upon which he is contemplating. The mind of the musician, who knows little of this world except music, is concentrated and focused on the beauty of his art. Naturally he will draw inspiration. So it is with the poet. But when the mind is absorbed in a thousand things, then it is not focused, then it cannot receive inspiration.
How is inspiration developed? By concentration. An inspired poet is he whose mind is fully fixed on the idea he wishes to express; he is floating, so to speak, in the beauty of it; his mind becomes focused and inspiration mechanically comes to him. A person who troubles about inspiration, who wants to drag it towards him, cannot get it; it does not belong to him. In order to get it he must float in the idea, he must merge all his heart in its beauty. He must be so positively focused to that spirit of beauty that inspiration may naturally flow into him.
The dream or vision is another aspect of insight. Very often people consider a dream as an automatic action of the mind. But this is not always the case. There is no movement in the mind, which is meaningless. Every motion and action has a meaning behind it, every motion is directed towards something either with intention or without. There is no movement; there is no action, which is not directed from some source or other.
There are three kinds of dreams. In the first a person sees his mind working along the same lines as it did during the day, at the same time suggesting the past, present, or future. Then there is another kind of dream when the mind sees in everything quite the opposite of what is going to happen. And there is a third type of dream in which one sees something out of the past actually happening, or what is going to happen in the future. This proves that everything on the physical plane is first formed in the inner planes and then registered on the mind in the dream. When one is concentrated one sees the happening more clearly.
There is also a state of dream in which one sees a vision. This happens in a meditative condition. A vision is more communicative, more expressive; it may be a warning, which is given for the future, or an incident of the past may be made known. In the vision one can go still further and communicate with the unseen world. But a vision only comes to those who are born with that faculty or have developed that faculty in the mind by becoming fully concentrated.
A dream may be symbolical, and this is the most interesting type of dream. The greater the person, the subtler the symbolism of his dream will be. When someone is gross the symbolism will be gross. The more evolved the person is, the more fine, artistic, and subtle the dream will be. For instance, for a poet there will be poetic symbols; and the dream of a musician will have musical symbols; in the dream of the artist there will be symbols of art.
In the realistic dream one actually sees what is going to happen. All that we call accident is only our conception; because we did not know it beforehand we call it accident. This also gives us insight into what we call fate. But there is a plan; it is all planned out and known beforehand to the spirit and to those who know. There are sages who know of their death a year before. There is no such thing as accident. When a person does not know, it means he does not see; but it is there.
Revelation is still greater. It is the perfection of insight. It means a higher development when one has revelation, and it begins when a person feels in tune with everybody, everything, and every condition. But in order to come to that stage one must develop according to it. The heart must be tuned to the stage and the pitch where one feels at-one-ment with persons, objects, and conditions. For instance, when one cannot bear the climate, it only means that one is not in harmony with the climate; when one cannot get on with persons, that one is not in harmony with them; when one cannot get on with certain affairs, that one is not in harmony with those affairs. If conditions seem hard, it shows that one is not in harmony with the conditions.
Revelation came to the saints and saviors of humanity. It is not just a tale when we hear that the saints spoke with trees and plants in the wilderness, that a voice from the sea rose and the saints heard it, that masters talked with the sun, moon, and stars. For the deeper a person dives into life, the more he is convinced that all is living, whether beings or objects, whether art or nature; whatever he sees, whatever he perceives through the senses, whatever he can touch, all that is intelligible to him. It may not be seen and it may not be known by anybody else, but everything is communicating. Once a person begins to communicate with nature, with art, he begins to have the proof of this, for everything begins to speak. As the great poet of Persia, Sa’di, has said, "Every leaf of the tree becomes a page of the Book when once the heart is opened and it has learnt to read."
When revelation begins, a man does not need to converse; before talking, he knows what the other wishes to say. The condition of the person or the persons before him is revealed; it is like reading a letter. The person may speak to him, but without speaking he knows. This is not thought reading, not telepathy, not psychometric or clairvoyance as people think. Revelation is all the phenomena there are. What is it? It is a fuller development of inspiration. When the intuitive faculty is fully developed, man receives revelation. All dumb creatures and mute things begin to speak. For what are words? Are they not covers over the idea? No feeling can ever be expressed in words, no idea be put fully into verse. A true glimpse of ideas and feelings can only be perceived in that plane which is feeling itself.
Revelation depends upon purity of mind. Very often someone who is worldly-wise is not really wise. Intellectuality is one thing, wisdom is another thing. Not all the knowledge learnt from books and from experiences in the world and collected in the mind as learning is wisdom. When the light from within is thrown upon this knowledge, then the knowledge from outer life and the light coming from within make a perfect wisdom; and it is that wisdom which guides man on the path of life.
Those who received revelation have given us sacred books such as the Bible, the Qur'an, the Bhagavad Gita; hundreds and thousands of years have passed and their sacred teachings have remained alive even now. But at the same time we must know that what they have given in the form of preaching, in the form of teachings, is the interpretation of the living wisdom which cannot be fully expressed in words. One can only know that living knowledge when one has experienced it oneself by the opening of the heart. It is then that the purpose of life is fulfilled.