Saturday, June 09, 2007

THE BANQUET

"Dreams and inspirations are open proofs of the higher world."

Hazrat Inayat Khan


I had a memory the other day that I would like to share.

A few years ago, on a nice summer's day, Majida and I decided to take a drive. We headed for the other side of the Hudson, to Nyack, NY, to look in the little shops over there. As we were crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge I noticed a bright red Ferrari in front of us. I have always been an admirer of sports cars and nothing says sports car like a Ferrari. So I was kind of paying attention to it as we drew closer and I paid more attention as I began to realize that there was something odd about the car. Ferrari lines are very distinctive and I suspect that every one who drives, while they might not instantly recognize the mark will still realize they are seeing a rare automobile. You know how when you are looking at something familiar you expect it to look a certain way and when it does not your mind will still insist that it does until the rational mind steps in and identifies the differences? Well that is what my mind was doing. I knew something was off but couldn't really see what it was. Then it resolved.

The top was down on the Ferrari, it being a beautiful summer's day and the driver looked to be a slightly over weight young man. What was wrong was that the right side mirror was turned fully in on its springs and the young man was, every so often, glancing over at the mirror to watch himself driving a Ferrari. What an image. I instantly made up a story for the young man. He had been asked to deliver this car to someone and was taking advantage of the opportunity to admire himself driving a car that he never would be able to afford. This is the story that I instantly made up in my mind. I have no idea if it is true. For all I know the right side mirror was defective in some way and he was glancing at it every so often to reassure himself that it had not fallen off. Or perhaps, like me, he had the habit of constantly sweeping his mirrors with his eyes and kept looking over out of habit. But I like the idea that he was admiring himself.

One of the things that I find myself constantly saying to people I guide is that it is important that they admit to who they are. We have this idea in our culture – the Judeo-Christian Ideal of humility that says that we are never to think of ourselves as special. I can clearly remember my mother saying that she/he is above him/herself, meaning that they were being prideful. We all have gotten this message in some fashion. Some of us have decided that we will ignore the imperative and go ahead and be special. There are any number of seminars and self help workshops that a person can attend that encourage a person to be special. There are people who make a very good living encouraging others to acknowledge their specialness. Still, I suspect that most folks who attend these seminars and become very enthusiastic for a moment or two, even for a weekend eventually find themselves struggling with the same sense of unworthiness that they had before they went to the seminar. However, their very willingness to go to the seminar or buy the books says something very important.

I am going to go ahead and assume that anyone reading my blog regularly will have some kind of idea about a creative force in the Universe, something which I have come to call Divine Intent. Given that position we could extrapolate that we are each a unique aspect of Divine Intent. So why would you feel unworthy?

Our young man in the Ferrari was definitely seeing himself as special, even if only for a moment. The human spirit has this deep desire to know itself as glorious yet we have imposed rules on ourselves that say we are not to do so. So we get confused. And then we have all the information that we absorbed early in our lives from our family and our culture. What to do, what to do?

My teacher Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan had a saying that I am very fond of quoting, "You have been invited to the banquet, why are you eating the scraps under the table?" It is a truly amazing aspect of this Divine Intent that there is a very large portion of creation that simply refuses to believe that it has the right to acknowledge itself as other than unworthy. One could even make an argument that the most violent sections of our world, the fanatics, are really expressing their grave doubts in the most destructive manner possible, like three year old children acting out their disappointment at not being given the candy they think they should have. It is a strange paradox of emotional destructiveness taken to the nth degree. I hurt; therefore, I will hurt you. And all the while the banquet sits there waiting and the beings that are partaking of it are patiently waiting for you to realize that you too belong at the feasting table.

So you can gaze into the mirror of the Ferrari or purchase the latest pair of designer jeans or any of the myriad things that our world provides to help you over come your feelings of unworthiness – or you can accept that you are the magnificent being that you are and set about learning how to manifest that which you already are.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir

2 comments:

Shazia said...

Hi,


“You have been invited to the banquet, why are you eating the scraps under the table?”… When talking in terms of alleviating the feeling of unworthiness, I wonder if buying a pair of designer jeans or looking oneself in the mirror of a Ferrari is not eating the scarps under the table!? In my understanding, instead of these quick and temporary fixtures seeking spiritual elevation is truly being at the banquet.


Shazia

Jules said...

Greetings Everyone
Sometimes it is easier to be a martyr and eat the scraps under the table, when the table is crowded by those who are full of their own self importance.
Sounds bittersweet, but for myself i would take another path, i would leave the banquet entirely and rely upon the light and love of Prahna to sustain me.
Love Jules