Wednesday, December 09, 2009


"The further one goes, the more difficulties there are; one finds greater faults in oneself as one advances along the spiritual path. It is not because the number of faults has increased; but the sense has become so keen that one regards differently faults which formerly one would not have noticed."
Hazrat Inayat Khan

I am very fond of saying to people who inquire about wood working that an amateur looks for short cuts while a professional adds steps. It is exactly what Pir O Murshid is saying above. As we become more and more adept at our chosen path, we will of necessity begin to notice many flaws in our character that we had not noticed before. It does not mean that we are accumulating them, they were always there but we blocked ourselves from seeing them. It is the same with any craft. As I grew more and more skilled at woodworking I noticed things that I would have skipped over impatiently in the past. I was and am still impatient but I curb that emotion and take the time to correct anything that may impede a project from being the best I can produce. I hate to sand for instance, I really do not like it at all so I force myself to take the time and do it right. It becomes a true spiritual exercise since I am demanding that my impatient emotion relax and let me create the beauty that the creative part of my mind desires.

It is very common for someone who has taken a spiritual initiation and is seriously working with a guide to go to that guide in deep distress over the above. They suddenly find that they are really a jerk. So many things that they do are either pointless or petty or inconsistent or truly nasty. What I tell them and what I hope most other guides say is that they are really doing the work now and that it just gets worse! Sorry, I bet you thought I would say that it gets easier. Nope. If you are truly paying attention and you really want to become the being that you have always been meant to be then a deep awareness of the truth of the human condition is one of the requirements. There is hope though. It may not get easier but you do get used to it. Finding yet another flaw is kind of like finding an old friend that you never really liked all that much but you tolerated. Now you have the opportunity to realize that this old friend is really someone who is very much a part of you but is growing smaller by the day. That is if you let it. If you are determined to hold on to this old friend, well then they will definitely stay around and help you remain a jerk.

What to do? Laugh it off. Everyone has faults. It is so very easy to see the faults of others but much more difficult to see our own. So, when yours do appear you might, instead of being appalled, be thankful. It is the best option. And the reason is that the more conversant you are with your own faults, which are really just the human condition manifesting through you, the more empathetic you will be toward others. And, the best part is, now you can actually be of service.

One of the things that I have noticed as I continue to work on being a Sufi is that the Universe provides more and more examples of my jerkdom. It is fascinating, also annoying but that's part of the deal. It would be very easy to go back to sleep and be the sad loser I was for the first 35 years of my life. Well maybe not so easy. When we are doing spiritual work, if it is honest we do actually form a habit of paying attention and shifting our emotions about to better respond to the environment around us. For instance I float in and out of crankiness. There are times when I cannot help myself and I am totally cranky and not that pleasant to be around. Other times, more now, I am neutral. Occasionally I am nice to hang with. You will notice that I am totally aware of all of these states. That's what doing the work is all about. Pretending to be spiritual, whatever that means, is not doing the work.

One of the most important practices in all esoteric schools is self forgiveness. You acted badly; you apologize and then forgive yourself. Beating yourself up is wasted energy. That habit of self-flagellation that is still around to some extent is pretty useless to my mind. So for the next little while why don't you have a go at it? Think of something you find uncomfortable in your being and forgive it. If it needs an action, even if it seems humiliating, do it. But mostly forgive.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir


Maggie said...

Well done! Are you meandering through my mind again? You frequently blog on those things I am experiencing or mulling over in my mind!

There is so much within to forgive....I am doing my best to forgive myself as I move forward.

Much love, many blessings....


molly said...

Enjoyed reading this! love to you and majida and all. xo muhasaba

NL said...

yes, the crankiness, I relate, but shudder when you look back on your self and call yourself a "sad loser". You were probably just like a poor little plant that needed some water and sun. Love and Light. Nancy

Musawwir said...

Looking back on it, that is how I thought of myself. Water and sun huh, maybe that is what I was lacking. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I never thought that I would be grateful for my faults. But, of course, that is what keeps us working on ourselves. God bless you.