Wednesday, February 14, 2007


"While everybody asks, 'Why?" of his neighbor, the mystic asks this question of himself."

"The wretched always look for some excuse to be miserable."

"If by accident you step into the mud, it is not there-fore necessary to keep on walking in the muddy path."

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Many of the people who follow a spiritual path feel that it means becoming an adept of some sort. They tend to look for magic of various kinds. Precognition is popular as is telepathy and reading the aura of others. Manifestation is also high on the list. Making candle flames dance, dissolving clouds or even dissolving the self into the elusive Void are exciting objectives. What the true mystics say however is that the real spiritual person has only one objective – becoming truly human.

It is complicated becoming a human being.

All of the things that I mentioned, plus many more, are the sorts of things that the mind just naturally looks for as we train ourselves to contemplate and, ultimately, to meditate. We like evidence. We also like to think, even if secretly, that we have some kind of powers that others do not. I have noticed this tendency in others and certainly in myself. What I have also noticed is that, no matter how "adept" I become, my psychological baggage comes right along with me.

A friend of mine pointed out to me recently that she is often distressed by how people see themselves. She tends to be very aware of the positive aspects of another person's personality but she notices that a lot of people do not allow themselves to see their own positives parts. What she said was that they only allow in negative opinions. I have noticed the same thing myself. I make it a habit to tell people what I see when I notice something nice or excellent about them. What then happens is really interesting. Quite often the person so complimented will take the compliment, twist it and make it something negative or non-complimentary but therefore palatable. For instance, you can tell a person they look really nice and the response will often be, "You should have seen me this morning!" I am sure you can think of many similar examples that you and your friends do. But why?

My teacher, Pir Vilayat, would sometimes remark to us about what he saw. He would say something to the effect of, "I am sitting here in front of you looking out at all of your grim faces, when what I see of your beings is glorious. Why are you so grim?" Occasionally it would work and we would decide to enjoy our beings. More often than not, his statement would be ignored and we would go on being grim. It's the way of our culture .

Think of what you see at an ordinary super market check out counter. Do you see copies of The Atlantic Monthly or Harper's? Nope you see National Inquirer and similar publications all trumpeting the mistakes, failures and peccadillo's of various celebrities. We love to see failure in others because we also feel quite flawed. After all this is what we are taught. No one is perfect, everyone has sinned. In some religions even babies are known to be abject. This idea is so deep in our culture that we do not even really notice.

I have two grand children living with me; a nine year old boy and a four year old girl. The girl just went through her tantrum stage. Thank god it is pretty much over with now. When she was in the middle of one what would often work would be to ask her if what she was doing was making her happy. Did she enjoy it? All that screaming and wailing over some minor difficulty, real or imagined, was exciting it seemed. Any parent knows that when a kid gets into that stage often they do not know how to stop so you find some way to distract them. What occasionally worked with her was this question, "Do you like being like this?" She would keep screaming but shake her head no. And eventually, often within seconds, the screaming would stop and a hug would be asked for.

So, I ask you, do you like feeling negative about yourself?

Love & Blessings, Musawwir