Saturday, February 13, 2010


The pleasures of life are blinding; it is love alone that clears the rust from the heart, the mirror of the soul.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

I can distinctly remember when I was very small having many invisible friends around me. Actually, I could see them but no one else could. So I was convinced by the authority figures that they were my invisible friends. Upon reflection, I am pretty sure they were Djinni or perhaps nature spirits come to play with the lonely boy. We lived in a tar paper shack, literally, at the end of a dirt road. There were no other children close so I was alone a lot of the time. But I had my friends. Then, when I was sent off to school at five years of age, and the bright interest of the world overtook me, they disappeared from my waking consciousness.

I suspect this kind of thing happens to everyone to a greater or lesser degree. We have these beings around us all the time but the world is so bright and interesting that we cannot see them. We can also come to a place where we see the bright pleasures of the world as ugly and somehow wrong.

Part of the urge to follow some kind of spiritual path seems to be the inner knowledge that there is something wrong. Depending on how willing we are to learn this urge can be a very powerful motivation. We begin to see that the world around us is at least partially artificial and we can get very distressed. In the young this awareness tends to become militant in its outward manifestation. The young accuse everyone around them of not seeing the indignities many humans suffer and they are sure that they are the only ones to correct all of these ills. A more mature person might be a bit reticent to tilt at the first windmill they see and instead begin to look within for a personal solution.

Many, perhaps most spiritual paths urge the retreat from the pleasures of the world. Even within Sufism, which claims to have feet in both camps, heaven and earth, there is this urge to turn away from physical reality as somehow corrupted and become hermit like. We do live in the world but we tend to look upon much of it with a kind of disdain. We love quite selectively despite the ideal to love unconditionally. On the other hand we also have this instruction to continually examine our motivations, thoughts and actions. So perhaps this has the effect of gradually teaching us that the world exists and all the beings within it are struggling to understand why it is so complex and difficult. And, it is our job to not only understand the truth of physical reality but also to aid in enhancing the experience for all, not just those we approve of. It seems that not only are the pleasures of life blinding but maybe the disappointments and resentments are even more so.

I was thinking the other day of an acquaintance of mine who is openly contemptuous of just about everyone. This person has a very acerbic tongue and will tolerate no points of view different from theirs. Yet they still profess to the Sufi ideal. How can this be? It would seem that they are totally blinded by their own disappointment in life. I suppose we all fall victim to this way of being. It is extremely difficult to change our attitudes when we have invested so much energy into creating them. Yet change we must. To polish the mirror of the heart requires removing the rust which we have so earnestly deposited there. All that rust on the mirror is not something imposed from without, we are the ones responsible for its existence. My little boy self, in his innocence, had no difficulty seeing beyond the physical. Obviously, he was heavily influenced by the adults in his life to begin to ignore the beings around him but he still did turn away from his best friends, the unseen beings. Now, to recover that lost vision, I must take responsibility for all of the actions and responses that I created in order to conform to the view of those around me. And, in doing that, maybe I can also aid others in seeing beyond the physical and possibly polishing their own mirrors. It is truly what we are meant to do.

Love & Blessings, Musawwir