- Author Hazrat Inayat Khan
By life’s mechanism I mean environment. Life’s mechanism has a great deal to do with one’s success or failure. This is not unknown to individuals who think about it. Nevertheless, not everyone thinks deeply enough to know to what extent one should treat oneself as a patient and cure oneself of one’s weaknesses, but condition is something which is to be thought of also from a practical point of view. This is not only a practical ideal that I give you, but it is supported by the words of Christ. One should not wonder why a man cannot accomplish soon enough what he wishes to accomplish in life, when it is even difficult for the Creator to do so. It is to teach this philosophy and secret that Christ has said, «Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,» What does it mean? It means: Thy will is easily done in heaven, and I wish people would help so that it should be done as easily on earth.
If one had to swim across the sea, to journey by swimming, it would take great courage, great perseverance and great faith to make that journey. And one would not even know when one would arrive at one’s destination. But when a ship is made it becomes convenient to journey. Then one does not need to exhaust one’s faith and perseverance to such an extent: there is a means enabling one to attain one’s object. A mechanism, therefore, is the most necessary thing for the attainment of every object. If one wishes for comfort in the home, one wants a mechanism for it. If one has a business or an industry, a certain amount of organization improves the conditions. In a state a government answers the purpose of keeping order and peace. When it is cold one needs warm clothes, while in summer one needs a different environment.
Now that is easy to understand, but it is most difficult to make the right mechanism. In the first place there are so many who do not have their object fairly in mind. They will go on day after day not knowing what they really want, thinking differently every day about what they want. That deprives them of the mechanism, which can only be produced after knowing one’s definite object in life. Then again by too much enthusiasm, by too much arranging of the mechanism, one spoils one’s affair, defeats one’s purpose. And at other times through lack of mechanism one falls short, for the mechanism does not answer the purpose one holds.
No one can ever say that he has sufficient knowledge of this subject, for in treating oneself one must have one’s own knowledge, but in arranging a mechanism one has to deal with many different natures. And how much more knowledge of human nature and of life must one possess in order to make the right mechanism! People have often come to me and said, «I have been able to keep up my concentrations and meditations as I was told, yet I am not near to reaching my purpose.» What is lacking is not practice or self-training, but what is lacking is the mechanism – which is another necessity. For instance if a person says, «I have been able to discipline myself, and now I can meditate fairly well. Shall I now sit at the seaport and meditate that I am in New York? Shall I arrive there?» Or a person with self-discipline will meditate, «All the wealth that is in the bank is in my house.» Will it come? Even if he continued for a thousand years to meditate upon the bank he will not get its wealth.
In this objective world there is a necessity of an objective mechanism in order to produce certain results, and if people going on the spiritual path will not see this side of it, with all their goodness and spirituality they will prove to others their lack of balance, and then the practical man has no reason to laugh at the mystical minded person.
Therefore, the work of the Sufi movement is not only to guide souls towards the higher ideal, but also to keep their eyes open on the way in order that they may see it with open eyes. We shall only give an example to those who have no belief in spiritual ideas by striking a balance throughout our lives. A person may take good care of himself and concentrate upon good health, and yet his environments may cause him illness. That cannot be helped; it is not lack of spirituality in that person: it is lack of materiality. Does that not show that we ought to balance the two? There is no great exaltation when a person has become so spiritual that he levitates in the air, if he is then no better than a balloon. If he can stand very well on the earth, then he has accomplished something. It is not of every man that we can say that he stands on his own feet. Nothing is worse in this world than to be dependent, and if spirituality will make a man more dependent – in other words, at the mercy of other people in the practical things of life – then spirituality is not to be wished for. Spirituality is mastery, both materially and spiritually to be able to manage oneself and to be able to keep the mechanism right.
Now, what I have to say to my mureeds is: that it is very easy to make your Murshid contented and pleased – even with as small a number as we are just now – only by knowing that it is our sacred duty and our spiritual responsibility to make ourselves, as much as we can, an example of the teaching that the Sufi movement wishes to spread. In order to become examples of this I do not ask you to work wonders, or to be so good that it would be difficult for you to live in the world. Only, as an example, you should strike a balance. You should talk about higher things standing on the earth, standing upon your feet. It is then that people will listen to you, and then they will trust the movement.
At this time when a reconstruction of the world is necessary it is our humble service at this juncture to contribute what is most needed for this reconstruction. Therefore, we should all consider ourselves soldiers for this cause, discipline ourselves and make the mechanism in life, which is necessary for the attainment of our object. For the very reason that we are few we are more responsible for our existence. We must stand by one another; we must do for one another all we can in every way, that we may not easily be blown away by the wind. In order to arrive at that balance and force the stability we must not only meditate, but we must practice these things in our everyday life.