Tactfulness is not learned through worldly cleverness; qualities learned this way do not make one really tactful. One may imitate a tactful person, but polished manners are different from real gentleness.
Tact comes from the profound depths of the heart, and it is inspired by sympathy. Therefore, falseness cannot prove to be tactful in the end.
Tactfulness comes to life when one is considerate of others, and consideration comes from true inner feelings. A considerate person would not wish to cause anything displeasing or disagreeable to others, and therefore tactfulness awakens wisdom.
As one becomes more tactful, one finds more fault with oneself than with others. Many times one says things which could just as well not have been said; it is weakness on one’s part to drop a word which could have been avoided. The tactful one realizes the mistake.
A tactful person is subtle and poetical; therefore, some wonder how one can be tactful and at the same time truthful, and others even say that to be tactful is being hypocritical. But what is the use of a truth with no beauty and no fineness that is thrown at one’s head like a brick?
Through self-discipline, the tactful one grows large in spirit, and by not always making an outward display that person’s heart becomes an accommodation of wisdom and thoughtfulness, It is through tact that one maintains harmony in one’s life. Otherwise life would turn into a stormy sea by the influences coming from all around in one’s everyday occupations. It is through tactfulness that one can counterbalance all inharmonious influences, which have a jarring effect upon one’s spirit.
What is goodness, piety or religiousness without wisdom, without tactfulness?
What does a good person really accomplish by goodness if that one is unable to give happiness to others?
Of what use is piety or spirituality if one is not creative of happiness?
When Jesus Christ said to the fishermen: «Come, and I will make you the fishers of men», it did not mean, « I will teach you ways that will enable you to make profit from others.» It meant that with tactfulness, sympathy is like the spreading of the mother’s arms over the little ones.
The Sufis say: «Neither are we here to become angels nor to live like animals; we are here to sympathize with one another and to bring to others that happiness that we ourselves are always seeking.»
There are many thorns on the path of life, and when we look at ourselves, we see that we have–more or less–the same faults as all others, whom we prick like thorns. Therefore, if we spared others those thorns, we would then offer others that much help.
It is through tactfulness that we accomplish our most sacred duty in life, and that we live our true religion.
Spirituality is natural nobility
What is the use of a religion, a philosophy, or of mysticism if these do not awaken in one’s heart that spirit and that inclination which is divine?
Spirituality, which is hidden in every soul, is natural nobility, and in the unfolding of this innate nobility one’s divine origin is revealed. The purpose of all the striving on the spiritual path is to discover this nobility, although one need not really strive for it, because this divine nobility manifests by itself when one is conscious of one’s divine heritage.
In Sufi terms, the nobility of spirit is called Akhlak-e-Allah, meaning the manner of God. This is a manner which is unlike any other manner known; it is the greatest religion, the truest spirituality, the real aristocracy and the perfect democracy.
The sign of the noble spirit is to comprehend all things, to assimilate all things, to tolerate all things, and to forgive all things. All disputes and disagreements, and all misunderstandings fall away the moment that the human spirit has become noble.
The nobility of spirit is seen in humility and in modesty. It is also seen in self-respect, in the sense of honor, in kindness and in graciousness. It is a manner which cannot be learned or taught.
It is one’s life’s purpose to bring forth this noble manner, which reveals itself as a divine blossom in the aristocracy of the human soul and in the democracy of the human ego.
In the outer world there is such a thing as aristocracy and democracy, but in spiritual unfoldment both become one, culminating in real perfection.
A flower proves to be genuine by its fragrance, a jewel by its radiance, a fruit by its sweetness, and a soul proves to be genuine when revealing itself as the seed of God.
An ideal is something which one keeps before one’s eyes, something which is not easily reached, but which one tries to accomplish some day.
The one who has a high ideal also has a feeling heart. That person’s thoughts and actions are beautiful, and the atmosphere is magnetic, because the power of the ideal is revealed in that person’s personality.
If one has all that the world can offer, but without a high ideal, one shall sooner or later be tired of it all. And even if those things that one lacks were at one’s disposal, one would not be completely satisfied.
There is only one thing in life which is worth living: to look up to something higher. In this way one arrives at the throne of God, that ideal which is in reality the only ideal worthwhile reaching.
The sign of life is enthusiasm, aspiration, and hope. But if one has none of these, life is not worth living. The longing for passing things makes life mortal, and aspiration for useless things makes life worthless, whereas higher aspirations ennoble the soul, thereby unfolding those virtues which are hidden within.
The one who has an ideal is living, and the one without an ideal is miserable, even with all possessions. This shows that there is a side to one’s being–call it spirit–which remains unsatisfied in spite of everything that one possesses, because the satisfaction of the spirit lies only in the pursuit of a high ideal.
With all the progress of the world, the neglect of a higher ideal reveals a great lack at each step made forward. If there is anything which could offer a link between God and mankind, it is one’s ideal.
When there is an ideal, optimism comes naturally, and pessimism fades away. A new hope springs forth when there is an ideal, and that hope brings new life. When there is hope, will power also develops. There is no hope without a desire and there is no desire without a will. All things change in one’s life as soon as one has placed an ideal before oneself.
Without an ideal, one might sit in solitude, indulging in practices and meditations, and become tired out by trying to develop inwardly, because it is only through service that one reaches further on the path of Truth.
It is not necessary to wait till one becomes spiritual, for what does it mean to be spiritual? Does it mean to be generous when one’s ship comes in? But who knows when the ship will come? Spirituality is not attained by saying: «I will be spiritual one day». It is only by doing all one can for others that one discovers spirituality. It is by forgetting about wanting to be spiritual that one might arrive at that stage some day. There is no need to worry about becoming spiritual. To be spiritual means to be natural. It is unnatural not to be spiritual.
The one who has the perfect ideal of God is always drawn towards perfection, and need not trouble or worry. Verily, where there is an ideal, the soul is uplifted, and the higher the ideal, the higher the soul is raised.
Happiness and unhappiness depend upon one’s outlook on life: whether one appreciates and values all that one has, or whether one under-estimates all.
When only thinking about what one does not have, one shall only worry about so many more things that one has not got. But when trying to realize how much one really has, there shall also come a time when one shall discover that what is lacking is less than what one does have. God’s gifts are many, and if one does not see them, it is because one’s desires obscure one’s sight of that with which one is blessed by Providence.
The only way to cultivate the sense of appreciation is to be grateful for every little privilege experienced in life; to admire every little glimpse of beauty; to return unconditionally every sign of love and affection offered by others on one’s path through life’s puzzling ways. It is in this that one shall discover the kingdom of God; and as said, when once the kingdom of God is realized, all else shall be added.