By Sufi Inayat Khan
How Do I Look at Life?
Spiritual progress is the changing of the point of view. There is only one way to recognize this progress, and that is to see the progress in one’s own outlook on life, to ask oneself the question, ‘How do I look at life?’ This one can do by not judging others, but by being only concerned with one’s own outlook. As long as a person is concerned with the faults of others, as long as he criticizes others, he is not yet ready to make his sight clear enough to see if his outlook on life is right.
Knowing of the Self
‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you.’ … And where is it to be found? Not in the knowledge of another person. In the knowing of the self. If a person goes through his whole life most cleverly judging others, he may go on, but he will find himself to be more foolish at every step. At the end, he reaches the fullness of stupidity. But the one who tries, tests, studies and observes himself, his own attitude in life, his own outlook on life, his thought, speech, and action, who weighs and measures and teaches himself self discipline, it is that person who is able to understand another better. How rarely one sees a soul who concerns himself with himself through life, in order to know! Mostly, every soul seems to be busily occupied with the lives of others. And what do they know in the end? Nothing. If there is a kingdom of God to be found anywhere, it is within oneself.
Occupied in Judging Others
For those who really learn to be just, their first lesson is what Christ has taught: ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged.’ One may say, ‘If one does not judge, how can one learn justice?’ But it is the one who judges himself who can learn justice, not the one who is occupied in judging others. In this life of limitations if one only explores oneself, one will find within oneself so many faults and weaknesses, and when dealing with others so much unfairness on one’s own part, that for the soul who really wants to learn justice, his own life will prove to be a sufficient means with which to practice justice.
You Must Know Yourself
There is an Arabic saying, ‘If you wish to know God, you must know yourself.’ How little man knows while he is in the intoxication of individualism! … We are connected with one another. Our lives are tied together, and there is a link in which we can see one current running through all. There are many globes and lamps, and yet one current is running through all.