Words of Wisdom

Failure means that there has been lack of self-control, whether it is a failure in affairs or in health.

By Hazrat Inayat Khan

The control of the self means the control of everything. What does it mean when we see a person fail time after time, or another person succeed time after time? It is just a matter of holding the reins of our affairs in our hands. When there is no rein, there is failure. Failure means that there has been lack of self-control, whether it is a failure in affairs or in health.

A Certain Amount of Indifference
In order to practise self-control in everything one does in everyday life, the best thing is to develop in one’s nature a certain amount of indifference. Every word that is said to one need not be taken to be so important that it should upset one’s whole being, disturb one’s balance and rob one of one’s will power. 

Losing One’s Equilibrium.
There are things that matter, but there are many things in one’s everyday life which do not matter much and one often is apt to put an undue stress upon them. … All one says and does, and all that one thinks and feels, makes a certain strain upon one’s spirit. It is wise to avoid every chance of losing one’s equilibrium. One must stand peacefully but firmly against all influences that disturb one’s life. The natural inclination is to answer in defence to every offense that comes from outside; by that one loses one’s equilibrium. Self-control therefore is the key to all success and happiness.

Sharing of Joy
Man’s selfishness shows itself in wanting to get the better of his fellow man. If we developed humanity we should do differently. We should be satisfied with a slice of bread if there were another in need, but as it is, it happens that even when we are fed ourselves, we do not wish anyone else to share the food. The human heart can only be really satisfied by knowing that the other person is happy. True pleasure lies in the sharing of joy with another. From the day that we realize this, we begin to act as human beings.

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A person who, alone, has seen something beautiful, who has heard something harmonious, who has tasted something delicious, who has smelt something fragrant, may have enjoyed it, but not completely. The complete joy is in sharing one’s joy with others. For the selfish one who enjoys himself and does not care for others, whether he enjoys things of the earth or things of heaven, his enjoyment is not complete.

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Aristocracy of the Heart
Tawazu in Sufi terms means something more than hospitality. It is laying before one’s friend willingly what one has, in other words sharing with one’s friend all the good one has in life, and with it, enjoying life better. When this tendency to tawazu is developed, things that give one joy and pleasure become more enjoyable by sharing with another. This tendency comes from the aristocracy of the heart. It is generosity and even more than generosity. For the limit of generosity is to see another pleased in his pleasure, but to share one’s own pleasure with another is greater than generosity. It is a quality which is foreign to a selfish person, and the one who shows this quality is on the path of saintliness.
The one who rises above the stage of working for himself comes to the stage of working for others.

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There are two stages of workers. The first stage is that of the one who works for himself; the higher stage of working is to work for others. The one who rises above the stage of working for himself comes to the stage of working for others, bringing in their lives the blessing which is the need of their lives. To what does the love of God lead? It leads to that peace and stillness which can be seen in the life of the tree which flowers and bears fruit for others and expects no return. Peace will not come to the lover’s heart so long as he will not become love itself.

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When one serves one must serve for the sake of service, not for acknowledgement.
A person is apt to think, ‘Why should I perform actions that bring me no return? Why should I be kind, where no kindness is shown to me, where there is even no appreciation?’ In this way he commercializes his kindness: he gives in order to receive. … When one loves one must love for the sake of love, not for a return. When one serves one must serve for the sake of service, not for acknowledgement. In everything a person does, if he does not think of reciprocity or appreciation in any manner or form, he may perhaps seem a loser in the beginning, but in the end that person will be the gainer, for he has lived in the world and yet held himself above the world; it cannot touch him.

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