Keeping the heart open


All fanaticism is driven by the ego in its bleakest form, by individualism in its most wretched form.
When you must make others “wrong” to justify cruelty and make yourself feel “right”, you are separating yourself from the natural wisdom of the heart. This wisdom shows us our primary purpose in life is to care for and about one another – and to perceive life’s meaning through that. The “brainwashed” mind can justify fanaticism. The heart cannot. Which is why “heartless” actions emerge wherever fanaticism rages.

Central to any spiritual life is an unshakeable commitment to keeping the heart open and to caring more and more about all lives – not our own only. To do this, we need more, not less inner quiet. We need more, not fewer conscious pauses for prayer, meditation, spiritual attunement and sacred study.This has to become a top priority, no matter how “urgent” everything else in our lives seems to be. “Be still,” we hear in every sacred text. It is in that stillness that the heart can teach the mind; that we can hear the promptings of spirit, soul, eternal wisdom; that we can hear and become peace.

Here are some wise, timeless words from Sufi master, a great teacher of universal care and spirituality, Hazrat Inayat Khan. I hope they speak to your heart today.

“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.

“The mystic seeks to realize this constantly and to impress it on his mind in whatever he may see. What, for him, are the waves of the sea? Are they not the sea itself? … Therein lies the whole of religion. The mystic’s prayer is to that beauty, and his work is to forget the self, to lose himself like a bubble in the water. The wave realizes, ‘I am the sea’, and by falling into the sea prostrates itself before its God.”