There are some who through life's experience have learned
that thought has power, and there are others who wonder sometimes
whether this is really so. There are also many that approach
this subject with the preconceived idea that even if every thought
has a certain power, yet it is limited. But it would be no exaggeration
to say that thought has a power, which is unimaginable; and
in order to find proof of this we do not have to go very far.
Everything that we see in this world is but a phenomenon of
thought. We live in it, and we see it from morning till evening,
and yet we doubt if it is so. It shows that this, our beautiful
world, itself gives us a pride and vanity, making us believe
that we understand things better than we do. The less a person
believes in the power of thought, the more positively he thinks
he stands on the earth. Nevertheless, consciously or unconsciously
he feels his limitation, and searches for something that will
strengthen his belief in thought.
Thought can be divided into five different aspects: imagination,
thought, dream, vision and materialization. Imagination is that
action of mind, which is automatic. From morning till evening
a person is either working, or if he is resting his mind is
working just the same through imagination. Thought is thinking
with will power behind it. In this way we distinguish between
the imaginative and the thoughtful. These two kinds of people
cannot be confused. For one is imaginative, which implies powerless
thinking, automatic thinking. The other is thoughtful, which
means his thinking is powerful.
When this automatic action takes place in the state of sleep,
it is called a dream. This is distinct and different from imagination,
because while a person is imagining his senses are open to this
objective world, and therefore his imagination does not take
a concrete form. But when the same automatic action of mind
goes on in the dream, there is no objective world to compare
it with. The mystic can always see the condition of the mind
of a person by knowing how he dreams, for in the dream the automatic
working of his mind is much more concrete than in his imagination.
There are some who are able to read the character or the
future by knowing what the person imagines. They always ask
him to name a flower, a fruit, something he loves or likes,
in order that they may find the stream of his imagination. From
that stream of imagination they find out something about the
character of that person and about his life. It is not necessary
to be a character reader or a fortune-teller. Any wise and thoughtful
person can understand by the way someone dresses or by his environment
how his thoughts run, what his imaginings are. But since the
state of dreaming enables the mind to express itself more concretely,
the dream is the best way to understand what state of mind a
person has. When once this is understood, there is little reason
left to doubt whether the dream has any effect upon the person's
life and future. Indeed, man does not know, man cannot imagine,
to what extent thought influences life.
Vision can be said to be a dream which one experiences in
the wakeful state. A person who is imaginative or capable of
imagination is capable of creating a thought. And when this
thought which he has created becomes an object upon which his
mind is focused, then all else becomes hidden from him. That
particular imagination alone stands before him as a picture.
The effect of this vision is certainly greater than the effect
of a dream. The reason is that the imagination, which can stand
before one's mind in one's wakeful state is naturally stronger
than the imagination which, was active in one's state of sleep.
The fifth aspect of thought is materialization. And it is
in the study of this subject that we find the greatest secret
of life. No doubt a person will readily accept that it's by
the architect's imagination that a beautiful building is built,
that it is by the gardener's imagination that a beautiful garden
is made. But generally when it comes to matter and all things
that are connected with matter, man wonders how far imagination
or thought has power over them. Nowadays, as psychology is beginning
to spread throughout the Western world, people will at least
listen patiently when one speaks about it. But on the other
hand there are many who take a medicine with great faith, but
if they are told that a thought can cure them they will smile
at the idea. This shows that with all the progress that humanity
seems to have made, it has gone back in one direction, the higher
thought. For man today generally does not believe in the power
of thought and he believes still less in what he calls emotion.
In point of fact if one can speak of the soul of a thought,
that soul is the feeling which is in the back of it. One sees
that people become confused when they hear only words behind
which there is no feeling. What makes a thought convincing is
the power behind it, and that power consists of feeling. The
general tendency is to wave aside what is called imagination.
When someone says that a person imagines something it means
that he amuses himself. One says to him, 'Oh, you only imagine
it; it does not exist in reality.' But in reality when one has
imagined something, that imagination is created, and what is
once created exists. And if it is thought that is created, it
lives longer, because thought is more powerful than imagination.
In this way man today ignores that power which is the only power
and the greatest power that exists, calling it sentimentality,
which means nothing. It is with this power that heroes have
conquered in battle; and if anyone has ever accomplished a great
thing in the world, it is with this power of heart that he has
accomplished it, not with the power of the brain. The music
of the most wonderful composers, the poetry of the great poets
of the world, have all come from the bottom of their hearts,
not from their brain. And if we close the door to sentiment,
to imagination, and to thought, that only means that we close
the door to life.
The Sufi sees both the Creator and the creation in man. The
limited part of man's being is the creation, and the innermost
part of his being is the Creator. If this is true, then man
is both limited and unlimited. If he wishes to be limited he
can become more and more limited. If he wishes to be unlimited
he can become more and more unlimited. If he cultivates in himself
the illusion of being a creation, he can be that more and more.
But if he cultivates in himself the knowledge of the Creator,
he can also be that more and more.
With every kind of weakness, every kind of illness, every
kind of misery, the more one gives in to them, the more they
weigh one down. And sometimes this can happen even to the extent
that the whole world falls on one's back and one is buried beneath
it. Another person however, will rise up from it. It may be
difficult, but at the same time it is possible. Little by little,
with courage and patience, he will rise up and stand upon that
world which would otherwise have crushed him. The former is
going down, the latter is rising. Both depend upon the attitude
of mind. And it is the changing of this attitude which is the
principal thing in life, either from a material or from a spiritual
point of view. All that is taught in the Sufi esoteric studies
and by the Sufi practices is taught in order to arrive little
by little, gradually, at the fulfillment which is called mastery.
Mastery comes from the evolution of the soul, and the sign
of mastery is to conquer everything that revolts one. That is
real tolerance. Souls, which have attained to that spiritual
mastery, show it not only with people, but even with their food.
There is nothing that the soul, which has gained mastery, would
not touch though, it may not like it or approve of it.
The entire system of the Yogis, especially of the Hatha Yogis,
is based upon making themselves acquainted with something their
nature revolts against. No doubt by doing this they may go too
far in torturing and tormenting themselves, and these extremes
are not right, but all the same that is their principle.
It is not the heat which kills a person, but the acceptance
of the heat. It is the same with food and medicine, for behind
every thing there is thought. Even now there are Yogis who could
jump into the fire and not be burnt. One will find that intolerant
souls are the most unhappy in the world, because everything
hurts them. Why should they be so uncomfortable in the house
and restless outside? Because of this tendency of disliking,
of rejecting, of prejudice. It is this tendency which must be
conquered. And when it is conquered great mastery is achieved.
I remember my teacher at school telling us that the leaves
of the Neem tree had great healing qualities. That did
not interest me very much, but what did interest me, as he told
us also, was that these leaves were so bitter than one could
not drink a brew of them. And the first thing I did was to gather
some of these leaves, and nobody understood why I did it. But
I made a tea of them and drank it, and to my great satisfaction
I did not even make a face! For four or five days I continued
this and then I forgot all about it. It is fighting against
all that one cannot do that gives one mastery. But generally
one does not do that. One fights against things that prevent
one from getting what one wants. Man should fight only with
himself, fight against the tendency of rejecting. This would
lead him to mastery. As a general principle in life there is
no use in forcing anything, but if we want to train ourselves,
that is another thing. It is a process, not a principle.
One may say it is a great struggle. Yes, it is so; but there
is struggle in both, in coming down and in going up. It is just
as well to struggle and come up, instead of struggling and going
down. Whenever a person goes down, it only means that he is
feeble in his thought. And why is he feeble in his thought?
Because he is weak in his feeling. If feeling protects thought,
and if thought stands firm, whatever be the difficulty in life,
it will be surmounted.