Volume X - Sufi Mysticism
There is one God and one truth, one religion and one mysticism. Call it Sufism or Christianity or Hinduism or Buddhism, whatever you wish. As God cannot be divided, so mysticism cannot be divided.
It is an error when a person says, 'My religion is different from yours.' He does not know what religion means. Neither can there be many mysticisms, just as there cannot be many wisdoms; there is only one wisdom. It is an error of mankind to say, 'This is eastern and that is western.' This only shows lack of wisdom.
It is the same divine truth that man inherits, no matter to what part of the world he belongs. To distinguish between occultism and mysticism is also an error, just as it would be an error to say of one's eyes, 'This is my eye and that is your eye.' The two eyes belong to one soul. When a person pictures mysticism as one branch of a tree which is truth, he is wrong in thinking it to be a branch; for mysticism is the stem which unites all branches. Mysticism is the way by which to realize the truth. Jesus Christ said, 'I am the Way and the Truth.' He did not say, 'I am the Ways and the Truths,' for there is only one way, and any other way would be the wrong way. Many religions there are, but not many wisdoms; many houses of the Lord for worship, but only one God; many scriptures, but only one truth. So, there are many methods, but only one way.
The methods of gaining that realization are many, but there are four principal ones: by the heart, by the head, by action, and by repose. A person must choose from amongst these four different methods of developing himself and preparing himself to journey on the way, the only way, which is called mysticism. No religion can call it its own, but it is the way of all religions. No church can say that it owns it, for it belongs to all churches. No one can say that his is the only way. It is the same way as all others have to go.
People have often imagined that a mystic means an ascetic, someone who dreams, a person who lives in the air, someone who does not dwell here on the earth, a person who is not practical; or a hermit. These are not the case. Very often, people think of the mystic as a peculiar sort of man, and if they meet someone who is peculiar, they say that he must be a mystic! This is a wrong conception, an exaggeration, for a real mystic must show equilibrium, balance. He will have his head in the heavens, but his feet will be on the earth. The real mystic is as wide awake in this world as in the other. A mystic is not someone who dreams. He is wide awake; yet he is capable of dreaming when others are not, and of keeping awake when the rest cannot do so. A mystic strikes the balance between two things: power and beauty. He does not sacrifice power for beauty, nor beauty for power. He possesses power and enjoys beauty.
There are no restrictions in the life of the mystic. Everything there shows balance, reason, love, and harmony. The religion of the mystic is every religion, yet he is above what people call their religion. In point of fact, he IS religion, and his moral is that of all religions: reciprocity, to reciprocate all the kindness we receive from others, to do an act of kindness to others without wanting any appreciation or return for it, and to make every sacrifice, however great, for love, harmony, and beauty.
The God of the mystic is to be found in his own heart. The truth of the mystic is beyond words. People argue and debate about things of little importance, but mysticism is not to be discussed. People want to talk in order to know, and then they forget it all. Very often, it is not the one who knows who talks so much, but the one who wants to know. The one who knows, but does not discuss, is the mystic. He knows that happiness is in his own heart; but to put this into words is like putting the ocean into a drop of water.
Yet, there is a wine which the mystic drinks, and that wine is ecstasy. A wine so powerful that the presence of the mystic becomes as wine for everyone who comes into his presence. This wine is the wine of the real sacrament, whose symbol is found in the church. What is it, where does it come from, what is it made of? It may be called power, life, a strength that comes through the mystic, through the spheres which every man is attached to. By his attachment to these spheres, the mystic drinks the wine which is the sustenance of the human soul, and that wine is ecstasy, the mystic's intoxication. That intoxication is the love which manifests in the human heart. What does it matter, once a mystic has drunk that wine, whether he is sitting amongst the rocks in the wilderness, or in a palace? It is all the same. The palace does not deprive him of the mystic's pleasures, and neither does the rock take them away. He has found the kingdom of God on earth, about which Jesus Christ said, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.'
People strive for many different things in this world, but last of all, they seek the spiritual path. Some indifferent ones say, 'There is a long life before us, and when the time comes that I must awaken, I shall wake up.' But the mystic knows that this is the one thing he must attend to and that all other things come after that. It is of the greatest importance in his life.
Should he, by working for realization of God, neglect his duties in the world? It is not necessary. There is nothing that a mystic need renounce in order to have the realization of life. He only needs to attach the greatest importance to what is most important in life.
The life of a mystic is meditative; but, to him meditation is like the winding of a clock. It is wound for only a moment, yet all day long it goes by itself. He does not have to think about it all day long. He does not trouble about it.
A shah of Persia used to sit up at night for his vigils and prayers. A friend who was visiting him wondered at his long meditations after a whole day's work. 'It is too much,' he said, 'you do not need so much meditation.' 'Do not say so,' was the answer. 'You do not know. For at night I pursue God, and during the day God follows me.' The moments of meditation set the whole mechanism in running order, like a stream running into the ocean. They do not in the least keep the mystic from his duty; they only bless every word he speaks with the thought of God.
In all he thinks or does, there is the perfume of God which becomes a healing and a blessing. And if one asks how a mystic, who has become so kind and helpful, gets on amongst the crowd in everyday life, since the rough edges of everyday life rubbing against him must necessarily make him heartsore; the answer is that they certainly do, and the heart of the mystic is even more sore than that of anybody else. Where there is only kindness and patience, all the thorns will come. But just as the diamond by being cut becomes brilliant, so does the heart. When the heart has been sufficiently cut it becomes a flame that illuminates not only the life of the mystic, but also that of others.