There are two sides to which one can look; one of these
is before us and the other side is with in us. The first
step of the mystic is to see the side that is before him,
and the second step is to look at the side which is with
in him. The first view, which is the minor development,
is the view of the adept; and the other, the major development
or stage, is the view of the mystic.
When people take the spiritual path they begin to interest
themselves in psychology, occultism. Or some other exciting
subject believing that it is the same as mysticism or esotericism,
but real mysticism or esotericism begins simply with the
first step, with looking outside. And at what does one look
outside? At two things. One is that first a person asks
himself how all he sees affects him and what is his reaction
to it all. How does his spirit react to the objects or the
conditions he encounters, to the sounds he hears, to the
words that people speak to him? And the second thing is
to see what effects he has on objects, conditions, and individuals
when he comes in contact with them.
One must be just to be able to analyze these things.
If not, one may always look at them in a light which is
favorable to oneself and unfavorable to others. We hear
many people say, 'That person has a bad influence on me';
but no one says, 'I have a bad influence on that person.'
Most people think that everybody else is wrong and bad,
and that everything undesirable is in everybody but themselves.
To become just is the process of becoming an adept, an adept
who is developing into a mystic.
After this comes the inner process, looking within. This
is a most wonderful process. As soon as a person is able
to look at his spirit, he is born again; it is a new life.
By looking at one's spirit one can analyze how all that
one says, thinks, and feels acts upon one's spirit, and
also how the spirit reacts. In this way one's life is analyzed
more and more. It seems like churning one's spirit, and
by this churning one brings out the cream of the spirit,
and the cream is wisdom. The difference between the wise
and the foolish is only this, the foolish looks at another
whereas the wise looks at himself. Besides it is most wonderful
to see how the person who is most at fault sees many faults
in others. Because he looks at others he has not yet been
able to look at himself, but the moment that he begins to
look at himself he does not look at others anymore. He then
has so much to look at within himself that both of his hands
Innumerable souls die without ever coming to this experience,
they never even think about it. At the same time there are
fine souls who might be quite young and yet have that perception.
Wherever this perception is, there is living spirit, even
if one finds it in a little child. That child is then as
old as its grandfather. It is an 'old soul' as a child,
which shows wisdom, depth, and subtlety is called in the
East. By 'old' it is meant that it shows more experience,
it does not take a long time to make a person old in this
sense. Many become old in a very short time. There are people
who from their childhood have showed that they are very
old souls, they make utterances of great wisdom, as if they
have experience on earth of hundreds of years. And sometimes
people of very advanced age may think and feel and say and
do things just like a small child. This shows that the age
of the soul does not correspond with the time since the
birth of the person on this plane.
The soul, which can analyze its own spirit, is sparkling,
for it is that soul which will train itself and train others.
But the soul, which cannot analyze its own spirit, cannot
train others. To keep the spirit in proper condition is
as difficult or even more difficult than cultivating a delicate
plant in a green house, where a little more sun may spoil
it, a little more water may destroy it, a little more air
might be bad for it. The spirit is even more delicate than
that. A slight shadow of deception, mere feeling of dishonesty,
a little touch of hypocrisy can spoil it. If fear touches
it, if doubt shakes it, if anger strikes deep into its root,
it is spoiled. The more delicate the spirit, the more delicate
care it needs, it must be carefully guarded in the green
house. A slight sense of dishonor, the least insult coming
from any side, can kill it. Apart from man, the spirit of
a horse can die the day that it feels the whip; once the
whip has fallen upon it its spirit may be gone. No doubt,
'killing the spirit' is only a way of speaking; spirit is
never killed, and yet for the spirit that is killed in the
meaning of this expression it is worse then death. Death
is preferable; life loses all its interest once the spirit
is dead. It is better that a person should die then his
Nevertheless, spirit is divine and spirit is eternal
and it can always be restored if one only knows the key
to it. What is this key? If this were told, then what remains?
It is not an easy thing to find this key; it is not easy
to mend the broken spirit. Not everyone can raise the spirit
when once it is fallen, for then it is heavier to lift than
a mountain. But what one can say is that there is only one
key, the first and the last, and that is found in seeking
for the kingdom of God. It works as an antidote, and it
helps one by tuning the spirit, by harmonizing one and putting
one into rhythm. If this is combined with wisdom it is better
still; That is why a person looks for a teacher on the path
of wisdom, in order that the teacher may guide him to find
There is delicacy in friendship, in all kinds of relationship;
there is delicacy in meeting people. If that delicate thread
is damaged or moved out of place something goes wrong. There
is no more delicate machinery then the spirit of man. How
careful man is with his electrical machinery! Every little
wire is looked at with a magnifying glass, and every little
part is guarded so carefully and kept so clean that no rust
can come on it; no one may touch it! At the same time man
has no regard for his spirit, Which is the most delicate
machinery of all. Once it goes wrong it may never get right
again; and it is very easy for it to go wrong, while it
is most difficult to repair. For other machinery we can
get spare parts, but not for this machinery when once it
is broken, when once something of it is lost. When one thinks
of all the illness and disagreeable experiences of the outer
life, what about spirit? When once the spirit is disturbed
then the whole universe is disturbed for that person.
What happens, very often unconsciously, is that there
are friends who are very devoted to each other and then
there is something in the machinery that goes wrong. Perhaps
neither if them know this, but unconsciously the spirit
of their friendship is destroyed; and it is most difficult
to mend it. Then there is no joy of friendship anymore.
Friendship lasts only as long as that delicate thread exists,
as long as the machinery is in proper order. Besides all
of the external things of life, money power position or
comfort, are nothing in comparison with the condition of
one's spirit. If the spirit is disturbed none of these things
has any value whatsoever; it is all lost.
There is a story of a king who one day called a porter
and gave him a command, and after giving this command he
went into his room and signed his abdication to the throne.
His vizirs asked him why he did this, what had gone wrong.
He said, 'When I was giving that porter his command I saw
by his expression that it was not received in the same way
as he received orders up until now. So something must have
gone wrong in my spirit; I should no more handle the affairs
of the state.' It takes a long time to become fit, and it
does not take a minute to become unfit. It is most difficult
to collect the spirit and make it work as it ought to; the
least little thing can upset it. Think of how many different
parts must be made to make a watch go regularly, and how
easy it is to drop the watch and destroy it.
There are some people who have no spirit; that is to
say whose spirit is still buried. They do not care they
are quite happy, although they do not know what true happiness
means. But for others who are very much aware of their spirit
there is nothing more difficult than to keep it in the right
condition. No sacrifice is too great and nothing we can
do is too much to keep the spirit in tune. The mystic therefore
trains his spirit; it is the training of his own spirit
that enables a man to help those that come to him.
The story of Ayaz gives us an example of this.
That is the way to tune the spirit to cleanse it, to purify
it, to humble it, to mold it to efface whatever may have
clouded it, and to raise it high. Everything that is necessary
should be done with it. And it is not easy to handle the
spirit. Many who do not know how to handle it break it,
just as children break their toys. When once the spirit
is destroyed, what is left? It should be remembered that
greatness and smallness, happiness and wretchedness are
all effects coming from the condition of the spirit. We
are as great as our spirit, we are as wide as our spirit,
we are as low as our spirit, we are as small as our spirit;
spirit can make us all that we are.
Verily, if there is anything that is more necessary than
all else, it is to be able to tune one's spirit.