He is living whose sympathy is awake
August 24, 2013 Comments Off on He is living whose sympathy is awake
He is living whose sympathy is awake, and he is dead whose heart is asleep.
Bowl of Saki, August 22, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
Life’s light is love; and when the heart is empty of love, a man is living and yet not living; from a spiritual point of view he is dead. When the heart is asleep, he is as though dead in this life, for one can only love through the heart. But love does not mean give and take. That is only a trade; it’s selfishness. To give sixpence and receive a shilling is not love. Love is when one loves for the sake of love, when one cannot help but love, cannot do anything but love.
Most people will say, ‘The other does not understand me.’ But why must there be this lack of understanding? What causes it? It is lack of sympathy. No words can ever make a person understand. It is the heart alone which can convey its full meaning to the other heart, for there are subtle waves of sympathy, there are delicate perceptions of feelings such as gratefulness, admiration, kindness, which cannot be put into words. Words are too inadequate to explain the finer feelings. It is the heart quality which can express itself fully, and again it is the heart quality which can understand fully. Would it therefore be an exaggeration to say that as long as the heart is not awakened a man is as though dead? It is after the awakening of the heart that a man begins to live.
Sympathy is an awakening of the love element, which comes on seeing another in the same situation in which one has been at some time in one’s life. A person who has never experienced pain cannot sympathize with those suffering pain… Sympathy is something more than love and affection, for it is the knowledge of a certain suffering which moves the living heart to sympathy.
That person is living whose heart is living, and that heart is living which has wakened to sympathy. The heart void of sympathy is worse than a rock, for the rock is useful, but the heart void of sympathy produces antipathy. … There are many attributes found in the human heart which are called divine, but among them there is no greater and better attribute than sympathy, by which man shows in human form God manifested.