To fall beneath one’s ideal

October 1, 2013 Comments Off on To fall beneath one’s ideal

To fall beneath one’s ideal is to lose one’s share of life.

Bowl of Saki, September 28, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Commentary by Hazrat Inayat Khan:

If anyone asked me what is the life of life, and what is the light of life,
what gives one interest in life, I should answer him in one word, and that
is: the ideal. A man with wealth, with qualifications, with learning, with
comfort, but without ideal to me is a corpse; but a man without learning,
without qualifications, without wealth or rank, but with an ideal is a
living man. If a man does not live for an ideal what else does he live for?
He lives for himself, which is nothing. The man who lives and does not know
an ideal is powerless and without light. The greater the ideal, the greater
the person. The wider the ideal the broader the person. The deeper the
ideal the deeper the person, the higher the ideal the higher the person.
Without an ideal, whatever a man may be in life, life for him is worthless.

The Sufi Message gives to the world the religion of the day; and that is to
make one’s life a religion, to turn one’s occupation or profession into a
religion, to make one’s ideal a religious ideal. The object of Sufism is
the uniting of life and religion, which so far seem to have been kept
apart. When a man goes to church once a week, and devotes all the other
days of the week to his business, how can he benefit from religion?
Therefore the teaching of Sufism is to transform everyday life into a
religion, so that every action may bear some spiritual fruit.

We, with our narrowness of faith or belief, accuse others of belonging to
another religion, another chapel or church. We say, ‘This temple is better,
that faith is better.’ The whole world has kept on fighting and devastating
itself just because it can not understand that each form of religion is
peculiar to itself. Therefore, the ideal life is in following one’s own
ideal. It is not in checking other people’s ideals.

The man who has never had an ideal may hope to find one. He is in a better
state than the man who allows the circumstances of life to break his ideal.
To fall beneath one’s ideal is to lose one’s track in life. Then confusion
rises in the mind, and that light which one should hold high becomes
covered and obscured, so that it cannot shine out to light one’s path.

An ideal is something to hope for and to hold on to, and in the absence of
an ideal hope has nothing to look forward to. It is the lack of idealism
which accounts for the present degeneration of humanity in spite of all the
progress it has made in other directions. There are many kinds of ideals:
principles, virtues, objects of devotion; but the greatest and highest of
all ideals is the God-ideal. And when this God-ideal upon which all other
ideals are based is lost, then the very notion of ideal is ignored. Man
needs many things in life, but his greatest need is an ideal.


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