|Back||SOUK - 9nov09 - Soul|
Pearls from the Classes|
9th November 2009
We are continuing with our exploration of Murshid's teaching on the soul. He
gave this series of teachings in 1923 in Suresnes near Paris. What is
interesting is that it is not a continuous series of lectures on the soul,
he was alternating his lectures on the soul with lectures on the character,
on personality, which is the topic we finished with. It is very interesting
to alternate those two.
"The souls in the angelic spheres live as a breath. The soul in its nature
is a current, a current the nature of which is to envelop in itself all that
might come along and meet it on its way. The soul therefore collects all
that comes to it; therefore it becomes different from its original
condition; yet in its real being the soul is a vibration, the soul is a
breath, the soul is the essence, the soul is intelligence and the soul is
the essence of personality. The question very often rises, if an angel came
from above, does it descend outward before a person or within a person in
one's heart? This question may be answered that the lift for the soul is
situated within, not without, which brings the soul down on earth and takes
it back towards heaven. That lift is the breath. The soul comes with the
breath on earth and with the same it returns. Those among human beings who
are not even aware of their own breath, how can they know who came within
themselves and who went away? Many seem wide awake to the life without but
asleep within; and though the chamber of the heart is continually visited by
the hosts of heaven, because they do not know their heart, they are not
What is he saying? He is saying it is very important to become aware of the
inner dimension - he calls it our heart. soul comes into manifestation on
this earth on the breath and leaves on the breath. They must have asked him
how angels manifest to human beings - is it someone you see in front of you
or is it you feel somebody in your heart, and he says no, you do not see
somebody in front, you fell them within yourself, in the heart. He calls the
breath the lift with which we come in and out of life, the lift that
contains all the other links, all the different subtle bodies. For us on
this part it is very important that we become aware of our subtle bodies,
not just the physical, material body. The link, or the lift, is the breath.
But for most of us our breath is not natural, it has become distorted,
because our life, the way we live is not natural. Our bodies are not geared
for this life. On an evolutionary scale the bodies will need a lot longer to
adjust to this type of life we lead now. So as a result the bodies are out
of sync, our breath are out of sync. We need to become very aware of the
breath. That is why so many traditions just watch the breath. Becoming aware
of our breath - it is not a good idea to do breathing practices that impose
a certain rhythm of breath onto you. If you change something in your breath
you have to change everything physical in your body. That is a very
difficult thing to do. We on this path do not suggest practices that will
elongate your breath our make your in-breath bigger or smaller etc.,
whatever people might advocate. Observe the natural breath you have
developed, even if it is not what it should be. By observing it, slowly you
will become aware of the more subtle dimensions to it. If somebody else's
rhythm of breath does not agree with yours you will find that very
disturbing when you become aware of it, it will influence your own rhythm if
it is stronger than yours. Of course it goes vice-versa. Usually agitation
influences us in a very negative way, and we need to get n touch with a much
deeper source of peace to counteract that. If you think this is very rare,
it is not. Every time you walk you come across agitation - in London anyway.
You can be very aware of it when you go to work in the morning and come back
in the evening. You really have to protect your breath from that agitation
so you do not pick it up. Become aware of your own breathing rhythm and
stick to it; do not try to change it. In the practice of Qasab - we will
explain this practice later - you are counting, but you do not count against
your breath. In one of Aziz's first retreats there was an alarm clock that
was ticking. That tick imposed a rhythm to his counting that was not his.
He became physically sick.
In Islam there is a belief that God created three types of beings, humans -
Adam - the angels, and there is a third one called the jinns. The jinns were
made of fire. Adam was made of clay. What is the difference? Angels are not
made out of substance, not even fire, not of any element, and they have no
free will. No angel can decide what to do. They are given a task and they
fulfil it. Jinns are made of fire and they have free will; so do humans, but
we are made of clay. In the Koran there is a story that there was one jinn
who became the chief of the jinn. Because of their free will they evolve,
they develop. Angels do not evolve, they do not develop. They have no
freedom, no choice. So this jinn was called Iblis. He was a male jinn, so we
assume they have genders. Iblis was a very advanced jinn, almost an angel.
At some point God decided to create humanity. He made Adam, the first human,
out of clay, breathed life into him. What God then asked the angels and the
jinns was to bow in front of Adam. All of them did except Iblis. Iblis said
"I am a superior being. Lord, you made me using fire, and you made this
using dust. I am a superior being. How can I bow to that?" He refused. God
touched him and cast him out. Iblis was cast out from heaven until the
judgement day. Iblis for the Muslims is the devil, the one who is against
humanity, that spends all his time trying to trick us. Murshid mentions
this, in fact Murshid says Iblis said 'Lord, Thou hast made me the chief of
all angels' - it is not strictly true, either he had not talked about jinns
to the people who were writing this down or maybe he just said angel because
he did not want to go into jinns, but he was not an angel, he was a jinn.
"It is by that story that we learn what Jesus Christ has said in the Bible
'Blessed are the meek, who will inherit the Kingdom of the earth.'"
You have heard this, it is the third beatitude. We are going to investigate
this a bit more. Most of the translations are wrong. Although they have
gathered their own magnetism over the years they are still wrong. This is
from the King James version which was translated form the Greek. But Jesus
did not speak Greek, he spoke Aramaic. All the translations anybody has are
from the Greek. But even from the Greek translation they got it wrong. The
word meek - it seems like somebody who is spineless rather than humble. Why
did they not say humble? Jesus did not say humble. The word used in Greek is
praos (πράος). It is an interesting word. It does not translate to meek.
Somebody meek does not get angry. The feeling is somebody who is always
bowing down. Praos is somebody who is at peace both with his anger and with
his peace. So praos is somebody who gets angry when he needs to get angry
and does not get angry when he does not need to. It is somebody who is
balanced in that aspect. The word meek does not give that impression. Why is
that important? Because Jesus did not say "Be spineless and you will inherit
the earth." In Aramaic, the words are Tubwayhun l'makikhe d'hinnon nertun
arha. Saadi Neil Douglas- Klotz, has gone back and suggested translations
"Healthy are those who have softened what is rigid within; they shall
receive physical vigor and strength from the universe."
"Aligned with the One are the humble, those submitted to God's will; they
shall be gifted with the productivity of the earth."
"Healed are those who have wept inwardly with the pain of repressed desire;
they shall be renewed in sympathy with nature."
"Integrated, resisting corruption are those who have dissolved heavy
morality within; they shall be open to receive the splendor of earth's
This L'makikhe that has been translated to praos, and then from praos into
meek, really means "... one who has softened that which is unnaturally hard
What does this hardness mean? It means heaviness, and especially moral
heaviness and the heaviness that comes of the pain of the repressed desires.
This is a very interesting point. What Jesus was trying to say goes far
beyond "The meek shall inherit the earth." Those of us who have softened,
that have liquefied our inner rigidity - nothing makes us more rigid than
religious piousness. Let us be aware of that. If you are rigid you cannot
bow, not even to God. Become more liquid, liquefy your rigidity.
The word nertun it is inheriting, receiving in the broad sense, strength,
reciprocity. It is trying to say that softening the rigid places within
leaves one more open to the real source of power.
Praos is not a very common word in Greek. Aristotle actually said as a
definition of the word "The happy medium between too much anger and apathy."
They were using this word for the domesticated animal that can accept
orders, can accept control, is trained. The idea was that we are training
our animal nature to accept God's discipline, because self-discipline does
not go far enough. Self-discipline can make you very different, in fact it
almost always does. We are talking about accepting willingly to be of
service as the domesticated animals do. That is what the Greeks were saying
when they translated Jesus. All that became somehow slightly distorted in
"The meek shall inherit the earth."
Murshid is talking about the manifestation of the soul. He said that when
God asked the soul to enter the clay form that he had created the soul
became very frightened. It did not refuse, but it did not really want to.
Why not? because the soul is freedom, that is the most basic principle
characteristic of the soul, freedom. It knew that entering this clay form
would severely limit its freedom. So then the story goes that God asked
angels to play music. And the soul willingly and with excitement entered
this state of manifestation. Why? because the soul realised that to fully
experience the manifestation, creation, it needed senses. Only through
becoming human, it could through the senses fell the ecstasy of the senses.
Why would it even need to go that far? There is a tendency. Energy,
electricity goes to points. If you have a rod with a point, most electricity
will accumulate at the utmost point. There is a tendency for creation to go
outward as far as it can. The farthest that manifestation can go is
humanity. We are the end of the line, there is nothing further than us. That
makes us as far away from God as possible, but it also makes us the
arbitrators of the sense of freedom of choice. We have the utmost freedom of
choice of any created being. We are as far as we can go with the energy of
creation. The good thing is there is no way but going back, there is no
further to go. There is an ecstasy in the senses which of course can be very
limiting, because most of us get drunk on this and we stay drunk for the
duration of our life on this earth. We stay drunk trying to enjoy or to
assimilate the information that our senses constantly feed back into us. So
the soul accepting the challenge of manifestation, of evolution, went into
the body on the breath, took on the senses that the body availed and became
drunk. Some of our souls have sobered up enough to realise that there is
more than the intoxication of creation. Those of us, to whatever degree we
have got a glimpse of it, are seeking for something more internal. But of
course the senses and the clay created what we cal and know of as the ego.
That is the biggest intoxication of them all, and the biggest illusion as
We did a practice of repeating the Aramaic word makikhe, the word for
humble, or meek, or praos. As we do this, we breath it in (we do not say it
aloud) and arha breathing out. Arhah was the strength and reciprocity we get
from the universe by liquefying our inner rigidness.
A possible practice is to try to be as aware of your breath as possible. No
matter what you do, not only when you are meditating, when you are walking,
become aware of your breath and especially concentrate on the balance
between your in-breath and your out-breath in different aspects of your
activity. Sometimes you will find your in-breath is longer, or your
out-breath is shorter. Just put your awareness on it.
(Quotes from Hazrat Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan - Lecture "The Soul towards
Manifestation" given at the Suresnes Summer School on 18th August 1923 from
the Complete Works of Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan - Original Texts:
Lectures on Sufism, 1923 II: July-December and from Neil Douglas-Klotz -
Prayers of the Cosmos)