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Character Building

Hazrat Inayat Khan


In character-building it is most necessary that one should learn how to face the world, the world where one meets with sorrows and troubles and pleasures and pains. It is very difficult for one to hide them from the world, and at the same time a wise person is not meant to show all he feels nor to show at every moment what he feels. The ordinary person, like a machine, reacts in answer to every outer influence and inner impulse; and in this way he very often cannot keep to the law of the music of life.

Life to a wise person is music; and in that symphony he has to play a certain part. If one were feeling so low that one's heart was sounding a lower pitch, and the demand of life at that moment was that one should voice a higher pitch, then one would feel that one had failed in that music in which one was meant to play one's part fittingly. This is the test by which you can distinguish the old soul and the child soul. The child soul will give way to every feeling; the old soul will strike the higher note in spite of every difficulty.

There are moments when laughter must be kept back, and there are times when tears must be withheld. And those who have arrived at the stage where they can act efficiently the part that they are meant to act in this life's drama, have even power over the expression of their face; they can even turn their tears into smiles, or their smiles into tears. One may ask, is it not hypocrisy not to be natural? But he who has control over his nature is more natural; he is not only natural, he is the master of nature, while the one who lacks power over nature, in spite of his naturalness, is weak.

Also, it must be understood that real civilization means the art of life. What is that art? It is knowing the music of life. Once a soul has awakened to the continual music of life, that soul will consider it as his responsibility, as his duty, to play his part in outer life, even if it be contrary to his inner condition for the moment. One must know at every moment in one's daily life: what does life demand of me, what does it ask of me, and how shall I answer the demand of my life? This requires one to be awakened fully to life's conditions. One must have insight into human nature, and one must be able to know one's own condition fully. If one says, 'I am as I am; if I am sad, I am sad; if I am glad, I am glad,' that will not do. Even the earth will not bear the person who will not answer life's demands. The sky will not tolerate that person, and the sphere will not accommodate him who is not ready to give what life demands of him. If this is true, then it is best when it is easily done and willingly done.

In the orchestra there is a conductor and there are many who play the music;and every player of an instrument has to fulfil his part in the performance. If he does not do it rightly, it is his fault. The conductor will not listen if he says he did not do it properly because he was sad or because he was too glad. The conductor of the orchestra is not concerned with his sadness or his gladness. He is concerned with the part that the particular musician must play in the whole symphony. This is the nature of our lives. The further we advance in our part in this orchestra, the more efficiently we perform our part in life's symphony.

In order to be able to have this control over oneself, what is necessary? We must have control over our inner self, because every outward manifestation is nothing but a reaction of the inner condition. Therefore the first control that one has to gain is over one's own self, one's inner self, which is done by strengthening the will, and also by understanding life better.



Posted with permission: A Cherag's Library


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