The Mind in Sufism
The mind-world in Sufism is called ‘Aina Khans’, which means the Palace of Mirrors. Not only among man, but also the animal kingdoms one finds the phenomena of reflection. Scientists might say that animals have no mind. But according to the Mystic, the same intelligence which is in man is to be found to differing degrees in other creatures. For the mystic the mind as a mirror exists in all beings. Friendship, hostility between animals takes place by reflection from one mirror to another. This shows that the language of animals is more natural than the language man has made, and he has gone far away from the natural intuitive way of expression.
The Reflective Heart/Mind
There is the story of Daniel. who entered the
den of lions, and the lions were tamed instantly. Did he will them to be so? No. It was the calm and peace of the heart of Daniel reflected upon the lions that made them quiet like him. His own peace became their piece; they became peaceful.
Very often birds and animals give warning of death in the family. The condition is reflected upon them. The condition of the person who is dying, the thoughts of those who are around him, the condition of the cosmos at the time, the whole environment, everything there is reflected on their mind. They know and they begin to express their feelings becoming a warning of the coming death. It works both ways. The thoughts and feelings of men are reflected on animals and the condition of animals can be reflected upon the minds of men.
It is most interesting to watch how the phenomenon of reflection between animals and man manifests to the view of one who is sensitive and observes it clearly. The language of man is an external means by which we communicate with one another, but the natural language is the language of reflection which is projected and reflected from one being to another. And this is the universal language; and once this language is understood not only can one communicate with human beings, but with all creatures. It was not fantasy when people said that the saints in ancient times used to speak with animals and birds; it was the truth. Only they did not speak with them in language such as we use in our everyday life; they spoke in that natural language in which all souls communicate with one another.
By using will power a man can learn to focus his mind on an object of concentration and to project his thought which is then reflected on the mind of the object of his projection. There is so much that we can learn in little things, which can reveal to us the greatest secrets of life, if only our eyes were open and if we were eager to simply observe.
The phenomenon of reflection differs in its nature and character by reason of the nature of different personalities. The person whose thought becomes reflected in the heart or another may have a concrete form in his thought and may be able to hold it as one design or picture. In that case the reflection falls in the heart of another being clearly: but if the mind is so weak that it cannot hold a thought properly, then the thought is moving and it cannot reflect in the mind of another properly. If the mind of the person is not in good condition then the picture is not clear. If a person’s mind is not clear, if it is upset or too active, then the mind cannot convey the reflection fully.
The mind can be likened to a lake. If the wind is blowing and the water is disturbed, then the reflection will not be clear; but when the water is still the reflection is clear. And so it is with the mind: the mind which is still is capable of receiving reflections. The mind which is powerful, capable of making and holding a thought, a picture can project its thought beyond any boundaries that may be there to hinder it.
The Mind and Heart Are One
Does the heart reflect the mind or the mind the heart? In the first place it should be known that the mind is the surface of the heart, and the heart is the depth of the mind. Therefore mind and heart are the same thing. If you call it a mirror, then the mind is the surface of the mirror and the heart is its depth; in the same mirror all is reflected. ‘Mirror’ is a very good word, because it applies to both the mind and the heart. If the reflection comes from the surface of the heart, it touches the surface; if it comes from the depth of the heart, it reaches the depth. Just like the voice of the insincere person: it comes from the surface and it reaches the ears. The voice of the sincere person comes from the depth and goes to the depth. What comes from the depth enters the depth and what comes from the surface remains on the surface.
Reflection is Not Conversation
Nothing can separate two minds that are focused on one another with love. They can communicate with one another. Distance is never a bar to this phenomenon. Reflection is not like conversation. In a conversation every word unfolds the idea more, and so the idea gradually becomes manifested; but in the reflection, in one instant the whole idea is reflected, because the whole idea is there in the form of a picture, and it is mirrored in the mind which has received it.
The Reality of Communication With Those Who Have Died
This helps to reveal the mystery that lies in the ability to reflect to and receive from those who are dead. It is possible for a person living on earth to project his thought on those who are on the other side. Every religion has taught this lesson but we have yet to grasp it fully. Among some peoples it is customary to prepare flowers, perfume, food and other things that were pleasing to an individual and to offer them in a ceremony for the deceased one. They partake of these things and then their experience is felt, reflected by the one who is dead; they are the medium for the offering.
One who mourns excessively over their dear ones continues to give pain to those who have departed; because instead of having a joyful offering they gather pain and offer it to the dead. The wisest thing one could do for those who have passed is to project the thought of joy and happiness, of love and beauty, of peace and rest. In this way we can help the dead the best.
One cannot help being drawn to a loving person, an affectionate person. One cannot cover ones eyes from the feelings of hatred that come from another or pain. The hatred or pain is engraved in his heart.
It Is Our Words Which Hide Reality
This is the phenomenon of reflection, reflection of one mind on another. Pleasure and displeasure, affection and irritation, harmony and agitation, all are felt when two beings meet without speaking a
word. It is really our words which hide reality. If it were not for our words, the phenomenon of mirroring is such that it would seem as if the whole universe were nothing but a palace of mirrors, one reflecting the other.
Whatever feelings we have we cannot really keep it from another. And this is sufficient for us to know that innermost truth, that absolute truth of the whole universe, that the source is One, the goal is One, and the many are only its covers.
How to Learn More
The life and work of Hazrat Inayat Kahan and the teachings of the Sufi Order have deeply influenced my life and been a great enhancement to my animal communication work.
For more information on the topic presented in this article read The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan and The Music of Life by Hazrat Inayat Khan. See the
Books and Teaching Page for references.