THE CREATIVE POWER OF THE MIND
The impression that is made upon the mind has quite a different character from the impression that is made upon objects. Man is living, therefore creative. Whatever impression his mind takes, it not only holds as a stone holds an impression, but it produces the same several times in a moment, thus keeping it a living impression. And it is that life of the impression which is held in the mind that becomes audible to the ears of the heart. It is in this way that we all more or less feel the thought or the feeling of another, his pleasure or displeasure, his joy or disappointment, for it is continually repeated in his mind.
The impression in the mind does not stand still as a picture. The phenomenon of memory is such that one creates all that the memory holds; not only the vibrations that the memory holds, but the vibrations or forms in answer to it. For instance, a person has a deep impression of fear in his mind. The consequence is that the mind is at work to produce an object of its fear. In the dream, in imagination, in a wakeful state that fear is created. One can easily understand that in the dream it is created, but how in the wakeful state? Everything that is around a person - his friends, his foes, conditions, environments - all takes a form which will frighten the mind that is holding fear in it. How wonderful then is the plane of the mind. The mind is its question and it is itself the answer. Thus miseries are attracted especially by those who fear miseries, disappointment is brought about by those who expect disappointment, failure is caused by holding the impression of failure. I have often heard people say, "I shall never succeed, I shall never succeed. Everything I do goes wrong, there is something wrong." It is very good that there are stars, so that they can attribute their misery to the stars. But in reality it belongs to them, it is they who are holding it in their mind.
When a person is continually thinking that nothing right will happen, nothing good will come, failure is anticipated then. If all the stars of heaven were in his favour, even then he would meet with failure. In this way man is the creator of his condition, of his fate. Many there are who see no prospects before them in life. Does that mean that the world, the universe, is so poor that it cannot provide for all their need? There is abundance, but by thinking continually that there is no way out of it a person becomes fixed in his thoughts and brings about despair.
Whatever man is thinking or feeling, he is at the same time emanating it as a fragrance. He is creating around himself an atmosphere which expresses what he thinks or what he feels, and it does not only convey to others his thought and feeling, but it creates for him an answer. For instance, a person who before leaving home thinks, "I may have a motor accident", is preparing the accident. He is reflecting that thought perhaps upon some motor driver. His thought has struck the driver, and when he approaches that car there is an accident. So it is with man's success. When he goes out in the world and says, "In my business I shall be successful", he attracts all that is necessary to make him successful. Does it not prove to us that this is a mirror-land? A mirror-land with a living phenomenon, living because the mirrors are living. It is not only projecting and reflecting that takes place in the mirrors, but a phenomenon of creation: all that is projected and reflected is created at the same time and materialized sooner or later.
It is in this that the Sufi finds the mystery of mastery. Besides all the ideas of fate and worldly influences and heavenly influences there is a creative power in the mind which works. In one person perhaps the creative faculty of his being is at work one degree, and the mechanical part of his being is at work ninety-nine degrees. In another person who is more evolved ninety-nine degrees of creative power is at work, and perhaps one degree of the mechanical part of his being.
It is the mechanical part of one's being which is subject to conditions, environments, and which is helpless. And in this aspect the divine essence is to be found.
Question : Is it through reflection that a warning of accidents reach people?
Answer : Yes, sometimes. But sometimes a fortune teller tells you that such and such thing will happen to you; an accident in this year, a trouble, an illness in such month. In the life of one it comes true, in the life of another it does not come true. And you will always find that in the life of the one who is impressionable this comes true, because he has taken to heart that such a thing is going to happen. Therefore, in the East, especially in India where the science of astrology is so advanced and for so many thousands of years the lives of the people depended upon it, they have a saying: Never consult a foolish astrologer. He may be a good astrologer, but if he is foolish never consult him; he will say things that will impress you. And when this idea is not taught, what happens? A person easily says things in a joke without thinking. A person may say to another, "Do not go there, you will be killed". He does not think anything about it, it is a joke, but he does not know that it may make an impression that will cause the death of that person.
Question : If the fore-warning of an accident is the result of another person's thought, can we avoid the danger by using our own thought power to counteract the other person's thought?
Answer : Yes, we can, if we know how to do it, because that is the practice of denial. Self-denial apart, it is even to deny the thoughts and impressions which we do not wish to come to us. It is not allowing our mind to be stained by those impressions which we do not desire that helps us to avoid them.
Question : How can we release the greater creative energy of a mind that has been accustomed merely to repeat automatically the same reflections over and over?
Answer : By giving the person quite another direction, a direction that would interest him most. In support to what I have said about the influence of the repeating of a thought or feeling. I remember an incident. A girl had learned a new theatrical song the words of which were, "How suddenly my fate has changed". She took such a liking to it that everywhere she was moving about in the house she hummed it and said the words. What was the outcome? She looked down from a balcony of the house and fell from it and died. Those who knew her said that she was particularly happy three days before she was singing this song.
There is another example. The emperor Zafar of Delhi of the Moghul dynasty was a great poet and a poet of the highest order, so delicate in his expression, such a great master of words, his imagination so beautiful and refined. His poetry was nothing but a beautiful picture, a work of art, and so was the person. But as it is natural that an artist, a poet interests himself more in tragedy than in comedy, so this poet began to write the words of a tragedy. What was the consequence? After the book was finished, his tragedy in life began. He came to decline and his whole life was repeating the same tragedy. Life repeated the same poetry which he had written.
Question : How can we wipe out all the innumerable pictures which hinder us?
Answer : The whole process of the Sufi method is this: to make the plate of the mind clear. This can be done by the practice of concentration. The horses in the forest will not come if you call them, nor will they walk if you wish them to walk, because they are untrained horses. So are your thoughts and imaginations. They go about in the mind without harness, without rein. When this is taken in hand it is just like when the teacher in a circus tells the horse to come, and the horse comes; he tells the horse to go, and the horse goes; he tells the horse to run, and the horse runs, to stop, and the horse stops. This is the first and most important lesson that you have to learn in the Sufi work. This is the foundation of the whole of mysticism and the practice of philosophy: that you are able to move about your thoughts as you want them to. When you wish to think of a rose, a lily must not come in your thought. When you think of a horse, an elephant must not appear before you, you must keep it away. This teaches you to create a thought and to hold it and to expel every thought that you do not wish to have. In this way you become the master of your thoughts. You train them, you control them, and then you use them for your benefit.