Wisdom for This Day
The words of Hazrat Inayat Khan:
Rumi says your worst enemy is hiding within yourself, and that enemy is your nafs or false ego. It is very difficult to explain the meaning of this ‘false ego.’ The best I can do is to say that every inclination which springs from disregard of love, harmony, and beauty and which is concerned with oneself and unconcerned with all others is the false ego.
This enemy, Rumi says, develops. The more it is fed, the stronger it becomes to fight with you; and the stronger it becomes, the more it dominates your better self. There comes a day when man is the slave of this enemy which is hidden within himself. The worst position is to have an enemy which one does not know. It is better to have a thousand known enemies before one than to have one within one and not to know it.
There are many meanings ascribed to the custom of sages of India to have snakes around their necks. One of those meanings is: ‘I have got it. It is still living, but now I know that it is there, and it is my ornament.’
What does this enemy breathe? This enemy breathes ‘I.’ Its breath is always calling out, ‘I,’ separate from you, separate from others, separate from everybody. My interest is mine; it has nothing to do with others. The interest of others is others’ interest; it is not mine. I am a separate being.’
Remember that no man is without it. If man was without it, he would never have said ‘I,’ because it is this enemy within him which is saying ‘I.’
The day this enemy is found and erased, or shed and crucified, that day the real ‘I’ is found. But this real ‘I’ is a different ‘I.’ This ‘I’ means you and I and everybody; it is an all ‘I.’
This quotation of Hazarat Inayat Khan is taken from Coleman Bark’s book Longing. GT