Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

A Scheme to Change the World?

--by Hazrat Inayat Khan (Feb 27, 2017)

The other day I lectured in Paris and after my lecture a very able man came to me and said, 'Have you got a scheme?' I said, 'What scheme?' 'Of bettering conditions.'

I replied that I had not made such a scheme, and he said, 'I have a scheme, I will show it to you'. He opened his box and brought out a very large paper with mathematics on it and showed it to me saying, 'This is the economic scheme that will make the condition of the world better: everyone will have the same share'.

I said, 'We should practice that economic scheme first on tuning our piano: instead of saying D, E, F, we should tune them all to one note and play that music and see how interesting that would be -- all sounding the same, no individuality, no distinction, nothing.' And I added, 'Economy is not a plan for construction, but it is a plan for destruction. It is economics which have brought us to destruction. It is the heart quality, it is the spiritual outlook which will change the world'.

Very often people coming to hear me say afterwards, 'Yes, all you say is very interesting, very beautiful, and I wish too that the world was changed. But how many think like you? How can you do it? How can it be done?'.

They come with that pessimistic remark, and I tell them, 'One person comes into a country with a little cold or influenza and it spreads. If such a bad thing can spread, can not an elevated thought of love, kindness and goodwill towards all men spread? See then that there are finer germs, germs of goodwill, of love, kindness, and feeling, germs of brotherhood, of the desire for spiritual evolution, which can have greater results than the other ones. If we all have that optimistic view, if we all work in our little way, we can accomplish a great deal'.

Many have been cross with God for having sent any misery in their lives -- but we always get such experiences! Becoming cross one says, 'Why, this is not just', or 'This is not right', and 'How could God who is just and good allow unjust things to happen?' But our sight is so limited that our conception of right and wrong and good and evil is only for us -- not according to God's plan. It is true that, as long as we see it as such, it is so for us and for those who look at it from our point of view, but when it comes to God the whole dimension is changed, the whole point of view is changed.

The Sufi therefore, finds the only way out of the distress of life ... He rises above it, taking all things as they come, patiently. He does not mind how he is treated. His principle is to do his best, and in that is his satisfaction. Instead of depending on another person to be kind to him, the Sufi thinks if he were kind to another person, that is sufficient. Every wise man in the long run through life will find in this principle the solution of happiness. For we cannot change the world, but we can change ourselves.

Excerpted from "Sangatha II, Path To Perfection" (more here and here).

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Previous Reflections:

On Feb 24, 2017 susan schaller wrote:

 Yes, yes, and yes.  When I let go of any fear (insecurity, worry - all the many forms of fear), life, people, circumstances, health improve.  I experimented with practicing living in a more present way by leaving home and a physical address, giving myself, my time, my resources, and practicing acceptance of whatever happened.  I left home in April, 2014 and traveled without a destination, going where I was invited, sharing or serving as I was asked.  I have never been on the streets for one night, and have never gone hungry.  Life and I expanded, and I saw how much more powerful transformation - inner growth - is than any material advantage or gain.  Enjoy this full life, today.

On Feb 24, 2017 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 There are two worlds I (and we) live in: The world which has more darkness than light and also the world which has more light than darkness. I can talk about my world more authentically than the world of others.What are the two major components of my inner world?:The kind of world I really like and love to create and live in.It is a world filled with light and love, a world graced by kindness, forgiveness, truth, gratitude, generosity and compassion. Then there is another inner world with my ambitions, needs, and desires and my likes and dislikes. The challenge for me is to strike a dynamic balance.

My life long work and challenge has been to build  a realistic and constructive bridge between the two worlds. Can I serve myself and others? Can I take care of myself and others in my life? I do not aspire to be a martyr or  a an unkind self-serving narcissist. The more I introspect and remain aware of the self created imbalance between these two apparently opposite perspectives, the less I go through self-hurting or other-hurting wishes, desires and behaviors. To me, life is an ongoing journey of maintaining the balanced flow between these two valances.Living life this way has made me a better person and a happier person. Living this way is like maintaining the flow of the river of life between the two banks.

May I maintain a wholesome balance between the two poles of existence! May others live a balanced and happy life!


Jagdish P Dave

On Feb 25, 2017 david doane wrote:

I don't equate everyone having the same share economically to tuning a piano such that it has only one note.  I equate everyone having the same share economically to everyone having a piano, that is, leveling the playing field so everyone has the same opportunities.  What someone does with their opportunities, such as the music someone creates with their piano, is up to the individual.  Now we have a world of haves and have nots.  Ten percent of people controlling eighty percent of the wealth isn't good economy.  A portion of the world having too much and throwing food away while another portion is starving to death isn't good economy.  The same opportunities available to everyone would be economical, that is, efficient, and would be fair, and would be good will in action and an applied spirituality that would change the world.  The good will of others has been inspiring and infectious for me, resulting in more good will from me.  Knowing good will in and of itself is right sometimes keeps me focused on kind behavior rather than on ramifications or outcome.  Gandhi's famous 'Be the change you want to see in the world' has helped me to at least sometimes do good rather than wait or be concerned about others' reactions.

On Feb 27, 2017 Taz wrote:

 Beautiful. We are a drop in the ocean with rose colored glasses on -- changing ourselves, changes us in positive ways we can not fully appreciate at the time, making our view of our experiences more clear and our hearts lighter.

On Feb 27, 2017 Akshata wrote:

'we cannot change the world, but we can change ourselves.' which is I find very important, but it does not happen this way and we try to change others, Why we find difficult to understand?

On Feb 28, 2017 Susan Evans wrote:


IF YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT MAKING CHANGES - Google honors humanitarian Adbul Sattar Edhi with a doodle .  Known for helping deliver medicine to those in need, the "Angel of Mercy" is celebrated TODAY 28/02/2017 on what would have been his 89th birthday.

On Feb 28, 2017 Ilonka wrote:

I found this to be one of the most disappointing passages. Here comes a man with obviously a caring heart who wishes for everyone to share in  on the bounty of the world, and the author compares this to a flat sounding piano music?  We don't know what it would be like to share and be equally responsible for the resources of our beautiful planet. It might just turn out   To be one of the most interesting  symphonies  ever.  I conducted a survey once, were I asked participants if they'd rather be rich in the world of rich and poor, or would they rather  be neither rich nor poor in a world where everyone shared resources equally. Everyone chose the second.

On Feb 28, 2017 Laura Havlick wrote:

 Thank you for your insightful comment.  I agree completely & was looking to see if anyone else had a response similar to mine.  You did.  So glad to see this point of view represented. Though it's not too different from that already expressed, I believe the distinctions make the difference.  Thanks again!

On Feb 28, 2017 Kristof wrote:

 There is good in our hearts but at this point of time we still do not have  or give enough the right education to the schools ,so what dominates is fear .The right kind of education is what we need for our goodness to grow and eventually make us free . 

On Feb 28, 2017 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:

 As a word person rather than numbers I felt the same as the narrator in the story, ah, how dull it would be if we all sang or played the same note, how lovely to have melody and harmony! Infectious goodwill, yes!!!! As a person who often shares Free Hugs, does random acts of kindness, applies as best she can the Golden Rule: 'do unto others as you would have them do unto you' I can attest to so much goodness and kindness always! Good Will is indeed infectious in a good way! When we do or see a kindness it just keeps on going and it infects those around us to be kind as well. i see this all the time with Free Hugs. One person accepts a hug, then another and soon there are so many conversations! This is the goal really, to connect one to another! What keeps me doing my best and being kind is knowing that eventually it comes back around and really it just feels so good to do anyway, so why not be kind?

On Mar 1, 2017 Rajni Gohil wrote:

 Individual is a part of the  world.  Ego, or else, everyone thinks their own way.  No matter how nicely  we explain them, they mostly stay stand still. It is not practical to change the world. But if we change, people will inquire about secret of our change and they too apply the "secret"  I  revealed to them. They to change and reveal secret to others when asked.  And this process goes on and on till the whole world changes for  better. 

On Mar 1, 2017 Mathew M.V. wrote:

Sharing wealth is some thing difficult. We are not interested to share Happiness or earnings in mean time we want share in sorrows. The selfishness is the most important  culture we have to throw away.I hope share to others is the Best QUALITY and  to overcome all sorrows. It is DIVINE. 

On Mar 3, 2017 Jo wrote:


On Mar 6, 2017 Dianne wrote:

I often think of people I have known who are doom and gloom. Nothing positive do they ever see. It has become a self-professng prophecy for them. When I surround myself  with positive thoughts and people my life is so much better in the way I see everything.

On Mar 23, 2017 wdad wrote:

 nice artilce 

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