Greatest Of All Religions
Hazrat Inayat Khan said, "A study of life is the greatest of all religions, and there is no greater or more interesting study."
There are two ways in which we may attain control over our activity. The first is confidence in the power of our own will; to know that if we have failed today, tomorrow we will not do so. The second is to have our eyes wide open, and to watch keenly our activity in all aspects of life. It is in the dark that we fall, but in the light we can see where we are going.
So it is in life: we should have our eyes wide open to see where we walk. We should study life, and seek to know why we say a thing, and why we act as we do. We have failed perhaps hitherto because we have not been wide awake. We have fallen, and felt sorry, and have forgotten all about it, and perhaps may have fallen again. This is because we have not studied life. A study of life is the greatest of all religions, and there is no greater and more interesting study. Those who have mastered all grades of activity, they above all experience life in all its aspects. They are like swimmers in the sea who float on the water of life and do not sink.
If we only knew how much the study of life can tell us! One could go into the British Museum and read every book in the building, and yet not obtain satisfaction. It is not study, it is not research, it is not inquiry which gives this knowledge; it is actually going through the experiences of life, witnessing life in its different aspects and in its different phases or spheres; that is what reveals the ideal of life. ... Look not on life as a person would watch a play on the stage. Rather look upon it as a student who is learning at college.
It is not a passing show; it is not a place of amusement in which to fool our life away. It is a place for study, in which every sorrow, every heartbreak brings a precious lesson. It is a place in which to learn by one's own suffering, by the study of the suffering of others; to learn from the people who have been kind to us as well as from the people who have been unkind. It is a place in which all experiences, be they disappointments, struggles, and pains, or joys, pleasures, and comforts, contribute to the understanding of what life is, and the realization what it is. Then do we awake to the religion of nature, which is the only religion. And the more we understand it, the greater our life becomes, and the more of a blessing will our life be for others.
Inayat Khan was a teacher of Universal Sufism.
Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the study of life as the greatest of all religions? Can you share a personal story of a time you awoke to the religion of nature? What helps you remain a student of life?
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