The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

Volume

Sayings

Social Gathekas

Religious Gathekas

The Message Papers

The Healing Papers

Vol. 1, The Way of Illumination

Vol. 1, The Inner Life

Vol. 1, The Soul, Whence And Whither?

Vol. 1, The Purpose of Life

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound and Music

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound

Vol. 2, Cosmic Language

Vol. 2, The Power of the Word

Vol. 3, Education

Vol. 3, Life's Creative Forces: Rasa Shastra

Vol. 3, Character and Personality

Vol. 4, Healing And The Mind World

Vol. 4, Mental Purification

Vol. 4, The Mind-World

Vol. 5, A Sufi Message Of Spiritual Liberty

Vol. 5, Aqibat, Life After Death

Vol. 5, The Phenomenon of the Soul

Vol. 5, Love, Human and Divine

Vol. 5, Pearls from the Ocean Unseen

Vol. 5, Metaphysics, The Experience of the Soul Through the Different Planes of Existence

Vol. 6, The Alchemy of Happiness

Vol. 7, In an Eastern Rose Garden

Vol. 8, Health and Order of Body and Mind

Vol. 8, The Privilege of Being Human

Vol. 8a, Sufi Teachings

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

Vol. 10, Sufi Mysticism

Vol. 10, The Path of Initiation and Discipleship

Vol. 10, Sufi Poetry

Vol. 10, Art: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Vol. 10, The Problem of the Day

Vol. 11, Philosophy

Vol. 11, Psychology

Vol. 11, Mysticism in Life

Vol. 12, The Vision of God and Man

Vol. 12, Confessions: Autobiographical Essays of Hazat Inayat Khan

Vol. 12, Four Plays

Vol. 13, Gathas

Vol. 14, The Smiling Forehead

By Date

THE SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS

Heading

1. Voices

2. Impressions

3. The Magnetism of Beings and Objects

4. The Influence of Works of Art

5. The Life of Thought

6. The Form of Thought

7. Memory

8. Will

9. Reason

10. The Ego

11. Mind and Heart

12. Intuition and Dream

13. Inspiration

Sub-Heading

-ALL-

Vol. 2, Cosmic Language

6. The Form of Thought

The mind has five aspects, but the aspect that is best known is that for which we use the word "mind." Mind means: the creator of thought and imagination. The mind is a soil upon which, in the form of thoughts and imaginations, plants grow. They live there but, as they are continually springing up, only the newly created plants are before one's consciousness, and those plants and trees which were created before are hidden from one's eyes. Therefore, when thoughts and imaginations are forgotten, they are no longer before one; one does not think about them any more, but whenever one wishes to find a thought which has once been shaped, it can immediately be found, for it still exists in the mind.

That part of the mind which our consciousness does not see immediately is called subconsciousness. It is called so because the consciousness remains on the surface, making clear to us that part of our thoughts and imaginations which we have just shaped and at which we are busy looking.

Nevertheless once a person has had an imagination, a thought, it still exists. In what form does it exist? In the form which the mind gave it. As the soul takes a form in the physical world, a form borrowed from this world, so the thought takes a form which is borrowed from the world of mind. A clear mind, therefore, can give a distinct body, a distinct form to the thought; a mind which is confused produces indistinct thoughts. One can see the truth of this in dreams: the dreams of the clear-minded are clear and distinct, the dreams of those whose mind is unclear are confusing. Besides, it is most interesting to see that the dreams of artists, poets, musicians - who live in beauty, who think of beauty - are beautiful, whereas the dreams of those whose mind contains doubt, fear or confusion are of the same character.

This gives proof that the mind gives a body to the thought. The mind supplies form to each thought, and with that form the thought is able to exist. The form of the thought is not only known to the person who thinks, but also to the one who reflects the thought, the one in whose heart it is reflected. That is why there is a silent communication between people: the thought-forms of one person reflecting in the mind of another. These thought-forms are more powerful and clearer than words. They are often more impressive than a spoken word, because language is limited, while thought has a greater scope of expression.

Someone asked me what elementals look like. I answered: "Elementals are exactly like your thoughts. If you have the thoughts of human beings then the elementals have human form. If you have the thoughts of birds then the elementals have the form of birds. If your thoughts are of the animals then the elementals have the form of animals, for elementals are made of your thoughts."

There is another most interesting aspect in studying the nature of the mind: that every mind attracts and reflects thoughts of its own kind -just as there is a part of the earth which is more suitable for flowers to grow in, and another part of the earth more suitable for fruits, and yet another part where weeds grow. Thus a reflection that fails from one mind upon another only falls upon the mind which attracts it. This is the reason why like is attractive to like. If a robber or a thief goes to Paris, he will certainly meet with another thief. He will easily find out where the thief lives; he will recognize him at once, because his mind has become a receptacle for thoughts of the same kind. As soon as their glances meet a communication is established: their thoughts are alike.

One sees in everyday life how like attracts like. The reason is that the mind has developed a certain character, and the thought-pictures of that particular character appeal to it. It is so very interesting for a person who sees this phenomenon in everyday life that there is not one moment when he does not see the truth of it.

High minds will always reflect and attract higher thoughts; from wherever it comes it will come to them. It will be attracted to the mind the ground of which is prepared for it. An ordinary mind is attracted to ordinary thoughts. For instance, a person who has a habit of criticizing people is very eager to open his ears to criticism, because that is the subject which interests him, his pleasure is there. He cannot resist the temptation of hearing ill of another, because this is most dear to his heart, for he speaks ill of others himself. When that thought does not belong to a person it is a foreign note to his ears; he does not want to hear it. His heart has no pleasure in it; it wants to throw off anything that is inharmonious. Therefore the mind-world is man's kingdom, his property. Whatever he sows, that he reaps. Whatever he keeps that property for, that is produced in it.

Now going into deeper metaphysics, what is it that forms the thought-picture? It is a very subtle question. A materialistic scientist will say that there are thought atoms which group and make the form: joining together they compose the thought-form. If he wants to make it more objective he will say that in the brain there are little thought-pictures, just like moving pictures, and that, moving successively, they complete the form. For this person does not see further than his body, and so he wants to find out the secret of the whole life in his body and in the physical world. In reality the brain is only an instrument to make thoughts clearer. Thought is greater, vaster, deeper and higher than brain.

There is no doubt that the picture of thoughts is made by the impressions of the mind. If the mind has had no impressions thoughts will not be clear. For instance, a blind person who has never in his life seen an elephant, will not be able to form an idea of an elephant, because his mind has no form ready to compose it at the command of his will. For the mind must know it first in order to compose it. Therefore the mind is a storehouse of all forms which a person has ever seen.

One might ask: "Cannot a form be reflected upon a blind person's mind?" Yes, but it will remain incomplete. If a thought is projected on a blind person he takes only half of it, for he will not have that part which he should give from his own mind, and so he only takes the reflection which is projected upon him. Therefore he has a vague idea of the thing, but he cannot make it clear to himself, because his mind has not yet formed that idea.

The form of a thought which the mind holds is reflected upon the brain, and made clearer to the inner sense. By inner sense is meant the inner part of the five senses. For it is outwardly that these five organs give us an idea of five senses, but in reality there is only one sense. Through the five different outer organs we experience different things, and this gives us the idea that there are five senses.

There are visionary people who have conceptions of the different colors of thoughts and imaginations and feelings. This is symbolical rather than astral. The color of a thought corresponds with the condition of the mind. It shows the element to which the thought belongs: whether the thought belongs to the fire element, to the water element, or to the earth element. This means that it is the feeling which is behind the thought that produces its color around it as an atmosphere which surrounds it. When such visionary people see the thought-form in the form of color, it is what surrounds the thought, it is the atmosphere of the thought, and this is according to the element belonging to that thought.

A thought connected with earthly gain is of the earth element; a thought of love and affection represents the water element, it is spreading out sympathy; a thought of revenge and destruction, hurt and harm represents fire; a thought of enthusiasm, courage, hope and aspiration represents air; a thought of retirement, solitude, quiet and peace represents ether. These are the predominant characteristics of thought in connection with the five elements.

The form of a thought is also its effect: its effect upon the form and expression of a person. For a thought has a particular language which manifests as a kind of letter - if one could read it. This language can be read in the face and form of a person. Everyone reads this to a certain extent, but it is difficult to define the letters, the alphabet of this language. There is one mystery which opens a door into the thought-language, and that is the vibrations: what direction the vibrations take. A thought works upon and around a person's form, and becomes manifest to the eyes upon his visible being. There is a certain law which governs its work, and that law is the law of direction: whether the forces are going to the right or to the left, upward or downward. It is this direction of the vibrations of thought which produces a picture, so that a seer can see this picture as clearly as a letter.

No doubt for a seer it is not necessary to read the thought from the visible form of a person, because he cannot be a seer if he is not open to reflection. Every thought is reflected in him, which makes things even clearer. Besides that, he need not see the picture of the thought on its visible form in order to know it; the atmosphere tells him. The thought itself calls out: "I am this thought!", whatever it may be, for thought has a language, a voice, thought has breath and has life.

Question: What is imagination. Answer: Imagination is uncontrolled thought.

Question: Is it good to have strong imagination. Answer: It is good to be strong oneself. If one has strength, then imagination is strong, and thought is strong, and one is strong oneself. Furthermore, a strong imagination means a strength going out from oneself, reaching out without control. Therefore strong imagination is not always promising. It is strength of thought which is desirable. For what is thought? Thought is a self-directed and controlled imagination.

Question: If thought has a body, is it bound to a place, or does it spread through the whole universe. Answer: This is a subtle question. One could ask: "If a person is in prison, is his mind in prison too, or can it reach beyond, can it go out of prison?" Certainly it can. It is the body of the man that is in prison. His mind can reach everywhere. Perhaps a thought produced in the mind-world is made captive by its object or motive, by its source, or by its application in a sphere, within a horizon where it is working out its destiny. Nevertheless it is a thought, it is capable of reaching every part of the universe in a moment's time.

Question: How should undesirable thoughts be destroyed? Must this always be done by the person who created them? Answer: Yes, it is the creator of the thought who must destroy it, and it is not in every person's power to do it. Yet the mind which has reached mastery, which can create as it wishes, this same mind can destroy.

Question: Would you explain further what role the brain plays in thinking. Answer: The brain may be likened to a photographic plate. The thought falls upon the brain just as a reflection falls upon the photographic plate - both one's own thought and the thought of another. Then there is another process, and that is that the thought is developed like the photographic plate. What is it developed with? Is there some solution in which the photographic plate is to be put? Yes, and that is the intelligence. Through one's own intelligence it is developed and made clearer.

Question: Has one element superiority over another? For instance, is a thought colored by fire superior to a thought colored by another element. Answer: There is no superiority of one element over another. The superiority of a thought is according to the outlook of the mind. I=or instance, one person standing on the ground sees the horizon just before him; this is one outlook. Another person stands on the top of a tower and from there he looks at the wide horizon; his outlook is different. It is according to the outlook that the thought is superior or inferior. Besides, no one can take a thought, any thought-picture before himself and say: "This is an inferior thought", or: "This is a superior thought." Thought is not an earthly coin which can be inferior or superior. What makes it inferior or superior is the motive behind it.