The Sufi master, Hazrat Kahn, says the ideal life is a life of balance, not necessarily a life of renunciation. But renunciation must be practiced if it’s necessary for balance. His thought reminds me of St. Augustine’s – abstinence is easier than perfect moderation. We tend to identify these quotes when we talk about food and drink, but I suspect your Sufi master and Augustine meant to apply it to more than too much wine or oatmeal raisin cookies. As Kahn suggests the training of our physical self does not mean a sad life of renunciation, nor is it necessarily the life of a hermit. We train ourselves to be wise in our life, to understand what we desire, why we desire it, and what affect will follow.
Following this logic we must also look at our desires from the point of view of justice, to know whether our desires are right and just. Now here comes the hard part. If we are ever tempted to give way in the very least to desire in excess, then whatever it is becomes the master over us. Therefore we must avoid anything that over time controls or dominates us. Thus sometimes we must avoid our desires in order to maintain balance.
It is all something to contemplate my friend. Have a great weekend. Webb
The teachings of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan, the son of Hazrat, is that the development of will power is an essential ingredient in mastery. He advises that all the desires of our body and mind – including appetite, thirst, sleep, even moving, standing or walking – should be under our control. He counsels letting the body go as long as possible before listening to it, and making an intentional decision to respond to the desire. The intention here is to not let our body or ind rule our choices, but rather to develop will power.
Kahn says that the nature of the mind is to bounce between thoughts, making it difficult for many to focus or control their thoughts. I can certainly relate to that, but am working on this. Kahn recommends experimenting with developing will power, practicing, and noticing when you are on “automatic pilot.” I am noticing – as imperfect at this as I am – that when I am able to remain focused I am much more productive, awake, and happy.