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by Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan

Happiness is a privilege. It is also our birthright. Therefore, it certainly is our duty to be happy, but this is only possible when offering happiness to others without expecting anything in return. There is a difference between being happy as the result of a particular attunement, and unconditional happiness, where one’s consciousness is raised to a higher level than just the “I am” concept. This golden key to happiness implies absolute absence of self-assertion and self-pretence. When wanting happiness for one’s self, one is faced by quite a number of conditions to be met with, such as sincerely appreciating all that one has been granted, and having compassion for those who are not so privileged as oneself. The awakening to inner security is the safest path leading to true happiness, but again, happiness cannot be obtained at the cost of the suffering of others. When envying others, it should well be remembered that, although one might have less happiness than those whom one envies, most probably one would sooner or later have to pay an even higher price than one would ever have expected for that same happiness. It is also essential to overcome unreasonable jealousy, which is comparable to a lock closing the doors of the heart so that happiness becomes inaccessible. Among the many reasons for not being happy, the principal one is the lack of the sense of appreciation. There are of course many other reasons for being unhappy. Displeasure as a result of one’s own pessimistic attitude causes obstructions which could be overcome with wisdom, will-power, perseverance and insight into one’s own misjudgments, rather than blaming others for one’s unhappiness. One of the many methods for overcoming displeasure is to focus one's thoughts elsewhere than just upon one’s self, and to ask oneself what could one do for others? The first step in developing the Art of personality is to respect others, if one expects to be respected oneself. Appropriate behavior also requires openness to the heart’s innermost consciousness. There is also among the many gifts of happiness such a thing as Destiny’s graciousness, but for inexplicable reasons this favor, which is graciously bestowed upon the chosen, also has its price to pay, at the level of responsibilities, which are mostly encountered unexpectedly on the path.
It is obvious that under the reign of impersonal automatism in our time, basic notions of behavior, self-discipline, concentration, communication and the attunement to sacredness all tend to be disregarded. It is therefore most important that all those who believe in great ideals should realize the need to develop the Art of personality at all levels of education, religion and culture. Self-respect is certainly the key to all basic notions of behavior.
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image: "Wave" Fazalunissa Carole Harmon

In this electronic age, where the power of thought and feeling may be first cast upon a sending device and then captured at the other end by an automatic receiver, far removed from the basic notion of communication through the spoken word, it is obvious that the lack of subtlety of individual contact and the absence of the language of the heart can lead to misunderstandings in dealing with others. Tuning the heart could be compared to the tuning of string instruments, where the strings are stretched to a chosen pitch. However, the tuning of the human heart is incomparably more delicate because the pitch to which it must be tuned is an inner pitch, which is only heard when the doors of the heart are open and the mysterious absence of the self miraculously reveals the silent tone within.