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By Hafiz - Posted on 13 April 2009

In Toronto, we hold a Ziraat Class and Lodge four times a year on each solstice and equinox.  In our class we are focusing on a number of topics related to Ziraat work including balance, nature and mental purification.  In our studies on mental purification we are currently working with unlearning and some of us have taken on as personal practice Hazrat Inayat Khan’s teachings on the stages of unlearning. 

The first stage involves being able to see from the point of view of another and embrace (not necessarily adopt) it as our own.  In order to put this into practice, it is helpful at the end of day to reflect on our interactions over the course of the day and find examples of situations where we experienced differences in points of view and did not take the opportunity to understand the other point of view as we were so consumed with our own.   It can even be quite beneficial to maintain a diary, even if we limit ourselves to one entry a day, as it becomes a method of calling attention to our intention and over time will assist us in catching ourselves focusing on our own points of view and begin to enable us to develop the patience to hear and embrace the point of view of another.

The second stage involves, among other things, seeing the bad in the good and the good in the bad or the gain in the loss or the loss in the gain.  This practice reminds me of the old Taoist fable …

A man who lived on the northern frontier of China was skilled in interpreting events. One day, for no reason, his horse ran away to the nomads across the border. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, "What makes you so sure this isn't a blessing?" Some months later his horse returned, bringing a splendid nomad stallion. Everyone congratulated him, but his father said, "What makes you so sure this isn't a disaster?" Their household was richer by a fine horse, which his son loved to ride. One day he fell and broke his hip. Everyone tried to console him, but his father said, "What makes you so sure this isn't a blessing?"  A year later the nomads came in force across the border, and every able-bodied man took his bow and went into battle. The Chinese frontiersmen lost nine of every ten men. Only because the son was lame did the father and son survive to take care of each other. Truly, blessing turns to disaster, and disaster to blessing: the changes have no end, nor can the mystery be fathomed.  

The challenge becomes to bring this consciousness into our everyday lives.  Again some of us in the class are using this practice of unlearning as a daily concentration using the same method as we have in the first stage.  For this it is worthwhile to maintain a single focus for an extended period, good and bad or loss and gain, for example.

I’d be most interested in hearing from others on their thoughts and experiences with these types of practices.

Peace, Love and Blessings, Hafiz

I will try to come to Ziraat next time.



Hazrat Inayat Khan

Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

From the Gayan

To an angelic soul love means glorification; to a jinn soul love means admiration; to a human soul love means affection; to an animal soul love means passion.
— Sayings of Hazrat Inayat Khan: Gayan - Talas