"It's not a spectator sport!"

The secret of the religious custom of having gongs and bells in temples and churches lies in the great science of the Hindrus, which is Mantra Yoga. In the first place, this custom unites several religions, since bells are rung in Christian churches, in the temples of the Hindus, and in Buddhist pagodas. Many think that it is a call to prayer, but from a mystical point of view it is something more than that. The idea of the mystic is to make his heart capable of resonance, that every voice that rises on earth or descends from heaven may have its re-echo in his heart. The Sufi prepares himself by his exercises of Zikar and Fikar to make his heart capable of producing that resonance that may be caused on earth or descend from heaven.

When the centers of the body and faculties of the mind are prepared to produce that resonance, then they respond to every sound, and every time the bells is rung it has a re-echo in the heart of the mystic, and every centre of his being begins to think of God and to feel God. Vibration is a greater stimulant than wine. Wine gives intoxication to the brain, but vibration produces ecstasy in the heart. Therefore Sufis have called it wine.

The custom of having flowers in the house of prayer and the custom of burning incense in the place of worship also exists in almost all religions and has existed in almost all periods. Colour and beauty also have a power, and influence upon the mind and body, and those who can enjoy the beauty of colour and the delicacy of the flower receive help by the way of the eyes. Its effect opens the heart, which then responds to the blessing from above. This shows that the beauty of the earth can be best used to obtain the blessing from heaven. The perfume of flowers or incense has a deeper effect still, because colour and beauty are only reflected upon the heart through the eyes, but perfume and incense, rising through the breath, touches the heart, making it capable of spiritual exaltation. But nothing has a greater influence on the human soul than sound. Therefore hymns are sung in all churches, prayers are offered, and chants are recited, all in order to wake the spirit within to life, which enables the soul to respond to the perfection of God.

7. The Custom of Drinking the Health of Friends

This custom has a psychological meaning. Wine has an influence that takes away the worries and anxieties of life and makes one unconscious of one’s environment, and this only may be called the proper condition for concentration. Those who cannot concentrate will realize by studying the condition of their mind that they are either worried or anxious about something, or they are conscious of the environments of their life; it si that which keeps them back from concentration.

All those who have become great in the worldly, artistic or spiritual aspects of life have arrived at their destination by the power of concentration. It is by concentration that a person, from being poor becomes wealthy, it is by concentration that one invents things that the world has never known, it is by concentration that one arrives at a desired position in life, and it is by the power of concentration that man enters the world unseen.

The custom of drinking somebody’s health therefore proves to be based on a psychological idea, that idea that one holds a wish in one’s mind at a time when one’s mind is in a state of concentration, so that during the time that the mind is in that state the thought of the friend’s health will be predominant.

There is a custom of touching glasses, which is supposed to be a promise of friendship. It can be defined symbolically in this way that the cup is the symbol of the heart, for in the heart there is the capacity of holding the divine love, which is the sacred wine. So the cup touching the cup means heart united with heart. According to the mystical view it is two becoming one.

COMMENTARY

By Connie Zareen

There is a science to human magnetism, and because of that it is important that a person interested in the spiritual search first concentrate on their motives before thinking about gaining of powers. Otherwise this science can be used simply for personal gain, and to manipulate.

One of the misconceptions that have come to the west with the interest in eastern spirituality is that the show of powers is the first important sign of spiritual attainment. But it’s important to understand that the western mind starts from a different viewpoint than the eastern mind. The man from the east was raised in a culture with very strong mystical customs, which instill a beginning attitude of respect and humility. This doesn’t prevent a seeker from the east from abusing powers gained, but is a good starting point for success on this type of spiritual quest

The eastern mystic also lives in a different culture where it is, on the one hand, unseemly for the mystic to be selling his services, and on the other hand honorable for the population to support them. It’s not a prefect situation because it does not lend itself to any sort of innovation or change – because the population is not likely to support someone who is bringing in something new. But, for this discussion, it is important to know that the differences in culture lend a very different attitude towards the creation of magnetic powers in a mystic or shaman who comes from the east, and us who come from the west.

The science of magnetism can be used by anyone regardless of their motives. This is well proven in the wild success of the new video, “The Secret” which is sweeping through new age circles. This movie teaches spirituality as a blatant search to get everything you want. It teaches how to gain magnetism for pure economic gain. This isn’t entirely bad, because in the west the mystic needs to have a certain ability to gain wealth in order to be useful to his or her society. But it’s in our best interest to consider these things before beginning a study of magnetism.

Purity of motive for the modern western mind comes from two main sources. One is care for the whole. We must cultivate a true and deep concern for something that is larger than ourselves, and since we are so educated we need something really really big to care for. Nothing less than a care for the whole of humanity, the whole of the planet, and the whole of the evolving cosmos will do the trick!
The second source is trustworthiness. Us modern new age seekers suffer from a deep case of narcissism. It’s a cultural phenomenon caused by being raised with the idea that we can have, keep and do anything we want. But more, it comes from a deep wound of believing there is something wrong with the world itself. This is manifested in a constant cry of, “Why me?” or more specifically, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” Sufis call this the narcissistic wound.
We blame the world itself for deserting us, for not giving us what we want, which means, more deeply, that we see the world itself as untrustworthy. Something must be terribly wrong with the world for me to be treated this way! Some, who were raised with untrustworthy parents, have this wound more deeply than others.

The only cure to this deeply set narcissism is to become totally trustworthy. Only through becoming completely trustworthy ourselves can we prove to ourselves that trustworthiness can exist. As anyone can well imagine, this is a huge and daunting task! Yet, it is completely possible to achieve with enough dedication.

So first, it is very useful for the modern seeker to work on care for the whole, and total trustworthiness. This quest itself will help us begin to develop magnetism.

Once we are firmly established in a conscious cultivation of purity of motive, we can begin the study of magnetism itself. Sound and movement are excellent tools to use for increasing our psychic capacity. Because this capacity is cultivated through relationship, the Dances of Universal Peace are an excellent tool for growth.

In the dances we join hands in a circle and, following the leaders instructions, sing phrases from the spiritual traditions of the world, while moving together with simple movements. A well tuned group, and skilled leader, can bring the circle past ego resistance into a space where harmony tunes the many into one voice.

The sound, the movement and the companionship of the dances softens the heart, and opens us to divine possibilities. This can be the beginning of a very interesting journey to a far off land!

As a person gains more sensitivity, they will begin to notice that sounds in the environment have an immediate positive or negative effect the body and soul. Hazrat Inayat Khan says that this effect is the source of the mystical use of bells and gongs in the spiritual traditions of the world. We can learn a lot from these traditions to keep our environments pleasant with sound. It is also a great idea to manage the fragrances and colors of our environment – but only to a certain degree. In the end, it is the magnetism of the heart that matters. If we think that manipulating our environment so that we feel peace means we have now become a peaceful person, we are greatly mistaken. Getting on board for a full heart/body/mind transformation is where the real juice is!