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Excerpted from Awakening: A Sufi Experience by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. Copyright 1999 by Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan. Excerpted by permission of Tarcher/Putnam, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.
 


"I believe that the future is not just something waiting for us; it is something that is built by sorting through the past for that which belongs to tomorrow."

Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Awakening: A Sufi Experience, Part 4

The whole Cosmos moves as a pendulum: the past and the future, transience and eternity, human and Divine. It is out of the ever-constant back-and-forth dialogue between these two poles that the future is created. I believe that the future is not just something waiting for us; it is something that is built by sorting through the past for that which belongs to tomorrow; it is a continual work-in-progress that takes place in every era and that occurs through each individual's innovative, imaginative, and conscious participation. It is what I call spiritual evolution.

As history proves, this process is one that stirs enormous resistance and difficulty. That the future is something we create, rather than passively endure, fills many with a sense of trepidation. To abandon the comfortable but worn-out values of the past feels like a free-fall into chaotic upheaval. But to fall back upon the comfort of the past, rather than move forward into the future, is to miss the rare cosmic opening that occurs in the flash of time between the past and the future in which it is possible to begin a new chapter in the evolving story of humankind. "The pull of the future," wore Leonhard Euler, "is stronger than the push of the past." But what exactly is "the future"? According to the Sufi worldview, the future means different things to different people. To some, the future is predetermined -- a fate fixed in stone that they must passively surrender to in blind acquiescence. Others regard the future as something that can be molded according to their individual will. From my perspective, the future appears to be an outcome of both -- and something much more.

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