Life is a Jigsaw Puzzle

Life is a jigsaw puzzle. It is incongruous because all of the pieces are scattered. It doesn’t make sense unless you know what the picture is. But you don’t know the picture. You just see pieces scattered all over the place.

Then you realize that the whole purpose of life is that those pieces get together to form the picture. So the purpose of your life, or each of our lives, is to get those pieces that are at least closer to you to fit with your piece.

The first thing is to find your piece, and then see which pieces fit in with it. It sounds convincing enough until you realize that it is a little more complex than that because the pieces need honing to fit together. At first there is some rubbing. Eventually there is some honing. It is better if it happens on both sides than only one.

The picture gets formed in the course of getting the pieces together. You must not think that everything is planned or programmed. That is an old-fashioned view.

We are exploring the spirituality of the future, the curriculum for the Universel. These ideas are to be found particularly in Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan’s teaching. The message is the awakening of humanity, not just ourselves.

That means the creativity of your person is meaningful to other people instead of just meaningful to yourself. In other words, the ideal is service, instead of wanting just to create oneself for one’s own selfish purpose.

Pir-o-Murshid said, “The mind of God is formed in the thinking of people.” Instead of thinking, “That’s the mind of God and I am trying to manifest the mind of God,” realize that it is being formed in our own thinking! These are revolutionary thoughts that will help us to be creative, and therefore to fulfill the purpose of not just our life, but of life.  August 2000 tape 14A


The beauty we are so moved by gives a clue about the heavens we ascribe as elsewhere because we are so used to thinking geographically. The Sufis prefer to say that the physical world is made of clues, called ayat, that give some sense of the reality that is trying to transpire through it. Wherever there is a touch of beauty, our mind seems to engage in what the Sufis call tawil, that is to proceed from the actual experience to the attempt to attune oneself to, or grasp, that splendor which can never be grasped and which is beyond any attunement in its infinite regress. Yet there is a capacity in the human being to imagine that one can reach beyond what one has been able to encompass thus far. This longing is expressed, in the words of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan as “a passion for the unattainable.”

This nostalgia is based upon bewonderment, the wonderment of the sky at sunrise or sunset, or sharing in the miracle of people coming together in search of their ideal. Bewonderment of what is coming through. The universe is, as scientists say, not just intelligent but elegant. An ascetic value arouses our emotion. We are bewondered by the intelligence, but even more so by the elegance with which this intelligence is adorned. It awakens in ourselves a kind of innate sense of beauty.

Remember this: In order to bring out the light that is within you, or to discover splendor within each of us, we need to experience it. Therefore, we are seeking for it in some kind of concrete expression in a person, or in a beautiful sunrise. First encounter light from outside. Then discover that when you look at a beautiful dawn, this is your own being. It makes your light burn more brightly.

If it could be attained! You know that is what we are doing all the time. We are trying to attain things. But this is like the horizon. The further you advance the further it recedes. So it’s not as though you can say I’ve got it now, I’m an illuminated being. Now I’ve got illumination! I put it in my pocket! No, it’s always beyond.

The Sufi’s use the words consternation of intelligence. There is no way the mind can make sense of it. So bewondering becomes glorification. One can’t account for it in one’s understanding. Ibn ’Arabi says it well: Knowledge is veil on the known.

These words of Pir Vilayat were extracted from retreats led by him on March 16, 1995 and March 7, 1999 and edited by Amida Cary.