Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Law of Reciprocity

Murshid Inayat Khan and his son Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan- through living and teaching the Sufi message-   
     authored 10 Sufi thoughts. Murshid taught, "There are 10 principle Sufi thoughts, which comprise all the
     important subjects with which the inner life of man is concerned."
One of the 10 thoughts states, "There is One Law, the law of reciprocity, which can be observed by
     a selfless conscience, together with a sense of awakened justice."
The law of reciprocity describes how two individuals, groups even countries may respond in relationship.
     To the point- Reciprocity is, "a mutual exchange to give, do, feel (something similar) in return". We
      initiate and participate in mutual exchanges everyday. As we walk down the street we may greet or wave
      to a familiar face. And often a mutual exchange is shared between the two in the form of a returned wave
      or friendly embrace or blessing. These are examples of positive mutual exchanges.
      On the other hand we may be driving in rush hour traffic or find ourselves queuing at a slow register at the
      supermarket. If we encounter an agressive and rude driver the mutual exchange involves rude gestures
      or reckless behavior. In the supermarket queue this mutual exchange might involve impatience leading
      to harsh words or accusations being exchanged. It is fair to say that these are obvious even simple
      observations. The point is that all encounters we have everyday- often throughout the day -will be
      either positive or negative mutual exchanges. What determines the negative or positive character of
      these exchanges? We have the capacity and the opportunity to ensure positive mutual exchanges through
      out our day. This is true even if the genesis of a mutual encounter is negative.
Murshid points first to the necessity of one to possess a Selfless Conscience for positive mutual exchanges
     to be possible. Selfless may be understood as, "behaving without regard for one's own interest;
     unselfish". Conscience could suggest, "a knowledge or feeling of right and wrong". Taken together
     a Selfless Conscience  is -a conscience turned "outward" -or an unselfish knowledge or feeling of right
     and wrong. However, a Selfless Conscience alone may not be sufficient to turn all mutual exchanges to
     positive. A Selfless Conscience must work together with a sense of Awakened Justice. Awakened
    Justice implies that too often our sense of rightfullness, fairness, and correctness is latent or asleep in
    everyday mutual exchanges leaving the door closed to positive or enriching exchanges. Therefore
    Awakened Justice along side the Selfless Conscious sees one fully engaged and actively pursuing fairness,
    correctness and rightness that is mutual in character and outcome.
We have the opportunity to apply this law everyday in our minute by minute conversations or encounters with
     our neighbors and co-workers, friends and  loved ones. May the Law of Reciprocity be observed by a selfless conscience, together with a sense of awakened justice in all our encounters everyday!