The ancients knew that the way was not to seek what was other nor to add nor even to acquire but instead to purify.
Slowly purified, the heart-mind would become open, receptive, available.
The moderns did not know the inessentials must first be removed in order that the essential could ultimately show and shine forth. Not knowing this, they sought and sought–and what did they seek? Self-growth, self-improvement, self-overcoming.
Unfortunate. Unfortunate for us. To keep going and going and pushing and straining in the wrong direction.
One Sufi poet said that he had long searched for God. Only later did he stop and turn around–and there He was inside him.
When the heart is purified, the background, long veiled, comes into the foreground while the foreground–the objective contents of experience: thoughts, images, feelings, sensations–recedes.
The point: to make not just this purification but also this turning into the new orientation toward life.