The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan

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If we inherit the attributes of our father, our mother, our grandfather and forefathers, and acquire the attributes of the jinns and angels, how can we help what our character is? A man may say, "I have a quick temper because my father had a quick temper, I have a changeable disposition because that is in my family; I cannot help this, it is my character." This is true in part, but it is developed by belief in it. The soul acquires and casts off attributes and qualities throughout life. A coward who joins the army through hearing always of bravery, by living with soldiers may in time feel inclined to go to the war and to fight. A joyous person from being in the society of serious people may become serious, and a sad person from being with cheerful people may become cheerful. The soul acquires only those qualities in which it is interested, it will never take on those in which it is not interested. And the soul keeps only those attributes in which it is interested, it loses those in which it is not interested. However wicked a person may be, however many undesirable attributes he may have inherited, he can throw them all off by the power of will if he does not like them.