Tuesday, October 13, 2009

wisdom of shifting perspective | the last will be first

Beginning by the Conscious Refuge in the All Knowing, All Aware

The claim of self-occupied ego is always based on how much it is able to see (or chose to see), realize or understand (or ready to understand). By the very nature of how things ARE, ego is selfish and its perspective follows only that tendency. When we chose to shift from the ego's self-centered perspective, then we approach towards a more complete understanding. Until we learn to do that, on whatever issue we engage in, our self-aggrandizing ego-self become impatient to prove its point - as its understanding is limited only to the boundaries set by the commanding self (nafs al-ammarah in Quranic term).

"And how canst thou have patience about things about which thy understanding is not complete?" - The Quran 18:68

So this question surfaces, 'how do we approach towards a more complete understanding that can transcend the covetous and self-pleasing perspective of egoistic self or nafs al ammarah?'

A very brief answer would be to cure ourselves from the disease of selfishness. The medicine for that is to be magnanimous to 'the other', to other person and perspectives; not just holding onto our selfish perspective. Because when we allow our self-pleasing ego to hold only to its perspective alone, we intentionally allow it to cover (kafara in arabic) truth (or truths) which is also present in other perspectives. No single ego have monopoly over truth.

'wa la tansawl fadla baynakum', And do not forget to be magnanimous to one another - admonishes the Quran (2:237) and points to the medicine against selfishness.

A difficult to understand (at least to the selfish mind) passage from the Gospel we read Jesus Christ, Son of Mother Mary, upon them both be peace, teach his holy companions through a parable that ends by pointing that 'in the spiritual kingdom, "the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matthew 20:16).

What is the doable maximum extent of becoming magnanimous? What is the formula to reach the farthest horizon of being magnanimous, to reach its pinnacle? It is when "the last will be first, and the first will be last."

Paradoxical as it might sound, and paradoxical precisely because it is not how our self-pleasing mind wish things to be - yet this is the other end of the perspective, shifting to which we are able to approach a complete understanding of things as they truly ARE.

Then Inshallah, we will learn (the secret of) patience, we shall overcome the ego's resistance to be magnanimous to others. May our heart be so expanded and generous that we may gladly welcome 'the last to be the first'.

Show me things as they truly are.
Let the false appear false,
and true as true.
- Islamic wisdom prayer

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