In his famous book, The Seven Habits of the Most Effective People, Stephen Covey tells us a story of a man who was travelling by underground with his children, who were running and jumping all over the place, bothering the other passengers. As their behaviour continued, and the father did not do anything about it—an act that irritated Covey—he asked the father why he did not control his kids. The father replied, “I am sorry, but we’ve just got back from the hospital where their mother has passed away. I don’t know how to handle it, and I guess, they don’t either.” Covey wished he had waited before judging the man’s behaviour.
This is the power of a paradigm shift. They are the same kids yelling and screaming in the underground, but you look at them and understand them in a different way.
This story certainly resonates with many of us, as we rarely see a stranger, without starting to make value judgment, particularly if that stranger comes from a different culture.
Each of us, in a way, is an immature judge, who, in many cases, is unfair and hasty in his judgment. This judge, inside each of us, has never been educated at a law school nor has he ever been appointed by any authority. Instead, it is created by the conflict with ourselves, thus refuses all kinds of compromise or reconciliation with self.
To be at good terms with others, you first have to be at good terms with yourself; accepting all your flaws, vulnerability and lapses without passing any judgment, or attempting to categorize them.
You should not treat yourself with harshness and humiliation, or hold yourself in contempt; as you do, you will be done. To reconcile with yourself means to accept others with their differences and contradictions, not because you should love them, but simply because you should not hate them in any way.
Remember Gandhi, Mandela and Mother Teresa; they are good examples of people who could live in eternal reconciliation with their selves, because they discovered that hatred of one’s self is the worst sin man could ever commit.
Some people are surprised with Mandela’s ability to survive in a small cell for twenty-seven years. The secret is simply that Mandela managed to transcend himself, to live in harmony with the entire universe, with the existence. Thus, his heart could embrace all beliefs, all complexions and colors, and he became an epitome of happiness—he was happiness in a human form.
Success does not lie in seeking happiness, but rather in creating it. These great people made their happiness in prison cells and poverty camps.
In order to be in harmony with yourself, you ought to leave preaching aside and get down to your community, to understand it and learn about its nuts and bolts. The great thinker Ibn Khaldun believes that preaching, in many cases, leads to bloodshed, because people, owing to their simplicity, are driven by emotions and moved by stirring preaching. Consequently, they explode, like an erupted volcano, to destroy everything. Has preaching had any positive influence on them?
Living in harmony with yourself means considering reality as it is, not imposing your own beliefs and laws upon it. You must not have your culture as the only measuring tool for the uprightness of an individual or a community. Being in harmony with yourself means abandoning myths. However, myths can only be driven away by knowledge. As the wise saying states, “The more the knowledge, the less the myths.” Similarly, Confucius noted, “To gain knowledge you need to start thinking.”
To reconcile with yourself, you need to achieve the maximum abstraction, in order to see the pure abstract existence, devoid of all material things and all traces of history. You should be able to forget your history, at least for a moment, and begin a new one with a dream or an ambition—a new history that starts with the word ‘Read’.
When you see someone doing something inappropriate, in your view, never judge them by their actions. Philosophers explained, after 2000 years of debate, that the essence of matter does not belong to the same matter. Circumstances may be held responsible, not the person or his/her ‘evil’ soul. Circumstances may force the poor to steal. Philosophers also decided that the essence of things lies in the world of thoughts and souls, rather than in the material world. Thus, reconciliation with soul is, indeed, the first step towards civilization.
To develop a good relationship with yourself, you should dig deep into your memory, start back with the first thing you can remember, and the first thing you learnt. Then, you should erase all memories of violence, sorrow and oppression, all poetry of satire and exhortation. Do not forget to erase any information about all historical wars—the ones witnessed, read about, or even wished for.
To achieve your goal of self-reconciliation, you should reject generalization, as it abolishes the features of individual entities and the varying human deeds and qualities. Generalization turns them all into a single form, hard like a stone, yet fragile like pottery. It eliminates the distinctive features of things, just the way darkness eliminates all colors.
The one in harmony with his self is like a river that continues to bring fresh water to the sea, despite the fact that it will never turn it into a sea of fresh water. The river’s mission is to irrigate the lands it runs through, rather than to desalinate seawater.
The person in harmony with oneself listens much to understand more. He or she listens to people’s ideas spread around; ideas that fly high and land on the silent, the good listeners and the meditators—those who know that ideas only land on those who deserve them.
For those in harmony with themselves, the sky is the source of wisdom, and the earth is the source of misery; thus, you will find them always gazing at the sky. Wisdom says, “Great people discuss ideas, ordinary people discuss things, but minor people, discuss the people.”
In his long, exhausting search of what makes nations and peoples happy, Plato often wrote about the community and its members. He tried to address their problems in various aspects; political, social, economic and others. His philosophy was said to set the basis of European philosophy, to the extent that it made some say thatRead more
He sat down, placing two magazines on the coffee table in front of him, adding a ‘BlackBerry’, an ‘iPhone’, and his ‘iPad’. He then turned on his laptop and began surfing the Internet while sipping his coffee. He was moving between his four devices very quickly; then he hastily went through one of the magazines.Read more
Two thousand and five hundred years ago, the Persian Empire’s ambition of expansion surpassed its vast area. The empire considered cities, such as Sparta and Athens, as disloyal, and that they must return to the empire’s rule. Ancient Persian armies began marching towards the young cities of the West. The rulers of those two cities,Read more