Understanding the 'SELF'By Ayeesha Zawahir
We are intending to lead a happy and peaceful life.
We are aiming to develop our potential to attain the purpose of life.
We prefer to discuss about the ways and means to achieve growth, success, happiness and peace. On all such discussions and debates we invariably refer to self esteem, self confidence, self motivation, self-analysis, self control, self conscious, self direction, self indulgence etc. The source of all action seems to be the personal ‘Self’. The pivot of all accomplishments is centered on the ‘Self’. So says the wise saying, “If it is to be it is up to me”. We pray to Allah “Our Lord! Do not our hearts deviate now after Thou hast guided us, but grant us mercy from Thine own self; for Thou art the Grantor of bounties without measure.” (3. We seek mercy from Allah’s own self because His is peace.
Though we constantly refer to the self, most of us fail to understand what we actually mean by the self, what makes up the self, how significant it is to know our personal self and what a vital role it plays in determining the quality of our life.
What truly do we mean by the ‘Self’? It is the root of Me, I and Mine. Oxford dictionary says ‘Self’ means “a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality”. It further adds saying “a person’s nature, character etc”. Note it says “complete individuality” meaning a unique wholesome kind resulting out of a structure. It is the result and effect of the inner and outer causes. ‘Self’ is the ‘I’ which gets molded or takes shape according to the inner conscience and the outer environmental influences.
What a Great player Allah is! He has made man create an apt four letter word ‘SELF’ to describe his being. What actually makes up the Self?
Spirit , Ego ,Love ,Fear .
Spirit represents the soul, the energy human beings are made of.
Ego represents the worldly personality of the human being.
Spirit works with Love.
Ego works with fear.
Our Ego is the part of us which we constructed and have come to believe as our Self. It is the story of our beliefs, limitations, achievements and what we perceive as our value and worth.
Our spirit is not our history. It is whole and complete by itself and has no wants. Naturally being made up of these two conflicting factors – Spirit and Ego makes one’s Self struggle through life. If we are to achieve success in life we must suppress the Ego and firmly seat the Spirit on top of it.
Success here is meant not in economic terms but attaining fulfillment by finding an expression to our innate nature. Success should be measured by your yardstick of happiness; by your ability to remain in peaceful harmony with the surroundings. Success is not rightly measured by the worldly standards of wealth, prestige, and powers. None of these will produce happiness unless utilized in the right way.
Let’s try to classify the qualities of Ego and Spirit.
Most of us think that we are our Ego and dismiss the thought of Spirit as a flight of fantasy or as something which may exist but is not a major factor in our lives. Our Spirit is the eternal truth of who we are and is the most powerful and practical tool that we have in our life. As we connect more to our unconditional Self, our life can be an evolution towards experiencing new levels of inner and outer success. Allah says, “Whoever submits His whole self to Allah and is a doer of good, he will get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (2.112)
The eastern mystics call it as an “uncarved block”. Zen describes it as “original face”. Buddhist idea is “sacred happiness”. Christians call it as the “Inner Eden” - the heaven within us. Others call it higher mind, universal intelligence, God etc. It is our original and most precious self. It contains everything we want or need. It is the highest gift of all. But for many of us it is not how we identify ourselves but how others identify us has taken predominance. The conflict between Ego and Spirit is not something new. It is as old as humanity.
In truth our Spirit does not fight or create conflict, our Ego fights to keep us unaware of our spirit. Our spiritual nature is often not found, because it is not looked for. Our spiritual nature can seem elusive because we spend 16 hours a day in a world that glorifies material perspectives and not spirit. Perhaps we need to take time out from the world to find it, so that we can return to the world and function better. Our deepest need is not material at all. Providing for our material needs is part of the puzzle but to know our own grandeur is what will fulfill us.
We are created as love in essence that is who we are. Our heart is our capacity to love. As a child we are whole hearted – we love, live fully and freely, receive, feel all emotions and enjoy not carrying any attachments to it. But most of us don’t make it to the adulthood whole hearted – mostly we reach maturity with some degree of broken-heartedness, which leads to cynicism, defensiveness, fear, bitterness, anger or to a life of roles and appearances with little zest or passion. As a result we also lose our true connection to the flow, love, and abundance of life. We become victims of Ego and our Spirit loses its importance.
So we have to work our way back to regain the importance of Spirit in our lives. We must get rid of unwanted messages that we have clogged on to lighten the Spirit and make it come to the surface.
Understand that you can only control your ‘Self’. There is only one thing you can control in this world and that is your ‘Self’. You can’t control the weather, other drivers, your kids or spouse, or anything for that matter outside of your own beliefs, thoughts, attitudes and actions.
Focus all of your attention on developing your ‘Self’ and doing what is right while letting what happens, happen - and you will find happiness opening up within you. Allah says, “Whoever submits his whole self to Allah, and is a doer of good, has grasped indeed the most trustworthy hand-hold: and with Allah rests the End and Decision of affairs.” (31.22)
Learn to trust in your ‘Self’ - your divine, inner, intuitive guidance.
The “secrets” to a most successful life are already within you. All you have to do is extend and go within your ‘Self’ as deeply as you can, and learn how to ask for what you want from the overflowing abundance of the Universe. Find clarity in what you truly desire - know precisely what you want, why you want it, and how it would feel to have it. Be it, and do it.
“Wherewith Allah guideth all who seek His good pleasure to ways of peace and safety, and leadeth them out of darkness, by His will, unto the light,- guideth them to a path that is straight.” (5.16)
Three day workshop
on ‘Discover Yourself’
Was a journey inside
to uncover the true self.
Coaching the players
of life with good intention
Gave the women
of Islam best motivation,
To lead a life by being
in the natural state
Before the game became
over and was too late.
Being in past or future
will lead to reaction
Living in the present
will give one action.
We have to consciously
empty the mind
If at all we don’t want to get blind.
Removing what we wear –
the yellow glasses,
Will enable one to see
the true faces.
“Nothingness” is the background
To propel in the right direction
Transformation is shifting
from falsehood to reality
Resisting will make one get
caught in negativity.
Honouring the word
is what Allah loves
If it is your choice then shaitan bows.
Forgiveness is the key to happiness
Barrier to Allah’s blessings
Willingness to accept will
make one responsible
And surrendering to Allah
makes one unreasonable.
All such messages with the
know how to play
Made me readily enter the
field to make a sway.
Life has become a journey of peace
After shutting up the shaitan to cease,
All temptations and expectations
In order to be loving and
lovable to please;
Allah, the great ordains
me to be His vicegerent
I shall with Allah’s Will work
to be His agent.
Sisters and brothers,
‘Discover Yourself’ is for you
To make you a living Muslim
and give peace for you.
Make it a point to attend it without fail
In order to set the direction of the sail
In Allah’s cause with purity and clarity;
May Allah give you the opportunity.
.................................................. Ayeesha Zawahir
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