Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Day Two

Rule 2

“The path to the Truth is a labour of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge and ultimately prevail over your nafs with your heart. Knowing your ego will lead you to the knowledge of God.”

We spend our whole lives in the pursuit of rational, logical thought. I, myself, am a big fan of these things. The Vulcan-like pursuit of logic is, in my opinion, admirable. Imagine if we were all governed by logic, all the time?

Q: Shall I eat this entire packet of biscuits?
A: No, it will make you unhealthy. 

Q: Shall we go to war?
A: No, because it's all a joke invented by rich old men to get richer.

Q: Shall I smoke this cigarette?
A: What do you think, genius?

Q: Speeding unnecessarily is fun!
A: I give up on you, human.

Q: Let's go break some windows over a cartoon!
A: &*(^#*%^ @)*&$!

Sadly, humans are illogical, irrational, and completely incapable of self-governance. Most of us lack the moral compass to make good decisions and do the right thing. Life is complicated, we say. Emotions are complicated, we lament. What if, just what if, they weren't? Life, emotions... they can be as simple or as complicated as we want them to be.

A few years ago, I pulled a muscle while lifting a suitcase, and it hurt me to even breathe. I saw a physiotherapist for a few sessions, a Belgian lady. This woman fixed my muscular problem in one session, I just kept going back to her for fun. It was like talking to a life coach with a massage as a bonus. Ka-ching!

She asked me why my shoulders were so tense. I said it was because that's where I hold all my stress. She asked what I was stressed about. I started a nice list of this stresses me out, that stresses me out... And she said, "No. These things don't stress you out. You get stressed out by them."

*Cue hallelujah music and bright lights shining.*

Duh. It was that simple. I can't control anything in this world, except for my reactions to those things.

Most of our decisions are governed by our "nafs", which is the "false ego" (the pure ego is the heart at its best, which is what we should aim to listen to). Now, what if someone has a downright rotten heart? The premise is that the heart, once we truly understand it, cannot be rotten. It is one with the universe, and simply knows what the right thing is. What confuses the heart is the "nafs", all the negative ideas we have of what life is meant to be like, and what we are meant to do or be like.

In my life, the worst manifestation of my "nafs" is, "what will people think?" It pervades every aspect of your life: personal, professional, artistic. You let go of this one, and you can suddenly breathe again. With time, I am very, very slowly beginning to see it for what it is.

Is my "nafs" also the clue to my anger? Maybe to an extent. The thought that I am not in control or a good parent in the eyes of others could bring on a fit of rage, but it's not the whole answer. Even as I write this, there's so much fear of what others will think. Well, here is me letting go. *Imaginary high five with Shams.*

Ah, anger. You wicked mistress, you. So, how did Day One go? I got one sad face, and I blame it on the bedtime routine. Ok, I know, I know, I blame it on myself. It's an improvement from the day before though, when I would have had a page full of sad faces because my default mode was "Hulk".

I won't say it's not frustrating though. It's one thing to stop being SO angry, and that clearly has to stop; but disciplining children in this generation is no joke. They're wicked smart, they have a comeback to almost everything, and value hardly anything because most of their toys are disposable. So, if they, for instance, destroy a book that is very difficult to find, how can we get it across to them that it was not a good thing to do? You don't want your children to be afraid of everything, and as a result do absolutely nothing; however, you don't want them to be reckless because you couldn't say "no". There has to be a balance, consequences. How do we get our children to hear their own moral compass over their "nafs"?

So many questions, so much to work through, but I'm in this for the long haul. I think I'll have one biscuit after all (just the one... ok, ok, the third today, but come on, this anger management business is hard!).