“Man Arafa Nafs Sahu”, “Know your Own self” is the main slogan of “Tasawwuff” (Sufism). The huge Cosmos and the intricate design of nature are stupendous and Marvelous. This is of the outside and the inner being is equally harmonious and meticulously designed. Despite our mental confusion, lack of proper understanding, and clear logic, the internal system works in perfect harmony and precision. Million thanks and praises to the Great Creator, whose bounty is vast and unlimited. First is to see the signs or signature of Allah in nature, in Oneself and His total command over us and our helplessness and despondency. The more we reflect on ourselves and on Allah the more praise is uttered by the Tongue and Breath.
It is our common daily experience that our minds keep talking to ourselves. Repeatedly the hurts and injuries caused to us by others, keep troubling our minds. The wounds open up afresh and the bleeding is unstoppable. Our minds and heart start cursing our adversaries. When they come before us, instead of returning the smile and salutation, a frown, a grunt emerges from our faces and mouth. We expose ourselves more and more to further attacks and this chain recoils. The mind and heart bind themselves to sorrows and pains endlessly.
What is the remedy available to emerge from ourselves and break from these shackles? The suggested remedy is to keep uttering the litany i.e. praise of Lord Almighty and keep repeating His name and glorify Him. Glorification of Allah’s name, seeking repentance, and forgiving others would release us from the futile meandering of the mind and attachments to one’s selfish ego. Attachments to the self, self-glorification, and self-gratification cause misery. Self-importance is another factor that leads us to pride and anger. To subdue it, one needs to remind of another Greater Being, who loves us more than our adversaries, who unasked showers His Bounties and Grace. Hence to change the focus from oneself to the over-self i.e. To the Higher Being by His Glorification will surely release us from much mental torture, agony, and despondency. The more we realize about the Glory of the Lord and His sustain unseen help reaching us from several unknown quarters, the more it would lead us to self-illumination. It helps us to open the inner eye. Many mundane things worrying us would become insignificant and loses their importance in our eye and mind.
How to emerge from low self-esteem and broaden one’s outlook is a familiar question arising in several minds who suffer from it. Persons lacking self-confidence and suffering from a feeling that they are short of talents, suffer from low self-esteem. It leads to self-condemnation and shyness. They refuse to mingle with their peer groups; withdrawing into their shell, with unknown fears gripping their mind. Their fear of being laughed at by their friends and relatives. They curse themselves, their parents, brothers, sisters, and their relatives. Thus, low esteem and lack of confidence would cause a nervous breakdown, migraine, nervousness, and anxiety symptoms, leading to ideas of reference, neurosis, and further on to psychosis. It develops deep feelings of jealousy in the mind and being suspicious of others. It would also be a cause for hatred to others. What can be the remedy to get rid of this illness? The best way is to lay faith in someone very dear to you as a friend, a teacher, a guru, a priest, or a family doctor. You should speak out your mind and let all your feelings and seek help to cleanse your mind and heart of the ill feelings. Another way is to join youth clubs / social clubs and find sincere friends, who can help you to overcome your weaknesses. You need to have patience and fortitude and have full faith in the Unknown Power, who loves you and can bring you out of the morose, self-centeredness and self-indulgence. Those who have the difficulty in reading books can seek help from visual education, classical music, sightseeing, and pilgrimages.
It is often the complaint of the many suffering from depression that no one loves them and they are friendless. They feel that their friendship is spurned and they fail to get proper reciprocation. During the period of depression, life appears listless and you feel you are a failure, that you are meeting failures at every step. It is indeed a period when such persons seek self-pity and their lamentation is grave and full of grievances. The faith in the Ever Loving unseen Lord is at the lowest ebb and they curse the destiny.
This is often a period when your shadow appears to be your enemy.
As a counsellor for over several decades, my approach to such persons seeking my help has been multifold. It is difficult to make home the point that most adverse situations are due to their own shortcomings and weaknesses. Such persons refuse to accept their wrongdoings and mistakes. They refuse to amend and repent. Sometimes, the point has to be driven home by raising hopes and showing that their positive nature can bring them good results. Meditation, patience, and doing some good by way of feeding stray animals, birds, ants, and poor beggars would bring joy and happiness. Make them look up to nature and commune with it; the bright sunshine, the colourful sunset, a walk in a flowery garden. Then slowly they have to be led to the altar of the Ever Great Love. Once the love in the heart is kindled to the mercy, the compassion, and kindness; then you begin to see some change taking place inside you. The failed, reason begins to see the beatitude. The eyes open up to reality. One should repose faith in themselves and their Guru (Murshid) or their counsellors and begin to accept their words as Truth. Only then the inner ego can be subdued and brought to submission. When you submit and surrender to the Greater Being, the inner eyes open up, and truly wonders start happening. Your heart filled with love and affection would light up others’ hearts. You are accepted by others. Their response brings a change in you and slowly you set goals for your self-improvement and you begin to see the results. One who expects the change to occur on repetition of a few mantras; doing some charitable work without bringing change in them would be living in a fool’s paradise. Humility is the first lesson of wisdom. So also, simplicity and sincerity in words and actions are very much necessary for change to occur in one’s life. It has also been observed in life that things do not happen suddenly. One has to put in one sustain effort with sound common sense and wisdom. Take all precautions to till the land in time; sow the seeds in time, tend the crops; protect it from insects, animals, theft, and the vagaries of the weather and be very cautious in marketing your crops. You need to save for the rainy day. When you have money in hand then take abundant care and not be attracted to the glitter of the world and become a spendthrift. You have to be a Spartan in living and also not be overgenerous to make a show of your wealth. There is also a tendency to give loans to unscrupulous people who befriend you at such times to rob your wealth and peace and never return it. People living on salary have to live within their means. Though poverty pinches at times it acts as succor and virtue to save you from drowning by saving you from evil ways by attracting you to the glamour of life to ruin you. Wealth is not enough for one’s happiness and peace in life.