Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"The Battle of the Self . . . of the Ego"

"In the Name of Allah,
the Compassionate, the Merciful"
"In every religious tradition there is what you call the outer path and the inner path, or the exoteric path and the esoteric path," says Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf, in delivering an ecumenical address on Islam and Sufism for Ted.com's "Charter of Compassion" campaign. "The esoteric path of Islam is more popularly known as Sufism, or tasawwuf in Arabic," he explains, "and these doctors or these masters, these spiritual masters of the Sufi tradition, refer to teachings and examples of our prophet, that teach us where the source of our problems lie."

Combining the teachings of the Qur’an, the stories of Rumi, and the examples of Muhammad and Jesus, to demonstrate that only one obstacle stands between each of us and absolute compassion -- ourselves, Abdul Rauf takes his audience through the realities of every person's life, the esoteric battle between the "ego" and the "divine."

"In one of the battles that the prophet waged," explains Abdul Rauf,  "he told his followers, 'We are returning from the lesser war to the greater war, to the greater battle.' And they said, "Messenger of God, we are battle-weary. How can we go to a greater battle? He said, 'That is the battle of the self, the battle of the ego.'"

"The sources of human problems have to do with egotism," explains Abdul Rauf simply. "with I."

'And, therefore, for us to be human," he continues, "in the greatest sense of what it means to be human, in the most joyful sense of what it means to be human, it means that we too have to be proper stewards of the breath of divinity within us, and to seek to perfect within ourselves the attribute of being, of being alive, of beingness, the attribute of wisdom, of consciousness, of awareness, and the attribute of being compassionate and loving beings."

"This is what I understand from my faith tradition," he says, "and this is what I understand from my studies of other faith traditions, and this is the common platform on which we must all stand; and when we stand on this platform as such, I am convinced that we can make a wonderful world. And I believe, personally, that we're on the verge, and that with the presence and help of people like you here, we can bring about the prophecy of Isiah. For he foretold of a period when people shall transform their swords into plowshares and will not learn war and make war anymore.

"We have reached a stage in human history," Abdul Rauf concludes, "that we have no option. We must, we must lower our egos, control our egos, whether it is individual ego, personal ego, family ego, national ego, and let all be for the glorification of the One."

No comments: