How to win over hate?

So, last night I was rewatching one of my favourite childhood shows. “Samurai Jack”

Long ago…. in a lol everytime I recall samurai Jack, either the intro or the phrase ‘jump good’ pops up in my head. Do you remember the episode when Aku is surprised seeing Jack flying and says, “You can flyyyyyy….” Jack replies, “No, jump good”

Jack really should have gone back in time to his home in that episode. But they cut it off there. I don’t remember what happens after.

Anyway, I was supposed to talk about this other episode. The episode is titled, ‘Jack vs Mad Jack”.

In this episode Jack faces the hate, frustration, anger and rage within him. It takes his mirror image physically through Aku’s magic and battles him. One could say that it is also his ego. When he battles his ego and the evil Jack… everything around is getting burnt and the forest is catching fire. Watching it, I couldn’t help but think of that proverb, the hate within you destroys everything around you. The hate within you consumes you. Jack is also struggling to beat his evil self. He gets hurt fighting the hate and rage until he finally realises that the only way to beat hate, frustration and anger is to let go!

So, this is what Jack does… He lets it go! He calms himself, straightens his hair, ties it in a knot, looks deep within and destroys the hate inside him by letting go. In doing so, the evil Jack vanishes and the magic loses it power.

In today’s polarised world, where a brother picks up arms against his own brother, where 2 people with different opinions can’t hold a thoughtful debate, where riots and protests have become the answer, inequality is on the rise…. the answer is winning over hate.

Be like Samurai Jack, destroy the hate and anger within you and let it go… because if you don’t, it will destroy everything around you. In the process, it will consume you.

Here’s the clip of the episode Jack vs Jack, a powerful lesson from a children’s animation. https://youtu.be/SUhmVfAvdSs

Picture credit: Samurai Jack Wiki

A Drink from the Cup of Knowledge

Long ago in a distant land, a boy was looking to find something to give him purpose in life. He searched and searched, but then everything changed, when he decided to go at war. War within himself. He set on a journey to travel within. 

He decided to walk down the same path of overcoming the ego that many great people had tread before him. 

Once when Rumi’s Friday procession was marching towards the masjid to deliver the Friday sermon. On the way, he encountered a mystic, a wanderer. The wanderer stopped his horse by getting in the way, looked at Rumi and asked him this question. Shams [(sun)-the name of the wanderer)] asked of the scholar, “O you who are as knowledgeable in meanings as a money-changer is with coins, tell me who was greater, Muhammad, the Elect of God, or Bayazid?”

“Muhammad is the Prince and the Commander of all the Prophets and all the Friends of God. All power and greatness is his.” Rumi Replied. 

Shamsuddin asked, “In that case, what does it mean that the Prophet said, ‘Glory be to You! We have not known You as You ought to be known,’ while Bayazid said, ‘How great is my glory. How exalted am I, the sultan of sultans.’”

Some may have called Bayazid’s statement/poetry Blasphemy, but Rumi knew what it really meant.
Rumi answered, “Bayazid’s thirst was quenched and the container of his comprehension was filled by a single sip, and he appeared to have been satisfied. The light entered in proportion to the opening of his heart. The Chosen one of God (peace and blessings upon him) had a profound desire that had yet to be satisfied. For the Prophet it was thirst upon thirst. His blessed chest had become God’s vast dominion… For that reason he said, ‘I have not known You as You ought to be known’.”

The cup of knowledge/wisdom and the thirst for knowledge/wisdom are directly proportional, the greater the thirst, the more it can hold. 

How big is your cup? How thirsty are you for knowledge and wisdom? Are you content with little or let ego take control and make you think you know it all. Or, do you continually learn and learn more because your heart and mind remain open?  This is a great reminder for a people who once sought knowledge even if they had to travel to far places, places as far as Fars and Cheen. In the medieval times, those were vast distances to cover. Have a listen to this lecture, thank you Youtube for recommending it to me. Spirit of Islam. p.s. I am not trying to preach, that is not my intent. I am not qualified to do so, neither do I have knowledge of such level. I am a firm believer of the teaching; practise what you preach! I struggle everyday. We bicker more than we do Dhikr. That made me laugh, listen for some good Islamic rhymes. Liquor conference and Dhikr Conference. Hamza Yusuf is one of my favourite scholars. To check out his work go to https://zaytuna.edu/ this is the college he has established for traditional Islamic studies in Amreeka. Check out https://sandala.org/ to access his lectures, recordings and explanation of many books. Amazing person(Tayyab, Mumtaaz) and very humble. So if you wonder, where does my knowledge of the self and Ruh(soul) comes from, it is Hamza Yusuf’s lectures and explanations of the many books he has delivered lectures on. While you’re at it, check out these lectures 17 benefits of tribulations.

In all chosen paths of enlightenment, be it the way of Buddha, the way of Moses, the way of Christ or the way of Muhammad peace be upon them all. Or even just a spiritual path to enlightenment. First, you measure your cup and see whether your thirst has already been quenched. Refill your cup over and over, the gems will hold, and the froth will be removed just like when a cup overflows with excess liquid. But once you find your chosen path and after many lessons you have learnt to hold more gems than froth. Dig down in that cup and turn it into a well. Perhaps something even magical that never seems to get full. This reminds of the scene when Dumbledore is drinking to recover the fake amulet (a Horcrux) already recovered by R.A. Black. No more Harry, please stop! That’s a little magical crazy. I am not talking in that sense. 

Hmm, talking about this and thinking of Dumbledore and his old friend the dark wizard, forgot his name lol and I call myself a Harry Potter fan. Oh yeah- Grindelwald. Grindelwald and Dumbledore once set upon a journey to become great wizards seeking power and motivated by greed. Don’t be the dumb Dumbledore. Be the wise Dumbledore, who upon realising that love is a stronger force than power, changed his ways, although only after suffering great losses. I don’t know why I even started comparing the path of righteousness and purification to the path of Deathly Hallows. I guess, some of you might find it interesting looking at it from this perspective. The path of enlightenment whether righteousness, gaining knowledge or whatever pursuit of happiness you choose to go after, they all have similarities. Principles, you find them take different outward appearances but principles hold through time. As Dumbledore says, “Love Harry, it’s love that protected you and shielded you. That’s how you got the scar on your forehead.” 

In all paths to greatness, the road is rocky, the path is difficult to remain steadfast upon. Grit, persistence, overcoming setbacks, abundance, believing in Providence are your tools through all thick and thin.
Grit, virtue, focus and drive
Resilience and persistence 
A thick skin! 

Found this through James Clear’s 3 2 1 Newsletter. An excerpt from the poem “Youth” by Samuel Ullman, a Jewish poet:

“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigour of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust. Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living.”

Source: Youth

Why am I linking what I have just shared with this poem? The way I see it is that, to follow the path of your choosing, you must live in your youth as Samuel Ullman mentions it is a state of mind, a matter of the will, a quality of imagination and the freshness of the deep springs of life.

The Secrets of the Self!

I am not trying to write what the famous poets Rumi and Iqbal wrote in their poetry, rather it’s just small glimpse of my understanding into their poetry.

Both poets have elaborated on the subject of ego and its secrets! However, I want to relate the spiritual concept of ego, as how can we apply it in our daily lives on an ongoing basis.

There’s a famous quote attributed to Buddha and Rumi, “Before you speak, let your words pass three gates. Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”

Speech is very powerful. It has the weight to uplift someone or break them. Another famous verse that just came to my mind, “Kind words and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury.” Meaning, don’t do good unto someone or help someone just to look down upon them and count your favours upon them. From the characteristics of superego and higher level of spirituality is to do good and forget it. You shouldn’t expect anything in return. Help someone within your capacity as much as you can. Being of service to others, enjoining and promoting good will add to your scale of achieving higher spirituality.

These quotes are related more to spirituality of an individual rather than ego. However, the reason I am writing this is because, I want to present how I view ego, the overlap between superego/higher self and spirituality and love.

I will try write all narratives of my understanding of ego parallel. It will help me to collect this information in one article and consolidate the narratives I know of, and help provide an understanding perhaps, where I am in these narratives and what are my blind spots.

In Arabic, Ego is referred to as Nafs. Freud has also categorised it in 3:

  1. Id or The Commanding Self (Nafs al Ammara)
  2. Ego or The Regretful Self (Nafs al Lawwamah)
  3. Superego or The Satisfied/Content Self (Nafs al Mutmainnah)

In the Islamic tradition, ego is also linked to the state of the heart. Modern science has gathered evidence of heart having its neurons and ability to make decisions. The gut instinct that you often feel is the result of that. However, in my view, before following your gut feeling, you must be aware of the state of your heart. There are 3 types of spiritual hearts:

  1. A Pure/Good Heart- this is when your heart is in sync with the superego (higher self).
  2. A Diseased Heart- this is when your heart fluctuates between the higher self and lower self. Similar to the ego state, when one goes back and forth as I illustrate in this sin curve of ego. I just coined this term thinking about actions, sine function(sin) and ego fluctuation cycle one goes through.
  3. A Dead Heart- this is when your heart is in id state, and your lower level you controls your thoughts and gut feelings. So before following your gut feelings, it is often a good thing to be aware of the state of your own heart as I elaborate below in this sin curve of ego.
The sin wave and how it is similar to the ego cycle fluctuations.

Miyamoto Musashi said,

“In the practice of every way of life and every kind of work, there is a state of mind called that of the deviant. Even if you strive diligently on your chosen path day after day, if your heart is not in accord with it, then even if you think you are on a good path, from the point of view of the straight and true, this is not a genuine path. If you do not pursue a genuine path to its consummation, then a little bit of crookedness will turn into a major warp. Reflect on this.” End quote

In my view of this all and from experience, we develop our personality and traits over time and refine them(nature vs nurture). Hence, in some aspects of life you can access the superego state and stay in it, in other aspects you may struggle to even move beyond the id state. Id state displays animalistic behaviour and fights to override your rational thinking process and makes you follow your primordial instincts, so to improve and evolve you have to grow and climb on to the ego state. Once in ego state, you are in control of some bits of the aspects and to further evolve, you have to climb on to the superego (higher self) which I also view as the rational, logical and morally correct self.

From my experience, learning something new and making it your natural instinct or 2nd nature is what is involved in this process at times. However, for the time being as I am relating it to the spiritual state of the individual, I will relate this to the 4 different levels of love as categorised by Saints and relate them to the different levels of meditations:

  1. Love for yourself- any form of meditation which helps you improve, positivity and focus. Including exercise, nutrition and keeping fit.
  2. Love for the community- No particular meditation technique, rather actions show this.
  3. Love for the world- Compassion meditation. It connects new neural pathways and grants access to the subconscious state. It also increases one in love for others.
  4. Love for the universe- Transcendental meditation- I am not sure how correct this form of meditation is here. Although from my experience- it is a state where one detaches him/her self from all negativity and be able to stay in constant state of flow. Performing at one’s peak. From the spiritual perspective- being grateful and appreciative of everything in the whole universe. Known and unknowns.

Next time, I will delve more into meditation techniques and how we can increase our focus, attention and be able to visualise our goals.