Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Doctor, the Patient and the Patience of the Ego.

The Knight vs the Ego
Gulp. I should have brought a bigger sword.
The mystics will tell you that the ego is a human conflagration of epic proportions. A fiery multi-headed hydra spitting fire inside you. So your first thought is to fight your ego and to confront it head on like a knight of old against the dragon in the cave. You think of St. George and the Dragon, and so you wear a virtuous armour and arm yourself with the sword of courage. Alas your armour turns into a suit of pride weighing you down, and your sword becomes a weapon of vanity hardly denting your Ego. Score at half time - Ego 1 : You 0.

Alright then, forget about the knight. You become a fireman, and you plug your hose into the hydrant of knowledge, and immediately begin to spray thousands upon thousands of gallons into the inferno of your Ego. For awhile it looks like you are winning, when suddenly you find the Ego growing into a mountain of fire. Whao! You are not quenching the flames because the water has turned into a highly combustible liquid of hubris, and then kaboom! After the smoke have cleared your friends find only remnants of your smouldering fireman's hat. Oopsie. Score at full time - Ego 2 : You 0.

The Doctor is In
So the very first task of a Sufi Master is to heal the mureed (student) of this illness. It is a delicate spiritual procedure, lasting over years and perhaps (probably) the entire lifetime of the mureed. The reason why this surgery takes so long is because often enough the patient doesn't even know that he is ill. Or even if he does, he does not know the extent that the cancerous Ego has eaten into his consciousness. Better not tell him the full diagnosis - is the policy of most Sufi Masters, lest the dire news frighten the poor fellow to death, and before they can heal him right and proper.
Angel: I saw the Master's report about you. It's pretty gruesome. He said that...
Me: I don't want to know! I don't want to knoooooooow....!!!
The second reason why the healing process is extended is because of the very nature of the Ego. It is smart and flexible, tough and diligent. And it is patient. Patiently shadowing your life, through all your ups and downs, flexing its form to suit your pretensions - whether as a sinner or a saint, an angel or a devil. Guiding you subtly to pride, hubris, arrogance, hate and ultimately, anger. If you overcome your ego, it does not complain. It has the patience to wait and bid its time before it strikes next. Do you have the patience to overcome the patience of the Ego?

For most people the answer is no. That is why the Sufi Masters treat their student-patient according to their light and condition. No point testing a mureed only to fail him. So rather than applying a chemo therapy that is likely to kill the patient as it would kill the Ego, the Master treats the illness indirectly - by slowly taking away the dry wood and faggots that help fire the conflagration of the Ego - after all, without fuel how can the fire burn? It is a holistic natural approach to an age-old problem.

And how is my own treatment getting on? Okay I think, although there are some days when it can get pretty bluesy. Overall, I feel good. But it would be better if I followed the doctor's instructions. What  can I say? I am not the most exemplary patient in the ward. But thanks for asking!  

wa min Allah at-taufiq

Hate has no place in Islam
Love will show the Way


Anonymous said...

This is fabulous! So clever! And good 'advice' too for ...a holistic natural approach to an age-old problem. Sounds like the best method!

Milky Tea said...

Fabulous, baby.... all credit to the spirited souls who have knitted the banner of love under which all mankind takes shelter under. The hard-work has already been done, if there is any good or happiness here, we are only reaping the fruits of their hard labour. May God sanctify their secrets...

thank u for your kind words!