September 3, 2012

What we sow is what we reap

Some of my friends tease me incessantly about my persistence on talking about social harmony in Maldives. I know their jibes are not to be unkind or to hurt, but just to keep up our banter. In one instance, it was about me being in utopia – in a dream-world so to say. That was when I wrote an earlier blog “You may say I’m a dreamer”. 

But you see, this issue of social harmony is what we all are here in this world for. Not to create disharmony, but to discover the harmony that is our very being -- that all-pervasive oneness that our Islam reminds time and time again in our good Book and through the behavior of our beloved Prophet. Incidentally, for the youth of today who may not be familiar with that ubiquitous Maldivian phrase “Gotheh fotheh nethun”, let me indicate is this lack of living by the wisdom of the Quraan (foiy) or the Prophet’s ways (sunah -- goiy). Without social harmony there cannot be peace. And isn’t peace the goal of our lives? The awareness of this truth is not far from reach for anyone of us, but for the absence of some reflection on our part. And self-reflection or introspection can only happen with a quiet mind and that through meditation and prayer. It’s just that we don’t seem to have time for it, or even when we do, our minds are racing on the happenings of the world outside rather than a focus on the prayer or meditation that we are engaged in. And as long as our excuses keep us from this reflection, we can never see this truth. It’s like the unending traffic that just does not allow us to cross the street to the other side.

Reflection helps us to understand our selves better. We spend most of our life understanding our outer self and adorning it -- in beauty parlors, perfumeries and fashion boutiques, but we do very little to understand and adorn our inner selves. And mind you, when we negotiate that side of our being, our ego – that external aspect of our self we so lovingly nurtured all these years of our lives – charms us in to believing that harmony is not good for us. That our independence and selfishness are what will give us the limelight and the fame that we need in this world. Most of us cannot get past these, for we have come to listen to this thing called ego for so long in our lives and have taken it to be our friend and confidante, while in the recesses of our being lies that pure self that is the true us. And we can only revive it through love and sharing – those indispensable ingredients for creating social harmony.     
Our ego’s pushing is easily evident in our daily lives. Our yearning to always speak about ourselves and our iron-clad hold onto our opinions, every parent's talk about how wonderful their children are, the exotic nature of our great escapades and our expensive adventures to interesting destinations with not a moment to stop and listen to the other person’s point of view, are all prodding of our ego.  It wants to hog the limelight and not let anyone else to take away even a hint of attention from its presence. So we go on harping about ourselves ad-nauseam. Friends patiently “listen” to this litany just long enough to their tolerance and soon begin themselves their tirade in return. Yet others may not be that tolerant. Those who cannot tolerate such narrative may tell us off. Strangely, such exchanges don’t satisfy us but leave us empty, yet not being aware that we are our own problems. But, we persist -- in our ignorance or our arrogance as the case may be.

You will notice that our egotistic lives are full of this story, and not unexpectedly, our kids learn to be just like us too, and soon, we have a society full of bloated egos that are crying for attention. Sadly so, this is the perfect recipe for the divided society that we inherit where conflict reigns. Sober and harmonious societies have learned to appreciate the other person’s point of view and have decided to take discussion into a cycle of constructive virtue rather than into a destructive vortex. Gradually, we learn  -- and sometimes too late -- that happiness and joy also reside in this social harmony. And that what we sow is indeed what we will reap.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another way of saying is that what we tolerate is what we get. There is this news item in Aljazeera that Egyptian National TV has allowed, for the first time in thirty odd years, women in scarf to read news. It says that in Egypt more than 90% of the women wear scarves (scarfs). In the comments, a guy has written that Egyptians deserved Mubarak for thirty years, who the commentators were saying, served more the US and hence Jewish interests more than Egyptian interests.

I know another country which had banned veiled newscasters when most of the women had adopted it. They had the ban for nearly 30 years. You are from that country.

A country cannot prosper unless it is true to its nature.