"Fearlessness is the first requirement of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Greatest Battle

In the attached video, Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf describes how in returning from a fierce battle the Prophet Mohammed tells his followers that they are returning to a greater battle. "But we are battle-wearied," was their complaint. To which the Prophet declared that the "greater battle" is that of the battle with the lower self, the battle of the ego.

Fadiman and Frager, in their book, "Essential Sufism," note that it is the lower self or ego (in Arabic, the nafs) that "tends to lead us astray."
"The lower self is not so much a thing as a process created by the interaction of the soul and the body," they point out. "Body and soul are pure and blameless in themselves. However, when our soul becomes embodied, we tend to forget our soul nature; we become attached to this world and develop such qualities as greed, lust, and pride."

"On the spiritual path and in life in general," they note, "we all struggle to do those things we clearly know are best for ourselves and others. We often struggle even harder to avoid those actions we know are wrong or harmful."
 This struggle with the egoic, lower self is indubitably the source of the famous remonstrance of the Apostle Paul, when he observes:"For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." (Rom. 7:19)

"The sources of (all) human problems," Imam Rauf points out, "have to do with egotism, with "I".

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