Two Sides of Ego… [Ana]

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Egoism literally means excessive concern for oneself with or without exaggerated feelings of self-importance or the doctrine that individual self-interest is actual motive of all conscious action.[1]

I don’t know if you have ever read a personal development book but I certainly have read a few and evaluated most of them myself even if I don’t read them. I realize one thing that more and more people are starting to dwell on reading personal development books and doing drugs in order to maintain a healthy relationship, personal life or success in life etc but basically to maintain a ‘life’ in the real sense of the word. I will not even go into the drug issue but allow me only to express one thing that most of the personal development books are telling their readers that they are the ones, that they surely can do whatever they wish, that they are unique, that if they cannot do this anyone can ever, live your life happy etc. The question is that the definition of ‘happy life’ in most of those books is really the “real” meaning of ‘joyful life’?  It is like inflating the egos but then failure shows itself and a total disappointment. Let me clarify one point, I am not against showing people what they are truly capable of and not against these books themselves, too but isn’t it a bit odd to overload flattery on people’s egos instead of moderately and peacefully show them the way in what difference they can make in themselves to lead better and happier lives being better and model individuals in society.  Aren’t these books promoting the “happy life” phenomenon a bit greedily aggressively overrated? Is the ‘real’ meaning of life to those books ‘to make some people unhappy and apply pressure on them with our egos by demonstrating extreme behaviors of priority on their egos?’ Because this is what they are truly and exactly promoting, if you noticed. Squeeze other under your feet with your ego and this will exactly make you happy and joyful. In other words, satisfy your ego on others as much as you can to lead a happy life!

We are living in world that less and less people are satisfied what they earn, what they eat, what they have at the end of the day in their hands… Brand-new cars, houses, technological devices, entertainment… Let alone the material even in terms of feelings we are the same. Love, passion, excitement… We just cannot embrace what we truly have and aim at more and more and when the reverse comes as disappointment, regret, sadness and anger, we just don’t want to accept them peacefully. We fight back like we don’t deserve the bad happenings because in our opinion we never did anything to deserve the bad happenings but what we deserve only good and trust me, all the people in the world even the serial killers think the same way. We just don’t sit back and think deeply of what happened and measure ourselves. All what we experience are the consequences of what we will, wish, decide and do and some of them return to us as tests in this life in disguise of bad feelings, crashes, disappointments, disasters, calamities. “Certainly, We shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss of wealth, lives and fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to (As-Sabirin) those who patiently persevere.” (Baqara, 155)Allah is the merciful, He gives warnings to us through sufferings in order to prevent us from making bigger mistakes and committing sins.

As a matter of fact it’s completely true that our eyes are always fixed on what we don’t have and it’s also true that we don’t appreciate what we have until we lose it. Moreover it is also true that we all have egos. And “ego” is the key to everything.

Ego is not always something bad if you don’t feed it with evil. Ego in Islam called “ana” and it has good side and bad side. If it is fed on evil, it causes moral degradation of humanity but fed on good it leads to welfare and high morals.

A luminary scholar of our time Bediuzzaman Said Nursi says in Treatise on Ana (ego) (30th Word): “The key of the universe is in human’s hand and it is attached to their nafs (self). The doors of the universe are seemingly open whereas they are closed in reality. Allah the almighty has entrusted humans with such a key named “ana” (I-ego) that it opens the doors of the entire universe and he entrusted us with such a talismanic ananiyah (ego) that humans discover the hidden treasures of the Creator of the Universe. But ana (ego) itself is a mystery, enigma and a talisman difficult to open. The mysteries of the universe will be known and solved, if the ego’s true nature and purpose of creation is known.

Sani-i Hakim (The All-Wise Creator) entrusted each human being with an ego having clues and samples to urge and enable him/her to recognize the truths of His rububiyyah’s (Lordship) Attributes and essential qualities. So that this ego is a ‘measure’ that makes known the qualities of rububiyyah’s (Lordship’s) and functions of Divinity. A measure doesn’t have to have actual existence, for its posited or supposed existence can serve a measure, just like hypothetical lines in a geometrical proof.”

O Allah show us straight path, the way of those whom you bestowed your grace, not of those who have deserved your wrath, nor of those who have gone astray. (Surah Fatiha, 6-7)

[1] Merriam Webster DC.