By Razan Al- Taher
“The only devils in the world are those running in our own hearts. That is where the battle should be fought.” Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi was a major political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement. His eccentric quote paralyzed my thoughts and being. Everything begins and ends with the heart; we start with a heart beat and end with a heart beat. The heart beholds the candidness of our faith, intentions, deeds, and emotions; this summation crafts our true individuality.
The propaganda here lies with what the mouth utters and what the heart really believes, however what’s in the heart is in the heart and if you fail to muster what’s in your heart and let your mouth take control of you then you will be deceiving no one but yourself.
I always tell my students that whoever cheats, cheats him/her self. I love seeing their reaction after I make this statement, as it says a lot about their character. Some ignore what I said totally pretending not hear, some give me wicked smiles, and others pause for a minute to devour on its meaning as cheating is cheating regardless of the situation.
When someone treats people with cruelty, meanness, and inhumanity we often call him ‘heartless’, but no body is really born without a heart, it is rather the demons and the devils that conquer our hearts which strip people from harmony and empathy.
Sometimes we act, converse, and behave in ways that contradict with our ethics and beliefs and we even condemn those who practice the same behavior without consciously being aware of our own. Other times our behavior is a manifestation of our own fears, insecurities, or unresolved past issues. We try to protect ourselves by being sarcastic, careless, inconsiderate, aggressive, ruthless, hurtful, harsh, spiteful… etc. to draw the attention away from us. And in some cases, which are most saddening, our behavior is stimulated by others to please them; we become prisoners inside out.
While walking through this path of dysfunction, we build social armors to look good for people and we also wear blind folders that prevent us from looking within our own selves. We lose our authenticity because we cannot face our own demons.
To have a more pure and transparent heart, you must defeat your devils. Allow me to provide you with a suggestive method.
First Step: All Eyes on Me
To detect the devils of your heart you need to practice self honesty which is the first step to win this battle. Draw your attention towards yourself in order to be able to look within. Once you embark upon these devils, meditate on your inner voice and try tangle why you do certain things and why you say certain things. The search for truth will help you become more transparent within yourself.
Second Step: Defeat the Impostor
Stop allowing your inner demons to take control of you and allow a more pure free self to grow inside. It really all starts from within, the charade of inner quarrels going inside of us can be turned into a sweet melody if you choose to.
Third Step: Break the Chain
To break the chain of events and the sequence of reactions, consider reacting differently. Try reacting in a nice way once someone criticize you or hurt you, the outcome will motivate you to be even nicer, kinder, and it will definitely boost your confidence. Remember it takes a lot of strength to be nice, and it takes only weakness to be malicious.
Fourth Step: Excuse Me
It is certainly not easy to be nice to someone who continues to hurt you, therefore for your own peace of mind excuse them. Give them excuses for their behavior, keeping in mind that once upon a time you might have had the same behavior without being conscious about it, but you’ve settled your own battles. Give them time.
You need to excuse them to reach self transparency, because if you fail to excuse them you’ll never forgive them. Forgiveness here is the key; it allows no space for holding grudges or bitterness. For example, in order to forgive my ex-fiancé, I first had to excuse him for only a sick and insecure person can have his controversial selfish behavior. I am sure once he defeats the devils of his heart he will become selfless, more considerate of others’ feelings and most importantly sound.
Fifth Step: Be Smart
I was very spiteful and held a lot of negative attitude towards my ex-fiancé, every time he tried to talk to me; it always ended up in a dispute. But once I realized that this negative attitude was draining all my energy, I knew it was time to be smart.
A smart person is the one who knows that having a healthy circle of friends and loved ones is very important, that is why it should be chosen carefully.
Every time you feel there is someone in your circle that is giving you negative vibes and continues to hurt you even though you continue to be nice to them, then its time to re-evaluate your circle. The following approach will help you stay kind but wise:
I excuse you, I forgive you, and I forget you to become a wiser person.
Personally anger and loose bitter ends, not only hurt my heart emotionally but physically. It’s an indescribable painful feeling that all of us can do without. It takes time and excessive self service work, but it’s absolutely worth it.
Our prophet has informed us that whoever dies without a tiny spot of bitterness in his heart towards any of his Muslim sisters or brothers, heaven will be waiting for him/her. Isn’t that enough of an incentive to work towards having a pure transparent heart?
If you take a deep hindsight into Mahatma’s quote, a new understanding will transpire to your heart and a new insight will be provoked to you. A pure heart is all it takes to change the world we live in.