Thought of the Day
Have you ever read something that smacks you right between the eyes, like a stone hurled from a sling? I do. And it stings.
As I nurse my throbbing forehead, I let the thought that interrupted my reading settle in. In this case, the “stone” was an eloquently worded expansion on the age old truth that we should mind our own sins and shortcomings before rushing to judge the failings of someone else.
I always find it comical when I see people beat their chest and indignantly point at someone else who commits an error that is “just a little less egregious” than the error that they, themselves, commit. It’s easy to laugh and poke fun at these self-rightous blowhards, of course. Don’t they look silly as they pound their chest and point out how they’re better than another?
Until I realize that by laughing at their arrogance and foolishness, I’m essentially doing the same exact thing that they are.
Self awareness can be quite elusive at high altitudes, stumbling along with our head in the clouds.
Below is the poem that caused me to reflect. Or should I call it the “pebble slung with precise aim for my forehead”? It’s by the masterful Persian poet, Rumi (1207-1273). Pause, reflect, and have a great weekend – flying stones and all.
Four Interrupted Prayers
Four Indians enter a mosque and begin the prostrations.
Deep, sincere praying.
But a priest walks by, and one of the Indians, without
thinking says, “Oh,
are you going to give the call to prayer now? Is it time?”
The second Indian, under
his breath, “You spoke. Now your prayers are invalid.”
The third, “Uncle don’t scold him!
You did the same thing. Correct yourself!” The fourth,
“Praise to God, I
have not made the mistake of these three.” So all four
prayers are interrupted, with
the three faultfinders being more at fault than the
original speaker. Blessed
is one who sees his weakness, and blessed is one who, when
he sees a flaw in someone
else, takes responsibility for it. Because, half of any person
is wrong and weak and off
the path. Half! The other half is dancing and swimming
and flying in the invisible joy. You
have ten open sores on your head. Put what salve you have
on yourself. And point out
to everyone the dis-ease you are. That’s part of getting
well! When you lance yourself
that way, you become more merciful and wiser. Even if you
don’t have a particular
fault at the moment, you may soon be the one who makes some
act notorious. Don’t feel
self-satisfied. Lucifer lived eons as a noble angel. Think
what his name means now.
Don’t try to be famous until your face is completely washed
of any fear. If your beard
hasn’t grown out, don’t joke about someone’s smooth chin.
Consider how Satan swallowed
soul poison, and be grateful that you taste only the
sweetness of being warned.