It’s amazing how distorted our self image can be. As individuals we tend to think of ourselves as the center of the world. The majority of us believe that they have more rights than other humans on this planet. They think of life as a movie, where they play the leading role, and where everyone else is an “extra”!
As humans, we think of ourselves as the center of the universe and the reason of life. In fact, until we were proved wrong, we believed that the planet we live in is physically the center of the universe. Now we believe that we are the only creations in the universe, and that it all was created only for us. Many of us think that there is no God, and that we are the lords of world. Most of us believe that we as specie have more rights on this planet than all other species.
It’s a pattern that is caused by a defect in our collective understanding of life. We are ego-centric by design. We were made of one cell, and we are going to die and vanish in earth, but we still view ourselves as something great, something so important that the whole life is all about us!
When we think too big of ourselves, and expect life to orbit around us, we find ourselves faced with challenges that are much bigger than us. Yes we can, and should, try to overcome these challenges, but eventually we will discover the insignificance of our existence as an individual in the great tapestry of things in this life.
When these moments occur, many of us feel depressed, because we fall in the dark gap between what we perceived reality to be, and what reality is. We expect life to accommodate to our desires, and to bend to our rules, but the truth is the opposite.
To avoid depression we need to simply be aware of our true size and our shortcomings as individuals, and our inability to reach perfection, no matter how hard we try. That does not mean that we should stop working on ourselves, developing our worldview, and scanning our personalities for flaws and errors. It simply means that we will have to accept the fact that we need to keep doing that until we die, because there will never be a day when this will be a finished process.
We are humans, just humans, and that is good, but not as great as we think it is. We are just specie; we are not the lords of the universe. We are born, we live, and we die, just like everything else. Existence is not about any of us. It is about the One who created it, and we are only here to witness His greatness.
Our lives are gifts, and therefore, we should accept them as they are.
Life is not something that was created for us, but is simply something that we were created to witness. We do not deserve anything in this life, and we did not [exist to] deserve to be in this life to begin with. While always aspiring for better things, we should be thankful for whatever we have, because the very fact that we were created to witness life is a great gift by itself.
We owe our existence to the One who created us. He existed, He exists, and we are here to witness that. Life is about Him, not us as individuals or as specie. And if we are ready to acknowledge that simple fact, then we will be rewarded in more ways than we can imagine.
First, we will be blessed by a sense of relief because when we understand why we are here, and find a reasonable answer to this question we will be relieved from the agony that this question causes.
Secondly, when we realize that there will be after life we can see then the justice in Allah’s creations, because otherwise we will see that there is so much injustice in this life, and that people seem to be getting away with it.
Thirdly, when we know there is heaven, we will not feel bad for the things that we will inevitably miss in this life, because there will be a second chance, and a second life.
Fourthly, when we believe in Allah He will be with us, and will help us pass through the challenges that we face in our pursuit of happiness.
Fifthly, when we realize that humans are not the lords of the world, and that each one of us is not the center of existence we will feel relieved, because we will accept ourselves as we are, while working on our shortcomings. We will not have to repeatedly suffer that mismatch between our inflated self-images and the reality of our shortcomings and our insignificance as humans and individuals. Each one of us will understand his place in the world, and act to enhance himself according to his role in it, and to the true reality of his existence.
In the meanwhile, this should not be confused with viewing oneself as something that is less than other people. This is not an attempt to make you feel humbled by those with power or with whatever it is that you might not have enough of. This is rather an adjustment that will help you view the powers of people, of countries, and everything else that is human in its right context. You are not the center of the universe, but so is everyone else on this planet. You almost maintain your place within this system that is humanity, but you now view humanity as a whole, from a different perspective.
If we can see that, we will realize that people who die in wars are as important as the presidents of the countries who send their armies to kill them. We will realize that the trees and animals that we are abusing or driving to extinction have the same right to exist like we do, and that we are only allowed to use them in moderation to help us survive.
In Islam, whenever we want to eat, drink, or consume any resource on this planet, we have to say “in the name of Allah”. We don’t have the given right to cut an animal or eat a plant because we can, but rather because we are authorized by Allah to consume resources as we need, not as we want! If we don’t say that sentence then this would be an assault on other species, and consuming it will be a sin.
If we view life from this perspective it will make much more sense to us, and when it will, we will be happier living it.
Finally, if we will acknowledge this simple fact that we are not the center of life, we will be ready to pursue the reason we are here. And if we do that with an open heart, we will be rewarded with eternal and complete happiness. We will live in a place where the Almighty, who is capable of doing everything, and who knows our desires and whims, will be rewarding us generously, forever!
That’s how beautiful this existence that we are here to witness.