Det berättas att en av Basras stora kom och satte sig vid Râbi’as säng och började uttala sig med nedsättande ordalag om världen. Hon sade, ”Du måste hålla världen mycket kär! Ty hade du inte världen kär, skulle du inte komma ihåg den så mycket eller tänka på den. Det är köparen av handelsvarorna som söker förringa deras värde. Hade du, i sanning, tvått dina händer från världen, skulle du ha glömt både det goda och det onda däri. Men som du vet, ’Den som älskar något, tänker på det.’”
People are not what they seem. There is as much difference between exterior and interior states as there is between inner and outer sides of a house. Whenever you meet someone for the first time, you can be absolute sure that he is totally different from what you think he is.
The mistake is our own false assumptions. For instance, we assume that a certain person is the calm type. We have made two mistakes. First, we do not see the emotional turmoil he suppresses when in public view. Second, at the moment of our observation there is no particular crisis to arouse and reveal his panic. Surface calm will explode sooner or later, as many a bride or bridegroom discovers too late.
Our task is to see people as they are, not as we want or need to see them. Then, we make no mistakes.
This can be accomplished by understanding ourselves. When you frankly face your own motives, you see the motives of others. By understanding your own desires and actions, you understand why others act as they do. Self—knowledge is the unlocking key to insight into others. Perhaps in a moment of intense self-honesty, a man sees in himself a selfish motive masquerading as generosity. Not only is he healthier and happier than before, but he can no longer be tricked by others with the same masquerade.
It works both ways. You understand other people as you understand yourself. As you win insight into your own action, the behavior of others becomes clear.
Whatever happens to you in social relations is quite valuable, providing you let it shed light about yourself to yourself. Human encounters are beneficial challenges to our fixed ideas. The best challenges are those revealing us to be less noble than we assumed, for the shattering of imaginary ideas is the shattering of unseen chains.
Just as we become acquainted with our nature through self-observation, we can learn about the other man by watching him in daily action. We should not do this out of mere curiosity, nor from a critical viewpoint, but because we want the facts about human nature.
Watch, for instance, how a man behaves when accused of something. Whether the accusation is accurate or not, notice whether it arouses anger, indignation or accusation in return. The ego-less man, the man thinking from his Supermind has nothing to defend, therefore, cannot be upset. But a lesser man, with a gulf between himself and his Supermind, will react offensively and defensively.
”Beware the fury of a patient man”