I recently came across a beautiful reminder from Imam ash Shafi (rahimu Allah), that was perfectly in line with the logic and wisdom of the Inside-Out Paradigm of psychology.
In this beautiful saying, we are reminded of the following:
"Always hate what is wrong, but do not hate the one who errs. Hate sin with all your heart, but forgive and have mercy on the sinner. Criticise speech, but respect the speaker. Our job is to wipe out the disease, not the patient."
When any of us fall into the above, when we err, sin or criticise others; it's coming from a place of misunderstanding.
When we do any of these things we innocently, but mistakenly believe that we will feel a certain way, that perhaps we'll feel better about ourselves. We're desperately searching for our own well-being and our only mistake is incorrectly believing that doing any of these things will give us that.
If we err, it's usually because we believed that taking or not taking a certain action would make us feel a certain way. Our path then becomes less clear and we're unsure of the most sensible steps to take.
If we sin, we have momentarily fallen into the Outside-In illusion, where we innocently but incorrectly believe that something other than our thinking in the moment, can be the source of our feelings. We therefore chase these things, in the mistaken belief that they will provide us with some type of relief, happiness, or well-being, regardless of the fact that Allah's wisdom has already proven them to be no good for us.
If we believe others have the power to make us feel a certain way, then our speech will be defensive, personal and maybe even aggressive. We will be speaking from a place of ego, from the Outside-In, unable to see that no one or nothing, has the power to make us feel anything.
We fail to see that our feelings can only ever come from one place - our thinking in the moment.
All of the above are a result of this innocent misunderstanding of where we think our feelings really come from.
By believing they come from things outside of us (our circumstances, situation, other people); we will fall into this behaviour regularly. We don't do this on purpose, we're just caught up in the Outside-In illusion and are not seeing things clearly.
From this perspective, as Imam ash Shafi reminds us, it makes no sense to hate the one who errs, or sins, or has undesirable speech. The ones who do this are themselves suffering from being caught in the Outside-In illusion, so we should feel empathy towards them and focus instead on wiping out the disease.
And how do we wipe out this disease, how do we start to see through the Outside-In illusion?
It starts with understanding how we're really experiencing life and seeing clearly for ourselves that our experience and our feelings are only ever coming from the Inside-Out. Feelings are an inside job and will only ever come from the way we're thinking in the moment. It therefore no longer makes sense to search for feelings anywhere else.
Seeing this clearly is what helps wipe out the disease and leaves the patient feeling more at peace and more in tune with their true selves.
When you're operating from this place, our relationships with each other naturally and effortlessly improve.
We find we have more patience and empathy with each other. We don't take things so personally and because of this we get a lot less defensive when communicating and dealing with each other. We're not on edge as much and we're no longer listening to all of that limited thinking that runs through our minds, causing those all too regular low moods and emotional suffering.
If you'd like to understand more about the Inside-Out Paradigm of psychology, that will improve your relationship with yourself firstly and then all your other relationships as a natural consequence of this, then click here to snap up one of the last few breakthrough sessions I have going for the next couple of weeks.
Let's start wiping out that disease, insha'Allah.