Unity in diversity

This difference is, however, only in our outward life. Along with our outward life, we have an inner life as well, which is the spiritual dimension of our existence. In this dimension, which is the essence of our existence, we share a common purpose no matter where we live, how we are to look at, or what we do. This purpose is spiritual purification with an aim to connect to our source and achieve self actualisation.

Sadly, we get so caught up in our worldly lives that the spiritual aspect of us is often neglected. Sometimes, it is altogether forgotten and we identify ourselves only with our physical dimension.

This is akin to putting the cart before the horse with the result that we become warped personalities with the most subtle aspect of us totally underdeveloped.
What is needed from us is to strike a proper balance between the material and spiritual aspects of our personality. The Qur’an exhorts us never to lose sight of this balance and draws our attention to the wonderful balance present in all creation.

There is an old story which highlights this very well: A scholar asked a boatman to row him across the river. The journey was long and slow. The scholar was bored. “Boatman,” he called out, “Let’s have a conversation.” Suggesting a topic of special interest to himself, he asked, “Have you ever studied phonetics or grammar?”

“No,” said the boatman, “I’ve no use for those tools.”

“Too bad,” said the scholar, “You’ve wasted half your life. It’s useful to know the rules.”
Later, as the rickety boat crashed into a rock in the middle of the river, the boatman turned to the scholar and said, “Pardon my humble mind that to you must seem dim, but, wise man, tell me, have you ever learnt to swim?”

“No,” said the scholar, “I’ve never learnt.”

“In that case,” said the boatman, “you’ve wasted all your life. Alas, the boat is sinking.”
This story highlights no matter what we acquire in life, being satisfied with it and considering ourselves successful, yet if we haven’t grow spiritually, which is more important than anything else, then our lives would have been wasted.

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