Cleansing the Heart

By Jamal Rahman

God will not change the condition of a people unless they change what is in their hearts.” (Qur’an 13:11)

All your life, O Ghalib
 You kept repeating the same mistake
 Your face was dirty
 But you were obsessed with cleaning the mirror.”   ~Mirza Ghalib

To heal and change the conditions of social injustice and planetary degradation, we simply have to do the work of transforming the ego and opening up the heart.

 In a recent panel on racism, the speaker informed us that, according to reliable official statistics, an African American is being killed by state sponsored violence every 28 hours. We were shocked. The speaker proceeded to tell us that the real problem is that the African American is being murdered a billion times a day. How, we asked? He explained that this was through our countless, unchecked biases, prejudices and stereotyping of the other. To counter this injustice, legislation and education are critical. But even more essential, if we truly yearn for structural changes, is the need to overcome our conditioned biases through spiritual practices, e.g., by compassionate self-witnessing.

In the same vein, the wise have pointed out that our biggest environmental problems are not loss of bio-diversity, climate change or eco-system collapse. At their roots, the monumental environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy.

Our ego has an exaggerated opinion about itself and is averse to criticism. Rather than do the inner inconvenient work to overcome our prejudices and faults, we would rather expend energy to defend ourselves and offer creative excuses and explanations to cover up our shortcomings. May we dedicate ourselves to the lifetime work of becoming more complete human beings.  This is the best antidote to social injustice and abuse of Mother Earth.

2 Replies to “Cleansing the Heart”

  1. Leslie Panowicz says: Reply

    this is a beautiful post. thank you. i am sure we all wash the mirror more often that we have even considered. thank you so much.

  2. Mark Fitzgerald says: Reply

    Love this

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