Aim (as an aspect of strength)

In life, if you hope to achieve anything you need first to make a clear aim about what you are doing. I heard someone say on the radio recently that parents these days don’t worry so much about what their children choose to do when they get old enough to leave school, provided they choose something and have a clear aim about it.

We need to think about things and make an aim if we want to succeed at anything important. Imagine firing a rifle without aiming – there’s not much chance you would hit the target, and it is the same with life.

60 years ago a man called William Deming explained his ideas about how to keep improving things in business and his ideas are still used all around the world today. Three of the questions Deming said we need to ask ourselves are:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How are we going to get there?

These are simple questions that make up our aim. The first one “Where are we now?” is very important because unless we understand our current strengths and weaknesses, any aim we make will not have a solid base.

Abdullah said that it is important for us to have an aim in the Work as well as ordinary life aims. He said that for example, if a person gets up late every morning he could set himself an aim of getting up half an hour earlier and also observe himself and realise it’s only your body that wants to stay in bed. When you succeed at a small aim, this gives you energy to take on a bigger aim.

If we like sports best, then we might need to make an aim to read more, and if we like reading or computers we might need to make an aim to get outside and do more physical things. Aims like this will help us to get stronger and live a balanced life.

When the Moslems start their prayers, or the day’s fast in Ramadhan, they start with what they call “Niyyat” which means they first say what they are aiming to do. So the idea is that whenever you decide to do anything important that you should start out with a clear idea of what you are doing.

The first story today comes from the Cherokee Indians of North America.

A young boy went to his grandfather and complained that one of his friends had been mean and he wanted to work out a plan to get revenge.

The old man said “I have struggled with these feelings many times. Let me tell you a story.”

“A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One is selfish, sometimes angry, sometimes sad – he cannot be trusted. The other is generous and forgiving and trustworthy and he only fights because he knows how dangerous the first wolf is. Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me. This same fight is going on inside you and inside every other person too”.

The grandson thought about this for a while and then asked. Grandfather “Which wolf will win the fight?” The old man replied “It depends which one you decide to feed.”

The second story is from the Hindu teaching.

Once there was a monkey who was tied on a short rope to a small post fixed into the floor near the wall of a small room. About a metre above this peg there was a small ledge. The monkey was very neglected and uncomfortable because no-one looked after him.

Monkeys like to jump around in trees and have their freedom, but this poor monkey was tied to the floor. He couldn’t even move away to go to the toilet, so he had to go to the toilet on the floor around him which made him feel very unhappy.

One day he was looking up and he noticed the small ledge. So he thought to himself it’s no good just sitting here, I’m going to try to jump up to the ledge.

So he jumped, but the rope was just too short for him to make it and it pulled him back down onto the floor. But he kept trying. He jumped and he jumped for days and days. He kept on, and eventually all the jumping and pulling started to loosen the small post that the rope was attached to. When the post came free, he was able to jump up onto the ledge. He still wasn’t really free, but he was able to get away from the toilet filth.

Abdullah says that this story shows that we should have an aim to get to a place of refuge in our hearts, and this is the way to jump into the Silence which is God.

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