Friday, February 5, 2010
Living A Balanced Life-Part 2-Balancing the Different Levels
In the previous post we focused on achieving inner and outer balance. I hope that this was useful for people and helped to get you to start thinking about your own life.
Balance between different levels can further be broken down.
Within the socio-psychological paradigm 5 different levels of human functioning have been identified. These are as follows:
Think about these levels for a while- Place them in order of preference for you, i.e. which level do you think should be the most important, then which one would follow, and so on.
A good balance between these levels is important, but the importance placed on each level will directly influence your life as well. It will determine what becomes more important for you and what is less important. For instance, if you choose the Intellectual level as your most important and for example the spiritual as your least important then you will find that you most probably have a life which is intellectually rich, (you will read a lot, your knowledge and understanding about things will be vast etc), but you will be lacking on a spiritual level. This is just an example; you can make sense of your own life once you’ve understood the importance of the different levels for you. All of the levels cannot occupy the same space in your life, but how and why you choose the levels will have a direct impact on your life.
Maulana Fazlur Rahman Ansari also discussed this concept along very, very similar lines when he spoke about knowledge of the self.*
According to this he has stated that The Holy Qur’an speaks of a system of values. Every culture is based on a particular arrangement of values. The human personality has 5 levels of consciousness and therefore 5 values which correspond to these levels. These are as follows:
SPIRITIUAL (consciousness of a Transcendental Being)
He went on to say that people are sometimes only aware of some of these 5 values, thus the value system is imperfect, and the culture that emerges is also flawed. Or, people may know about the 5 values, but the order may be incorrect. Maulana Ansari argues that a system which places more value on lower levels than on higher levels is problematic. He states that the Qur’an and hadith are absolutely clear about values.
Maulana Ansari quotes the following Quraanic verse in support of his argument:
“Those who are honoured by Allah who cultivate iman and who cultivate ilm (knowledge)” (Surah 58: verse 11).
So, according to this argument, the higher levels should be the ones associated with cultivating iman (faith) and knowledge.
Now, if you go back to the order you first placed the levels in and reflect upon this, what do you see?
Does it fit in with this Islamic view of the self or have you somehow managed to place emphasis on other, less important levels of functioning?
Once you begin to understand how your ideas, attitudes and choices are all interlinked and they determine the balance as well as the value of your life, then things in your life will begin to make more sense to you.
If you’ve found that all this time you have been placing emphasis on the lower levels instead of the higher levels, then don’t become despondent, it is never too late to make crucial changes to your life. You are fortunate that you have now received information and knowledge about these things and now you can use it to live a better, more fulfilled life.
I hope that this helps encourage and not discourage anyone.
Remember always that Allah (SWT) is the Greatest, the Most Merciful and the Most Kind. Put your trust in Allah and you will find even the greatest of challenges will become easy.
Until next time, May Allah’s Peace and Blessings continuously be showered upon you!
*The reference for this is; Maulana Fazlur Rahman Ansari – Lectures in South Africa 1970 & 1972, ‘Islam to the Modern Mind’, (2002), Edited by, M.Kriel & Y.Mohamed. Hidden Treasure Press: Paarl South Africa.