Imam al-Ghazali once said,
“The tongue is the counselor, the mind the interpreter and the heart is what is affected.“
Ghazali’s words present a succinct way of conceptualizing our relationship with the world around us. We are surrounded by various stimuli (including events, people, statements… etc) that, due to our interpretation of them, causes an internal reaction; a reaction that initiates a feeling and subsequent behavior. What matters more often, almost more so than the stimuli, is our interpretation of it. For example, the rubbing of a tree branch along the side of the house. Is is it the wind, or a person outside the home? Whatever you believe it is, will cause you to feel a certain way and behave in a way that may reinforce your interpretation. This is especially apparent when one has a misunderstanding about others, and then treats the person based upon this wrongful assumption.
Often times incidents we consider negative are actually due to misunderstandings; maybe through blowing it out of proportion, not placing it within a more broad perspective, or seeing it as falling short of unreasonable standards. Sometimes we don’t know how we should interpret something, and we find ourselves confused or mentally exhausted.
At this time we might seek the help of another; hoping they can help put things in the right perspective. In many instances this may work and we may start to see things in a way we had not before, a way broader than we had previously conceived. Or, we may find ourselves still stuck with our skewed perception.
Continue reading “Mind: The Interpreter”