The Essence of Being Transcendent: Otherness

The Essence of Being Transcendent: Otherness

Muhammed Bzeek, 62, is an American electrical engineer of Libyan origin. He has a daughter. Although she is nineteen, she has the body of a four-year-old child and is in a wheelchair. Mohammed's story begins 28 years ago in Los Angeles. They were adopting orphaned children since 1980. In 1995, they took an important decision with his wife, they decided they would only adopt children who are on deathbeds. After that date, they opened their house to children in serious situations in hospitals, children who were abandoned because of congenital physical and mental disabilities, children who were abandoned to hospitals and nurseries because they were orphans. Ten of the eighty children they parented passed away in their arms. “I was holding their hands as I lost ten of my children,” he says. Since then, he has not had a single day of vacation. He does not sleep at night, takes the children to the hospital in the morning, takes care of them and says, “As long as I am healthy and I can give them good care, I will continue to do this job.”

Every living wants to reach the transcendent due to his or her nature. Soil, plants, animals and humans become transcendental by giving from themselves. The soil gives the energy and minerals to the seed and causes the plant to grow so it becomes transcendent. Plants try to reach transcendence by giving themselves as nutrients to animals and humans and making themselves available to them. Animals also try to be transcendent by giving from themselves, as food for humans and other animals, by presenting themselves for their benefit. No cow ceases to give milk even if you pour it away. No chicken stops laying her eggs even if you break them. As long as they give something that they have, they will continue to be transcendental. However when being transcendental involves a human being, self-giving can become complicated, holding back, self-interest, deserving and hiding benefit to one’s self become a point of discussion. “When you give what you own, you have given very little; The real giving is giving from yourself, ”says Halil Cibran.

“It can be nice to give when asked; yet what is more meaningful is to give without being asked for. And for the generous, searching for the person to give brings more joy than the act of giving. Muhammed Bzeek, whose story we have read above, gives from himself, his love, his time and his life. And the children he gave from himself to hold onto life. Children, whose doctors have estimated to live for a few months, continue their lives for many years because of the love and interest he has provided.The 2-month-old, doctors have given up hope, who has spina bifida disease is now 7 years old and continues his life.

It is possible to lead a meaningful life, to reach inner peace, happiness, to be hopeful about the future, to throw heavy loads off the back and thus to breathe, enlighten the soul in the journey of life. All religious teachings also advise this. Buddha talks about the importance of giving he said, “Learn to let go, this is the key to happiness”, the Bible says, “Giving is greater happiness than giving,” Islam says “Giving hand is higher than the receiver” and Islamic teachings highlightsthe understanding of altruism, giving and philanthropy.

In a study by Michael Norton, he divides his students into two groups and calls them up one morning. He asks both groups to write their morning moods on a piece of paper. He then gives an envelope of twenty-five dollars to members of both groups. The first group will spend this money for themselves until the evening. The second group will spend the money in the envelope only for others. At the end of the day, they will come and rewrite their moods. The result is that those who spend for others state that they feel better in the evening. They do the same experiment in terms of time. The first group spends their time just doing things that will make them happy. The second group spends their time just to please others. When they return in the evening, those who have done something for others feel better.

Modern human beings are trying to find meaning, happiness and inner peace with what they have. They try to find meaning and prove their existence through their smart phones, luxury cars, designer clothes, and residents. They try very hard to achieve their goals, they consume  considerable energy and once they reach these goals they experience great joy. However as soon as they get there, that feeling only stays with them for a couple of days. Then they put their eyes on a higher goal and work towards that. They continue to live in a vicious circle that does not provide them any comfort. New life trends are emerging created by people who are aware of this vicious cycle and want to step out of. Simple Life, Living with 100 Things, Minimalism are some of them. The pioneers of this movement pursue a life with the principles of “getting rid of what you have” and “returning to simplicity” to find meaning.

As of today, we can be more giving in life. We can give gifts to people who are around us who are less fortunate than us. We can put chocolate and candy bars in our bags and give them to children, share our information and lecture notes with our friends, give them to those in need of our dresses, show our love, greet more people with love, smile wide, take part in associations to help people.

Let's listen to Halil Cibran again: “Is there anything you can prevent from giving? Everything you have will be given one day. So start giving now and you get to experience the pleasure of giving, not your heirs. ”

Ahmet Kaya

NUN Schools Psychological Counselor