MEETING THE MENTOR E-Reminders

Abdurraheem Green

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Channel: Abdurraheem Green

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Salam Alaikum brothers and sisters, welcome back to another episode on our examination and discussion about the journey of the true hero. And I guess we're all on a journey life is a journey the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam described life as being like a journey. What have I got to do with this? Well, I'm like a traveler, who takes rest underneath the shade of a tree and continues on his journey. So brothers and sisters, we talked previously, and we skipped a week because of the fantastic 24 hour dower font that took place in Newcastle last week. But let's get back on our journey, the hero's journey. We've talked about

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the first few stages already we talked about, well, the normal world, right? What is the normal world, the normal world in which we live.

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And the fact that the hero is beginning to be confronted with the fact that maybe not everything is normal with the normal world, and there's something else there's something beyond it. Of course, everyone in a sense has to go through this journey, because all of us have to leave our homes, all of us have to leave our normal life, everyone has to grow up. And in a sense, that's all part of what this is this mono myth, this story that is told throughout the ages, and every time every place, every mythology, has this theme, or these themes that are pervasive throughout all of them. But of course, it is also really reflective of a spiritual journey, the spiritual journey that we

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all need to go on. And the bottom line brothers and sisters, the bottom line is, is that this is all about being something better, being a better person, improving yourself being better than what you are reaching, that, you know, reaching your full potential. That's what we're, that's what it's really about. And in order to reach your full potential, you need to step outside of your comfort zone, you need to do something different from the way that your life is at the moments.

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And that's going to be uncomfortable, that's going to be challenging. And ultimately, that's what it's all about. The heroic being heroic is stepping out of that comfort zone. But as we mentioned previously, as well, another key and important ingredient of all of this is that it's not just about yourself, it's about others, it's about what you give to others, how you contribute to the world, how you help to make the world a better place. And that really, is what differentiates perhaps just pure narcissism, or pure self indulgence, or a person being completely focused and centered on themselves. And then something bigger than that, something deeper than that, something wider than

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that. When you realize that you're not just an individual, you're not just you, you what really makes you you is also other people.

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And that's the reality. And if you go back through all the other things that we were talking about,

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for so many episodes, in our previous reminders, when we were talking about cognitive dissonance, we were talking about the human heart, the human soul, the human condition, who are you? Are you one of the things we realize again and again and again, is that part of what makes you who you are. And part of what makes me who I am, us who we are, is that us is the fact that we live. We live in families, we live in communities. We live in a world that is populated by other people and even our brain that Allah has constructed our brain with certain neurons that mimic other people's behavior that make us feel empathy

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and make us understand what other people are going through. So that is an important part of our makeup. And that's also very, very important to realize and in a very, very big way.

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That is what the hero's journey is all about. So we the what we talked about the week before last was rejecting the call. So that, and this happens to us. And one of the things I've been thinking about since I started this series, and one of the things that I've been experiencing myself is a real reluctance to, to accept the call. And

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actually, really, every single day of your life, certainly every day of my life, presents me with an opportunity for adventure. And that opportunity for adventure, that opportunity to go on this journey, that opportunity for transformation. It may not be a physical, it may not be something physical, it may not be, you know, climbing a mountain, or you know, doing some hugely challenging physical activity, not at all, it could be something mental, it could be something spiritual, it could be something emotional.

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And I think that

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every one of us should try to do something every day, to make yourself a little bit heroic, a little bit more heroic than you were the day before. When I say a little bit more heroic, I mean, do something that improves

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yourself something that builds you something that makes you a bit better. And it doesn't need to be something dramatic, it doesn't need to be something, you know, huge and big. Sometimes it's just something small. And for everybody, it's going to be really different. And I the key thing is here, brothers and sisters is that these things that I've mentioned this previously, previously, they don't need to be big things, they can be small, little steps, they can be, you know, atomic habits, small little things that we do every day to improve ourselves. But you put all of those small things together, and they make up something big. But the main point is, is that we should always be seeking

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to improve ourselves. And you know, what, if you've reached the end of the day, and you haven't done something that in some way, shape or form has made you better, and has made the world a little bit of a better place? Well, to be honest, you've wasted that day, you have not really not even I'm not even talking about the full potential because the full potential that you have in a day is massive.

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The potential you have in one day in 24 hours is huge. That's a lot of time to do a lot of things.

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But what if you just don't do anything? And you don't move forward at all? That that's very disappointing. And you know, I don't I find that I find I'm at a particular stage where I'm struggling to do that I'm struggling to, you know, I'm not. And I don't look, I don't count, saying my prayers five times a day as improving myself.

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Now,

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because I mean, for me, that's a habit that I already have. I don't, it's not like it's to be to be honest, if I didn't pray five times a day, I would, you know, I'd feel really disturbed, I would feel more disturbed than if I didn't eat or I didn't drink or I find it harder, actually. Because it's something so intrinsically a part of my life, and I don't look at it in any way, shape, or form as a challenge or a difficulty or, you know, like, obviously, sometimes one might, just because you're tired or something like that. But I don't really look at that, as you know, that's something really challenging. That's the point. I don't look at my five prayers as something that's really

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challenging, challenging for me, or, you know, whatever, I may have some habits of, you know, you may have a habit reading some Quran every morning or you know, doing something for your mum and dad every day or whatever it is, like I'm not, you know, and although you should maintain those things, it's very, very important to keep doing them. And sometimes just that whole aspect of maintenance, that whole aspect of continuation, that whole aspect of keep on doing it that can in and of itself be a challenge, right?

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But I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about something where you are stretching yourself something where you are pushing yourself something where you are just trying to go beyond your normal habits and routines. And at the end of the day, you say yeah, I did something

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difference, I did something that was. And that's the key. The key is it's a little bit difficult, it's challenging, even better, if it is on the very edge of your capability, if it's pushing, you're pushing you to the very limits of what you're capable of, you know, that's actually these are the things that are going to make you feel really more really deeply satisfied. That's the point. And from that really comes a type of deep and profound type of happiness that comes from that. So today, I'm talking about meeting the mentor. Now, in this mono myth in this sort of, as I said, it's this universal sort of archetypal story.

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When someone gets this call to adventure, and they refuse the call, and that's, you know, not everyone refuses the call some people, you know, they don't, they don't refuse the call, they accept it straightaway. But it's quite normal

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for people to refuse the call. And it's interesting that

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you know, subhanAllah, like when the Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, you know, was calling people to Islam in apart from his wife for Niger.

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Abu Bakr was the only person who

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accepted it without hesitation, everybody else, everybody else had some sort of hesitation. In refusing in delaying the call, there was a sort of hesitation except aboubaker He just accepted it

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somehow Subhanallah straight away

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so.

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So brothers and sisters

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the mentor,

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you see, the mentor is there at a time often when a person is hesitant when a person is, you know, they feel, I guess they feel that challenge to make that change is too much, it is too overwhelming.

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And the mentor is there to show them the way because the mentor generally, is someone who has made that journey, they have crossed the threshold, they have gone through that adventure. And of course, everybody's journey is different, everybody's journey is going to be different. But the basic principles are the same. Now, who is this mentor? Do you need a mentor? Does the mentor even have to be a person? Well, okay, so first of all, do you need you know, who is the mentor? Now, the first thing is could could the mentor be a parent? It could be the mentor absolutely could be a parent, or maybe a sibling or a relative? Why not? However, very often it's not. And the reason it, it's often

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not is because more often than not, someone from the family wants you to maintain the status quo. They want you to keep on being the same. They don't. Like generally people put so much effort into constructing this paradigm in which they live constructing this sort of,

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you know, this world, which they try to make comfortable for themselves. For someone to break out of that. Well, generally, it's discouraged people will, you know, we'll generally try to stop you doing that. And you know, I mean, anyone who not anyone, but most people who are converts to Islam, they you know, they would have experienced

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is putting I've experienced this, this big difficulty that is involved in making that change.

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Because generally, you know, it's a, it's a major departure. And I remember even something relatively simple. Like,

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for me even forget changing my religion, even for me pursuing a type of career, that was different from what my parents imagined I was supposed to be doing. Like, for example, I left university after one year, like that was really shocking to me, like it was just like, you can't, you know, like, like, but I just, I wasn't getting anything from it. But for my mom, it was just like, What are you doing, because for her, this is the normal thing to do, they had all of these expectations about the path that they thought my life should take. And I didn't see my my life going in that direction at all, I was not interested in interested in it not in any way, shape, or form, I really did have a

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call to adventure, my call to adventure was, I wanted to become a writer, I wanted to do something very, very different with my life. And for my parents, it was like, oh, but we don't. And this is the interesting thing, we don't know how to help you. You know, we don't, we don't have friends in that, you know, that field, we don't know what we can do. And so very often, you know, that's what your family wants you to do, your family wants you to follow a particular way. That you know, is, you know, it follows that pattern that they've got already. So very often, you know, in fact, the family often are the ones who are a cause for you to refuse the call.

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And, for example, I have a friend who, you know, he always wanted to be a photographer, but because he came from a pocket, it was just, you know, because he's from a Pakistani family, it was unthinkable that, you know, you could you could become an engineer or a doctor or go to Dollar loom, but become a photographer. Like, what sort of nonsense is that? Right, and I'm sure lots of people who are from that background will be familiar with, you know, the total. And maybe it's changing a little bit now. But certainly, up until recently, the idea of any sort of career in something that is in the creative arts, for example, is just unthinkable.

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And this is, this is, this is the problem with the family, the family are generally going to want you to stick to the status quo. And you see, the hero's journey in many, as we said already, it is about breaking the status quo, it's about doing something really differently.

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And because it has to be, because otherwise, the transformation can't take place, there's not going to be a transformation by just doing things the same way. And the reality is the world is not static. It just simply isn't. I mean, like look at the power now of the creative arts. Look how much income is generated through, you know, through YouTube and Tik Tok and all of these social media platforms and, and all of this photography, cinematography, these are all forms of, of creative us, right? I mean, and they're, they're almost essential, almost for anybody doing anything now to have some sort of platform from which to advertise yourself, right? So it's become ubiquitous, but there

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was a time and it wasn't that long ago, when this was a very weird thing to do. So, like I'm saying, brothers and sisters, this, this transformation, the world is not static, it doesn't stay the same. Yes, some things, some basic principles, some core things stay the same. And so I think, you know, one of the some of the things that stay the same are, is this Monomyth this, this journey that we need to go on the basic benchmarks of this journey are the same. And so this is why often the mentor often is going to be someone who is more often than not outside the family. It's very rare that it happens that within the family, someone is going to give you that mentorship that you need, in order

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to go on that, you know, that that that journey.

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And so, what is the mentor? What is it what obviously, the mentor has many different purposes and functions and in the whole

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you know, the whole journey of the true hero. The mentor may be there through the whole journey. The mentor may be

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Only there at the beginning, the the mentor may pop up at various stages of the journey. And the mentor may give varying degrees of help. In fact, in some

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cases, the mentor may, you know, be the one who even has to rescue the hero at certain times. I mean, all of these are possibilities.

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But the the main point is, is the mentor is someone or something that is able to give us that advice and that guidance that we need, from a position of knowledge and authority and understanding

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not only the broad

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dimensions, but also to connect to that particular individual. And this is something that, you know, every, I guess, as well, like, the mentor is quite a personal thing.

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It is a personal relationship that you have with someone else or something else. And I keep saying something, because the mentor doesn't necessarily need to be a person. It could be a book, it could be the Quran, the Quran could be your mentor. Absolutely, it could be.

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And why not? What better.

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And some people would relate to that. It could be your account. So if you look at this, if you look at Ibrahim alayhis salam, you don't really find in the story of Ibrahim that he apart, you know that he has a mentor per se, except you see that his his intellect, his common sense, his application of thinking, you know, the people worship the stars, but in the stars go on the moon comes and it's like, well, that's bigger than the moon goes in, the sun comes in, that's greater, and then the sun goes. And he realizes that all of these things are temporary, all of these things are transient. So in his, it's his, it's his ability to deeply process and understand information in a deep and

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profound way, that helps him.

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But many cases, most of us need a person.

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And that's what most of us will find most useful. And that is why you find there's a very strong tradition. In Islam, there's a strong tradition, within our religion, of, of needing the guidance of a share of needing the guidance of scholars of going to people who are going to guide us not only in terms of alien of religious knowledge, but you know, also in terms of spiritual guidance, of morals, of manners, and so on, and so forth. Because these are people who have been on a journey. And because they've been on the journey, they are going to be able to help and guide us along the way and a good mentor is going to understand you, a good mentor is going to be able to

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relate to your own specific nuances. And you know, like I said, different people and different things are going to appeal to different people. So you know, so this is the benefit of, you know, this is the benefit of the mentor so,

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and you could have different mentors, you may be not just one at different stages in your journey, you may have different mentors. So,

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a few stories. A few stories come to my mind about this. First, the first one that comes to my mind is Musa alayhis salam, right. So Musa I can think of in a sense, has very two clear mentors,

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that are human beings that we can think of so the first is the father of his wife. Now, in reality, if you think about it, he acts as a mentor for Musa so when Musa flees Egypt, and he goes to Sinai or wherever it is that he goes to.

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And as we know from the story, he finds these two girls waiting to water their sheep.

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And he takes the sheep for them and waters them. And then you know, the father of these two girls decides to marry Musa to one of his daughters. But in this process of getting Musa not only to marry but also to work for him. That is in fact a time type of mentorship. He realizes that this is a type of mentorship. He is actually mentoring Musa he is actually guiding him on this path in order for him

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To be able to make this transformation that he needs, because if you think about Musa he's raised in this, you know, the house of her own, and he gets into these fights, he kills a man, you can understand that this is a whole, something very different that Musa, you know is now having to do becoming a herder of sheep. So this is actually a type of mentorship that he is given. And the other of course is Heather. Heather is another really great example of and there's there's another type of character, we'll find any hero's journey that fit that also fits into that. But that's another example of mentorship. Another really great example of mentorship is in the story of the boy in the

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king. So I think I guess you're all familiar, I hope you're all familiar, at least with the story of the you know, the boy in the king. That is the story that surrounds that is in surah turbo Rouge. So it's the people of the ditch that, you know when that it's you know, and I'm not going to go through the throughout, I hope you know it. But but in the beginning of the story, the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam told us there was this boy, and there was a magician, there was a king, and Allahu Allah, Most people say this was in Yemen. And the king was a tyrant. And one of the ways he controlled and manipulated people was through magic. And the magician was getting old, and he needed

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an apprentice. So this boy was chosen as to be The Magician's Apprentice, and he lived in a particular village. But in this village, there was also on the way on the outskirts of this village, there was also a monk, a Christian monk, and the boy used to visit this monk. So now Now, what's interesting is that we have two types of mentors, we have an evil mentor, a misguiding mentor, which is the magician. And we have the good, the pious, the righteous mentor, which is the monk. But again, this is an example of

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a really good example of this, you know, this mentor that appears, in order to help this boy, make this truly heroic, because what he does, if you look at his, his, his story, it's,

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you know, an entirely heroic story of, of true heroism, concerning his concern for people to of course, ultimately, not only cure their physical ailments, but also to, you know, cure their spiritual ailments to, to bring them back to Allah subhanaw taala.

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So brothers and sisters, practically, I guess the practical dimension of this is, one of the things that is really good that you can do for yourself

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is to find someone who can mentor you, when you realize that you need to make this transformation. Now, I mean, traditionally, the mentor is not someone who is paid. It's not like a, you know, like a coach. But at the end of the day, that's fine. Like, the basic principle is, what is important. And the basic principle is, when there is something challenging that you want to accomplish, when you get this call to adventure, there's nothing wrong with seeking the help of someone who really knows what they're doing, and who knows what they're talking about. In fact, in reality, you're much more likely to succeed, if you do that. Just make sense is just common sense. Right. And one final thing

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I want to say about the importance of the mentor, you see, ultimately, the the journey of the true hero is ultimately a journey,

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an adventure of you, overcoming your ego. And it goes back to what we've been talking about for years and years now.

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And that is

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knowing yourself, stop telling yourself stories.

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Know who you truly are, understand what's really going on your head master, become a master of yourself, master your desires and your impulses and your passions.

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You be the controller of them, not them being the controller of you. So this subduing your knifes, this controlling your ego, this mastering of yourself. This ultimately

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is what it's all about. On a personal level, right. And part of part of the completeness of that is realizing that you, there's more than just you, there are others. And those other people are important. And sometimes, no, not sometimes always, you have to sacrifice yourself, for the sake of others.

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Right.

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But at the same time, don't let people manipulate that noble sentiment.

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As some people do, they want you to sacrifice and they say, oh, to sacrifice for the greater good, do this for the good of everybody. But it's not for the good of everybody. It's just to further solidify their power and their control. And of course, that's part of the hero's journey, is understanding and realizing that there are really malicious evil people, tyrants, who will use all of these noble lofty and good sentiments that people have,

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but use it for their own nefarious ends and purposes. And that's part of what we have to try and sort out. Again, that's why we not we need to find the right mentor. But ultimately,

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that's another important point about having a mentor, it is the first step in reality

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of taming the ego. Because you now are going to move away from that, you know, the first span of knowledge, what's the first span of knowledge is when you get a little bit of knowledge, you think, you know, everything. And, you know, that's very often what happens to teenagers, right? You know, when they reach 17 1819, you know, they've been to school, you know, they're immersed in all of their studies, they're discovering all of these new things. And you know, and they get to the stage, which sort of goes back full circle, why often parents are not the mentor.

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Because children get to a stage where, you know, there's a time when it in a kid's life where they think their parents know, everything, you know, they think whatever comes out of their mom's mouth is the absolute truth. And as they get to know more and more, they begin to realize that actually, their mom probably got a lot of stuff wrong. Probably their dad as well got lots of stuff wrong, you know, that they realize that they're just fallible human beings. And often people switch to from, you know, having the sort of complete faith in their parents. And whatever they say is true to sort of thinking now they know everything, and their parents don't know anything.

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And this, this is dangerous from the point of view of the ego, right? Because then the person begins to think that they know so much stuff and they are so knowledgeable and the ego is really now boosted and you know, so finding a mentor is very important. From that point of view. It's also very important as a first step in subduing the ego and controlling your impulses, which is absolutely key to be successful on this adventure in this journey. So anyway, brothers and sisters, I hope you found that really interesting and humble. I definitely found it. Interesting talking about it. And until next week as Salaam Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh