Life’s Perception in the Syriac Culture
From the get-go, I want to stress that when trying to understand the feelings of dear Syriac masters / malfones, connoisseurs of word and pen, healers of the soul who tried to describe the meaning of life and truth through the magical associations of words and aspired to salve our spiritual wounds with their creations, I was faced with the truth of the words, “Humans are human when they act righteously toward God and truth, and morally toward creation.”
Starting in antiquity and continuing till the middle ages (5-15thcenturies), the literary productivity of life-loving Syriac masters states that a person’s material and spiritual growth and enrichment relies on the generosity and work discipline that they exercise in their field of responsibility. If they have internalized a service-oriented mentality, they value human dignity, which is holy. Thus, they gain strength from the spirit. Vital energy courses through their ego and keeps it illuminated. If they haven’t adopted such a mentality, vital energy turns against them and they fall victim to their self (ego). A service-oriented mentality necessitates giving back to life, pure and unadulterated, what one receives from it in order to gain more back. If all material and spiritual possessions are monopolized out of greed and laziness, they stagnate. With time, they depreciate and cause impoverishment. If a watermill refuses to unload its water, it will soon drown itself. However, if the water flows free, it will prove invaluable to the watermill by generating power. Everyone can enjoy ground flour. The same goes for humans. We are required to give back to life the gifts of divine will as assets toward our own self benefit, altruistic benefit, and individual and social peace. Otherwise, like the watermill, we will inescapably drown in our own water.
According to this mindset, the main thing is to turn from a desire for material gain, to a desire for meaningful giving. It is to be in a state of motion within the flow by serving others. Forto give and to complete is the essence of the spirit. Just as oxygen is needed to live, it is vitally important for continuity that us humans contribute positively to loving action, improve and enrich life/the world, and serve the flow of life. At this point, we really need this for a comfortable and happy life. In this context, one way we can keep our conscience and the voice of our heart clear without abandoning the good that is within us and without resorting to wickedness, despite events and circumstances that compel us to do evil is to stick to an unwavering sense of justice and strong spirituality. The key to all healing is remember our own divine truth, our essence which is love. As we come closer to this truth, we come closer to our innate ability, which protects human dignity and watches out for others. This is how we better achieve true friendship and fellowship. It is impossible to successfully apply what is known, what is learned without knowing and recognizing this truth. For truth is humanity’s compass. Hence the words “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The purer, cleaner and smoother the mirror of one’s soul is, the easier it is for them to understand and comprehend the truth. With a spirit of self-control, they take command of themselves.
The value and esteem of a mindful person is proportionate to what he produces, not consumes. A responsibly thinking person’s reason for existing is to contribute positively to life and society. At the same time, serving human development and social progress is a method of attaining divine truths. Therefore, those who have a vision for the future should break free of existing restrictive approaches and strive to shape the future according to rational needs. The greatest source of success and happiness is divine truths coming to life, being life, giving life to spiritual growth and development, accomplishing this without forgetting that one is bound with bonds that must be developed through justice.
Seeing those who contribute helpful services in their work life, appreciating what they’ve done, making their efforts worthwhile is a mark of civilization. Though it feels nice to be understood and appreciated, it encumbers one with new responsibilities. Because appreciation that is shown towards a person who has discovered their spiritual character, discovered themselves, grasped the goal and purpose of life gives them both responsibleness and motivation. This approach, which is important for the continuation of life and values, causes vital energy to abound. This approach is crucial in social life. Because sincere appreciation avails both the appreciator and the appreciated. Sincere appreciation is just as necessary for human development and social maturity as constructive criticism derived from good intentions. As the saying goes, “It’s not just the thirsty who seeks water, water also seeks for lips to quench its thirst.”
When we focus on carrying out justice/divine will rather than worrying about satisfying our needs, it ought to be known that we will be provided with what we need, as in the daily prayer “nehvesebyonoğ / your will be done.”What matters is that people value themselves and others. What matters is being able to complete others as much as one can.Intentions are very important in all areas of life, especially in one-on-one relationships and collaborative works that require unity. “Action without intention is worthless, insincere intentions are soulless” stresses the importance of intentions not efforts. Don’t forget that “When we live according to our greatest light, we will be given even more light.”
What matters is to preserve moral tenets and retain human values while on our life journeys, while serving; to fixate on self-love, self-respect, self-control, and self-compassion without putting on airs and resorting to oppression. During the process of giving back, if a person’s service can reach in and touch their spirit, then the words of their mouth, the words they write down, and anything they offer life will be equally valuable and meaningful. For life is sometimes assignment and duty. And assignment and duty are life. The energy that generates both of them is love. Love is what gives meaning and value to all those of good character. True creative love bears no negative thoughts, meanings, or actions. In the event that it does, moral decay begins to take place.
Since, at the end of the day, everyone is destined to be buried in their own conscience, whatever we give to life, whether good or ill, is a self-investment. The bank of conscience never goes bankrupt. Whatever we do, we do to ourselves. For people experience/will experience the reflection of the light they emit. It ought to be known that peace and stability between people and social harmony is dependent on the sincere preservation of human dignity and the rights that arise from this dignity, as well as the development of a meaningful whole that is accordingly consistent.
In conclusion, what I’m trying to say is, can there be a responsibility or task greater than being the earthly representative of divine love? A pleasant expression, smile, or word can refresh a person. A mean look, word, oppressive behavior will ruin one’s day and break their heart. Because a person’s greatest asset is their heart, their spirit. This heart, this spirit always long for understanding.
In these ancient words of wisdom, “The quality of timber is determined by its pith; the timber of a man is determined by his words.”
President of Syriac Language-Culture and Literature Association / Mardin