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Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

Chapter al-Ahzab

59. O you Ascended Master! Tell your peers, and your newly formed ones, and the less advanced of the ones who are secure, they draw near to themselves of what they attract. That is closer, so they are known and not harmed. And Allah was Forgiving and Merciful.

We are more than just ourselves. As individuals, through our actions we represent entire categories or groups of people. Consider the police: if one officer makes a grievous error in judgment in the line of duty, is this not often said to reflect poorly on the force as a whole? On the flip side, do we not have resource officers stationed in public schools in part to encourage children to view the police as accessible and kindly community helpers? How we behave, whether on or off the job, gives observers an impression of the profession or community we represent. As such, we must be determined to not only behave in accordance with the utmost standards of professionalism and high moral character, but we must also take care to surround ourselves with others dedicated to a similar goal. Otherwise, we risk tainting outsiders’ impressions of the groups we represent (be them professional, religious, social, or otherwise), and we also risk absorbing negative influence that detracts us from making progress in our development towards higher states of being.

Have you ever been a teenager, or raised a teenager? Consider the parental advice to mind the company you keep. My mother used to tell me, “tell me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you who you are.” What social environment would you prefer for yourself or your children: one defined by laziness, disrespect, dishonesty, and self-absorption, or one that fosters industrious responsibility, compassion and loyalty, generosity and integrity? Surrounding ourselves with high-quality people helps ensure that we remain on-track to be and become high-quality people ourselves.

This verse from Chapter al-Ahzab calls to Muhammad as an ascended master, a high-character individual, now leading the nascent Muslim community. It asks him to reach out to other people, beginning with his closest peers supporting his mission and expanding to include newcomers to Islam and all those who are less advanced in secure understanding and faith in the message he was bringing to humanity, to remind them to “draw near to themselves of what they attract.” In other words, people should be mindful of what energy they want to bring into their lives, and keep company accordingly. Then, their social environment will enhance the resonance of their intentions.

Regardless of your milieu, of course, the most important work you can do to ensure your spiritual success is to work on your own self, on your own being level. Once you dedicate your heart to purifying yourself of ego’s natural pull towards fear, selfishness, greed, anger, and so on, and set the feet of your spirit on a straight path towards harmony with the universe, you will be able to “do the right thing” automatically. Nothing will be able to distract you from your mission to live in a pure state of the highest order, and “submit in peaceful submission” to this ordered flow of the universe (see Chapter al-Ahzab, verse 56). As physicist and consciousness researcher Tom Campbell puts it, we must “lower our entropy.” Reducing the chaos within ourselves purifies our being and our actions, which then leads our existence to have a purifying effect in our community.

When we are well, we act well. When we act well, our example (perhaps in addition to our direct guidance) encourages those around us to behave in a similar way. Others observe our collective beautiful presence, and cultivate a positive impression of the communities we represent. So whether you are a soccer player, an engineer, a dentist, a housewife, a student, a musician, a person of faith, an employee in any field–no matter your individual identities, strive to be a high-order individual, and surround yourself with a high-quality community to amplify your efforts. We will all be better for it.

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