Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
We frequently say, 'I dislike him,' 'I wish to avoid her,' but if we examine this carefully, we find it is the same element in all that we dislike, the ego. And when we turn to ourselves to see if we have it in us, we find it is there too. We should forget it, therefore, in other people, and first turn our attention to crushing it within ourselves. We should determine to have our house clean even if other people neglect theirs. We should be careful to take away from ourselves any thorns that prick us in the personality of others. There is a verse in the Quran, which says, 'Arise in the midst of the night, and commune with thy Lord... Bear patiently what others say.' This is not only a command to rise in the night and pray, but it also means that by rising in the night we crush the ego, for the ego demands its rest and comfort, and when denied, is crushed. The mystics fast for the same reason. The Sufis base the whole of their teaching on the crushing of the ego which they term Nafs-kushi, for therein lies all magnetism and power.
For every soul there are four stages to pass through in order to come to the culmination of the ego, which means to reach the stage of the rose. The first stage is that a person is rough, thoughtless and inconsiderate. He is interested in what he wants and in what he likes; as such he is naturally blind to the needs and wants of others. In the second stage a man is decent and good as long as his interests are concerned. As long as he can get his wish fulfilled he is pleasant and kind and good and harmonious; but if he cannot get his wish and cannot have his way, then he becomes rough and crude and changes completely. And there is a third stage, when someone is more concerned with another person's wish and desire, and less with himself; when his whole heart is seeking for what he can do for another. In his thought the other person comes first and he comes afterwards. That is the beginning of turning into the rose. It is only a rosebud, but then in the fourth stage this rosebud blooms in the person who entirely forgets himself in doing kind deeds for others. In Sufi terms the crushing of the ego is called Nafs Kushi.
~~~ We should be careful to take away from ourselves any thorns that prick us in the personality of others.