First in First Out (FIFO) vs Last in First Out (LIFO)

In a world obsessed with rank and position, we often encounter issues related to being first or last in something. In the world of accounting FIFO and LIFO, are two means of counting inventory and how to depreciate the inventory and offset it against income, in a form of depreciation expense, with each method having its own pros and cons regarding cost related issues.

Yet, the use of FIFO and LIFO and many other variations of keeping score, in trying to determine who achieves what, and in what order, do not just relate to the field of accounting. As often all of us can become focused on position, rank and keeping score. None of which brings us peace or release from anxiety.

However, in the realm of spiritual evolution all spiritual masters’ advice is based on not being focused on either LIFO or FIFO, nor any other combination of keeping count. In the East there is an expression or an idiom which says: “whenever you pull a fish out of water it will always be fresh.” Meaning that the freshness of the catch is independent of the time you haul it in. Thus, what is important is actually starting the process and not the timing of the start, nor the timing of the perceived outcome. As it’s starting the process that is important, and not necessarily when one starts, especially as the journey is invariably an endless one.

The other important point to note is that the actual counting of the process is not done by the seeker, nor by the actual master overseeing the student, but by the higher consciousness through the development of the soul of the seeker. Therefore, what is important for this development is one’s perseverance and effort, not timing. For depending on the method, effort and divine mercy, a new seeker may travel many spiritual waystations in a short time; while another, who began the path a while ago, may still be stuck in the initial waystations!

Thus, what matters is the result of the process, which itself is not dependent on time! For as Jesus said:

“‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Therefore, Jesus defined the connection to higher consciousness through a process that leads to the purity of heart. This in itself is dependent on effort and divine mercy, and not when one starts the process.
Jesus also defines the method of becoming a recipient of divine mercy by stating:

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.”

Hence, Jesus advises all seekers to become one with mercy, in order to be the recipient of divine mercy! This statement also paves the way to understanding another statement of Jesus when he famously said:

“Be perfect, therefore, as you’re heavenly Father is perfect.”

As through this statement, Jesus gives us a clue as to how to achieve spiritual evolution, by emulating the perfect characteristics, or attributes, one associates with the higher consciousness. For by gathering all those traits like a giant jigsaw puzzle a spiritual seeker can become a complete human, which some sacred texts define as a vice-regent of higher consciousness on Earth.

Consequently, the capacity of becoming a vice-regent of higher consciousness is inherent in all humanity regardless of gender, race, religion, creed, or belief! All it requires is for us, as seekers of our souls, to release this inherent potentiality, by starting the process of spiritual evolution of mind, body, and soul, through a method that allows us to develop our inherent capacities by finding each of the above-mentioned jigsaw pieces within ourselves.

These teachings of Jesus are universal spiritual teachings that are present in many other paths, whether it be Buddhism, Hinduism or Sufism. This is why an enlightened master, like Gandhi, often used Jesus’ words in his dialogues with the Viceroy of India, in order to garner unity and peace. As Jesus’ teachings are universal for all seekers of the soul, regardless of the path they follow in pursuit of their development.

Thus, focusing on FIFO or LIFO or any other combination is simply a distraction that seekers must avoid, and must instead focus on the divine puzzle that is within all of us. As a result of this process, one soon realizes that the completion of the puzzle does not actually yield a picture, nor an image; but instead, it results in the purity of heart mentioned by Jesus, which is in itself a mirror for divine light to shine its light on.

This is in fact the true meaning of enlightenment mentioned by many spiritual masters. As enlightenment is the process that leads a person to reflect divine light in each intention, thought, and action!

Rumi, who was a complete master, guides all seekers in his book Masnavi to become such a mirror. For he firstly guides those who don’t possess such a mirror within, to undertake the process of evolution by saying:

“Dost thou know why the mirror (of thy soul) reflects nothing? Because the rust is not cleared from its face”

Then, he tells all seekers what it means to be a mirror when he says:

“The Faithful are mirrors to one another”


He also advises all seekers in regards to the process of becoming a mirror, in terms of what is required in relation to effort and perseverance, by saying:

“If thou art enraged by every blow, then how wilt thou become a (clear) mirror without being polished!”

Rumi then gives further guidance in regards to this process, by clearly defining the process, when he says:

“Since they have polished their breasts (hearts) in commemoration (of God) and meditation, that the heart’s mirror may receive the original image”

He then goes on to describe the results of this process by saying:

“The face of the fair is made beautiful by the mirror, the face of Beneficence is made visible by the beggar”

This beggar is the same poor in spirit alluded to by Jesus who said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”


Rumi also advises all seekers and lovers of divine light in relation to higher consciousness to bring such a mirror to their spiritual union. For he says:

“I deemed it fitting that I should bring to thee a mirror like the (inward) light of a (pure) breast”

As in this union he says:

“He whose clear breast has become devoid of (any) image (or impression) has become a mirror for the impressions of the Invisible.”

Rumi finally defines the waystation of spiritual annihilation or Fana or nirvana, through the use of the same mirror analogy when he says:

“What is the mirror of Being? Not-being. Bring not-being (as your gift), if you are not a fool”

Consequently, what is important above all in the spiritual journey, is not FIFO or LIFO, but becoming a timeless mirror through following the teachings of masters like Jesus and Rumi, and not waiting or worrying about when to start. For as the aforementioned idiom advises, “whenever you pull a fish out of water it will always be fresh!” What is more, in this process there is no deprecation to be concerned about, as what all seekers gain as a result is appreciation of their own inherent capacities, and their innate capacity to shine divine light!