Allah is Beautiful, and Hu Loves Beauty!
When the primordial Question, "Am I not your Lord?" reached my perception, I remember, I had said, "Yes! And You are Beautiful! And I love You!" That became the anthem of my soul. Then I was put to sleep. Now I wake up. This is a chronicle of my awakening.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
And within it, the slightest shimmers of comfort.
I feel as though I am walking alone in a wilderness... in an utter aloneness... bewildered, but not quite. Sad, but not deeply. Moved - and yes that I am!
Sometimes I doubt if I am really grounded in reality. The world does something else, and I see something else. What I see then eventually comes true. The distance between my seeing and its realization, though, sometimes seems to stretch.
I will be more honest now. First, what does it mean to be honest and to be not honest? To me, it just means this: the more quickly I accept myself, the more I am integrated, there are no spaces within me.... and that makes my word honest, and my action, integrated. Until the thought, word, and action are the same.
I am at such a point of acceptance of who I am that at once feeling true, and at another level: lost. Alone. Disconnected. I have grown rapidly over the past few days, and it is my mission to continue to achieve certain goals by the Saturday - when it will be my birthday.
Dear me! Listen to how I command myself!
I am so tired. I am restless. I am aware of something much larger than I have known before. I feel desperately alone in this new world. I wish I had another to relate this to - yet it is my choice to sacrifice that wish in order to be closer to Hu.
I believe I shall see the end of this temporary wandering, this bewilderment, that I shall find what I'm looking for - or rather, it shall find me.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
I am feeling terribly sad at the moment. OK, the word terrible overdoes it, not that sad really, but enough to have forced out a tear.
Yes, yes, alllllllll I want is to get your affectionate attention. I mean my only passing solace is this that I have at least started feeling closer to You again, and not as distant and cast outside as I had thought myself out to be.
I talk too much.
So. How do I make fun of my situation? I mean there's this urge in my heart to petition You, to communicate with you in my human wordy language. to draw Your attention, even though it's already there. And somehow, not to do it such that it is ungrateful.
You are You, You change not, the only one who changes is I with respect to you! I am the only one really learning to dance here, for You are already in Your pre-determined glory!
So I feel like a mouse, who has been caught stealing stale cheese. And while the cheese was being whisked away, I manage to stuff a bite so big in my mouth that I can't swallow nor would spit. It's too big to let go, and too much to digest. This bit of stolen stale cheese! This desire that is stuck in my throat, that I am not spitting out! You know it's stuck in the mouth of this hapless mouse. You are laughing, for Your benevolence always plans something far more interesting and rewarding than a stale piece of cheese. But I am a mouse with a limited capacity for intelligence, and I think I better hold on to my ill-benefiting loot!
You have turned me out empty like a wallet full of forgotten knick-knacks, but there is a coin still stuck in.
I am astounded at the tenacity of my own desires! How absurd!
So this is my situation currently. Are You laughing? For I am near tears! I believe In You, and I am in tears.
I cannot laugh at this any longer Allah! You have created me and Your knowledge of my being is subtle and all-pervasive. You have known me.
I know You too. It could not be that You give me an improbable stone and I can hammer it into shape. This is an improbable stone. Because it is Desire, and I am not meant to have it.
You alone are privy to the pain that I have felt for my plans. Those perfect, fixed plans. Those ideas, notions, concepts. It all seems so right, but it all goes so wrong. I am not going to blame the whole scheme of things. I am going to accept that what I put my heart after is not what is meant to be achieved this way.
I am going to accept that You have an infinitely better idea for this mouse, dangling as of now from Your fingers by the tail, wailing in misery. Laugh! Humor Yourself! I am a clever enough mouse to smell the abundance I haven't yet seen.
Yes, I am miserable at the thought of giving up, but it's momentary. I want to share something with You. My heart is in considerable sadness, but I am thinking, I should trust You.
After all, for all the other things that I have given up, I have always found that which is far more permanent and indestructible, right in the middle of the chaos of this world. I have found security, depth, and joy.
I am really miserable Allah. I am miserable for my desire. I thank You for the growth You have given me through this trial, but I am thoroughly done with this. My heart tells me that it is time for me to have learned enough.
You know I have decided to dedicate these next few days entirely to myself. (Well, this has not happened quite the way I imagined, but I am content that I am following an emerging plan.) I have decided to let go of both physical materials and the desires of my heart. This could be temporary insanity, but it's something I am going to do to lighten myself enough to be ready for the massive transitions You have set in motion.
And so, I had started giving things up - things that I love, but things that I wanted to give away to enrich the lives of another. Yet there is this thing that remains: my plan for human love.
This is hard for me, and then again, not so completely. I am hapless in or out of love. I have had to speedily transform so many of my relationships - transforming them into something benevolent, something that allowed my growth also.
Yet there is this one that remains.
I am helpless, I am truly tired. I am blessed, and in gratitude. I am floating, and I am not alive.
I will, in short, to hand over to You. To let go. To give up. Utterly. Completely.
I want to empty myself out to You. Fully empty.
Where I am empty, You are Filling - and I will not even ask for this fulfillment. Have with me as You may Your way. I am not frightened of You anymore. I trust You. May be I pretend it is hard for me to give up, but my heart is so full of grief for withholding from You, that I wish, at some level, for this emptiness... for this Surrender.
Take me! Take everything I possess! Turn it to dust, and blow it all away! Free me from my enslavement! Grant me the freedom of complete surrender, of annihilation, of death before I die!
Release me from my desire!
Take my eyes, mouth, hands, feet! Finish the I off, and Be You! In all Your glory!
Can you read what time is it on The Clock?
Don't bother to look. It's become irrelevant in the brief moment since the question was asked.
Don't look here nor look there. Nor even look within yourself into that vast un-ending multi-verse.
Stay put and quiet, and do as you are told. You are told everything by the signs of the Universe. The only requirement is your ability to hear and see, and then re-tell it in your words.
This is the eternal formula:
what comes to you > what you do to what comes to you > what you send forth
It is in this doing of yours to what comes to you that you have any choice, or "freedom." That it shall go forth from you is just as inevitable as it was inevitable that it comes to you.
It is in this doing of yours where your CODE is, and all your journey is only your enabling yourself to read your own code. Everything that you know about will, fortune, or morality is the very long story of this very short gap.
What you call "Time" is no more than your choice to act or not. Whatever gets in the way of you swiftly closely this gap in every situation is Time. This time takes many shapes: thought, worry, guilt, reversion, aversion, dwelling. It is all one and the same.
Remember, one is also aging as a human! Aging is not time. It's a process of progress of our soul. Cultures make it out to be a calamity to avoid. Indeed, it is only to give us a sense of progress, or we should have languished in inaction.
So now to revert to the purpose: Prophecy, this is my two word advice to you for this moment:
MAKE DECISIONS. As quickly, boldly, fearlessly, and fluidly as you can. Make decisions.
Decision define us, and the nature of this life is definition. Manifestation. Remember! That is your purpose of being: Manifestation! Letting things be! Indecision stands in the way of the remarkable flow of life. Let life be! It is a choice. It is not a reluctance or ignorance or forgetfulness. To choose is to have lives your life!
And since Rumi is active in your soul these days, here I quote what a friend quoted:
"Hu is a letter to everyone. You open it. It says, 'Live!!'"
Decide! And hence,
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Despite the certainty that my words would come true most dramatically, I would say, in this state of a helplessly indeliberate intoxication, "Carry on!"
Fall apart, you Old World! You have confined our souls for too long! You are the kind of world in which children are brought up to believe that scientists are unraveling mysteries and the poets are dreaming.
How much more opposed to the Truth of Being a world could be? The more science has explored, the more the atom has split and split and split. And when this world has reached its inevitable crumbling end, we realize, all of us were sleeping, and the poet was awake, composing!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
One of my favorite words these days seems to be "lyrical." The idea of lyrics is closely tied with fluidity. Lyrics flow.
The state of fluidity is to have no blocks.
There are no blocks once there is no resistance.
No resistance is surrender.
Surrender is to allow life to be lyrical. To allow life to reveal its poetry.
But I was speaking of love - and poetry. In a state of surrender to the energy of Love, we feel its force, its ebb and flow, its rising and falling, much as we experience poetry. Love has its own rhythm.
And it is this rhythm which may explain the connection between poetry & love, and Rumi's words and a divine sense of love that is at once individual. Rhythm is the ebb and flow of energy. A rhythm that flows out of surrender has an energy that is out-flowing and abundant. It is an energy that gives. It is an energy that is the force of life. It is the kind of energy that you can see throbbing alive in a leaf, or the warmth of the one you love.
I feel at once in a state of surrender, and of love. And the beauty is, that this is love that is not demanding me to split between The Divine and the Human - it is the One and the Same. Indeed, is it not the beauty of Rumi's poetry? The universality?
Yet was it of Rumi that I meant to write?
No, I meant to write of just poetry, love, and I.
A few days ago, a poem occurred to me. It was inspired by human love, yet when I began to write, I addressed it at once to God and human. Is there a difference? No longer, for me. It cannot be, because if one speaks of love, and holds the concept in integrity, then there cannot be God and another who is somehow apart from God.
Let this not confuse minds. It means that once we surrender to God's Will, love flows out of it that bathes our Universe in its glory. After that, whoever we love is by the Will of God, and that makes our love no separate from God (Who we know through Hu's Will).
Have I made this complicated? I am interpreting the lyrics, which is not a fine practice. Love is poetry, and great poetry is a bit of mystery. Yet these are times of mysteries unraveling, thus we know all is One. If it were a mystery, we'd still see more of everything.
I am not making sense. My head is still full of poetry, intertwined with the oft-unmagical quality of this existence. But I love this unmagicness, for it allows me to transform it through love, and a bit of poetry.
Rumi image courtesy: Rumi Sushi
You and I
there is yet
In that distance
live our stories;
and on the other side
Your eyes and a smile.
when it seems
that the stories -
the broken histories and the futures -
that will bleed the feet
of those who dare tread upon them.
But on this side
is a heart of love
and on the other side
You and a smile.
aka The Prophecy
Hmmm. I started writing this poem on a sudden inspiration on a camping trip over the weekend, when I was interrupted after the first line. I am sleepy right now, and this is what has flown out of my fingers. I think I initially wanted to "resolve" this distance in between - but this poem says to me, "Let me be, I am finished! I am finished on a smile!"
Well. I should get used to mystery again.
My self revolted against me, and I thought I was either going to die, or end my own life. Either way, someone I deeply care about would not be around much longer.
That was not a happy thought.
I wanted to run away. To go elsewhere. To start another life.
And yet the calm internal voice said, "If you persist, you will arrive." It's just one of things that you know. You just know.
I knew I was under great metamorphosis. I also knew it was all for the great better. I knew it would "end." I knew my ego was putting up a great resistance, killing me from inside. And I also knew that if somehow I could not manage this state, I could end up dead or dangerous. So I briefly reverted to medicine to calm my mind - and then even gave that up. Let the pain do what it's meant to do: LEAVE ME!
"Surrender!" said my wise friend, Afie. I knew I must, but my ego roared in anger. After all, it had served me for a long time, but I have grown now. I walked that thin line between surrendering to what is, and surrendering to another's ego - and could not remember how to FORGET to see the difference between the two.
How to see One? How to see that all things come from and return to One?
I decided to surrender, not knowing how to, but knowing that responsibility of self is the only true choice of the free.
To be specific, I chose to control what I could, and let go of the rest.
I also realized that there are many things I have to take control of in my life, and I decided to do that, step by step.
But it was all such a toil, and I realized that I cannot go ahead with myself if I keep denying myself as the basic unit of my existence. What does that mean? That means that I am not to give up shaping my life - and enjoy the beauty of this very work. But that I cannot deny my essence. Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil I had eaten the fruit. But my soul no longer accepts the enslavement.
When Tashika said to me, "You are a free spirit!" it was as though a lid lifted off, and my soul steamed up and up!
I surrendered first to my hardship, and then to my essence. My hardship came to me for my essence is free.
When I started writing this, I thought I was going to write something short, lyrical, and mysterious. But now I am going to write the story - plain and simple as it is.
So. Well. This is I am. Right now. Comfortable with ambiguity. Certain of my unsureness. Yet in command.
I have surrendered to my condition, and in return, I am given what I was promised: my true self. I cannot explain my joy at this simple freedom: the freedom to choose my response, and to act it out.
But it is not a theoretical or worse - a delusional freedom. The results are immediate. In my work recently, I could see that I was not attracting energy. This is very unusual for me, for I have always had a verve for life and my project that others have found infectious. I know it, so I am neither shy nor humble - it is as it is. Yet I sensed that I was no longer projecting this love for life, but a darkness.
The simple act of me accepting myself has given me the freedom to love my life and work again- and that has once again attracted energy. Above all, after a long time, I have learned to say, "No."
No. No one else defines me. I know who I am. It does not matter if I do not know where I am going. Do you know where you are going? No. That's not the point at all. The point was to know WHO. I. AM.
The surrender that I was not making was my acceptance of who I am. It was the ego's insistence to stay involved in the little and the old. It sometimes seems fair, and it could very well be a part of our story. This is not a matter to be negotiated with the Writer of our story, for if we trust Hu, there is a better story for us than one we write for ourselves - because this latter one fails.
How liberating to be who you are, independent of others' definitions and demarcations of you!
And it is in this state that one enjoys true freedom and responsibility.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
but the temporal rising
of a wave
within the Ocean;
raising its head
to the surface
for an instance,
and collapsing again
into the origin
of its insignificant being.
Oh how long
of this wave
shattering into the Ocean!
aka The Prophecy
The very natureof a step aheadis that we have one foot forward,one foot behind.The very natureof curiosityis to takeforeverthis series of steps.Wandering.Wandering.Hereandthere.I am the kind of soulwhich will tryeverythingfor the first time,under an Oath of Curiosity.It is neither a dullness in what I leave
nor a desire for what I go to
that spurs this journey.
It is, simply, the Journey itself
and I.It is only a compulsion of the nature of my soulthat is at oncebound yet freeto take these steps.Thesetransitionalsteps.One foot in New,and the other in Old.by:_RAaka The Prophecy
I am in the strangest of moods today. I am in a transition. This time, the situations are very personal, and very dear to me. The world outside, of course, is also changing widly and rapidly. But the key that I hold to all this Existence is now in my hands. It is a key with which I open the Door - and go to the Other Side.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
So I am back, up awake. My heart has given me a clear directive: it needs a break. From my expectations.
About 3-4 days ago when I was feeling a bit exasperated at how slow things in my life seemed to be moving, I decided to step back as this thought occurred, and just take a good look at the events of the year.
- Early this year, when I got a dream offer to work in a documentary on martial arts of the world, I realized with some shock, a bit of embarrassment, and a tad of sadness that I am not the fit and able person in body as I am in my heart. I don't dwell on such emotions, so I knew I had to do something - but what? So far I thought that dance or martial arts would give me the balance I craved for. But dance had exhausted me and martial arts were impossible.
In infinite wisdom, God then blessed me with a few nights of such acute physical pain and distress out of the blue that I gave up indecision about an unusual program that I had learned of, and just went ahead and signed up to a slow & patient healing, balancing, & fitness regime.
Less than nine months later, my body has overcome more than a decade's worth of careless tomboy-ish injuries; my posture & poise have improved; and I feel stronger: not just physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Indeed, my spiritual teacher, upon examination of my imbalanced condition a year ago, had led me know that if I didn't get myself fixed, I could forget the spiritual path, which not for the faint of stamina.
God alone knows how much willpower my body was consuming a year ago just to keep going, and how much re-moulding of habit I had to do in order to be patient with myself through this process.
This alone is the most significant fundamental step I have taken in order to live the Beautiful.
Now, I am faced with the years' long consequences of having lived an imbalanced life. There is clutter - both physical and conceptual - in my life. I feel incredibly involved in the small stuff.
But wait a second! What am I doing? I was sharing how, 3-4 days ago, when I stepped back I was truly able to appreciate how far have I come in just a few months! How blessed am I!
To complain of myself right now would be to complain of the slow, surprising, and beautifully balanced work of God. Hu knows!
Everything is on its time. Indeed, much of my work in the external world seems slow because I am ahead of my self.
It's time for a break. During this 'break,' I shall actually be doing something even more significant: clearing the clutter out of my life and SHARING things. Hand in hand, I will be re-forming some habits.
This is a spontaneous decision I am making at 3:41 am, November 18, 2008. Because it comes from my heart, and I'm only the medium who is acting out her story - I trust that the One Who's brought me to it, is the One Who'll bring me through it too. Aameen!
This is the 'vacation reply' I've set up on Gmail. See you then!
I hope you are enjoying the winter. I have taken advantage of these extraordinarily quiet times to take rest, and take care of personal matters - most significantly, simplifying my life down to a few possessions. It's the culmination of a year-long practice of living more simply, responsibly, and in tune with Life.
Starting next spring, I shall be taking this practice forward. Meanwhile, I am taking a break to rest, reflect, and complete my personal projects - until the mid of December.
I may not respond but rarely to emails, calls, invites, etc during this time. You will be in my good thoughts and prayers, and I request you to keep me in yours.
See you on the other side! Amen!
Monday, November 17, 2008
We should have a feature of striking such crazies right from our desktops using Google Earth. We spot the pirates in real time, and a satellite can zap them. Somehow.
I must sleep.
After an August with interesting ups & downs, life since September has been strange. At the start of the month of fasting, early in September, I felt as though I fell in a void - and that feeling last about 40 days - which is quite a stretch for any such infinite feeling to dwell within a heart. It was the strangest of experiences: like being in an icy land that's not cold at all, just stretches endlessly. I think it was significant in ways that I did not understand. I only knew that my ego was experiencing a turmoil, and so be good for it.
I moved out of that phase almost just as suddenly. Though the "moving out" just marked the beginning of an intense struggle, actually, but one where I feel intensely empowered. I know how things are changing and what am I to do.
All this year, I have also undergone a strict physical training regimen. Ramadan was the high point of it, as I continued through the fasting. This is one of the most significant and blessed things to have happened to me in a long, long time.
So right now I am at this crossover point where I am returning to a position of strength - physical as well as mental and spiritual. It's taken a lot of breaking of the cobwebs of habits that I had developed during a slower period of my life to continue to awaken to this state.
Right now, I am feeling sleepy and bone tired. It's been so, so many days that I have been completely confined to my house with only rare trips outside. I have been thinking, writing, cleaning and sorting my life out. I have been making decisions. I have got a lot of work done. Because this journal often happens to be the only thing I can "talk" to, I can share this: sometimes I am so tired I just want to get up and run.
I know, though, that there are some long-term things in my life that need my attention and my going away now will delay the work I have been doing for so long. And my temptation is to just get up and go, without guilt. Perhaps I will soon find a third way, which is not so automatic as either of these.
Anyhow. I don't think I am making sense, that's because I am so sleepy. In my heart, I feel a strength and happiness that I haven't felt in a long time - and I say this even as I feel my words are a bit of a half lie, as everyday a great deal of desolation still surfaces in my heart. That's not too hard to understand given the life of anyone in Pakistan who gets to watch TV off and on. Yet as often this desolation is most felt when I am taking on my greatest challenges, I have a secret assurance that it's all for the right reason. My heart has taken up great challenges despite its feebleness. And because my heart lives in these challenges, the ache is inevitable. It just means it's the right thing to do - though I still can hardly tell.
I am not making sense. I just know I am very tired today. I even feel dull and a bit anguished when I stretch on despite my tiredness. My work seems behind schedule and there is a lot to do - but for one person who has gone through so much transformation in just one year, I am very glad to be here, to be still alive. I am glad I have made some very correct decisions, years ago when I didn't even know if I'd ever see the light of Hope again. I may think I am off my time, but God knows, that my work and life are ahead of me, and that everything is in the right place, at the right time. And that I am truly blessed.
I am still not making sense! I am sleepy. I have started making some very significant changes in my life that need the dedication of at least the next two weeks. These are going to be the two most liberating weeks of my life, when I am taking some seemingly minor but immensely significant steps in my life. They matter because I shall be taking my decisions - independent of my internal blocks - after a long time, that they will change lives, and that everyday issues as they seem to be, they will still build my character.
Great, now I have said all I wanted to say without making much sense. After all, this is what blog are for!
Off I go to the sanctuary of my God's Loving Arms.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This is the second half of a poem I wrote when I was 15 or so. One of my favorites. I forget the first part!
I miss you, and kiss you
in a dream, like a stream,
that flows, life goes
on 'n' on 'n' on 'n' on...
And so will it keep going
and I will remain entangled in my illusion
that it's you that I'm holding on to
and not your memories
and reminiscences of a lovely past
I am drowning silently into a soundless sea
and my mind creates blurred, beautiful images.
It hallucinates me.
While somewhere one the shore you stand;
While you, my life, and all the light fades away.
a poem partially recalled
aka The Prophecy
Thursday, November 13, 2008
One cannot be those who one does not want to be. One creates the world of their preference by living out one's own principles.
Be cautious, Prophecy. One is only robbed, if ever, of their essence. Rather, the chance to manifest their essence.
Trust that this is within your reach. Be human. Exercise that choice. The more you exercise your humanity, the more, you shall, inhumanity around you dissolve. It works that way - and only that way.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Prayers were not helping. I uttered the name of God "Wudood," but I did not feel like cheat-coding my own development. I couldn't initiate writing to my mentor without feeling that I already had an answer and therefore should not bother them. I did not want to discuss this with friends because often asking for advice invokes a pity I find incapacitating and annoying.
No. I had to find my own answer because I knew I had it.
Today, I intuitvely did a rather routine chore that suddenly starting warming up my heart....
It seems that I have learned much at a great speed in the last two years in particular, when I started making resolutions based on the lessons I was learning.
So if I learned that safer neighborhoods are an outcome of neighbors who watch out for each other, and smile at each other - then I resolved to connect with my neighbors and smile at regular vendors and maids and the children who walk down the street.
I made several resolutions. But there is one that I had a great deal of difficulty with: letting go of things. A great deal of this problem is very cultural. I feel in my heart I want to give to people, and give them things that I think are beautiful and valuable, and of use to them. Yet it seems that the society applies a great deal of economics to the issue. When I was a young child, it bothered me, but I didn't have to deal with the problem of giving or taking things - it was adult business, and I was often truly blessed that my elders made my birthdays and other events of celebration such as Eid truly memorable by sharing. We had a good life.
Yet this thing about accumulation, which grew more significantly in our culture as I grew up, bothered me. When I was teenager, I hadn't quite worked out the feng shui of stuff, and the equation of accumulation with stagnation, but I could tell that things took a lot of time. Indeed, I had a tough time because I was a girl, and I despised housework because I thought people make it the purpose of their lives and ignore what is. It still puzzles family and relatives that while I show skill in housework, I never like to talk about it. I thought it wasted too much time, how people went on and on and on going over the same stuff again and again without any sense of joy! It annoys me to hear people complain about their kitchens, their children, their studies, their school! But of course these things hurt if one makes an existential quest out of them!
I believe life has a larger purpose, and it's up to us. It's certainly not getting busy, even though hard work and dedication and loving the work are forms of worship! Now this was all too paradoxical for some.
While I understood the futulity of staying constantly busy, I never quite mastered the management of stuff. It is a matter of generosity, and it also takes a bit of a technical skill. I believe people can learn techniques simply through intuition - after all there has to be a first human who initiated any technique from boating to archery to lighting up fire. Intuition taught them what to do in the moment.
Yet in Pakistan, we live under a heavy wet blanket of a very oddly mixed-up culture, and it veils our eyes from seeing what intuition tells us. Our grandparents understood giving. But there seem to be a few generations starting with them, and continuing till now, that make accumulation a point of their being. It's gathering, gathering, using, storing, preserving - and constantly doing work to sustain that activity. This is madness! And it's phenomenal how this mindset has taken over the culture - it seeps down to advertising on TV and conversations amongst people. People are living for things. It's no longer things for people. What an odd life!
So, Allah says that true believers are people who give of what they love more. I love my books. I love Harry Potter, Eckhart's works, Coelho's stories. And it's also my books and some really old stuff that slows my life. I know it.
Two years ago someone gave me a book called Me to We. I loved it. It's about sharing, generosity, acts of kindness. It affirmed my beliefs. it made me cry. It whipped up my desire to give more! Oddly, I give more of my self than my things - while it's the former that's harder. Which is all the more why the latter seems to stop my spirit. Wow, this is an epiphany!
So. Today, I thought, why on earth did I not follow my instinct the moment I had finished with the Harry Potter series? The mania was still hot, and I wanted to ship the books to my little cousins. I just didn't! So here was this general resolution of "Clearing Stuff Out" and then the specific resolution regarding Harry Potter theat stayed unfulfilled.
They say that "In heaven are those who fulfill their promises." I think I am beginning to understand this at a deeper level now. Personally I am not a promise-breaker or a liar so I thankfully don't know much about hell. Yet everyone has flaws and mine was constricting the flow of my own joy - for fear of having to report on what I gave. Our lives are too controlled by our society and elders! Years of mal-practice later I have just reached the same old conclusion: "It doesn't matter what people think; defy them with righteousness. Or in the end, you will reach the same conclusion that you were right when you were right!"
As I went through my bookshelf pulling parts of the Harry Potter series out to mail to my cousins, suddenly there it was! A warm glowing feeling around my heart. A feverish blanket. A sense of connection, and of safety. I started thinking of making a game for my cousins: asking them to pick out lessons of life from Harry Potter and share amongst each other and wiht me. As I went through other books, I realized which family member or friend could use what. What a feeling of joy! Life is energy that travels amongst humans. It grows as each human adds to it. The source of it all is our hearts, and to plug that source is to bottle up joy.
Sharing, indeed, not just brings us joy. It grows us by growing others around us.
Amen to sharing! Amen to joy!
Sunday, November 02, 2008
But I reckon this last metaphor is a bit outdated. They say spirituality is evolving. There is no sky to look up to. There is now one's own self to turn to to get our prayers answered. I read this line from Urdu poetry that drives me to ecstasy each time I repeat it:
"Sawaal ban to sahee, mein teray jawaab mein hoon!"
Roughly, in English, this translates to, with a tone of gentle chiding or sweet exasperation: "Well, go on, become a question! I am awaiting to be the answer!"
Oh dear God!
I start writing out these blogs of mine when I am in an intense state of iztiraab (or ecstasy). When it is iztiraab, I decide each time I will put my heart out here. I will tell the world that I am human to the hair & bone, I get tired of what I consider sharing and giving, I need my sleep and rest and a gentle dose of love and understanding each day. I get tired of feeling alone and struggling. I get overwhelmed by my world, and I am tempted to run away from responsibility. But the people! The state of the people and their affairs! How can I run when I most want to?
I write in a state of anguish. But it doesn't quite remain so.
I heard Shaykh Hamza Yusuf on YouTube the other night. He said, "Pray in the state of Iztiraa___!" (OK I indeed even fact-check my personal blogs, especially when it's quoting other people, and it turned out he said Iztiraar. Now that's different; it's subtler and less edgy than iatiraaB. And now I wonder if it is iztiraab I feel, or iztiraar. God knows I am full enough to be feeling some of each, and then some!)
Bless fact-checking and scholarship! It indeed took my mind off whatever its state is!
And so it is iztiraar - "agitation, constraint, helplessness" - in which prayers are best made and heard. The Lord is the Lord of all creation, and Master of all states of the heart, and I am certain iztiraab qualifies just as well.
I prayed in my iztiraab and iztiraar - admittedly I am doing quite the contrary of good sense and despairing more than hoping. Silly woman, me. There are nights like these when I feel utterly alone. I wonder if my heart will be understood? I tire of myself, honestly, when I take the weight of the world upon my shoulders. But seeing people's tribulations and their misunderstanding, I feel no other choice but to stay around...
I think I have to translate this "staying around." It is obvious by our design that each human is a complete entity unto themselves. While I can tire teaching or educating others, I cannot for a moment assume the responsibility of even one other life. No. It's not possible, and it's not human domain. Our domain is to do our job - which can benefit billions of souls. Just as the Sun does a single star's job, but reaches out to trillions of souls - human and others.
So my personal, microscopic history moves with the history of the world, of the Universe, and sometimes I feel that as a burden. Tonight is one such moment. I am tired to the bone. I wonder when will people wake up? I also wish for love and compassion in my own life. I honor myself because I do not partake in the ethic of selfishness, and I am done with feeling guilty out of obligation to people with a sense of entitlement. All things kept equal, these people are in genuine need of their own consciousness, and may Allah grant them such.
I must resign from my management of world's affairs, and just be me. God, I believe, will take care of these people. Benevolence is the fundamental attribute of God. My work is ony my own search of excellence - of what is known as piety or taqwa. No more. It is beig clear on this point that will allow me to be of true service to God in whatever way God wishes.
May my iztiraar and iztiraab and may my peace and my sleep or the lack of it, may my consciousness and unconsciousness and clarity and vagueness - each living moment and state - takes me closer to Allah. May I see the Face of God, Who is at once the Most Manifest and the Most Hidden. May That Be First, may That Be Last.