Saturday, December 26, 2009

2010: My Resolution

2010 shall be The Year of Relentless Pursuit of Knowledge for me. 


~ ramla

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Intellectuals and Idiots

I have seen little difference between intellectuals and idiots.

The little difference is that intellectuals know that they are being idiots, while idiots are sincere.

In my life experience, I vouchsafe, I have gained more from the sincere quality of the idiot than the contrition of the intellectual. The first is purity; you can dismiss the fluff of idiocy from around it. The latter, at its core, is mal-intent. Evaporate the content of intellectualism, and you shall be left with something ill, distracting.


Irony [a poem]

I have found it easier to practice faith in the company of 'sinners', 
I have found belief in the hearts of those who apparently deny. 
I have seen character in the impious, 
and wisdom in those who babble incoherent. 

I have felt love in those who are frigid in presence,
and care in those who bark. 
I have seen earnestness in wretched dogs, 
as they are spurred with arrogance by those dressed in white.

I have seen something of the world.
Its reality is upside-down: an irony. 

aka The Prophecy

First published on Facebook
Friday, 18 December 2009 at 21:39

Disbelievers [a poem]

"Nay, nay, nay!"

What is the anthem of the disbeliever, 
the distruster of his own ear and eye, 
but Nothing!?

Nothing is what he gained 
at the end of his enterprise
which spanned, alas!, nothing-at-all!

There is nothing to be added to his repertoire,
nothing to be gained from his wisdom
(but the inverse of it).

Beware! For you may lose something of everything -- 
you may lose its essence, its loveliness -- 
through the constant chiseling of its somethingness, its tangibility, 
by the disbeliever's blunt blindness. 
His aversion to the experience of what-is.

In the company of disbelievers, gold is dust.
Diamonds are stone. 
They negate and thus, are not themselves.
They don't see, and thus, you shall not be seen. 

Because you are meant to be known, believe and be believed. 


At the writing desk
1:12 am


With small steps. One at a time. Now.



Monday, December 21, 2009


Dear Prophecy:

If you want to see how the world really works, imagine, for an hour, that you are not there. 


Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Dream of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and Humanity's Leap of Consciousness


Dear Self,

Today is Eid-ul-Azha. A day of sacrifice, a day of remembrance of
Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him)'s gesture of faith.

Sacrifice, however, was the way far before the time of Prophet Abraham
(peace be upon him). To give one's dearest thing away is a tradition
as ancient as humanity. To give away from one's possessions enabled a
human to move on, to ascend higher in character, to become empty, to
enable change.

The Qur'an acknowledges that there was a time when a fire would leap
down from the sky, and devour a sacrificial offering, as a sign of its
acceptance. I understand that this occurred in the most primal times
in human history, perhaps before the discovery of fire that could be
intentionally created through firestone. And that, at that time,
'religion' was a naturalist tradition.

A better phrase than 'religion' is 'the way' (which is what the Arabic
term 'deen' refers to. 'Deen' is not religion, nor is it ritual. Deen
is 'the way of life'.). It is true that 'the way' evolved with human
consciousness. If it is hypothesized that religion has evolved, and
that with advancement of human knowledge that which was once deemed
'beyond comprehension, beyond reach' became both comprehensible and
with human reach -- then this is exactly as it is.

'The way' is essentially the same, and yet it has evolved. To take an
example, spontaneous chemical reactions must have awed and even
overwhelmed the earlier Human. Today, humans replicate them in labs
and fabricate them in factories. Yet, the elements (as identified in
the periodic table) remain the same. Perhaps these elements were
200,000 years ago as they are today. Perhaps their relative
proportions have changed. Perhaps, the half life of many is incredibly
short. The fact is, however, that their totality has remained the
same. Total Earth has remained total Earth.

Human consciousness has evolved. The way we witness and describe and
identify and classify existence has evolved.

In order to evolve, to go ahead, humans have traditionally given up
that which was the dearest to them. Because that is the culmination,
the 'fruit', of the state they are in out of which they seek to
evolve. When one gives up the most significant outcome or achievement
of a state (or stage), they are free to move on to the next state (or

Sometimes the situation compels a human to seek that advancement --
that is, they reach a visible roadblock -- and sometimes an inner
voice, a curiosity, an inner urge, one's 'own idea' become their
inspiration to seek that advancement. Either way, it's one and the

Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) ushered in a new era in human
consciousness. It was he who rebelled from ancestoral gods; and he
broke away from a naturalist religious tradition too. The story of the
young Abraham in the Qur'an shares that he looked upon the sky and
observed the stars, the Moon, and the Sun. When he each rising, he
mused, "This brilliant object there in the sky must be
What-Governs-My-Affairs!" Yet as the stars, the Moon, the Sun -- each
progressively more luminous than the other -- set in the sky, Abraham
(peace be upon him) despaired of them. In each instance he declared,
"This cannot be my Lord!" until, finally, the most brilliant of them
all -- the Sun -- set too. At which the Prophet declared: "My Lord is
the One Who created all these finite objects!"

With this declaration, an era of consciousness in which the human
engaged with the Primal Mystery through natural phenomena ended.
Nature no longer frightened or dominated Human. Human became
integrated with Nature. Another era began.

This was the era of cognition as we know it today. One of the
underlying abilities of cognition is to alter one thing into another
through a metaphorical bridge.

Have you ever walked through Earth's cultures and realized that there
are some cultures which simply do not comprehend idiom or sarcasm --
anything which is not literally what it is? I once visited a mountain
village at the foot of a glacier -- as remote as they could get. In
that primal territory, I realized, people did not understand a joke or
even knew it was a joke. I participated in a joke that a group was
pulling on the villagers. Shortly, we realized, we were in trouble and
perhaps being cruel -- because these people took us for our word
(about a 'marriage proposal'). We thought they were playing and making
conversation. But they were 'serious'.

Upon reflection, I realized they could not be otherwise. They lived in
direct touch with earth and their world was limited to a tiny village.
They had meanings ('a goat means food, economic power') but no
metaphors. Everything was direct.

So it was to the ancient human. Everything was itself. Phenomenon
spoke to them directly. Language was encoded as pictures of the thing
that it referred to, not as symbolic alphabets referring to that
thing. You can look at a cave drawing and tell that it spoke of a
bull. You cannot look at contemporary modern languages and tell what's
what. This ancient language had meaning, but it had no metaphor. It
could tell a story by painting a literal scenery of the event, such as
the story of a hunt. If this story had a 'moral, it would be fairly

Why, then, was cognition needed? Why turn one thing into its symbol?

One reason that comes to mind is 'portability' of information. Symbols
could point to the truth -- once again, as in equations of chemistry.
This also allows, for all practical reasons, a wider distribution of
knowledge which could now be encoded. "C-O-W" can tell you what is
being referred to without the need to touch or see the actual object.
It also facilitates learning by seeing.

More critically, it allows transformation -- an alchemical reaction
that turns one thing into another. This is exactly the point made by
the story of Abraham's intended sacrifice of his son.

Cognitive understanding, and working with symbolic language, is the
hallmark of the Abrahamic evolution in human consciousness. Abraham
defined the transition point when he saw a dream in which he is
'sacrificing' his son.

Let us pause for a moment, and come back to 2009. Much work has been
done in the field of symbols and, too, dream interpretation. Even to
this day, many people see dreams that appear to be literal, but are
indeed metaphorical. 'Being naked' (possibly) means getting rid of
pretense, being free, or even exposure and shame -- depending upon how
the seer of the dream takes nakedness in waking life, within their
cultural context.

Once metaphor is understood, the meaning can be, too.

Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was at the cusp of a transition of
consciousness. According to the Qur'an, the comprehensive knowledge of
dream interpretation first manifested through the gift of another man,
Prophet Yousuf/Joseph (peace be upon him), who was the progeny of
Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him).

Quite appropriately, Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) saw a dream
in which he 'gives up' his 'dearest thing' -- that being his son at
that time. This was the same son, from slave girl Hajra ('Hager'), who
had already been rescued from death in the desert which later became
Makkah the city as a child. An everlasting foundation, Zamzam, had
burst forth as a deserted Hajra searched for water fir his child.

According to tradition, Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) did not
immediately act upon the dream. However, the dream recurred. Finally,
he shared it with his son, Ishmael (peace be upon him) who said, "Dear
father! If this is what you see, then act upon it. You shall find me

Remember, at that time, humans were in direct touch with their
inspiration. They had no access to television, experts, and remotely
accessible data. To act quickly upon what appeared in their mind was a
matter of survival to humans, who had no 'sight beyond sight' as we
are granted today through electronics.

Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) followed the ancient literalist
tradition of taking a scene as it is, and prepared to physically
sacrifice his son. Sacrifice, as has been shared, meant giving up,
going on, going up and ahead. Sacrifice was noble. This dream was a
noble call, to the Prophet's understanding.

Tradition has it that even as Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) was
about to slaughter a blindfolded but willing Ishmael, he heard a sound
that declared, "Stop! Your intent of sacrifice has been accepted! You
do not need to slaughter Ishmael!" It is said that Ishmael was
'replaced with' a ram.

Finally, Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) had interpreted his dream
in a flash of inspiration.

And that was the moment when the human collective crossed over into
the new era of consciousness: the era of metaphorical language and
cognition. The beginning of an era where humans could gain knowledge,
transport it, and use it to bring transformation.

It was apt that the very thing that became the first symbol, through a
dream, was Sacrifice: giving up the fruit of the life lived thus far,
so a transition is made into the next moment.


by: Ramla Akhtar
on: November 28, 2009
Eid-u-Azha, 1430 Hijri

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Piling up all the books that are not mine, but which made their way on my shelves over the years. They must return to where they came from. Or I shall make up for the loss of the owner otherwise (sadaqa in their names, perhaps). One must not be in debt when one is wrapping up their business in the world. Why must one wrap up? For one truly LIVES the day that one is FREE of this world -- to the best of one's ability.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


For long, I had been hearing from the Universe: "I shall take from you. Give it to me!

This made me sick. Could *this* be the Face of God? What am I hearing? What could be asked of me? Why is it so dreadful, so opinionated?

Today I heard one word: "Share". I heard this voice not as a command from the outside, but a word from the inside. 


And all of what-has-been made sense! I was not listening to the inside that was willing to give. So it took the Universe to drum the message onto me. This is Benevolence. 

Share, share, share! Share freely of the gift that is free to you. Share your word. 


Give up, willingly. And see through the door that is not. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009


It is my intent to 'complete' the business of this blog -- this 'Quest
& Lust' -- and move n. I shared as much with friends.

Yet, a closing statement to share on the blog hadn't occurred
naturally to me yet.

Today, I have summoned my energy to deal with some old, yet unfinished
business. This blog *started* with that business. That is, the fall of
2004 - when my heart broke and scattered as dust.

Only one who had ever to undertake the task of reconstructing a heart
anew after such devastation can understand me. Perhaps.

What have I not seen meanwhile?

Light, dark. Friendship, estrangement, triumph, glory, bleakness,
wonder, compulsion, glory, debasement. I have experienced
enlightenment and dark, bleak moments that stretched upon days. So,
too, I have seen much sickness and ailment. How I have got through
these days and nights, only Allah knows.

Above all, I have seen that the human spirit, even when crushed to
crystal powder and mixed with common earth can retain its quality,
shine through, and, remarkably, gather itself again.

I have witnessed the miracle of creation through a prolonged state of
hanging on the verge of death.

I have lived.

For days now, I have experienced a paradoxical state: immense power of
spirit, extreme debilitation of body. My mind has never been sharper;
my heart, never been so powerfully connected. And yet, I have hardly
been so helplessly frail even as I enjoy a good state of health.

Today, after about a month of a bizarre sleeping pattern whereby I
work all night and sleep all day, I have found energy with me. I awoke
before noon. Then I turned to a task that as demanded my attention for
years. Something that is tied like an anchor to my being.

I turned to sorting out my papers.

Thousands of papers, accumulated over the years. A few disruptive
events meant that those papers -- those thousands of papers -- have
all mixed up.

Junk, and once-useful things expired over time mixed with my precious
creations: my writing and art. All things I wrote -- all prayers,
dreams, wishes; all stories of various ventures; all observations of
Nature & Man; all manuscripts and stage plays; all poems written by a
teenage me... *sigh!* all letters unposted; all chronicles of the
days; all things I learned and taught -- all them, all them beautiful
things lie there mixed with piles of brochures; notes from
conferences; memos from offices I long departed from; wedding invites
and birthday cards; course catalogs from universities I never applied

When did I get into the business of accumulating? Of dreaming and
hoping for many multiple contradictory things?


Sometimes I wonder if I dreamed on behalf of everyone I ever met.

Yes, that now seems to be the case. Oh so clearly!

I looked into their eyes, and I knew where their soul longed to be...
and I made a note of those dreams. I saw those dreams so well and so
clear, they often settled in my vision of things to be -- and I never
really realized so.

I have dreamed and I have dreamed of ten thousand things. All
originating from that single soul and its longing that is common to
all people of the Earth.

"I have dreamed for you all!"I shout into the vastness of the Universe...

The Christmas of 2008, I was having a word with a wise, gentle woman.
I was in pain, confusion. "Why do I do this, Sofie? Why do I see the
world this way? Why do I see in people what they don't see in
themselves! Why does it hurt me when they do not follow their path!?
Am I being obstructive, intrusive?"

"You see them," she assured in calm, "with God's eyes. You see them as
they are."

Ah! Yes. Seeing them as they are, not how they delude themselves to
become! See them with the eyes of The Creator. A creator. See them as
they are!

... And this is what a writer does: she listens, she sees. A writer is
the consciousness of a world that is still waking up. A writer is no
being of her own -- she is borrowed from ten billion souls, and
returns to them. She is the string running through the world. She
passes through all the beads and pearls, hidden in their core, and yet
not them.

I think my real work, too -- my creative projects and outcomes, my
pages -- have hidden themselves among all that paper.

To sort the Pages from the paper aches me, but it is (I see as I write
these words) the necessary ache that precedes all creation. It is an
ache that all writers endure, thrive in.

It is an ache I feel. It is an ache worth "having".


Saturday, September 12, 2009
The Writer's Room
Karachi, Pakistan

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

You Are Sufficient!

Honestly God, thank You! If You weren't there or Your belief wasn't in my heart, I don't know what I'd do! 

You, indeed, are sufficient for us. 

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A Fragile Formation

As our existence continues to pare down, we are only left witnessing the marvel of how fragile though absolutely firm it is! Every good word and thought that we could previously ignore or dismiss or bury under the sands of mundaneness now matters -- as if on it depends our precarious existence!

Oh what intensity has it taken for us to see the elemental Truth! 

Carry on, carry on! 

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Test Post: Blog-by-email, with images

Attaching images to posts right from within Gmail -- and blogging from email. Let's see if this works! 

Faiz Mahal, Khairpur Mir -- a memory


This beautiful palace is located in the town of Khairpur Mir, in the southern province of Sindh in Pakistan. I photographed this while on a visit in March 2006. A fascinating place with vast gardens and yes -- many abandoned artifacts that could serve well as restored antiques. Marvelous! 

(P.S. If you can see this image inlined, this means that this amazing new Gmail labs feature has worked -- and now I can blog with images right from Gmail! This memory is a demonstration to this effect!)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

You, Alone

As it is, no matter the human friends one may have, there is one chamber of the heart that always remains vacant. Nothing fills it, it is meant to be vacant. 

It is to that chamber that I retire when the goings on outside get aplenty to pay attention to. It is a chamber of such intense aloneness, in terms of what we are used to, that it can unhinge one for an initial while. 

No more does it unhinge me. I have always known how to retire to this place.... to be alone in the presence of who I truly am

The world? It can keep spinning. The people? They can keep changing and searching for permanence. 

There is no permanence. Not where they are looking. 

The impermanence silently guides to where there is permanence. Must know the meaning of impermanence! The gregariousness of being points to that chamber that houses no-thing. Stand still within the crowds, and you will being to see. 

~~ Oh, I just want to retire. To meet You in that space where You come to reside, no matter what my choices or the lack of them. There is a space in my heart where only You live, inevitably. 

You, and You alone. 

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prayer for Today, March 28th, 2009

Liberate the human who lives within my heart! 

Friday, March 20, 2009

~ Dancing With the Universe ~

My dear God of Awe! 

Today, I have looked at the Universe in utter fascination! Today I have danced with it so fluidly!  
Reams of my self have unfolded from within me! I twirl, and unfurl! And unfurl ~ And unfurl ~ ~ ~  
Everything, every word, every thought seems to have a singular imprint on it. It all seems to be I. It speaks to me as One, and I? 

I don't speak at all. It is not my place to speak, but to listen. I have spoken enough. I must now, only, watch in wonder. 
Which I do, I do! 

Making a Decision

Dear Self:

Let's make the decision today. Right now, about this life... about this ever-branching life.
You know the path that has your heart on it. Shall you, or shall you not take it?
If you cannot make up the mind about the path of the heart, then pray, honor this confusion. Take a moment. Take a deep breath. Write about it. See where the writing leads your soul. Never be afraid to explore your own "Yes" and "No". This is the only choice you have.
Enjoy the process of arriving at your decision, much as you would experience the joy that the decision, once made, will bring you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Tao of Being

I was going to make a wish, but that is foolish. One must enjoy their contract of being.  

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Deception of Phenomena

Dear Self:

Do not let phenomenon lie to you. Do not let good or bad actions deceive you.

The true measure of a human's quality is their character.

If character is well, all is well. Whatever they did, wherever they wandered -- all that brought them to where blessing is: in upright character.

If the character is ill, whatever that has preceded in their life has been in vain.

And those who show illness of character -- leave them. Leave them all no matter their numbers and ranks. Leave them without fear, regret, or remorse.

Now what does 'leave' mean?

It means:

- stay away from

- detach from

- do not take the burden of

- let be

- part company from or association with
- etc.

Some people we can physically or transactionally 'leave', some people we leave in the sense of giving up on them. Letting them be to their devices.

Why do I warn you? Because character elicits character in humans. Who you are with, makes you.

Be made well, because you shall in turn make another.

Watch your heart; watch all signs of illness in it closely. Where does it come from? Inquire upon yourself.

No! It is never old-fashioned or foolish to practice this. This is the only thing of worth you can achieve in life by your own work. Aspire to it.

Honor yourself, your heart, your space. Honor another, their heart, their space. Honor yourself, your heart, your space.

This is how it is.

Sleep well. ~

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Honor -- Part 2: What is Honor?

So, if honor is nothing more than our fragile attempt at earnestly, carefully holding the flowing waters of life in our hands ... watching them slip and flow on and on as we manage to lift our hands up every now and then to our parched lips and take a few sips of that water of life -- if this is all that this is, then I wonder why my heart is aching at all?  
If I have just witnessed someone I trusted with a confidence, behaving somewhat dishonorably, perhaps I must have sympathy. Their hands are trembling, grappling at what water must flow and belong to another... and this shows the insecurity of their inner state of affairs. Who snatches water from the hands of another without, ultimately, coming to the realization of the futility of it? Can you pinch water? No. It is a flow, it is held in our hands only when they are still, and bound together in humility. Never otherwise. 
Whosoever attempted to snatch the flow harmed themselves first, and then, to an extent, harmed another -- eventually never ending up with anything themselves. What shame!  
I am, therefore, not a snatcher. If I snatch from another, I snatch from my own right to hold. I snatch moments from my own life that could have been beautiful. 
Of course I only manage it to the best of my flawed ability. I have been tempted, I have doubted, I have washed my hands of my own affair in order to find another.... but I have always been returned to the condition of my own humility.  
As these words get written themselves, I am realizing what I have always felt honor to mean. 
Practicing honor is one's ability to withhold oneself from behaving in any way that harms another, that takes from another. 
Only I can truly withhold myself from the desire to take what rightfully belongs to another, for even if my body is chained, my heart can keep an evil intent. And if I am put to death, I would have died in a state of holding that desire. 
Now what is evil? 
Evil is to act as though one is separate from the rest of existence.  
It is only this which enables one to behave in any of those innumerable ways that humans identify as "evil." It is not the action itself that is evil, rather the thought that went behind it. Which is why, when someone gets in an accident because their car slipped on ice and killed a pedestrian, they are not held accountable. One who sped past red lights and ran into oncoming traffic, that one is held accountable for behaving as though they were not a part of the traffic. 

Honor -- Part 1: How to Live With Life

A few moments ago, the idea of "honor" grabbed my attention. A reel of thoughts and stories from my life played in my mind, and I was able to look back at a few incidents through the lens of honor, or, its evil twin, dishonor.  

In no certain order, I thus blog what came to my mind.  

I don't know what honor really means, but I know that I treat myself with it. Closely linked to the word "honor" in my mind is an image of holding something up in outstretched palms, holding it delicately like we'd hold water in our hands, preventing it from falling. And now as I write this analogy I realize that none can prevent water from slipping between our fingers. Perhaps, honor here is not water -- that flow of events -- but the act of honor itself is to hold your hands together in this humility.  

So truly, I realize, I cannot hold flowing water in my hands. What I can do is to earnestly put my hands together, and lap up whatever water that is ordained for me. Only that is what matters, and that is what is honor and honorable: the intent with which I cup my hands together. Only in this way I know how humble my existence; how tremendously it is at the mercy of everything; how fragile is it nobility.  

I am glad I am writing this down, because my heart was aching. I experienced the evil twin, dishonor, a few moments ago. 

And now that I see how fragile honoring the flowing waters of life is, I can write -- perhaps with some necessary detachment -- about what I feel. I want to write down a few random stories. 

A Trillion Billion Friends

It's 4:28 AM. I am not up & writing at these desperate hours because life is fun and I want to sit in front of a screen Facebooking & blog, blog, blogging my life away.  

I sit and write because there is something intense and compelling that I have been going through for years -- something that has done much to me and yet in the end, it has simply handed me a pen and commanded, "Write!"  

It is my life. It has been happening to me. And it wants to be written. (Therefore if there is an illusion amongst any of the readers that I do this to attract any further "life (drama!)" -- especially one that is not mine -- then, pray, know that I don't. I don't want to know any more or to think anymore. My writing isn't to create turbulence or catastrophe. It is to reach stillness. It is not to gain, but to give. That is all I have: nothing!) 

And now this thought was parenthetical because it is an aside. As can be noted, the subject at hand is "Friends."  

I felt, a mere three days ago, that I have no friend. Now whenever I confess to that particular feeling, it sends many of the dear people whose lives have served me and mine theirs in friendship, in considerable shock. Why am I writing this when this is not - what - I - intended - to - write! 

I write this because writing wants to be written. It takes its own course. It is because my heart is telling a story and I am the figurative pen, the literal keyboard. I have no command over this story. 

Now, for any dear soul which is confounded -- join the come & go club. At this moment, I am no longer in the club. I am not confounded myself. 

At this moment, my friends are countless. I tell you how so. 

I was retreating to my room for the night when I noticed the pillow and the covers on my bed ready to comfort me for the night. I stopped in amazement. What a human quality that is! To hold someone together, to cover them, to give them warmth. In some way, to aid their sleep. It is a quality so human, it is divine. I wondered. 

I looked around at things in my house. The chair I sit on, the cushions I lean on, this computer that aids me so greatly in my writing and living that I would have been dead without it -- and I mean it: this machine has saved my life. It has given me a life. I looked at my bed again, the clothes that I am arranging. Earlier, when the power went out, I chose to step out in the lawn, lie down on the grass, and bathe in moonlight. Question and Answer, the two curious kittens who reside in our garden, came and hopped over me. This is what they do; I am family to them. Question, indeed, insists upon a greater companionship -- hence the name. Together, Q&A as I affectionately call them, decidedly accompany wherever I go in the house. They want to offer enacting their kitten fights and -- yes, this too! -- giving their "clean-up licks" to me. I am part of their family, the Big Sistah Cat. They are kind enough to not see me as human, but as just another cat

I am touched. I am touched by what the plants do too. They dance when I am with them. Now every avid gardener knows but hides the eccentric fact that plants can understand (human) sound and respond. They also have a sense of visual attention. I am aware of their presence and their language; so well, that sometimes I forget to notice. 

It took a set of inanimate things this night to suddenly break this spell of feeling physically cut off, wandering, and alone. 

I have noticed tonight after a long, long, long time how everything is connected to me. It is connected to me, it is my friend. The thought that I am the product of all my life had been swirling in my mind like dusty little windwhirls on a summer afternoon. Now, I just get it. It's not a mental twirling thought. It is a fact. 

I am embraced. I am embraced by trillion-billion of atoms, certainly even more... all of them innumerable things. Expectations manage to lock in my attention on a few set of atoms, and often those are people. More often, those are not even these atoms, but thoughts. 

Cold as it may seem to think you are embraced by atoms -- for God's warm sake!! -- this is exactly what I mean. 

Warmth and life have a way of reaching to us. Through our beds and shoes and machines. It is a marvel how life holds us together. It is a marvel how care has a way of getting through to us, being around us. I simply marvel at all these things and the comfort of friendship they provide. I also marvel at how my life is designed such that everything makes me happen, makes me live. I marvel at how it all seems to be coming in my direction, placed around me, in an attitude of service and giving. 

This is really what it is!  

I also marvel at why my attention for years had become locked in a very few things! How long has it been since I have felt that it is not only other mere mortals who bring life to me? Quite a while.  

Tonight -- by this early morning that is about to come -- I have felt again that which is the truth: I am in the comfort of a Friend. And it is not a friend who isolates me into desperation. But makes me desperate until I see the marvel.  

Why, a rather persistent friendship this is, and one that gives me more than a calculable number of friends. It gives me as many friends as there are ways of counting everything in the world -- and then it gives me everything. 

Thursday, March 05, 2009

What Is The Middle Path?

Dear Self:

I want to re-teach you something that you must remember, especially in these times when the illness in human hearts has come to surface; our potential energy becomes kinetic. That is, what was inside has now become apparent. Therefore, these are busy times.

I want to remind you of The Middle Path, and how this is the only path to welfare.

What is The Middle Path?

For long, it has been understood to be the total of good and bad divided over two.

This is impractical, and makes no sense. A mind can be lost over reasoning this out. This, in other words means, indecision. Indecision is an unhelpful act to everyone in the situation, for it stops the flow of events. Flow is life. Block is death.

Therefore, this is not what the Middle Path is.

The Middle Path is the ability to stay one's natural course, no matter the ebb and flow of events.

The word "middle" means to stay consistent whereas the two extremes are the ebb and the flow. Neither the ebb nor the flow are favorable or unfavorable -- it is only our selective perception which thinks so.

This is why humans have been invited to observe how everything in this existence modulates on those two extremes. From light waves to the currents of the ocean to the flow of day & night to pendulums that swing; from seasons to sleeping patterns to moods to energy for work; from tea and perfumes that make you active or sleepy to clothes that are meant for these contrary purposes too -- everything in the world remains in motion through fluctuating between two polarities. This is how your heart beats, too, or you will die if it only let blood flow as through a tap, or, well, stopped.

Human sickness is to assume either polarity as permanent. So we think that either aggressive or pacific behavior alone is the answer, forever, always.

But you se? Sometimes the times are so aggressive that life become impossible. Sometimes life is so pacified that useful ambitious flees from the hearts. So noither appraoch alone is the answer.

Life lies in between the ebb and flow.

The Middle Path is to remain consistent despite these fluctuations, even as we witness that the pendulum of humanity or events (ah, same thing!) has become stuck in one direction. To stay the middle course is not to resist, but to persist.

The real course that events take is that middle course -- just as light waves do. Neither do they remain stuck in the upper arc, nor the lower.

Now why do I remind you of this?

It is because the events of today have reaching a proportion and number so vast, the human mind cannot encapsulate them if we see things in terms of these events.

Forget the events, focus on the principal. Remember you life is to stay the middle course, and also know that the middle course is the shortest and the straightest path to welfare. This is not merely a religious or philosophical notion, this is a mathematical fact. No matter what your belief about the world may be, this is true. This is observable, morally or scientifically.

Stay the middle course, and stay on it with firmness.

I can tell you one thing then: you will surprised how the fluctuations will pass over or under you -- but no harm shall come to you. None.

Maintain quiet on the ebb and flow, and the middle ray of light will take you straight out of the darkness.

If you follow this, in this will you find both wisdom and liberation.


Wednesday, March 04, 2009


Dear Allah:

You have very strange ways of reminding me that You alone are The
Friend. Oh the unreliablility of being!


Monday, March 02, 2009

Rising Slowly [a poem]


There is a sigh
In the depth
Of my heart.
Like a bubble
Of fish breath
Under weighted tons
Of sea.

All I ask now
Of my Self
And my patience
Is to witness in silence
The slow upward rise
Of this bubble, this sigh.
This sigh,
This bubble sigh!

March 02, 2009
1550 hr

Sunday, March 01, 2009

My Other Way

Only to say, I feel alone, separate, and desolate. Because I think not like them.


OK dear blog, you must know. I just want to howl. Bloody well climb on a rooftop and ROAR my throat stupid. 


Phew! Ok, that was good. Two animals inside me needed to GET OUT. The one, a fierce Lion. And the other, a desolate Wolf in the wilderness.

I feel two things at once. One, an intense sense of being alone. Of traveling with a pack where I am an outsider - because my heart is different; its nature is different; its song is solitary.

The other, a satisfaction. In the knowledge that indeed, my path is divergent in some fundamental way.

I could have been rebellious, except I am not rebellious against the situation, just because of it. There is something in the situation that tells me like a wise teacher to go away. Go my other way.

I somehow remember this feeling; it was mine since I was a child. This essential voice in the heart that gave up more and more of the given, and diverged, diverged, traveled its own path just to discover another land.

Such is the nature of discovery. It has a great deal of aloneness in it. 

I have, though, persisted.

And you know, I am profoundly and emptily (of intent)-fully (of heart) grateful that I persisted - until the Truth I saw in my heart, and they all saw in theirs, was finally revealed. And when it was, we were all, at once, at the same place. 

Except that I had come to that place the other way. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Untold [a poem]

The Untold

There are conversations 
that cannot be had 
the way we have
ordinary conversation: 
by turning to face someone 
and uttering a few words.

There are conversations 
that are made 
by catching the eyes of another 
and beholding them with our eyes. 
Letting the windows of one soul 
open into those of another.

There are conversations 
that are finer and subtler 
that those made by ways of seeing. 
These are conversations
of feelings that move whichever way they choose 
in the chambers of our hearts. 

There is, though, a conversation 
that is finer and subtler than these all. 
It is the conversation that is not. 
It cannot be had with any other 
or even our Self. 
It is just what it is. 

It is a conversation that we are having 
whichever way we turn or not
wherever side we look or not 
whether we are awake or not 
whether we know we are
having this conversation, or not.

It is the conversation of which 
we are the alphabet. 
It takes place with us 
and despite us. 
Within us and
without us. 

December 29, 2008
by: RA
aka The Prophecy 

This rather rambling and perhaps yet unfinished poem was written two months ago. I began composing about one thing, and ended up with this. Well! 

So Much Within

Sometimes my mind just paralyzes. I sense there is so much within, that through the little aperture of the mouth and the slow medium of my hands writing, communicating day and night lately, it still all just splutters forth. Often, an incoherent babble.  

The act of communicating, over time, renders a form to the exodus of the mass of ideas, thoughts, and knowledge within. I must keep writing. The practice will lend itself grace and form over time. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Life Update: February 10, 2009 - 1:17 AM onwards

Alhamdolillah - all praise be to Allah! - I am well tonight. 

Yesterday I started a healing routine. Actually it's still not a routine - my life is still very disrupted - but it is healing all right. I have also started a new journal. I am considering starting a dedicated (series of) blog(s) on healing as I have done quite a few experiments in the field. However I do not think I shall be adding anything to the body of knowledge except some of the techniques I have developed myself, for myself. 

My belief, though, is that each person has an absolutely individual and unique approach to something. So my techniques will not work for another. What I have always been interested in, far more than any technique, is learning the ability to master a technique. This is not the same as learning the technique itself. 

There are some fundamental principles and "secrets" to each art or science. I am far more interested in learning those, and also going through the process of transformation which enables me to learn the art or science. The knowledge itself is secondary to the transformation. To give an analogy, we pick the weight to build the muscles, we do not build muscles to pick the weight. This is because of the weight and our muscles, it is the muscles that is us. We work with and on that which is us or closest to us in a situation. In that way, we achieve a more permanent shift and development. And we are able to master the change of phenomenon. The weight, in this analogy, is phenomenon: The material, the tangible, the destructible, the unreliable. 

So. I am wary of using a technique that makes one bypass transformation. I do not want answers as much as I want to formulate questions - my questions. To me, a technique is not my savior or my master - it is my servant and my tool. 

When I felt that I had acquired that level of responsibility, I decided to use a couple of techniques. For physical healing and well-being, the technique in question related to acupressure plus affirmations. 

Yesterday I started a journal to outline the issues I want to address, their various aspects, and what I believe are underlying causes. On an inspiration, I listed all the significant events or "turning points" of my life - those which have been disruptive events. I want to examine my memory with respect to that issue and determine if it still emotionally disrupts my life. 

A few such events in the past year have, in some sense, nothing to do with my personal or family life. They are national or world events - political and religious affairs. Yet these matters now form a significant part of our consciousness. There was a time when it was easy to be on top of these events because understanding and discourse was limited to a few people who could reach agreement or disagreement swiftly amongst themselves. Yet the scope and depth of information and people involved is much vaster and deeper now. To take stock of the Totality is an enterprise. 

I have realized today that I am not being obsessive or, to put it politely, constrictive about this review. Rather, it is an exercise in being aware and deliberate. 

Now I will say, for the record, that for most of my life I used to make good use of paper and pen to make a rational, written analysis of affairs and situations. Then I gave the practice up and thought that this was being non-manipulative, open to chance, and fresh-approached. I think now that for a good long while, it was useful that I dived in to this Cloud where I lost all control and sense. 

Years later, a sense of organization and clearer thinking is returning to me. I am able to make use of my pen & paper again. Does that surprise you that for years I have not been able to make any use of any organizational tool? Paradoxically, it's only when my life is once again embracing the great uncertainty of being that I am able to make any use of rationality again!

The meaning of everything, really, is in its opposite! 

I must sleep now. This blog, I realize, is quite unhelpful to anyone who has no idea of what I am talking about. And for those who have had similar experiences, well - what use is it! Somewhere in the recesses of my mind is this aim that I must write anew about these life experiences, lifting the veil this time. Well, guess what? Actually that is exactly what I am doing these days. Having given all chaotic activities up, this is exactly what I am devoting myself to! 

This and the still great uncertainty of being! 

Good night!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Are you really giving love daily - self-test

This one came in a newsletter. Very useful. 

The truth is that too often we look for love to come our way, when the best way to receive love is to give love on a daily basis.

Here is a quick quiz to see if you are really giving love daily. It is based on holy scriptures that read: Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not boast. Love is not proud, rude or self-seeking and love takes no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. Love always protects, always trust, always hopes and always perseveres. Love never quits. [1 Corinthians 13]

Now, to take the test, say your name everywhere you see the word LOVE and see if the scripture still speaks the truth.  (ie. Ali/Miriam is patient.......that one might get a bunch of us right there!)

If you find that you aren't being love, then perhaps you aren't really giving love to its fullest.  Take time this week to be the love you wish to receive and watch how love begins to come your way!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cleaner, Leaner, and "Better!"

Yes! YES! YES!!!! I have just finished with the day's unusual work: I put everything on pause, and just deleted - deleted - unsubscribed in the virtual world. I deleted close to 2000 stored messages from Gmail. When I turned to Facebook, I found I was a member of an astounding 210+ groups! I am down to about 140 now. My unread emails counter on Gmail was reading 516. As I am about to turn in for sleep, it's down to a cleaner 67. Over the weekend, I intend to make my virtual world a new place, ready in alignment with my life priorities. 

Internet overwhelms me now. The social networks are too buzzy, and my email is too stagnant. IM has too much talk. Clearly, I was in need of a personal policy. I was rather unaware that I even had an issue until on November 21, 2008, I attended a talk on the Attention Economy. The subject of the talk was the two-word summary lesson I walked away with. 

Earlier I had written on the subject of Attention itself, partly irked by the constant barrage of "political opinions" of the layperson who insist upon being taken seriously and start petitions and protests at the drop of a hat (missile?). When you're in Karachi, Pakistan, there's no power for 10-12 hours a day, you've got work to do and the city can face unpredictable security situation - this kind of dishing out of attention on the frivolous is not just a luxury, it is obscene. Attention is currency. Either we're spending it right and prudently, or we're wasting. Speaking of the Internet being too "full" for attention, shortly after the seminar on Attention Economy that suddenly alarmed me to the Attention Crunch coming - I found support in Seth Godin's warning

So I wasn't getting crazy and edgy for no reason. I couldn't stand another Facebook soap opera episode, another friend-of-a-friend bringing their problems to my home-office dead in the middle of when I am writing yet another article for Triple Bottom Line. After all, how many times can I go over the same stuff that I graduated from back in my teen years? Same information. More of the same information. And then some. 

I had to let some people go. And only when I gently (or not so!) detached in the virtual world did I realize the oddity that I was living: hey, since when does it entitle a person to delve deep into my private life with their private petty affairs and "political" activism which, pray, is no more than forcing people to rally around Facebook applications? 

I often take great care in inviting people to event, putting them on a group mail, or tagging them in a note. I have hardly ever forwarded emails in my 11 years online. I usually do not promote my blogs or spam others with requests to promote my stuff. Unless there is a national emergency - even during which, I have attempted to maintain calm and design rather than stir hysteria. 

But I did still sense that I could be doing the same at some level so to begin with, I have started practicing economy and selectivity with my words. Above all, since I do tend to write a lot, I have figured, finally, that this is my talent and I better clearly consider it my calling. I am still not over the wordiness and the long explanations that wormed into my DNA at some point. Yet this realization that words could be my gift to life as they are life's gift to me - this simple realization! - has allowed me to bring many sweeping changes in my life. Creativity is a priority and just when I wanted to word an explanation of the events, along came Better  by Merlin Mann. He's said it all. Attention Overload is a de facto universal phenomenon. 

And sweeping it is! I have been cleaning my room out for weeks now with long breaks. It's full of my papers and art and what-not. I have sharpened my priorities and opened a Facebook Page to organize content, contacts, and conversations. I feel happier engaging with my loved and dear ones as the public noise is walled off. Tonight, I have deleted much from the inbox and I am certain - much more from my attention. 

That's it! Hallelujah! 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Stayin' Alive!

I don't care if I myself thought it sacrilegious a mere few weeks ago, but George Sampson helped me rid myself of my religion. I am dancing - and it's all for God! 


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Two Types of Plans: The Plan That Fails

Plans are of two types: space-based, and time-based. The first one is spatial - in a coherent and beautiful form, it is always growth outwards from a central point over space. It is organic in nature. The second one is based upon measurements of time - it grows from one point in time to another. It is linear in nature.  

The space-based plan is built inside-out, and its values are determined intrinsically. The time-based plan is built outside-in, and its values are established extrinsically. The first type takes its being from one. The second type shapes one.  

There is oft a warning about plans that fail, urging one to have no plans. This concept may also be known as a "goal-free life." On the other hand, awareness and meticulous planning are deemed a virtue.  

This is a contradictory situation: have no plans, have plans. What is the truth?  

The truth is that both statements are true - but each relates to one kind of plans. It is the time-based plan that is set up for (likely - and in this age, highly likely) failure. This is because Time is a product of our perception. It is a by-product of Space. The speed of the unfolding of Space is Time, and the unfolding of Space is the unfolding of innate Design. In terms of a human, Space is the unfolding of a human's design: their innate talent, preferences, personality - and their context.  

When a plan is set up in time, attention is taken away from the space-based plan - the kind that is demanded of one, the kind that is the able expression of one, the kind that succeeds when one commits. Though success here is not measured against any external variable, but is the fullness and the quality of expression.  

There are two kinds of energy described in the physical science: potential - energy at rest; stored energy - and kinetic - energy in movement. The total energy of any being is potential plus kinetic. When the being is at rest, almost all energy is potential (I say almost, because some is in movement within the system). When the being is in movement, the potential energy transforms into kinetic energy.

How to bring a plan to life?

Attention is a primary human energy. Being alive, in a sensory meaning of the word, is to have potential human energy. Paying attention is the kinetic, the moving, the active, the dynamic form of energy. Attention is life in movement. It is life, lived.  

When we give attention to a space-based plan we engage art, science, and every gift that is human. We bring energy to elements and arrange them in a space which could be conceptual, physical, or virtual (in the computer-world sense of the word). According to the level of innate energy and clarification of the intent of a person, the plan unfolds and "manifests" (materializes) at a certain speed. The higher the energy and the clearer the intent, the "faster" the plan unfolds.  

It does not matter what the timetable of the plan is. There are plans that appear to be fulfilled by a certain time but they have no innate quality. Therefore, they do not fulfill their purpose and are soon in need of repair or elimination or renewal. Of course, even the best-laid plans, the spatial kind, arrive at the same conclusion. Yet it is the life lived and the way it was lived that mattered.  

The question is: "Is a plan - for its entire existence, from conception to initiation to completion to end - a source of increasing fulfillment? Or does it increase a sense of emptiness and loss?"  

Of course, a space-based plan is also bound and often measured by time. Yet in this one, space comes first, time second. Time is determined after the space is established. Time is a slave to this, not master. This is how time must be lived: with a quality of presence, and fullness.  

And this is all I know of this matter so far. 

Image credits: Top - user ba1969 @ | Bottom - Eye Scapes @ Makezine Blog


a poem

I owe myself a few things. 
These are dues that I ought to pay. 
Above all - attention! 
And then, gratitude. 

So it is my practice henceforth 
that no matter what the society 
and its constructs of doing-doing 
and staying forever in a state of lacking 
attempt to make me believe -
I shall not believe them. 

I am worthy of my own trust, my admiration,
my attention upon my affairs. 
My engagement with the world 
is mine, and no one else's. 

This is my life 
and it is for a reason that I am myself, 
and not another.  
And another is not I.
We are by one another, but not another. 

And in this is much wisdom. 

aka The Prophecy

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Healing

Sleeping woman, dressed in white

The year that just passed yesterday, 2008, brought me that which I had not experienced in a long time: rest. Sleep. And ultimately, healing.  

Almost exactly a year ago, I underwent a secluded meditation that aimed to empty the self out, amongst other objectives. Days later, on the New Year night, I woke up in shock from a dream - only to feel a great deal of something leave me. I had just read excerpts from Eckhart Tolle's book Power of Now, with my attention drawn in particular to the phenomenon of the "pain body" - an unconscious entity within the self that thrives on suffering and, of course, unconsciousness. It is that part of the egoic self that thrives on pain to further its illusion of separation.  

At this point, I will go on a small tangent suitable for the strong-nerved. It is this "pain body" (by any other name) that some believe possesses the human - "possession" here referring to that paranormal/extraordinary phenomenon that is described variously in clinical and spiritual literature but essentially refers to the same condition. In movies on the subject, it is shown in its extreme form, within the extraction of the pain body referred to as an act of exorcism. That, of course, is literal truth to some and a commentary on the condition of the individual or collective psyche to others. 

Yet everyday people are overwhelmed by strong emotions that would seem utterly absurd should one be able to step back from and out of the context and just see the situation and the characters within. The greed rampant in the world, for instance, has led to more destruction and chaos than an individual in a scary movie possessed by distorted, horrific, growling demons. We are faced with a crumbling planet and collapsing social-political-economic systems with staggering monetary and intangible costs. We are perfectly used to a media that brings murder, insanity, vulgarity, crassness, and abasement of all kind a mere few inches away from our body. And we engage in this theater. 

By the end of 2008, many, many people and societies around the world have become acutely aware of this phenomenon that may go by any other name. There is a hue & cry for self-restraint, and an active global shift towards "doing good." Entire communities have sprung up around causes of goodness such as care for the environment, promotion of values of motherhood, and paying-it-forward. At the same time, a process of individual and collective purge continues, with very visible effects. 

A year ago, on the night of December 31st, 2007, I woke up a start from a dream where I was being shown into a hospital. Within that swaying state of consciousness within sleep and awakening, I sharply felt something leaving me. I thought I heard a scream and I let out what I considered a sharp yell, but what came out of my lips - as I felt like dead weight - was a faint whispering addressed to my roommate. She thought I whispered in my sleep. As I lay in panic, I felt... empty. After a spike of fear that had lasted only a few seconds, I thought the subject of my roommate and my discussion that eve before we retired to bed - the pain body - had indeed suddenly dashed out of my system. My roommate had been reading through the book Power of Now and had brought the passage to my attention, as part of my work on cleansing my Self. 

Later, I picked out Eckhart Tolle's book and found that he himself had experienced a much more intense version of the same experience. The cleansing of his self from the whirlpools of past and future were spontaneous and sudden. 

My route remained more academic - I was thinking about it, and thinking about a thing makes it grow - and therefore it took me an entire year to proceed with a further "clarification of my intent," as my spiritual method puts it. Certainly, thre were no rituals like we see in the movies to drive out the egoic self - rather a very contemporary approach that involves an opening to life while gently cleansing the heart of malice, envy, fear, greed and other such ailment of the self. 

The result has been a revelation of my life purpose - the meaning which emerges after our inner resistance dissolves. Yet I have not obsessed over outcomes. I have - after a long time in my life, after spending a great period in the academic and corporate world as a "Type A personality" - honored the journey more than any destination that I could preconceive. I have, therefore, rested, slept and wept a great and unprecedented deal the entire year of 2008

To have honored myself and to have accepted my own condition, even as the world around me experiences its own painful ego shattering, has been a tremendously liberating, rewarding experience of my life. 

Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
- Rumi

Image credit: "Saturday Afternoon" by Edson Campos - from

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Bond of Trust: Two People, One Encounter

Last night, half an hour past midnight, the doorbell rang. It startled me.

I was writing - the windows of my room, that faces the gate, were lit up. I could hear people in the streets, playing winter night sports perhaps. I could hear the laughter of the watchmen though I was not sure whether it was the street watchmen indeed? For a bare month ago, they were driven out of the city amidst tense ethnic strife. I hadn't caught up on whether they had returned, for I have been hibernating deep in the bowels of my home for weeks, oblivious to the world.

I thought I'd check.

With a woolen shawl wrapped around me - both to protect from the cold and to appear imposing to any possible intruder - I stepped out and asked, "Who is it?"

Through the wide slits of our gate, one can see outside-in, inside out from quite a distance. A young boy who appeared scruffy from his hair replied in a broken voice: "Help me! My mother has just died in a hospital!" He did not specify what did he need.

For anyone who lives in highly insecure urban areas such as Karachi - and for myself, whose family has faced a good deal of violence and robbery the memories of which still manage to disturb my sleep - this is ample for alert and suspicion. This is how would-be robbers trick one into opening doors. This is how "they" gauge whether there is a tender-hearted fool in the house who can also produce money at slight prompting. This is how we are used to thinking in Karachi.

I briefly considered the inconvenience of unlocking the door to our terrace upstairs, peering out from the balcony on to the street, look out for accomplices, read the boy's face and body language, and then proceed with a moral analysis of how much money should I give him.

And then I considered the state of my own mind: addled with fear.

For the past few weeks, I have been in a retreat - secluded in my house and mostly in one room - allowing myself to turn out and throw away the conditioning by others from within me, along with the much more dangerous conditioning by my own mental constructions. To just be. To be closer to being a purer human.

If, indeed, this boy who was probably still awaiting an answer outside as I stepped back in after replying with a vague, "Hmmm... OK." (which in my language can also mean, "OK, wait there!") needed help - if he was telling the truth - what would I do?

I sometimes see images of myself... consoling the desperate, putting a hand to their head, and sharing the gifts of God with them: food, comforts, and other rights that humans have over one another. My cowardly turning away was not in conformity with this image.

So I said to myself: this boy, whether a liar or someone who tells the truth, obviously is a person in need. Secondly, his exact story may be true. And if there is indeed a soul out on the streets in the night, looking for consolation or support or charity as his family died perhaps in very desperate conditions, who would help them? Who would be the keeper of the brothers and sisters in desperate need? That there were people in the street and indeed children cackling somewhere in the laps of their young fathers celebrating a late night playing outside on the weekend, gave me some comfort.

I decided: liar, mugger, or truly in need - one thing is for certain. This person has come from God, from within the vastness of this Universe to my door. I do not know what is in his heart. But I can master what is in mine. And my heart choose to believe. To trust. To honor the guest of Allah no matter what his character. For a man might intend to hurt me, but not my God. I do not have the power to help or not help a person. Who am I give or withhold? I have only the power to choose the state of my own heart, and act accordingly. I have only the power to serve from that which is given to me, or to let fear or greed prevent that.

And so, I made the decision: I will choose trust over fear. Love over division.

I went and took a little cash - for my newly faith was weak and still tainted with fear - and stepped out in front of the gate again. The boy, partially covered by the gate's design, appeared to be leaning against it. I asked again, just to make conversation and to gauge the quality of his soul through his voice: "What do you want?" He repeated something broken but made no specific demand. I think he repeated that his mother had died. Some flashbacks of being held up at gunpoint flashed through my mind. My mind whispered that I was a fool who let other people believe they have lots of spare cash. I half expected see the barrel of a gun pointing in my direction through the slit.

I took a deep breath. What a shame that my mind lives in such imaginary violence as if it is really happening! I inched closer to the gate, taking cover behind the adjacent wall, hastily shoved the money through the slit near the wall, stepped back and said: "Take it. Take it!" His fingers slowly pulled out the money. I walked backwards closer to the door of my room, keeping an eye on him - for a diminishing fear for myself, and a growing concern for this urchin. Then I turned back, and so did he.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Believer's Refuge

"Take refuge in the Cave
God will spread Hu's* grace over you, and will endow you -
whatever your outward condition -
with all that your soul may need."

-Qur'an, Chapter Al-Kahf (The Cave), verse 16

...And so, because this verse has affected me deeply, I remain hidden, in my refuge, in the proverbial cave... until times are rendered anew. Until I am ready to emerge, as WHO I AM.

* "His"