Monday, September 08, 2014

Don't Cling, Be Detached

One of the traits of critical thinkers is their ability to be critiqued and also redefine the way they think. Critical thinking requires a lot of inward reflection. The ability to converse with yourself and constantly challenging your own ideas and thought patterns. It is the capacity to decipher someones harsh words, and the message that they are trying to relay when the topic is sensitive and difficult to listen to (i.e. an argument, debate, criticism, etc.)

I spend a lot of my time looking inward and I am very critical of myself. I am content with the journey that I am on and am sincerely grateful for the struggles I've experienced over the past 3 years. I've lost more in the last 3 years, than the prior 28 years combined. I can count two failed business ventures, every nickle I ever saved, a divorce, and my health. There are many tiny struggles within that massive sense of loss, but there's no need to elaborate; just know that these years tested my resilience.

I reflect back on all that I've lost, and all that I've gained and I regret nothing. I took risks, leaps of faith and failed each time. I put all my funds, and my heart on the line and lost it all. Not because of carelessness or naive behaviour, but because I felt compelled to take risks. With every great risk, there's a sense of hope and a sense of fear and each and every time, I chose hope. You know why, because failure needs to happen.

You need to accept loss as an inevitability in life.

Loss and failure are platforms for better days to come.

Risk taking is making the conscious decision to put something valuable on the line, knowing it can be lost. You are foolish to believe that the outcome will be in your favor, you need to plan as if things will be lost. Only at that point, will you see success in every failure, and only then will loss seem like the greatest gain you can ever make.

How so you ask?

Well, dear reader, I see it from this perspective - when I loose money, the university of life collects it's tuition. The sheer anxiety,anger, sense of loss and panic remap your mind, and give you a greater understanding than any lecture hall could ever give you. I always become a completely different person with loss. I become far more wiser, braver, and more confident with every decision I make whenever I loose something.

When you put your heart on the line and take that leap of faith with love, you are essentially putting your most valuable and personal asset up for grabs to someone who can potentially destroy it for you. You are willing to tell someone "here's my soul, treat it with care" and you do so willingly and naively, but somewhere inside you, the sense of fear lingers. Why wouldn't it? This is something that if treated poorly, can result in sleepless nights, anxiety, depression, mania, and so on. But that sense of hope which love inspires propels you forward because the reward is grand, if the outcome is that which you hoped for.

When the outcome you wished for comes crashing down and the sense of anxiety crushes you - you have two options. Allow it to suffocate you, or barely hold on for dear life. There is no immediate bounce back from such a loss. It treats a great amount of mental and spiritual conditioning to reclaim the rights to your soul. This process takes it and moves it to a higher understand, you see life with much more clarity and you feel a greater sense of wholeness.

You may disagree because many who lost health, wealth, and love sink into despair. However, it is you who allows despair to swallow you whole. It is also you who can scrape by from underneath the crushing pressure of anxiety and keep moving, even if you're just crawling.

This is why I titled this: Don't cling, be detached. Detachment is not that you do not own anything, but nothing worldly owns you (Imam Ali [a.s]). Loose everything worldly and gain so much more spiritual when you employ this way of life.

Every sense of difficult is a right of passage and a push in the direction of becoming a complete and 'whole' human being, who sees life for what it really is - a journey, a dream and race towards death.

Death, being the place where you reflect on that you've done and those whom you've left a legacy with; the one place where you won't count your dollars and won't remember the people who hurt you. It is the one place where you will count the blessings God endowed upon you to give to others.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Contentment Vs. Happiness

I found myself speaking to a friend about the need for happiness in one's life. The topic was very sensitive as the person was contemplating on sticking to a new affair and was adamant about leaving their partner of 10 years citing a lack of happiness. I had the answer ready, but couldn't articulate it effectively enough to get my point across. Even though I wasn't satisfied with my answer, the person decided to ditch the affair and work on the long-term relationship that was in dire need of attention.

Where do I start? Happiness seems to be everyone's prime goal in life. So many people have expressed their need to find happiness. People tend to miss-cite the Buddhist philosophy that 'achieving happiness" is the ultimate goal in life. Nothing is wrong with being happy; however - in a world of short attention spans and the need for constant stimulation, we've bastardized the concept of happiness to be the search of short term high's (or more appropriately termed as 'stimulation').

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I find that us, living here in North America, forgot how to search for spiritual belonging, nevertheless being able to find it. We don't even know what to look for when we're trying to find the core of our 'being', the core of our 'existence'. However, whether or not you believe in concept of a 'soul', its exists and needs to be fed. These short term high's (our misunderstanding of happiness) to the soul is like the 'simple-carbs' to your body. It feeds your body quickly, you feel full, but you're hungry in no time. They certainly play a role in being a healthy individual, but if you lived off of simple carbs, you'd be unhealthy, fat, and lack any strength.

THE SAME with feeding your body with these stim-pack high's we think are true happiness. There's nothing wrong with a quick fix stimulation, that's why we have sex, laughs, beach-days and cute baby ducks. However, you can't keep feeding your self those temp-high's because your soul will be malnourished and you'll be miserable and clinically depressed as the years move on.

Now, there's something much deeper than happiness that will nourish your soul and keep it satisfied indefinitely; contentment. The sense of satisfaction with who you are and where you are in life. If you're not satisfied with where you are, than at least satisfied that you're on a journey to self-satisfaction. The ability to be by yourself and not feel a sense of boredom by virtue of being at peace with your thoughts. Being patient with the trials and tribulations that you experience; knowing that these are a 'right-of-passage' to make you a more 'complete' human being.

Being content is being satisfied with who you are, your current state and where you're going. Contentment is having the foresight to know that your journey through life will be a beautiful one and that if you are not satisfied with where you're going, that you will make the effort to chart a new path. 

You will begin to see life from an entirely new perspective. Contentment is knowing that you will certainly experience hardship, you will certainly experience difficulty, you will certainly be let down, but you know that it's all for the sake of actualizing the person whom you've figured out you need to be.

Being content is being self-fulfilled; you are not bothered or swayed by the petty murmurs of laymen and the silly discourse of the those who have nothing valuable to say.

Contentment and inner peace come from your understanding that you are part of God's united and complete ecosystem of existence and remembing God gives you a sense of belonging, and where you're going.

This, my dear reader - is the foundation to true happiness. Contentment keeps you neutral and at peace when there's a void of happiness (for whatever reason). However, when you're happy you're ecstatic, but when times are tough, you're fiercely positive

When you have contentment, everything and anything is a source of happiness for you. You become happy at the slightest thought of something or someone you love.

However, we've developed such a high tolerance to the stim-pack high's we're using to fulfill our need for happiness, that contentment comes off as boredom and sadness.

This is the modern day malady, the lack of soul and contentment.

Take contentment seriously, take the time and be patient as you figure out who you truly are and where you belong.

As a Muslim, I use to believe that God was directly involved in my life. I still believe so, but in a very different way. - The way God involved himself in your life was that he gave you a brain and he gave you a soul. Use them to your advantage.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The Bear & the Butterfly

                Naïve, and curious; the usual combination of emotions when love begins to flourish between two people. You look deep in to your own hearts wondering what is it that pulled you in closer to this one person that may possibly be by your side until after everyone leaves you. A sense of worry lingers in your mind not knowing if the leap-of-faith you’ve made will result in the desired outcome. It may be the best thing that ever happened to you, or it could be the reason why your story turns into a tragedy.
                Picturesque was the setting; the glory and fragrance of late spring. In the surroundings is the untamed wild and within it, a retreat that is quiet and secluded. Two people who barley know each other, resting quietly in their room, both equally curious as to what the other feels. No one really knows, but their naïve hearts are too focused on what goodness may unfold. No questions are ever asked, only the exchange of eye contact, laughs and a sense of shyness.
                They even shied away from asking questions within themselves, worried that their rationale would hurt their sapling of love. The curiosity and the infatuation were sufficient to keep them playful and happy. Than the rush of emotions and curiosity unravel with gentle conversation about petty topics. Simple philosophies are exchanged and the attempt to bring each other’s heart even closer with topics of similar interests, looking for anything that would justify their sense of love-at-first-sight.
                The angels looked onwards to see if they would take that leap of faith and let go of their fear of the unknown. The fear that their longing for love would end in misery. Little did they know that a bear so grand and ruthless was lurking at their door. Angry and ravenous did it claw at their secluded life. Their sense of panic and fear dispersed them as they sought shelter; only to realize after moments of anxiety that it was a moth trying to escape.  In their minds, their sense of fear took precedence and cause a stir, but in hindsight they laughed at their foolishness.
                At that moment, did they realize that the leap of faith they needed to find happiness was much simpler than smaller than their fears had led them to believe. It wasn’t so much of a leap, rather it was just a step forward in the direction of love.
                Forget all of the whispers of others, the naysayers will always cause a stir. Focus on what your heart tells you even if the bear claws angrily. Because fear is but a figment of your imagination – no need to heed.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Love means different things to different people

Dear readers,

I sincerely appologize for the very long time since I last wrote a blog entry. I have been plagued with a disease called "laziness" and it crippled my hands from interpreting the thoughts on to paper. But today is special.

I had an epiphany today and I could not let these thoughts fall through the void of long lost memories. I have been engaged now for over a year and yes, it's been a wonderful experience. In this time frame, it's helped me redefine and better understand this thing called "love".

Before I explain the concept of love, it's important for you to understand that I am rather cynical; however, that does not hinder my ability to see and think in a positive manner. As I come of age, I experiece situations that help me realize that a positive lesson can be derived from a terribly negative situation. However, sometimes its necessary to experience negative feelings to reap positve rewards. Negative experiences are filtered through a positive light in order to make the best out of a difficult situation.

So this "wonderful experence" I mentioned earlier consists of a broad spectrum of emotions. I really must stress that many of the situations you once fantasized about love do come true within marriage. Also, the many situations that you never imagined could happen to you, will certainly, happen to you.

Love is a work in progress.

It is an organism that starts off as an infant that requires tender care and round-the-clock supervision. With age, the type of attention and care you give this "organism" changes; you don't have to pour as much time into it; but, it must be quality.

Love means different things to different people. Each and every person has a curiosity in the mystical science of love and everyone understands it in very different wavelengths. It is a series of emotional impulses that alter the way an individual would think. We all have predetermined ideas of what it is like to be in love and when we finally experience it, we put those ideas into practice. Humans are anxious to put their ideals of love into practice and are convinced that it will bring them contentment and happiness.


One person's love, could be another person's anxiety. My notion of love may be satisfaction to one person; but to someone else, it could be the most complicated and nerve wrecking experience. Not all types of "love" are compatible.

Does that mean that a couple with clashing love interests can't be together? That's a good question and here are some possible answers and I'm sure all of them apply.

- Love can be manipulated and adjusted to suit the needs of the partner
- Love can be socially hardwired and will always be the same because of it's intense emotional impact
- Incompatible people are able to fall in love with one another, but are unable to satisfy each other's personal concept of love (resulting in a complicated relationship and ending in seperation)

Happy soul mate searching everyone! Tread carefully.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Visions, Omens, and Inspirations

i looked deeply into my heart and saw the conclusion of this chapter in my life far sooner than it was destined to happen. i look into my soul and see what others fail to see because i ask the all knowing for wisdom and knowledge. i start a chapter, knowing how it will end, and write the story as the days go by. i sometimes wish i didnt know the end far before it ever happens, but than i see it as a blessing because when it happens, the shock is not painful.

i sit and i question my purpose on this planet and wonder what is god's wisdom when he decides to show me the conclusion of the story before it starts. how will it help me write the story? will knowing my end result change my approach to the situation. i don't know, but what i'm sure is that knowing the conclusion too soon is a mixed blessing, it may soften the impact of the outcome, but it never leaves you in a state of anxiety. sometimes, that anxious feeling is an effect driving force for good.

i feel, in my heart, and see in my mind the signs of god informing me of a good or bad situation ahead. a feeling feels distant, and a thought becomes rational when the situation is difficult. when the situation is good, i feel the signs of god warm up my heart and my thoughts become child-like.

i see in my dreams the life of a young 13 year old boy who begun to realize the consequences of inaction and the gains from attempt. i see, in my dreams a world that my heart pursues when my mind is unconscious in the long hours of the work day. could it be that i am witnessing the reality which defines this world? that life lack realism and purpose if you dont spend your hours amasing wisdom and knowledge. these 2 assets expose the truth:

days are short, good work should never be shyed away from, making others feel a sense of self-worth, and ensuring your hours were used wisely are the most important thing to never forget.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Humility, but not too much.

I will always remain true to who I am.
Both imperfections and perfections.
Something's will change about me; other aspects will stay the same.
I am a king in my own mind, and a prince amongst my loved ones.
I will taste death for the sake of honour, and not waste a moment in pursuit of vanity.
God's judgement is sufficient on the day of Judgement; but in the coming years ahead - his lessons manifest through the lessons I learn through people.
I am, at my best, a humble man.
I am, at my worst, an anxious man.
I am, on a daily basis, a man with one thing to prove.
That anyone can do well; anyone can become educated; anyone can ascend; anyone can love; anyone can prosper.
In this life, and the hereafter.
I am, a humble man.
But every so often I loose my humility and exchange it for pride.
This pride be sinful? I'm not sure.
But it is in self-defense; in defense of my humble nature.
I'm tired of being spoken to as if my words have little weight.
I'll honour and respect you, but I ask of you for one favor in return.
Don't you dare stomp on my humility, because it doesn't take kindly to your pride.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

What we should expect from each other

The other day, I conversed with a friend of mine whom I mentioned in my very first blog post. The discussion was quite dark and filled with emotions that I'd generally shy away from. Him & I, although very different in many respects, share many character traits. We are both pragmatic & put the needs of others ahead of our own; compromise is a tactic we both take seriously and we try our best to be fair. Currently, we are dealing with people who have shared the same oppinion about us:

"you're not the person I thought you were", "I don't think of you the same way I used to", "Things have changed and I don't feel the same way anymore", "Now that I look at us, I feel that this isn't right".

All of these come from setting expectations too soon in the relationship. I always understood this to be dangerous as it sets up that person up for failure. High expectations that are set too soon in a relationship will always come crashing down as we human's tend to be sloppy and lame in our most comfortable state.

For example, the first few months in a new relationship will always seem like heaven. Everything feels perfect & your partner seems like a godsend. When all guards are down & the true character of the person is exposed - all expectations and presumptions about this "perfect" person come crashing down. This may not always be the case, but it certainly is the situation in many crumbling relationships.

The best way to counter this issue is by understanding that the human character is frail & weak. It's vulnerable to imperfections and cannot sustain a glowing review for long period's of time. When you look at the person, you should always expect that you will be impacted by their fallacies and you should endure {if the fallacy is not abusive, destructive, etc.}

I never like to set high expectations, I do realize that human's are chronically imperfect & that chemistry will not always make things harmonious. But what's most important is that issues can be solved with rationale, love & respect dictate the effort put into the outcome, and change is something that should be taken seriously.

In Pictures: The start of Ramadan - In Pictures - Al Jazeera English

In Pictures: The start of Ramadan - In Pictures - Al Jazeera English