GREAT

June 1, 2017

As I walked down the street, I reminisced about the beautiful memories I’ve made with my friends, and how important it is to cherish friendships. Walking past a bookstore, I saw a set of exquisite pens in the display. “This is just the thing I’ve been looking for”, I thought to myself and walked into the shop. I asked the salesman to gift wrap two of the finest pens in the best wrapping paper available.

That evening when I met with my friends, I presented them with the gifts and was filled with gratitude seeing them unwrap the presents with such joy. These two friends of mine were the most creative and talented people I had ever known.

A few years later a postman came to my door with a parcel. I carefully unwrapped it. It was a book. To my surprise the author was my friend. I opened the cover and there was an inscription inside:

If it weren’t for your present I would have never realized my dreams! THANK YOU!

Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. I could not imagine what I had just received.

Later that week I went to meet my other friend. “Hey, did you receive a copy of his book?” I asked. “Yeah I did, isn’t it unbelievable?” He replied. And then I asked him a question that caught him off guard. “So do you still have that pen I gave you?” I asked. “Ah, umm, yeah I use it all the time, to write my grocery lists and even my checks.” he opened a drawer and started to rummage for something. Out came the pen, scratched and hardly recognizable. “See here it is!” I quickly changed the subject to avoid any further embarrassment. “So how are the kids doing at school?” I asked.

This is an example of how different people do things differently with the gifts they are given. There is one such gift we all are given. The question is, are we writing a best-seller with it or just our grocery lists?

Life! The greatest gift we’ve been bestowed with. Yet we think so little of it. Why? Aren’t we taught, from day one at school, about great people like Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and other such revolutionaries? What happens after we are taught about such people? We are also led to do things much differently than they did. Why? Can we not be as great as them? Have we not been gifted with the same bodies and organs as they were?

In my opinion, to think you are anything less than great is nearly blasphemous. Do you think that Allah created you flawed, less capable than others? He is the Most Just! If He gave someone one quality, He gave you an equally important quality that the other does not have. The balance is so perfect that without it the world would be in disorder, which it is starting to become because we are not doing what we are meant to do. So no, you are not less than any great person that has walked this earth (there are a few exceptions but apart from them every other great human being).

There are problems in our systems, however, I do not want to start a blame game here or point fingers. There is only one direction the finger should point, and that is towards yourself. Lazy, scared, to comfortable in our comfort-zones, and the list goes on of the endless reasons why we are holding ourselves back from greatness.

Go and open some history books, biographies of some of the greatest people who have ever lived, or watch a documentary. There will be several things common in all of them. Lets start with curiosity. They never let anyone, or any system kill their curiosity. They battled to keep it alive, so that they could come up with solutions to the most important questions about our universe. It was curiosity that led them to understand their passion and potential and in turn live a life of purpose and peace.

Another common thing among the great people was nonconformity. They questioned the stagnant ideologies and systems in which they grew up, realized the flaws, and made an effort to bring a change. But the change didn’t come overnight and for some, the change didn’t even come during their lifetime, however, we can not forget to credit them for being the epicenters of change.

The most important thing among great people, and this is one thing where people want to stop listening because it bothers them, is the sacrifices they made in order to achieve that greatness. But let me remind you, their intentions were never to become famous, their intentions were pure and that is why they were able to achieve their goals. They were as human as you and I. They made mistakes, they got hurt, they fell ill, but they never gave up. They had hard miserable lives, most of them, but today we remember them only for their achievements, which is maybe the problem. We have literally made them gods, and because of that we think it’s impossible to be like them.

Is life really only about making money, buying cars, and investing in businesses for a safe future? Really? Just the thought of such a life makes me nauseous. Is that really how we are going to make use of this wonderful gift? Use it to write our grocery lists and checks? How embarrassing it will be to face He who gave us this gift! I don’t think we can even imagine how it will feel. But you and I both know, it will be horrible.

So it’s a humble request to anyone who comes across this post, stop and reflect upon the perfection of His creation, that is, us. Reflect upon the endless blessing we have been bestowed with, so that we can realize that what He made is perfect and deserves nothing less than being GREAT!

 

P.S. The dictionary meaning of Great:

of ability, quality, or eminence considerably above the normal or average

My mind doesn’t sleep tonight. A single thought repeats itself again and again like a broken record. What is love? What is love? What is love?

Love is not the attraction between two human beings. That force of attraction is very volatile, and is looking for a chance to disappear. The moment one human being finds an imperfection in another, the force of attraction goes POOF and in comes the force of repulsion, playing its part in erasing any memory, that that force of attraction ever existed. This is not love!

Love is a force that exists between two souls. Two souls in such an attraction, see nothing but perfection. And why wouldn’t they. They know that He who created them could have made nothing less than perfect. They can even see the perfection in the imperfections. It is the ignorance of the body to consider different as imperfection, to consider unique as imperfection. But not for the souls. The natural state of all souls is purity. It is the body that either acts as a veil or a window to your soul. Your actions, your character decides whether your body will be one or the other. Make your body a window to your soul so that you can love!

I’ve always wondered why the concept of love is so important to me. I once thought that maybe its a construct of my exposure to music and movies that talk about love, where in fact they talk about lust. But I don’t think that is the case. This force, it is so strong, but where does it come from? How does it work? These questions have always baffled me.

I have a theory about love that I’d like to share. Love is a force that works much like the force of gravity. How does gravity work, the greater the mass of an object the greater is its force of attraction. My friends, I think love works the same way. But in another dimension; the spiritual dimension. So how do we increase the force of love? By increasing our spiritual mass? How does one do that you ask? Well that’s where looking past the veil or through the window, comes in. We must love, purely, unconditionally. When we do that, a union of souls takes place. Once united, your spiritual mass increases and hence the force of love increases. But to what does this force of love pull us toward? God is infinite in His entirety, and hence His love towards us, also infinite. His love pulls us towards Him but does ours pull us towards Him as well? Yes it does, but how much? That’s simple, the more spiritual mass we have the more force of love we have towards that infinite source of love. And for that very reason, Islam encourages us to build our communities. To love not only our families but strangers, our neighbors, and every single individual. So to send blessing on a stranger passing through the street, and to stand by him in a congregation, is not just a physical phenomenon, but more importantly a spiritual one. A phenomenon that helps increase your spiritual mass in order to love Allah stronger, better, purer.

This is what life is all about! Love! Pure and unconditional! Living in such a way as to get closer to Him day by day till the day there is no distance left between you and Him. That is truly going to be a day that will be like none other! The day we meet Allah!

 

Disclaimer:

This post has nothing to do with any religious teachings. These are purely my own thoughts and opinions.

Pair

April 20, 2017

 

As I stand in front of a hundred year old tree and observe its majestic trunk and lush green leaves, I start to wonder how a hundred years ago, this tree came into being.

Going back to childhood science, we learn that there are male trees and female trees, and some have both in a single tree. The point to realize here is that even something that seems so magnificent standing alone in a meadow, independent and strong did not come into being without a pair. Without a pair it is incomplete.

Going down to a more subatomic level, something that is a part of every single living and non-living thing, are atoms, and in those atoms are pairs as well. They sometimes exist unpaired, however, those ions, are unstable and reactive, and will pair as soon as they come in contact with the ion that is its opposite charge. My chemistry has become a bit rusty over the years but this is generally how it works.

We can look around and find endless examples of how things made in pairs must remain in pairs in order to be completed, in order to function on optimum levels. I’m sure most of you agree. However, things have started to go in the opposite direction when it comes to human beings. The root cause, and also a cause of almost all problems in society, EGO! Men thinking they have no need of women and vice versa. A totally unnatural way of living, yet it’s becoming such a norm. In the name of empowerment, equality and God knows what all, people have made it a problem of their ego to be dependent on the other. I’m not taking any sides here as it goes both ways. Men need women as much as women need men. Not because of weakness or any negative aspect, but because that’s how nature defines us.

Depression, anxiety, suicide, is all becoming rampant because expectations for one to act complete being in an incomplete state, has reached the sky. There are those who do not consider themselves incomplete, and there are those who do and want to be complete but due to the ever-increasing complexity of finding a suitable other and the exorbitant amount of money that is expected to be spent on a wedding, leaves them hopeless. And then come the “traditional parents” who haven’t let go of things that were discouraged 1400 years ago, and delay their children’s completeness because of their ever so strong egos they have nurtured over the years. I’m sure most of you are aware of all those “beautiful” traditions.

I guess all these hurdles have led to a great misunderstanding about the actual purpose of marriage. Men getting married for the wrong reasons, and women doing the same, and parents playing their part as well. The purpose is multi-layered, starting from completing each other individually to completing society as a whole. Why men have been made to think and do a certain way and why women have been made to think and do a certain way means that either one does not have the capacity to do both. A man is only capable of looking at half the picture, and the women the other half, and together they are able to see things in completeness in order to live a certain way. It’s like having half the pieces of a puzzle and not knowing what to make of them because you don’t have the other half of the pieces. This completeness doesn’t only pertain to physical completeness but also and more importantly, mental, emotional and spiritual completeness.

Why should one continue living as half for so long? I am dumbfounded by this! People have a list of reasons for this but to me it all seems to be a lack of faith. But it’s a pointless argument with those who oppose how nature has defined things.

There is a problem and we know that it’s eating away at our society, and it’s time we start doing something about it. Putting our concerns forward, both parents and children, is a start. If the concern is how one will support a family, why not start to think of a way to acquire a skill way before completing your higher education in order to create that extra monetary requirement. I think this is one of the biggest concerns nowadays, the only concern I’m willing to buy out of the endless nonsensical ones. We must realize the gravity of the situation here! You all agree that ones child’s health is of utmost importance, then please hear me when I say you are leading them to a lifetime of sickness if you do not prioritize on helping them become complete. Their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health is at risk! You don’t see doctors diagnosing this because by the time it’s gotten that bad that one has to go to the doctor, you don’t realize that it started very long ago. You don’t see people dying of being single, but you do see people dying of heart disease, depression, and mental illness, maybe not completely because of this but this has a major part to play.

If you are someone who agrees with my point of view, with my opinion, then try playing your part. I’m not saying start a rebellion in your house, all I’m saying is, start thinking about it, and if possible speak to your parents, and if that’s not possible at least remember this when you have children who are growing up, and do rightfully for them, do not let them deal with this on their own, do for them what you would have wanted for yourself.

Love Songs

September 6, 2016

In the hustling bustling train station, in the zombie-like movement of the people rushing to and from the platforms, stands a man. A man that is alive. He lives because of the fire inside his heart.

Busking at train stations and near the markets, he sings songs about love, about life! For those whose fires have been put out, for them the sound that resonates life, doesn’t exist. But for those who believe in love, in life, stop to listen. Stop to rekindle the flames in their hearts. 

It’s not about what he’s doing but more about why he’s doing it. Those heart filled songs are a result of the passion he has for what he does. To me, it seems like he is not after fame and fortune, having travelled the globe and produced several albums he’s still there on the street. But don’t take it the wrong way because that doesn’t mean he’s poor it means he wants to be close to the people, because that’s where the warmth is. When little children come to put coins in his guitar case and he smiles at them as they waddle away, that is a moment of true bliss, a moment so tiny yet so beautifully powerful that it makes me smile even when I think about it. For those greedy materialistic people, he’s a mad man, giving free performances to people which he could easily earn much more money off of if it were a ticketed show. But that life, that self-centred life, is not one worth living. 

For me, this man, like many others following their passion, is a source of inspiration. Inspiring me to take that leap of faith towards what I love doing and also to be near the common people, be right smack center of where the zombies roam, because that’s where you’ll actually be able to make a difference. 

When I think about my experience, try to paint an image of what I felt in that moment, I picture people going their separate ways but a child looking exactly like them holding their hands and tugging them towards the singing man. An image of how the real you, the person you were as a child is still there and wants you to listen. And those who have stopped to listen are in their child-like form surrounding him and listening to him with complete concentration as if the world only exists in the circle they have made around him. If only I were an artist, I would love to paint this image. But since I’m not I hope those of you who have a tiny bit of imagination left in you close your eyes and visualise the scene. It is an image I will hold on to as long as I live, to remind me of what life truly is!

Thank you Cuzn! Thank you for making this world a more beautiful place to live in!

I Can! I Will! I Am!

July 9, 2016

No doubt! Whoever worshipped Muhammad, then Muhammad is dead, but whoever worshiped Allah, then Allah is Alive and shall never die.”

Hazrat AbuBakr (RA)

Legends pass but legacies prevail, if we choose for them to. Indeed today we have lost one of the greatest humanitarians of our time, however, all those who say that there can be no one like him, he has already given up on the legacy and is a source of pain to the great man’s soul. 

Abdul Sattar Eidhi is a symbol of love, love for every human being, young, old, able, disabled, Sunni, Shia, Muslim, Christian, without distinction whatsoever. He had not been bestowed with any super human powers, he was a simple human being with a body and soul. But unlike you and me he realised that, in following the deen and the man who brought that deen, he would find eternal bliss and satisfaction. And in this realisation he found success in this life and we all pray for his success in the next.

EIDHI

I can help you and I will!

I am Eidhi 

I can bring peace to the world and I will!

I am Eidhi 

I can be the hope for the hopeless and I will!

I am Eidhi 

I can love you and I will! 

I am Eidhi! 

You are Eidhi!

We are Eidhi!

For all those who want to pay tribute to Eidhi, make a promise today, that we will love every human being without distinction of cast, creed, gender or anything that divides us. We will not hold a community responsible for the mistakes and wrong doing of a few. And removing this malice from our hearts is the least we can do to keep his legacy alive.

You made our country and this world a better place and insha-Allah we promise to follow in your footsteps!

We salute you!

You are nothing less than a hero!

We love you!

 

They say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well for the past six months, life has been throwing lemons at me constantly! At first I had no clue what to do with this bitter skinned sour fruit, but over time and several attempts, I think I’ve finally come up with a recipe that makes me appreciate lemons more than ever!

Ingredients:

Lemons (of course, as many as life has thrown at you)

Intentions (pure and free of contamination) – Niyat

Effort (the best possible you can find) -Koshish

Patience (be generous with this, you’ll need plenty) – Sabr

Gratitude (the sugar that will transform the sour taste into the most delicious drink you’ve ever had) – Shukar

Method:

Lemons also known as hardships (if you haven’t figured that out yet), everyone has a plentiful stock of that in their kitchen and they never run out. Hardship is simply unavoidable, so we better stop fighting against it and learn to live with it. It is a false assumption that we can somehow get rid of it through wealth, relationships, or whatever you think. It is a characteristic of this life, for everyone! A poor man, no matter how much he’d love to switch places with the man living in a mansion from where he collects the trash, will not want to live with that rich man’s problems for even a day, and will run back to his small home where he knows he will find love and warmth like no place else. Our lack of knowledge makes us feel that this life is unfair but Allah in His infinite mercy and grace would never be unjust with anyone. The balance is perfect and nothing less!

Lemons, despite their unbearable taste, are packed with essential vitamins that make us strong and improve our immune system. So do hardships! They make us feel horrible but they provide us with a will to survive, a direction, and at the end of it all purify us from contaminants that are very harmful to our existence. They are a blessing in disguise, if only we make them lemonade.

 

So you’ve been thinking you want to do this with your life, and that. But suddenly you are being bombarded with lemons, they come in all shapes and sizes and they hurt! It’s good to set goals and have targets you want to achieve, but frankly, that’s all you’ve got, the ability to make that intention for something and the capacity to make the effort for it. After that you are in control of nothing. And yes, I’m pretty sure most of you are thinking I’m making this sound too sweet, but if we were also left to decide what’s good for us and whats not, life would have become much more difficult than it already is. That’s the point where we leave it to Allah to decide, and we all believe that He loves us in an amount that our mind can’t even wrap around, so there is no point worrying about it. But this is the part where most of us ruin the lemonade. With Mr. Shaitan (Satan) around us all the time, our chief adviser, like the sly ministers who mislead the leaders, has his own motives and agenda and uses us conveniently to get his work done. What does he do? He makes us feel like it is us who is in control of our fate, it is us who can produce results, it is us who can change the world. As morbid as it might sound, we don’t have that ability or the choice to do so. As I said earlier, we don’t know whether the result we’re after is even good for us, even though it may seem like the perfect thing that can happen to us, WE DO NOT KNOW!

Make that intention. Be sure it is pure and correct. Be sure it does not involve causing pain to oneself or others. Now move on to the next step of the recipe.

 
It’s now time to add the next ingredient, EFFORT. We have been blessed with five senses and a brain, we need to use these assets wisely. We all know what we’re capable of, but either choose to ignore it, or undermine our abilities on purpose, always trying to find an easy way out. Give it your best shot, whatever you have in you, use it to its maximum potential. But be careful, because Mr. Shaitan will be lurking around, and he’ll start preparing you for one of two things: disappointment or pride! If the results are as you were expecting, then, instantaneously you’ll start to feel as if it was your effort and only that, that produced those results. Whereas, that is not the case at all. It is, and always will be the Mercy of Allah that we achieve anything in life. What we are bestowed with is many times greater than our efforts, and it is only His blessings and nothing else, after all, He is the one who gave us the capacity to make those efforts in the first place. On the other hand, if you do not achieve what you set out to achieve, Mr. S will suddenly make you feel that you are a victim of some sort, that you’ve been treated unfairly, and that you deserved much better. He will make you feel that you are not worthy or anything, and will take you to a point where you might even want to give the most precious gift you have away, your life. So beware at all times, and keep reminding yourself of the mercies and blessings of Allah, and that is the only way we get places, and if you didn’t get something that too was a blessing. It might not seem so, but as I mentioned earlier, is because of our lack of knowledge.

Now its time for the key ingredient. Patience! This is one that is most difficult to find but is what makes or breaks the recipe. There is no restriction to the amount you put in, the more the better. In the midst of doubt and hopelessness, you will have to find peace, because that is your only hope and saving grace. One day when I was out walking, a thought came to my mind, that as long as I don’t give up, I will be forgiven for all my shortcomings and mistakes, but the minute I give up, forgiveness can not be achieved. At that point, that is all I needed, to keep going, but later I realised what it really meant. Giving up means losing faith, and I think that is enough said! So fight hard, and know that if you fall it is not the end, stand up and fight again. It’s not the number of times you fall that matters, all that matters is you getting up every time! This is hard, very hard, and you’ll want to give up, thanks to Mr. S again for supporting our every negative thought. But you have it in you to get through. You know why? Because He’s up there and He is helping in ways we can not even imagine, and it is because He trusts our abilities that we’re still alive. We all know that phrase “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, so whatever it is that you’re in, you’ll emerge from it stronger and prepared to fight more battles!

With that said, we are now left with decorating our already very refreshing drink, so that we get the complete experience of the best lemonade you’ve ever had. This is that secret ingredient that will make this lemonade taste like none other. Gratitude! It’s not just a state of mind, we actually have a lot to be grateful for, despite the hardships we’re in. But in order to add this ingredient, you need to stop doing whatever else it is that you are doing, just for a moment, and breathe. See there it is! The first thing to be grateful for, the ability to breathe, that ability only the living have. You are alive! But most of us, in that state of anxiety and depression, even forget that! Isn’t that just sad, to be alive yet unaware of how much that means! Look around you and you’ll realise that there are not just one or two but millions of things that we have forgotten we have because we are too caught up in these hardships, which makes them even harder. But most importantly, we need to be grateful for the very hardship that has put us in the state we’re in. I know for a fact, that in times like these, it’s so much easier to remember Allah, it so much easier to communicate with Him, it means so much more, because despite our condition, we turn to Him to find comfort, and in that is our success!

 

 

Tips to improve the experience:

  1. Continuously purify yourself, through prayer and remembrance of Allah
  2. Talk to someone, it helps so much, because the problem that we have so conveniently magnified in our mind isn’t as big once its out in front of us in the form of words (it’s help me a lot)
  3. Help someone with their problems. This, not only makes you forget your own worries but also gives you a sense of purpose
  4. Spend some time laughing and enjoying this beautiful thing called life

 

The Optimum Approach

February 16, 2016

Today I have come to realise that all walks of life can lead you to finding answers, answers about life, answers about God. In the most unimaginable places you find Him, speaking to you, guiding you, showering His love upon you. But that is, if we stop and realise that, what is happening around us is not just happening without reason.

Today, in an interview, I was posed with a question, to come up with an engineering solution to a problem, being told that there are multiple correct solutions, but one being more optimum than the others. I won’t get into the details of the engineering aspects of it so as to leave it comprehensible to all. So I came up with three possible solutions with the help of the interviewer.

The first one, which was with the use of an additional resource, which I will call the PAST approach. The second one, that was a solution based on some prior assumptions, I will call that the FUTURE approach. And lastly, the Top-down approach, which I will call the PRESENT approach.

Let’s apply these approaches to our life. Number one: the PAST approach.
I consider an investment which is providing me with some backup money as my additional resource. I feel that this resource will assist me in the problems that I will face later on in my life. A problem comes along and there it is, my investment money gets me through, and the approach is working. But let’s say suddenly that place where I placed my investment, goes bankrupt, and that’s exactly when I need that money, I’m doomed, and the system that I thought was optimum, failed me. Let’s take another example, let’s say, me being single, I feel that if I get married, I will have an emotional support system. I face a phase of depression, God forbid, and my wife stands by me, and helps me through it, and I make it out alive. Then one day, as that day is inevitable, but seldom remembered, comes and takes away the ground from beneath my feet, that solution I had relied on for so many years is now gone and is the time in which I need that emotional support the most. Another system has failed me. Hence, we can conclude that this approach, although effective for some instances is not one that can be relied on completely.

Let’s move on to the FUTURE approach. I make an assumption that if I follow such and such path, put in a given amount of time and effort, I will achieve my future goals. For example, I assume that if I study hard and get good grades in college, I am bound to land a job in a good company or obtain a scholarship in a reputed institution for further studies. I get an admission in a university, I follow a set study pattern, give appropriate time to my studies and get exceptional grades, I graduated with a distinction. Hurray! Sadly the job market I enter has reached its saturation point, and I am unable to apply for a scholarship because my country has been blacklisted from the top institutions of my field for some reason or the other, or there could be any reason for me being unable to pursue further studies. What am I to do now, where am I to go? Yet another approach has failed me.

Before I start off with examples about the last approach, let me tell you a little bit about it. The Top-down approach takes any problem, and starts at the root, where it all began and then traverses it’s way down to obtain a solution. So let’s get started. I join a company, and as soon as my probation period is over, it falls into a financial crisis, leaving me with a job that pays after every few months. I worked hard, got good grades, and even landed a job before I graduated, but it hasn’t worked out. Let’s apply the Top-down approach here. But first, let’s identify the top, the root. As a Muslim I strongly believe that there is one Creator of every single atom that exists in this entire universe, it is He who has given me life, it is He who has provided me with sustenance, and it is He who is in command of all things happening. Having identified the top, knowing that the top is a source of infinite capabilities, we can rest assured that when we are faced with a problem, such as that mentioned above, that the root, the one who has granted me this form of sustenance Has an infinite supply of sustenance, and if one source for me has extinguished, there is surely another one waiting for me. Let’s also apply this approach to the example that we used in the previous approaches. I come across a financial problems, my investment comes in handy why, not because it’s a resource I had allocated for this problem but because it was the source for that particular instance, and that if the next financial crisis I face, my investment has been jeopardised, I trace back to the root, and know that the source of my previous investment has infinite resources and that He will provide another source in this particular time of need. The same applies to my emotional circumstances. If we take the same approach for the FUTURE approach example, we know that despite the fact that we’ve worked hard and obtained grades, we are unable to find work, however, if we trace back to root, we know that He who provided us with the opportunity to obtain an education in the first place, has an infinite source of opportunities in store for us, and that it’s just a matter of time for that opportunity to arise.

All this said, what are we to do, knowing that He is in control and He is the provider of all things? Do we just sit and wait for things to happen on their own? No! In the Top-down approach we have only what is present, no additional resources that we allocated in the past, and no assumptions of what we will achieve in the future, we only have this moment. But not only that, we also have knowledge of what our root is, with those two things in hand, we make the most of that moment. Keeping in mind two key ingredients: PATIENCE and GRATITUDE, leaving what has past and what is to come, all to Him.

This is the very approach the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) had, and he succeeded in the most difficult of times, be it when, him and his tribe were exiled, or when his beloved wife Bibi Khadija (RA) passed away. This is the very approach that Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique (RA) had, who was able to stand strong, despite the demise of Rehmat-ul-lil-alimeen, because he knew that the root, Allah, still exists and always will!

May Allah guide us and may He make our faith as strong as the sahaba (RA)! Ameen

The Emerald Tree

December 23, 2015

There once was a tree, that bore the most precious fruit in the world. It stood tall in a meadow with its branches spread out wide, providing an expanse of shade underneath. The tree had dark green leaves but when the sun shone upon it they would reflect an emerald-green color and that made the tree glow! It was the most beautiful tree ever.

The fruit on this tree took their time to grow, and the tree spent all its life becoming strong in order to bear that fruit, absorbing all sorts of nutrients from the earth. The first time a fruit appeared on it, this tree was very happy and it swayed here and there in the cool spring breeze. It had finally reached that point in its life that it had been waiting for, that it had worked so hard to achieve.

Everyday, this tree would collect water and food through its roots and provide it to its fruit, sometimes even sacrificing a few of its branches so that the fruit would survive even if it meant losing a branch. It would nurture it with love and care, and every time a bird or animal passed by it, it would wrap its leaves around it to hide it, after all, it was all it lived for and did not want any danger near it.

One day, clouds started to form, and the wind started to blow. At a distance lightning started to flash followed by a loud roar of thunder. The tree was really scared that the storm would come and break the fruit away from it. So it twisted its branches, and made a shelter for its fruit, even though twisting its branches hurt the tree, but nothing meant more than to save its fruit from being blown away. The storm came with all its might, and took away half its leaves and cracked some of its branches. The tree was in so much pain but it did not let the fruit go, and held it as tight as it could.

The next day when the sun came up, the tree had changed, it no longer stood as strong as before, but it was still the happiest tree around, knowing its fruit was saved from the storm. In time, the tree grew back its leaves, and continued feeding the fruit. Every night when the wind blew, the tree whistled lullabies to it and the fruit would grow through the night into a pulpier, juicier fruit than the day before.

Days passed, and the fruit started becoming heavier and heavier, and more insects, birds and other hungry animals started to come around the tree. The tree had been through some heavy storms and was gradually losing its strength, but it could not bear the feeling of letting go of the only thing it lived for. It had spent so long, and so much of its own nutrients to grow it, letting go felt worse than any storm had made it feel.

One day, an old man stopped his horse under the tree, to take an afternoon nap. As he lay back on the big tree trunk, he felt his back get damp. This old man had wandered the world and had great knowledge of all sorts. The man realized what the tree was going through, and why it was weeping. He put his palm against the trunk and started to pet it. “You’ve lived a long life, and have been a source of shade for so many people, wouldn’t you want that there be more of your kind in this meadow and beyond?” He said to the tree. “I waited years and years to bear this fruit, and have given it so much of my love, how can I let go?” Wept the tree. “The fruit is now ripe, it must leave you in order to reach a patch of soil where it can sow its seeds, where it can get sunlight and water from the rain”, explained the old man, “and if you hold on too long, the fruit will rot and the insects will come and take away the seeds. You don’t want that now, do you?” The tree realized that although it had taken care of the fruit, it was time to let it go, to let it grow. The tree dried its trunk and the man rested his back against it and fell asleep.

A slight breeze started to blow, and some dried leaves floated down on the mans face, awakening him from his sleep. As he opened his eyes he saw the bright-colored fruit fallen right between his legs. “What is this?” He asked the tree. “You have been very kind to me, and have made me realize how important it is that I let my fruit grow in its own soil,” said the tree in a humbled voice, “you seem to be a very wise man, and have seen so much of the world. Please take this fruit, and find for it a new home, a place where it will be happy and grow strong, stronger than me. A place where it can be a source of shade to people who need it. ” The man promised the tree that he would find for it a suitable place to grow and gave the tree a big hug, as wide as his arms could go and bade it farewell.

The man did as he promised, and found a fertile piece of land near his home, so that he could water it and protect it from danger. Eventually the seeds from the fruit sprout and started to grow. It was very hard at first, cracking out of the hard shell, only to find that it had to make its way through the earth to reach the sun. This new plant was taking its first steps to grow. Pushing and shoving through the soil, it remembered how much nicer it was back inside the fruit, and wished it could go back. As it split through the earth into the open, it met the sun for the first time, a bright sharp glare shone upon it and made it warm. It had never seen such bright light nor felt this warm. It remembered how cool and shady it used to be under its beautiful emerald tree, and wished it could go back.

Days passed and the plant started to make its way higher and higher up into the sky. One day while it was swaying in a gust of wind, it suddenly noticed that the sun had disappeared in the day time, and a rumbling sound shook it all the way down to its roots. The wind started to blow faster and faster, and the plant did not know what to do. The man came rushing to it and quickly stuck a stick right next to it and wrapped the plant around it, tying it at several points in order for it to stay in the ground. The man left and so did the storm, eventually, after having done its damage to the other plants around it. The next day, as the sun came up, the man walked over to the plant. “You have nothing to be afraid of,” he explained, “I have tied you to a branch that came from the tree you came from. You can lean on it and hug it tightly when the wind blows again. The tree gave me its branch just for you.”

Years passed by, and the plant grew into a tree and like the tree it came from, it too had dark green leaves that glowed emerald in the sun light. It too went through many storms and the harsh rays of the sun, but without it, the tree would have never turned out as beautiful as the tree in the meadow it came from!

 

 

Amidst the hustling bustling of our busy lives, are signs all around us. They are right in front of our eyes, yet our worries and anxieties make us blind, and we continue looking for help elsewhere. Its only when we stop, just momentarily and look at the world around us, that we notice, each and every creation on this planet is helping us in ways we never thought of. One such example is that of the trees.

Trees grow around us, providing us with fruit, shade, and most importantly the paper we use in so many places. However, the trees are there to teach us another very important lesson about life. That of growing up!

Yesterday I wandered off to a place far from my comfort zone, not realizing how far I’ve gotten until I looked back. But when I did, it was truly a moment of self-reflection, a little disturbing, I must say. And at that moment I felt several things, of which one was most uncomfortable, the feeling of wanting to rush back not only to the boundary of my zone but as far back in as I could go, a place I found safe and obviously comfortable. But that was not all I felt. I felt that I’ve taken my education for granted all these years, I felt that people who have to work with their hands and put in all their physical energies to do their tasks should be paid much more than they do, I felt grateful that I had a choice of wandering off to that point and did not have to do it out of necessity, and I also felt that I had just experienced a reality which will really change the way I think about the world I live in.

The comfort zone is a funny world, that exists in our head, and hence only we know how we feel when we are in it and when we step out. Each individual has his own little world inside his or her head. But what is this place? It’s an imaginary world where you feel most safe because you know everything in it, and by everything, I mean the feelings. In this space, you know how to react to all sorts of inputs you receive from your surroundings, and you know how to deal with your emotions simply because you’ve experienced them way too many times to be shocked by any of them. However, the funny part comes, when you voluntarily or involuntarily walk out of that world. Suddenly all things seem alien to you. The same people who you once met with a different relationship, are now scary creatures that you think will devour you in one bite. The same feelings you had but with different scenarios, are now magical spells cast upon you that leave you frozen in your steps, or pulling you into the ground like quicksand. Why do all these things change, because you have entered into a world that you do not know much about. But it’s not all that bad, in fact the uncertainty is the only bad thing about it.

Life is one big lesson, and exiting your comfort zone or should I say, expanding your comfort zone is a lesson which one experiences several times along the way. Usually we take baby steps outwards, which we do not notice until much later. But it’s when you take a leap much further out, you realize what’s happening. You start by learning the new language of your heart, new feelings, or the same feelings with different intensities need to be understood. You start realizing the value of the things you’ve left back in your comfort zone, leading you to gratitude and humility. You grow stronger, and more immune to hardships. You evolve into a newer more efficient being, with upgrades in several aspects, may be physical, emotional, spiritual or a mixture of them.

So what is the language of the heart? Most of us are unaware, simply because we are too busy with our lives to even stop to listen to the very organ that is keeping us alive. In my opinion the heart is the docking station of the soul, it’s a direct access to the soul, to communicate with the very thing that makes us, us! So listening to the heart is basically listening to one’s soul. But wait! Not only does the soul dock on this organ, but it is also where ones ego exists, and the first and foremost task is to differentiate between the two. The ego often overpowers the soul because of our own doings, as we are always listening to it rather than the soul, which in turn feeds it and makes it stronger. So, what we need to do is listen to the soul more often. So what does the heart say? It gives us constant updates about the situation of the soul, what it needs and what it has to stay clear of in order to be safe. When you are out there, in a place unknown to you, your soul is by your side, telling you to stand steadfast and fight hard, as this is a test and once you have passed it, you will shine much brighter! The ego, on the other hand, says you’re making a big mistake, you do not belong here and should return to where you came from, a place which you are most familiar with, a place where you are in control of things, where you are the king! Ego doesn’t want you to be grateful or humble, it wants you to be proud, arrogant and feel worthy of all that you have. So who do you want to feed? The choice is yours and what you decide is what you become.

The instinctive behavior of humans, is to take whatever it is that one has, for granted. But wait, do you really deserve that home you live in, or that car you drive? What about that boy, the one who goes to school in the morning and collects garbage all evening, and returns to a tent only to find that he has half a piece of bread for dinner and a hard mat to sleep on. What have you done to deserve the things you have? I’m sure, much less than what he does, or maybe even nothing, and you got it because someone in the past made the efforts and sacrifices to provide for that roof above your head. What about the family and friends you have? What about that girl who lost her parents in an accident and is now living in an orphanage, with no friends but her torn up doll that she drags around all day? Did she have any control over her circumstances? No! And you and I don’t either! So yes, walking out of that comfort zone to realize that we’ve been blessed with the world and so much more, is something we MUST experience, to make us actually bend down on our knees in front of that Merciful power that choose to give us a comfortable home filled with friends and family, because it is nothing of our doing, and we can be nothing but grateful to Him.

You are out of your comfort zone, but not for long, either you run back in, or you stay there long enough to draw a new boundary to that zone, having conquered a new domain. In the case, that you have made it through the hardships of all the learning and realization, you will have added to your system a new mechanism of immunity. Immunity to hardship! Now that you are past the bridge you look back and feel two things: that you have made it across and that it wasn’t as difficult as it seemed when you were on the other side. Having reached this point, although you might have a similar feeling later on in life, but you will know at the back of your mind that you’ve done it before and you can do it again, as long as you keep listening to your soul!

Having been a gamer for a long time, one thing I know is, that getting an upgrade on a structure or unit is always a source of excitement and confidence (knowing that you are one step closer to defeating your enemy). You’ve made it out there, but remember, with you is that Power, a force of love that would never let you wander out of your zone without packing with you the necessary items for you to make it through the journey. Along the way you ate those cookies made with fairy dust, which were delicious but you were to hungry and scared to realize that those cookies gave you wings, and now you can fly, in fact half way through the journey you were up in the air and were safe from half the dangers you would have faced if you were on foot, but since you didn’t realize, that fear still remained in your heart. And remember when you stopped to have that glass of milk, it wasn’t milk, it was a potion of invisibility, so you were no longer vulnerable to being attacked by evil beings, but since you didn’t realize, that fear still remained in your heart.  When you reached your destination and wiped your forehead with that white handkerchief He wrapped and put in your pocket, your forehead started to shine, and with it you were able to see far into the distance, as clear as can be, but since you didn’t look down at the handkerchief which had written on it with, golden words, “I LOVE YOU”, you suddenly let Mr. Ego take over and you put out your chest and said, “Yes, I made it!” But because His love is infinite and Mr. Ego stands no chance in front of it, He looks down at you with pride and says “Yes you did!” 🙂

Union

October 9, 2015

I wish, the distance between you and I would seize to exist

then, we would walk down to a beach or climb up a hill

and, hand in hand, in that moment of silence, we would fall in love,

with every gust of wind that caressed our face,

with every wave that kissed the sea-shore,

upon us would be His mercy, He who created that majestic moment

it would be no ordinary happening, it would be a union of two souls

souls in search of God