You know, I think we’re sometimes deprived of certain outcomes or material things or even the company of some people to clear an inner space. Within that space we construct meaning that decorates us beyond the spatial and temporal dimension – it bleeds through our soul, the wallpaper and confetti of meaning. And that feeds us when we’re starved of purpose, it keeps us company when we feel lonely, it gives us hope knowing that we survived that void. It reassures us of death because we’ve come to learn that there are things that remain when everything tangible gets taken away.
Maybe that’s why Westerners tend to be so miserable and cynical – they’ve reached the apex of what gives them meaning, which is conquest: conquest of everything explorable. But what can be acquired bears no internal imprint. It takes life from you without giving you back anything. Perhaps that’s why people are hedonistic : they mistake their inner void for an undiscovered land like an itch that evades scratching. The soul is sovereign and it only answers to a humble seeker of truth.
واصبر نفسك مع الذين يدعون ربهم
بالغداة والعشي يريدون وجهه ولا تعد عيناك عنهم تريد زينة الحياة الدنيا ولا تطع من أغفلنا قلبه عن ذكرنا واتبع هواه وكان أمره فرطا
And keep yourself (O Muhammad sallAllaahu alayhi wasallam) patiently with those who call on their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His Face, and let not your eyes overlook them, desiring the pomp and glitter of the life of the world; and obey not him whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance, one who follows his own lusts and whose affair (deeds) has been lost.
Although he who is immersed in the pomp and glitter can be quite convincing, we are urged not to fall for that because behind the facade of having it all is confusion due to a lack of an internal compass. So this person can roam the earth freely because they aren’t grounded in anything. They are like a leaf in the wind, the wind being lust, and winds can be nice and breezy, but they can also turn into tornadoes and storms.
True freedom has its anchor in the soul, beyond anything temporal or fleeting.