How deep does the tunnel run?

It’s heartbreaking and heartwrenching to start to hope again for the things that you’ve always longed for but always left hurt and disappointed by. To rebuild the courage to turn the hope in the direction of Allaah, carefully scooping up the frail wishes nestled deep in my heart and give them a second chance by surrendering them to the care of Allaah, is terrifying. A lifelong buildup of fear, dread, dejection, self-hate is a valley of death and to cross it is like crossing the red sea. Only, Allaah can part that abyss, but first I have to remain in the liminal space between my worst fears and my hope. Just because something isn’t real doesn’t make the impact it has any less real. In fact, illusions are hyper real because everything depends on others believing they are real. The boogeyman is very real in a child’s mind, regardless of how much a parent may try to explain there’s nothing under the bed.

And the nature of illusions to take the form of whatever you hold dear is what makes it so difficult to break out of. You need a lot of faith to ground your heart and keep you from being sucked into the maelstrom of illusions and fears and worst case scenarios.

It’s not so much that we don’t know that these things aren’t real, we do. But when you’re in the eye of the storm, what you know isn’t accessible to you. Your mind isn’t helpful in the least. It’s good for managing life, but it’s as useless as a computer that is asked existential questions. Beyond words, beyond structure, beyond thought, beyond the realm of what’s known, only the heart can aid you. Because only the heart communicates with the only one who knows everything and is capable of everything : Allaah

Rock bottom becomes my bedrock

I’ve spent years tearing down the old, with faith as my makeshift structure, to see me through the familiar raining down on me. Confetti of chaos.

I now start building with intentions of hope holding together the bricks I created from the depths of me. I don’t know what shape these bricks will take on but I know it’ll be an evolution of me.

Touché, douche

How do you know it’ll come true? What if it never does actualize, after all this time of you holding your heart open to something? Haha, your feelings are so fickle

the cunning voice whispered, taunting me with things to poke hole in my heart’s truth. Its been the recycled rhetoric to keep my passion in check and to deflate my drive. How am I to prove something before I even have a chance to let it sink in?

Tonight I broke free by retorting

Regardless of outcome, I know what I feel in my heart and what resonates with me and I don’t need it to manifest before my eyes for me to know what’s real. This is the reality of my heart and what happens henceforth I leave to Allaah with the hope that it will manifest in my physical reality. I don’t have control over outcomes or the fate I encounter on the paths I choose. That is in the realm of Allaah which I will not overstep, and I trust His wisdom and discernment.

hold on to me, don’t

a divine curse?
a mind bursting to give birth to stars and galaxies
a heart too timid to crowd the world
In between the two, a will that wax and wanes like the moon

and like the moon, swims through darkness

my fear of dying ironically kills my will to live
my ego must dissolve like a cocoon , for my soul to be born
In between the two, the tide of suffering rises in me but never allows its waves to reach the shore

for i always drown my hope at the last moment before dawn
so i can pretend that he was only a flimsy, fleeting dream
buried at the sea of my heart

Rebecca Solnit

The desire to go home that is a desire to be whole, to know where you are, to be the point of intersection of all the lines drawn through all the stars, to be the constellation-maker and the center of the world, that center called love. To awaken from sleep, to rest from awakening, to tame the animal, to let the soul go wild, to shelter in darkness and blaze with light, to cease to speak and be perfectly understood.

  • Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics

The stars we are given. The constellations we make. That is to say, stars exist in the cosmos, but constellations are the imaginary lines we draw between them, the readings we give the sky, the stories we tell.”

  • Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics

Worry is a way to pretend that you have knowledge or control over what you don’t–and it surprises me, even in myself, how much we prefer ugly scenarios to the pure unknown.

  • A Field Guide to Getting Lost

A path is a prior interpretation of the best way to traverse a landscape.

  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking

 

Writing is saying to no one and to everyone the things it is not possible to say to someone.

  • The Faraway Nearby

 

How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?(Plato)

The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation. Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration- how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?

  • A Field Guide to Getting Lost

 

Despair is a form of certainty, certainty that the future will be a lot like the present or decline from it. Optimism is similarly confident about what will happen. Both are grounds for not acting. Hope can be the knowledge that reality doesn’t necessarily match our plans.

  • Men Explain Things to Me

To write is to carve a new path through the terrain of the imagination, or to point out new features on a familiar route. To read is to travel through that terrain with the author as a guide– a guide one might not always agree with or trust, but who can at least be counted on to take one somewhere.

  • Wanderlust: A History of Walking

But hope is not about what we expect. It is an embrace of the essential unknowability of the world, of the breaks with the present, the surprises. Or perhaps studying the record more carefully leads us to expect miracles – not when and where we expect them, but to expect to be astonished, to expect that we don’t know. And this is grounds to act.

  • Hope in the Dark

Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes–you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and knowable, a alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what is may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.

  • Hope in the Dark

If the boundaries of the self are defined by what we feel, then those who cannot feel even for themselves shrink within their own boundaries, while those who feel for others are enlarged, and those who feel compassion for all beings must be boundless. They are not separate, not alone, not lonely, not vulnerable in the same way as those of us stranded in the islands of ourselves, but they are vulnerable in other ways. Still, that sense of the dangers in feeling for others is so compelling that many withdraw, and develop elaborate stories to justify withdrawal, and then forget that they have shrunk. Most of us do, in one way or another.

 

  • The Faraway Nearby

 

The possibility of paradise hovers on the cusp of coming into being, so much so that it takes powerful forces to keep such a paradise at bay. If paradise now arises in hell, it’s because in the suspension of the usual order and the failure of most systems, we are free to live and act another way.

  • A Paradise Built in Hell

 

Paradise is not the place in which you arrive but the journey toward it. Sometimes I think victories must be temporary or incomplete; what kind of humanity would survive paradise? The industrialized world has tried to approximate paradise in its suburbs, with luxe, calme, volupté, cul-de-sacs, cable television and two-car garages, and it has produced a soft ennui that shades over into despair and a decay of the soul suggesting that Paradise is already a gulag. Countless desperate teenagers will tell you so. For paradise does not require of us courage, selflessness, creativity, passion: paradise in all accounts is passive, is sedative, and if you read carefully, soulless.

  • Hope in the Dark

Creation is always in the dark because you can only do the work of making by not quite knowing what you’re doing, by walking into darkness, not staying in the light.

  • The Faraway Nearby

 

Resistance is first of all a matter of principle and a way to live, to make yourself one small republic of unconquered spirit. You hope for results, but you don’t depend on them.

  • Hope in the Dark

 

He ceased to be lost not by returning but by turning into something else.

  • A Field Guide to Getting Lost

 

To dig deeper into the self, to go underground, is sometimes necessary, but so is the other route of getting out of yourself, into the larger world, into the openness in which you need not clutch your story and your troubles so tightly to your chest.

  • The Faraway Nearby

 

A labyrinth is an ancient device that compresses a journey into a small space, winds up a path like thread on a spool. It contains beginning, confusion, perseverance, arrival, and return. There at last the metaphysical journey of your life and your actual movements are one and the same. You may wander, may learn that in order to get to your destination you must turn away from it, become lost, spin about, and then only after the way has become overwhelming and absorbing, arrive, having gone the great journey without having gone far on the ground.

  • The Faraway Nearby

 

I wish that I could put up yesterday’s evening sky for all posterity, could preserve a night of love, the sound of a mountain stream, a realization as it sets my mind afire, a dance, a day of harmony, ten thousand glorious days of clouds that will instead vanish and never be seen again, line them up in jars where they might be admired in the interim and tasted again as needed.

  • The Faraway Nearby

 

What we dream of is already present in the world.

  • Hope in the Dark

 

Some portion of Woolf’s genius, it seems to me, is that having no notion, that negative capability. I once heard about a botanist in Hawaii with a knack for finding new species by getting lost in the jungle, by going beyond what he knew and how he knew, by letting experience be larger than his knowledge, by choosing reality rather than the plan. Woolf not only utilized but celebrated the unpredictable meander, on mind and foot. Her great essay Street Haunting: A London Adventure, from 1930, has the light breezy tone of many of her early essays, and yet voyages deep into the dark.

  • Men Explain Things to Me

It’s only just a dream

I vow to stay with me.

I vow to be committed to my truth, the truth, every moment.

vow to seek clarity before validation

to give before I demand

love before security

the potential before the practical
In a world that floods my mind, clogs my senses, uproots my stability, vandalizes my intuition

I have to fight to stay afloat, with nothing but the present in my arsenal

So, I vow to calm my racing heart out in the battlefields

I vow to stay open, even as the ricochet of people’s facades spray my face.

I vow to never give up on hope no matter how gloomy things get

I vow to not let the status quo dictate the perimeters of my dreams

I vow to keep coming back to square one, to pore over the universe with each discovery that broadens my horizons and deepens the caverns of my soul.

and I vow to never stop looking for you.

Sore wings

I just realized that the cause of evil in this world is that people don’t want to be on the receiving end of others evil, so in defending their frail sense of self, they become the monsters they were fearing. 
Wallaahi, Allaah is my witness, I’d rather be dragged on my face, have my name obliterated, have my back stabbed, than to live for even a moment in this world anticipating such evil. What’s the absolute worst people can do to me? Reject me? Attempt to kill me? Slander me? Falsely accuse me? Unjustly incarcerate me? 

Yet, all that happened to Yusuf calayhissalaam, and in the end Allaah elevated him above his suffering. Why? Because he never became like the monsters who hurt him. Even after all his brothers did to him, when he became the financial minister of Egypt, and his brothers travelled from Jerusalem due to severe famine, he was forgiving. Forbearing. No trace of bitterness in his heart. No victimization. No blaming. 
When it was alleged that a stolen golden bowl was found in the bag of Benjamin, who was the only full brother of Yusuf, the other half brothers didn’t miss a beat to slander their brother Yusuf they presumed to have died some 30 odd years prior to this meeting. And even then Yusuf calayhissalaam didn’t lose his composure 
They [Yusuf’s  brothers] said: “If he steals, there was a brother of his [Yusuf] who did steal before (him).” But these things did Yusuf keep in himself, revealing not the secrets to them. He said (within himself): “You are in worst case, and Allaah is the Best Knower of that which you describe!” 

(Yusuf 12:77)
He could have punished them. He could have gloated and rubbed his status in their faces. He could have punished them. But no, he refused to become like them. 
And his father, when word got back that Benjamin, his second favourite, was detained in Egypt, he lost his sight due to extreme sorrow. He lost Yusuf whilst in the care of the brothers, and now he lost Benjamin to the same fate. He was beside himself. Yet he didn’t allow frustration and anger and sadness and hopelessness cloud his judgement. He expected good, always, even when it seemed impossible. 
“They said: “By Allaah! You will never cease remembering Yusuf  until you become weak with old age, or until you be of the dead.” 
He said: “I only complain of my grief and sorrow to Allaah, and I know from Allaah that which you know not.”
 (Yusuf 12:85-86)
Even when people told him to give up and become realistic, he refused. Even after all these years, he kept feeling the pain. He didn’t shut himself down. He didn’t numb his feelings. He let that sorrow surge through him till he lost his sight because numbing the heart to pain would mean putting one’s intuition on mute.
“O my sons! Go you and enquire about Yusuf and his brother, and never give up hope of Allâh’s Mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allaah’s Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.” 
( Yusuf 12:87) 

Why did he say only the disbelievers despair of Allaah’s mercy? Because the mercy of Allaah is from the realms of uncertainty, of what we don’t know. A realm that can’t be broached by logic or reason. A realm that is outside that, and can only be accessed through a vulnerable heart trembling with fear of the unknown, but able to transcend all of that through faith. And what is faith if not the belief in something for which one has no immediate proof of? 

So, Yacqub was eventually reunited with all of his sons – as he had hoped. And Yusuf calayhissalaam was cleared of the accusations, and the dream he had as a young boy before he was thrown in the well, it came true. 
And something interesting about dreams. Dreams was one of the ways Allaah sent revelations to the prophets. For instance, Ibraahiim calayhissalaam saw in a dream that he was to slaughter his son, Ismaaciil. And he knew that it was a direct command, because all the dreams of the prophets were direct revelations.  But even after the cessation of the final prophethood, dreams remain one way Allaah inspires the truthful individual. The more honest and authentic the person is, the stronger and clearer one’s dreams and intuition. Why? Because dreams and intuition come from the heart, from the subconscious, and lies and deception clouds one’s heart. 
The prophet sallAllaahu calayhi wasallam said about this:
وأصدقكم رؤيا أصدقكم حديثا
“The truthfulness of the dream is related to the sincerity of the dreamer. Those who have the most truthful dreams are those who are the most truthful in speech.”
 (Muslim)

Going back to what I mentioned about Yusuf keeping his heart clean – it’s what enabled the dream to actualize. And indeed, his honesty and authenticity is what made him one of Allaah’s chosen ones, those He gives special protection and guidance. 
When the wife tried to seduce Yusuf, this is what Allaah said 
 وَلَقَدْ هَمَّتْ بِهِ وَهَمَّ بِهَا لَوْلا أَن رَّأَى بُرْهَانَ رَبِّهِ كَذَلِكَ لِنَصْرِفَ عَنْهُ السُّوءَ وَالْفَحْشَاء إِنَّهُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا الْمُخْلَصِينَ
“And indeed she did desire him and he would have inclined to her desire, had he not seen the evidence of his Lord. Thus it was, that We might turn away from him evil and illegal sexual intercourse. Surely, he was one of Our chosen, guided slaves.”
 (Yusuf 12:24)
The point I want to draw your attention to is the word translated to mean chosen: الْمُخْلَصِينَ
It’s the passive participle ( اسم مفعول)  ofأخلَصَ  ( to make/be sincere) . So the one who does the act of ikhlaas is called
Mukhlis   مُخلِص with a kasra 
But the ayah says Mukhlas مُخلَص with a fatxa 

which means that the person changes from being the doer to the subject. So due to someone’s consistent sincerity, Allaah becomes ‘sincere’ towards them by choosing them and protecting them. 
الجزاء من جنس العمل

And it was this that Iblees was referring to when he said, as Allaah mentioned in the Qur’aan 
قَالَ فَبِعِزَّتِكَ لَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ

إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ
[Iblees ] said: “By Your Might, then I will surely mislead them all, 

Except Your chosen slaves amongst them ”
Saad 38:82-83

Take a moment to think about this : Iblees will only be able to mislead the inauthentic individuals. Not insincere. Insincerity doesn’t necessarily connote a constant trait. It can be a one time thing or it can be a habit. But when someone portrays a deceiving disparity between their mask and their real self, that’s inauthenticity. When someone’s default is to ‘mislead’ others perception of one. And those are the ones who Iblees befriends. 
In other words; we can be more evil than Iblees when we are inauthentic. We invite him. We show him around. Not him. We like to blame him. But really, when you deceive others you deceive yourself. And when you deceive yourself, Iblees will have a field day deceiving you. 
And the degree of inauthenticity in one’s heart is the degree to which one is distant from Allaah and the truth and one’s real self.

We ARE supposed to feel pain. Pain tells us when something is wrong, when we need to change something. Numbing the pain numbs all other sensations of the heart ; joy, creativity, empathy, curiosity, tranquility, intuition. 
Defense mechanisms don’t protect us, they imprison us. It shackles us to a corner. Vulnerability is like flying; you might crash, get struck by lightening. And if those are your concerns then, sure, you’re safer shackled. But we weren’t created for safety. We were created to soar. And become sore 🙂 

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