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​Don’t knock on doors that weren’t opened for you 
Don’t go where your soul isn’t comfortable 

Whatever you run from you’ll run into 

What’s yours knows you by the scent of your love

Sit in your solitude for a moment 

Your soul tribe are on their way

How are they going to find you if you keep running away from yourself?

Wonders are discovered in the blind world of vibes and feelings 

Let your soul lead the way 

You’re invited elsewhere 

Rediscovering Ramadaan#3

ذَٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

This is the Book (the Qur’ân), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqûn [the pious and righteous person

(Al-baqarah 2:2)

Every word in the Qur’aan bears profound meanings and is not random or spontaneous. Since this is the month when the Qur’aan came down and the month where Allaah says ( in the translation)

O you who believe! Observing As-Saum (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqûn (the pious)

(Al-baqarah 2:183)

How do these ayat link? How does one gain taqwa through this month?  And what exactly is taqwa?  And does taqwa precede guidance?

Taqwa is a difficult word to translate to English. Many translate it to mean fearing Allaah, but that is missing the point by a huge margin. Fearing Allaah is a byproduct of taqwa but the meaning is greater than that. The most apt translation that I can think of is mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of mind where the individual is removed from one’s feelings, thoughts and external events. Where the individual has an internal island protecting oneself from everything that Allaah dislikes.

So having taqwa is the foundation for receiving guidance.

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Novacane

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Today (officially yesterday) was a bad anxiety day. Really bad. I’ve gotten better at handling the attacks with the years; meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness. Shit works actually. Because it’s either that or be sucked into a mind vortex. But despite it all, yesterday was a 8.5, maybe 9. I was going to go out and as I lay on my bed, breathing deeply, trying to stay centred as I feel I’m being torn apart, I consider staying in. Apathy kicks in. What’s the point? I’ll come back anyway. On any other day I would have caved in. But not today. Today I realized the insidiousness in the apathy; it’s a slippery slope. Today it’s let’s not go out, cuz it’s not so important and you’re not feeling well. Seems legit. But tomorrow it’s let’s not try, you’re going to fail anyway. And next thing you know, that lackadaisical attitude is running the gamut of thoughts from apathetic to suicidal. So I went out even though I had no motivation to do so. And as I was walking I realized that anxiety has been an omnipresent element in my life for the past decade. It hit me that I had mistakenly attributed my anxiety to external forces and worked hard to avoid those, but in hindsight I see that the smaller I made my world by avoiding stuff, the bigger the anxiety grew. I thought going out triggered it. So for years I suffered from really bad agoraphobia, not going out for 8 months at one point. I thought school triggered it, I thought x, y, z triggered it, and all this time I hadn’t looked long enough at my life to notice that hey, I’m being duped here! All of a sudden, I remembered all the chill days where I had my junk, where I was in my room doing nothing, that I was in the grips of anxiety. Why? Because anxiety can’t be reasoned with. Anxiety is a disorder in the brain. MY brain. It’s a malfunction. So normal events that shouldn’t trigger my fight-or-flight response, do. And it’s only so long when you’re running away from the proverbial monster that you break down and just freeze. Stick your head in the sand. Hold your breath.

It’s hard to explain anxiety to someone who has never experienced it. It’s like when you go on dodgy websites that re-route you to ad pages with a bunch of pop-ups proclaiming you the winner of an iPhone or whatever, and wherever you click to exit it only takes you deeper into malvertisement nightmare via click-through destinations. Add on to that a really slow computer processor that makes the whole thing like wading through quick-sand whilst carrying cement blocks in your backpack.

 

And people tell me to hurry up and fix my life. Maybe not so crudely put but that’s what the underlying message is. Why aren’t you doing anything? You got unpaid bills piling. You’re only growing older. You’re missing out on life.

I try to speed shit up, but my brain just lags. I try to focus on the blank screen with the blinking cursor in front of me but all these damn popups and video ads that auto play keep blocking the damn screen! So yeah, you might as well tell me to fly by flapping my arms!

 

I’ve let you go

I’ve been burnt. My heart has been burnt beyond recognition by the illusion of love it held on to.

2015 was a year of betrayal,hurt,emotional abuse. But I’ll remember it by my resilience in the grips of terror, the unwavering hope in the face of betrayal, the sobering self-awareness in the midst of a pity party where victim mentality tried to lure me off my journey like the Pied Piper.

I refused to have my life framed by troubled individuals who went through life like emotional zombies, constantly inflicting on others the wounds that killed them. I refused to relinquish my personal power by absolving myself of fault. I had attracted these vultures to my camp, but how?

The how led me to discover unsavory truths about myself. But it was only after retrieving those lessons and finding acceptance that I was able to move on. Or else I’d be stuck like an emotional zombie, neither living nor dead.

I really don’t know if love will find me, ever. But I’m giving up all kinds of non-loves,half-truths, illusionary connections. I can’t. I’d rather sit by myself, in peace, than have my precious energies snatched and cut into pieces by deceptive individuals who fear the fire yet keep playing with it to prove their bravery.

The only bravery is to live fearlessly with an exposed heart that is ridden with scars and love and love again without guarantee.

The only bravery is to sit with your fears and sorrows in silence.

Beyond the horizon

 

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I’m not a means to an end
I matter now
Even without a new wardrobe
Even without the banging body I always coveted
Even without validation from others

I won’t wait till I’m good enough to take care of myself
I’m taking care of myself,always,unconditionally

My self-worth is not a question
So I’m not waiting for your answer

My self-worth is an exclamation point I end my sentences with.

Ablaze

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There’s power in pain
There’s healing in suffering
I’ve lived my life in hiding, afraid of that pain
So inevitably, I lost my only hope: the power to withstand the convulsions of repressed energy surging through my consciousness, seizing my mind.
I gave up the freedom to endure a bit of death before I could become alive in the truest sense
I was afraid of death so I did not live
I was afraid of the fire, so I never evolved into phoenix
I was afraid of disappointment so I did not hope
I was afraid of rejection so I did not love
I was afraid of tomorrow so I didn’t even get out of bed this morning
I wished the summer could last forever, but of course it couldn’t, so I came to loathe it for its transitory nature 
I wished the earth could stop spinning for a while, so I could be still for a little while and find my footing.

The worst feeling of loneliness is when you’re desperately trying to escape pain within yourself and there’s nothing anyone can do. It’s like being burnt alive.

This time I’ll endure the raging fire and let the searching flames find my fears, so I can become whole again.

Mindfulness in a Maelstrom of Madness

Books like ‘ The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle, have broken me and served as a source of immense pain. I read them at a time of profound trauma and desperation, looking for a sliver of hope and though the principles in these self-help books are good-natured, they are extremely harmful to someone who hasn’t gained enough emotional awareness and healing to be able to discriminate. These books would basically instruct me to pull myself up by the boot strings, to avoid sinking by simply swimming, by shunning negative thoughts by pure willpower. And I tried so hard. I trusted these authors and their knowledge, so I gave myself to the instructions wholeheartedly and I put all my eggs in one basket by thinking that this book would be it. After I’m done reading these 200 odd pages, I’d be done with this pain. That’s what these authors basically say; I’m an expert, listen to how I found profound wisdom, follow my instructions and for the low price of $14.99 you’ll be healed.

You’ll be healed. Passive voice.

Not, here’s how you can heal yourself.

Needless to say, I failed miserably. Or rather they failed me by being selective in what they taught. I understand they do so to make a name for themselves and a brand to generate money, so if they simply give away the things that helped them, that would make them lose out.

Two things happened:

1. I tried so very hard to apply the practices and instructions which was akin to carrying out surgery on myself after reading a book on it. I was dealing with very serious mental disorders; chronic PTSD,anxiety,major depression, bipolar II – and some of the trauma that contributed to these ailments happened before puberty, so they were very complex and very sensitive. This was not a work for self-help, I needed professional help and medication. I had no idea. I was 18 or 19 at the time and I was driven by a need to do something. And although I eventually managed to find the right route, I can only imagine how many are stuck. There aren’t disclaimers or warnings to provide a leeway for second chances; if someone finds it incredibly difficult to apply these generic and simplistic three-step instructions, at least they could save a part of themselves by using the disclaimer as a cop-out. I stirred emotional pain and I only made it worse. It was like I tried to run on a broken foot.

2. Because I had put all my hope in one book, one can only imagine how devastated and shattered I was to reach the back cover feeling worse than I did before I started reading the book. My feelings of incompetence and worthlessness was tacitly confirmed by the book. It purported to have worked for countless of people, so the fault must lay within me. It felt like my life was a catch-22. I was stuck and to be unstuck I had to get unstuck. Makes no sense right? It plunged me deeper into a dark abyss of depression and suicidal thoughts. I had no hope left to live for.

Thankfully, I’d bounce back on the very verge and try again. And fail. And become devastated. And bounce back once again and again…and here I am writing this, 7 years later. I honestly don’t know how I got out. Alhamdulillaah 

Turns out, I’m not the only person who noticed this huge farce; Mark Manson wrote an incredibly relieving piece on the self-help industry and what’s fundamentally wrong with it;

 


So, Mindfulness?

 

The premise of self-help is this; You feel bad. You should feel happy. Negative feelings are bad. Positive feelings are happiness. Here’s how to make negative feelings go away.Forever. And ever.

neggativ

Yes, really. We view ‘negative’ feelings as inherently bad and something to be eliminated, but by adopting this polarized approach, we’re missing the point completely. We assume that the problem lies in the uncomfortable effects of negativity, but in reality the negative feelings are markers for an underlying problem; they are symptoms and not the disorder, if I may say so, itself. So, however uncomfortable it is to accept, the only way is through.

Negative feelings are essentially emotional pain and like physical pain, it signals that something’s amiss and needs your attention. This is where mindfulness comes in.

mindfullln

 

Don’t think about the past. Don’t think about the future. ONLY think about the now. While you’re at it, why don’t you tell me to not die by thinking about not dying. Or how about saving a drowning person by saying; don’t sink! Swim!

As is apparent from my biting sarcasm, I’ve had trouble getting my head around understanding mindfulness. I feel it’s a promising concept, but the plethora of definitions out there, some contradictory, don’t help at all. So, I decided to go down my own path and find out for myself just what mindfulness is and why we should be present in the, well, present.

I found the imperative question that is not being asked is; Why are we focused on the future/past/social media/cat videos/partying/addictions, basically on everything but the thing that requires our attention at any given moment? And why do some manage to be mindful more so than others?


Emotional Awareness

 

When something is troubling us and we fail to find an answer to alleviate the pain, we take to escapism to save ourselves. It’s a vital defense mechanism aimed at keeping our sanity intact. So we become distracted, or addicted, or performance and success-obsessed. Anything to flee the scary feelings we fail to decipher. This has many layers to it, but to gain mindfulness, you’d have to reverse the process by finding out what commands your attention and what’s chasing you away. It’s only by removing this obstacle and overcoming the fear in tolerating distressful emotions that one can make their way back to the core; to the present.

If you observe children, you’ll discern that their naïvety and cheerfulness comes from the mindfulness in their souls. They have no worries and the entire world is a big playground. This is assuming they have secure attachment to their parents and are brought up in a safe and loving environment. In the cases where a child is made to suffer through emotional abuse or neglect, or even physical abuse, the stark contrast in the child’s demeanour from that of the healthy child betrays a sense that something’s wrong . They are withdrawn or they are violent and cruel; their mindfulness has been displaced by a disruption to their world as they knew it, and by knowing terror far too young.

Likewise, if you’ve ever been in a state of flow or immersed in something you’re truly passionate about, you find time and space fading as you are consumed by the activity at hand. You are alert and emotionally aware, at that point. You are in your skin and soul, not wandering about like you’re lost or running from something.

When you’re emotionally aware, you are detached from your thoughts and the events that occur around you, and you do so from the comfort of being in yourself, feeling safe within your being.You accept all facets of yourself.

As you might guess, it’s a life-long journey within towards becoming mindful. But it’s a journey you’ll find the benefits of immediately.


Q• U •O •T •E• S

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
― C.G. Jung

“When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.”
― Ralph Ellison

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
― C.G. Jung

“We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure–your perfection–is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
― Michel de Montaigne

“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”
― Lao Tzu

“The person in life that you will always be with the most, is yourself. Because even when you are with others, you are still with yourself, too! When you wake up in the morning, you are with yourself, laying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself.What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself, and it’s your responsibility to be that person you want to be with. I know I want to spend my life with a person who knows how to let things go, who’s not full of hate, who’s able to smile and be carefree. So that’s who I have to be.”
― C. JoyBell C.

“It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”
― Marianne Williamson

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
― Pema Chödrön,

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
― Carl R. Rogers

“Each man had only one genuine vocation – to find the way to himself….His task was to discover his own destiny – not an arbitrary one – and to live it out wholly and resolutely within himself. Everything else was only a would-be existence, an attempt at evasion, a flight back to the ideals of the masses, conformity and fear of one’s own inwardness.”
― Hermann Hesse

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
— Anne Lamott

 

 

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