This Ramadan, let‘s embrace the messy, imperfect journey
This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
If we are indeed an advanced form of cyborgs who can reproduce within a video game, controlled by another dimension of space-time (described so eloquently by Carl Sagan in Cosmos), then the game is this: Can you develop yourself so that in every situation, under the most devastating pressures, you are able to stay in control, act out of love and integrity (especially with relatives)?
Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom
ye claim (your rights) of one another,
and toward the wombs (that bear you).
-- Qu’ran, 4:1, Women, translation by William Pickthall
Throughout the Qu’ran we are reminded to never destroy the bonds of relations.
There will be a time in your spiritual journey when you will feel ambushed by those closest to you.
But if you remind yourself that this is a story and this is the test, you will move forward towards spiritual freedom.
A spiritual friend of mine once told me that he always eats half of what he needs just in case someone squeezes his stomach. He also eats with friends and family, even if the food might hurt him.
I have had a harder time being so gracious. How is it possible for father to battle his son in the spiritual realm?
It is easy to imagine Llyod Garmadon battling his father Lord Garmaddon in the Lego Ninjago Movie. But is it this way in life as well?
As my latifas (chakras) were awakening, my relatives came to know and spent days trying to convince my parents that they should prevent me from fulfilling my spiritual destiny. It would hamper their position in the hierarchy.
This is the messy, imperfect journey. Sometimes I wish I remained ignorant of it all. But imagine if you can find peace even knowing the violence of pious beings, that would be a delicious peace indeed.
This Ramadan, let us embrace the entire madness of existence and look forward to the beauty and love that reigns.
Don’t worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn’t matter.
We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.
The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world’s harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.
So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.
This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.
Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!
from a slow and powerful root
that we can’t see.
Stop the words now.
Open the window in the centre of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.
-- Where Everything Is Music, Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
To see Carl Sagan’s description of the fourth dimension, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0WjV6MmCyM.
Shireen Pasha is a freelance contributor.