AND FINALLY I MET ‘ME’…
“Life is an enchanting blaze,
Got me circling around the pomegranate,
The backloads of rushes I touched; with the torch internal
And thus I lost my way to the ferry…”
Life is a mystery within itself. These verses of Sheikh-ul-Alam (RA) unfold the mystery of life and make us re-think what actually we are. The idea that ‘I am something’ has made us so blind that we are unable to see our own faults. We do offer prayers, we do keep fasts, we do perform hajj, but at the same time we deceive, we disobey, we cheat, we lie. Still we are right. After all, we are MUSLIMS… we belong to the great religion ISLAM. We all live in this illusion of being greatest of all the creations… Ashraf-ul-Makhlooqat!
So what? I am not like that! I am a ‘true’ Muslim, I believe in one God. I am a good daughter, a caring friend, a darling sister and dedicated to my work. I cover my head always, wear proper dress. I help the meek and love orphans. But then, why there is still a void in me? Why am I still incomplete? Why am I still not happy? And why am I still a sinner? Yes, something is lacking. At times, I don’t offer prayers; at times, I disobey my parents; at times, I say small lies. And at times, I do something wrong.
This ‘at times’ doing what is not allowed in Islam had made me fall into a deep slumber from where it was out of question to wake up and differentiate between good and evil. It had made me to plunge into an abyss where from it was impossible to rise. I was caught up in chaos and confusion… Then suddenly, life took a beautiful turn and I experienced a new world before me.
It was on June 7, last year, when my friends and I went to B. Ed College, M. A. Road Srinagar to attend a 3-day workshop. Actually, the name ‘DISCOVER YOURSELF’ had mesmerized us so much that we had made our mind to be a part of the workshop organized by some Islamic organization. This is what we knew about the programme. Therefore, without giving a second thought to it, we got our names registered and finally the day came.
It was a pleasant Saturday morning. Leaving my cozy bed after a tussle with my sleep, I got ready for the workshop. While on my way to my destiny, I was baffled by a mountain of questions in my mind. What is the purpose of attending the workshop? Why am I here leaving all my engagements? And most important of all, what is this ‘Discovering’ yourself? I just wanted to control my anger that was taking tolls always. Will this workshop help me in that? Rest I was ‘perfect’. I did not need any thing pertaining to change myself… Amidst the perplexing state, I reached the venue and entered the auditorium, which was full of mystified people like me. I managed a seat beside my pals and suddenly, my eyes caught the sight of a girl I did not like. She was sitting two seats after me with her gang of most ‘unwanted girls’ of our college. At first sight, I was unable to bear the ‘shock’ of having them in the workshop and that too in an Islamic one, but I consoled myself, hoping they will get some benefit out of it.
The editor of the monthly Islamic magazine “Islamic Voice”, A. W. Sadathullah Khan, introduced the whole concept of being present there. From then, the “discovering of one’s own self” started. The concept was a bit different from other workshops. I found it pretty interesting from the first moment. There was no preaching, just sharing; sharing of ideas, sharing of problems and sharing of one’s experiences.
“Self Deception is a disease that you cannot see”, said the coach (now we were players and playing to win the game of life). According to him, all problems arise because we are caught in the dilemma of living in the past and future, and as such ignoring the present. And most important, there exists no word called PROBLEM; it all depends on how we perceive things. In addition, having grudge for people and chip on the shoulder makes life a burden for us. The theme for the Day 1 was ‘To think from Nothingness’. What so ever the situation or who so ever the person is, we have to have no background and be present to what is happening around; to be an observer and listen to everything all around. A very interesting thing that he mentioned was that of ‘Yellow Glasses’. It means to see people from our own perspective, not considering their positive points.
Elaborating on the topic, the session ended. It was a warm-up day to prepare ourselves for the “game of life,” which was planned to be played the other day. At the end, we were given some homework wherein we were asked to share the experiences with other people.
The next morning was a bit different from usual. There was an extraordinary serenity in the air; something that I was longing for all these years. I was practicing ‘nothingness’ and the tranquility, my soul was feeling, is hard to describe in words. It was the second day of the workshop and another exciting day for all of us. After sharing the insights of the Day 1, game for Day 2 started. Our coach, Mr. Khan did something unique. He asked us to count from 99-0 with our eyes closed and in the meanwhile, he played Azaan, asking us to carefully listen to each word. An electric current ran through my whole body. It was like I had heard Azaan for the first time… I was lost in the melody; it was more exhilarating and electrifying than a violin. I felt as if I was in prostration before my lord and that too in Mecca… It was so soothing… Tears tickled down my face and I wept and wept…
The second thing was to ask forgiveness for Allah’s sake, of every one who has wronged us and to whom we have wronged. We were asked to remind the ‘Yellow Glasses’ we have for others and forgive each one of their mistakes or wrongdoings just for Allah’s sake and have the courage to give up the ego to win their hearts. I forgave each and every person who had done wrong to me or to my family and believe me, I got back the treasure that I had lost- my PEACE OF MIND… I was feeling light, free from all the tensions and anxiety.
The third thing was making ‘Hijra’. The term ‘Hijra’ means giving up for Allah’s sake. Our coach asked us to list the things that we were willing to give up, like, anger, lies, blaming, etc. and set ourselves free from the clutches of unwanted tribulations. The last but not the least thing was to share the possibilities that we had invented for ourselves to as many people as we could. The last day of the workshop was the crux of what we learned in these two days.
After the workshop was over, I recognized a new world within me. The heart, which was tainted with evils, became pure as that of an innocent child. To apply what I learned from my experience, I went to that ‘unwanted’ girl of my college, wished her and her friends, and the satisfaction I got back was worth diamonds.
What is the actual meaning of discovering one’s self?
Discovering self means knowing the depth of one’s own being. It is all about getting closer to YOU actually and in turn getting closer to the Almighty. The literal meaning of ‘Discover’ is to ascertain or find out something and this verily applies to all humans. When a person tries to know the reality of life, enlightenment surrounds him and he gets to know the secret of life or the TRUTH!
But if we ask ourselves what is life or I should put it like this, what is worldly life all about? A journey, a celebration, or is it everything? All of us will have different opinions. But I think for 99% of the world’s population, it is everything. A common man thinks that when I am born, my parents will take care of me until I grow up. I will have the usual schooling, then college to university, etc. Then I will get engaged in some sort of vocation and after that it will be my marriage time. As such, for the rest of my life, I will have to think about my family and eventually, I will die.
But is there any time left for introspecting and knowing the actual purpose of being on Earth as the greatest of all creations? Perhaps no. And the reason is quite obvious. We don’t know who we are and what we are meant to be! In the Holy Quran, Almighty Allah says, “O people, you are running after nothing. All these worldly pleasures are fake and they are mere illusions.” The saying can be proved scientifically. According to Einstein, E= MC2, where E stands for Energy, M stands for Mass and C for Velocity of light, which is approximately 300,000 m/s. This means, if a body of a certain mass is supplied with velocity twice that of light, then the body will convert from matter into energy. For example, if my velocity will be twice that of light, I’ll definitely move at an astonishing speed. You won’t be able to see me and this means, I won’t remain matter anymore. But there will be energy in me and this interprets that matter has got changed into energy. From this, we conclude that we people are actually fools, because we are running after energy and we won’t be able to capture it ever!
So the need of the hour is to know the reality of life and its actual purpose. But there are some other factors which prevent one from discovering one’s own self. They can be put forth as-
• Self deception: It is the greatest of all factors that prohibit one from attaining salvation. When we do something wrong, it is not that we deceive others, but in turn deceive ourselves. It is like a disease that we are unable to see.
• Intention: When we intend to do something, whether good or bad, it affects our doing. If the intention is right, it reflects in our work and if it is wrong, it proves harmful to us in the end.
• Anger: This factor is common among all of us. In fact, I am myself a victim of this ‘fatal disease’. It all starts when something goes wrong somewhere and we are unable to cope up with it.
• Breaking promises: As the adage goes, ‘Promise breakers are shoe-makers’. Still how many of us honor our word? Petty few. Today, a new theory is being followed, ‘Promises are made to be broken’.
• Ego: This factor is taking tolls in today’s world. If we do a wrong doing, we are unable to accept our fault and thrust the blame on other. The thought that I AM SOMETHING makes us blind to see the reality.
To overcome these factors, one must go for self introspection and meditation. Be reasonable and listen to one’s consciousness. This is what discovering self is all about.
What I learned after discovering myself changed my perspective of seeing things in a positive way. I have regained peace in my life. I have gained control over my anger. I do not play the blame game now. I care for people around me. I honor my word and most important of all I think from nothingness… Those three days changed my life completely. Whenever I recite Allah hu Akbar, I feel His presence. For me, the word A-L-L-A-H, is not mere a word; it constitutes the whole world. Now I thank Him in whatever situation I am and surrender to His will. I have left oscillating in the past and future. I live for present. I am a completely changed person, with nothing wrong for anyone. I love and trust Allah. I feel Him within me, within my conscience, much closer than my heartbeat and my breath.
I have lost my superfluous desires, my ‘at times’ wrong doings and the sense of being ‘something’, but what I have gained is far better than anything else in this whole wide world. I never listen to the ‘Chatter box’ in my mind and do what my heart says. As Allah ordains,
“You have your desire and
I have my desire.
My desire shall reign.
But if you surrender yourself into my desire,
I shall bestow upon you your desire.
But if you oppose my desire,
Then I shall tire you,
In fulfilling your desire.
My desire shall reign…”
Today I feel as if I have entered into a spiritual world and yes, I have discovered myself…
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