When Life jibes !

Life has been taking few jibes over me since I lost my bag and everything important with it . Some of the funny ones I  remember are shared here :

  • Walking through your favorites stores without card or enough money, that too during sales season  and for a week ( almost killed me 😦 )
  • Laptop Charger got broken  (  we have a saying in hindi  ‘ Ghareebi mei aata Geela’  which literally translates to ‘ During Poverty you got your flour wet’ , that sounds foolish but it means  ‘In adversity everything turns bad’  )
  • You have a guest at home  expecting the best hospitality  and  you have limited cash.
  • You want to eat at a restaurant and then  the cashier tells you you they don’t accept credit card ! You come out with a sad face and broken heart.  Sigh** 
  • Beggars coming to you and asking for coins and how you wish you can tell them they have more in their bowl/cup  than you in your pocket!

Jokes apart,  I have received my debit card yesterday , life is coming back to normal again . Thanks everyone for your love , concerns and sharing your experiences with me .

There is an old age saying Whatever happens happens for good , it is true to an extent that we always have  learnings and awakenings from the darkest moments of our lives. I actually lived the difference between what we need and what we want in life in the last week. For example I want an Iphone or Samsung Galaxy S6 but my requirements can be fulfilled with a J5 or even lesser expensive one. I just need a smartphone which has decent features and suits my  budget so I picked up one such phone. Another example , We decided to do our grocery with what we need for a week to survive: some fruits, veggies, milk  ,eggs , oil and bread . It wasn’t expensive compared to my normal grocery tours where I spend hours musing and a heavy amount and then come back with everything not in my shopping list .The human needs are simple and affordable , they don’t force  you to go out of the way to have them. It is our desires , social pressure and inner complexes. Although there is part of world population which is struggling to meet their basic needs ,  the discussion here is for people who can easily afford them and are still struggling with their wants and  like to have which ultimately turns them unhappy  and demotivated.

I think the best life is a minimalist’s life,  just take care of what you need and leave the rest for others. Life will become easy and more peaceful. Another thing to add to my to list of 2017, incorporating the minimalist’s approach .

Have a nice weekend everyone !

quotes1

 

Welcome to the Age of Digital Anxieties

Recently read one of the article  from  Brain Pickings  called  We’re Breaking Up by Rebecca Solnit about Modern Non Communication and how it is changing our lives . My mind instantly found words to conform the behaviors  experienced everyday which I was communicating  through words like addictions , dependencies on internet and phone.Undoubtedly internet has changed our lives forever and there is no life imaginable without internet,without our Dear Phones held in our hands constantly .

Being a digital migrant and some of you might  be digital natives as well  there is constant surge of anxieties within us all the time, for example right now I have switched the tabs on my Chrome Window once  every 5 minute to check what’s happening elsewhere. I am always switching between my work laptop and phone. There is a constant anxiety to check Facebook or Whatsapp even if there is nothing really exciting happening .There is always this  feeling of  restlessness  to keep switching from what I am doing currently.  Is it  lack of focus and self control or boredom ?  Or is it FOMO , the fear of missing out on information ? My rate of getting  bored of whatever I am doing  is just ticking high with years passing by, I  always feel an urge to keep switching my focus , my concentration to something else of what I am doing in that moment.This need of doing many things at one time , this lack of interest in one thing as soon as you start it,  this lack of focus and attention of what a particular task deserves , it all annoys me in fact it bothers me. I want to be perfectly engrossed to what I am doing at that moment, that is how I was  but not any more .

http---www.pixteller.com-pdata-t-l-476630

So far , I have been consciously minding myself and learning to discard these impulses, constantly reminding myself of how should I behave but the reality is  the anxiety of Digital Age  do exist and the struggle is also real , it is just that nobody is talking about it much until it will be an epidemic.The fact that you cannot be really alone even when you want to is disturbing ,to shut down your brain of everything else except where you want to focus is getting difficult everyday. To introspect, to muse requires lot of self motivation and practice than ever.

I am trying to regulate the behavior by switching off my data for few hours on work , going for a walk without phone, doing something for an hour without technology like reading a book , cooking , they are helping me so far. Do let me know how you deal with this untalked anxiety of our Digital Era would be great to know.

Reflections from Rumi’s Masnavi

This is the third week of Ramadan ,which is  also almost over and I hope all of you are doing great with packing up your energy buffers for the rest of the year, to be more precise spiritual buffers .Ramadan is not only about fasting and praying but a time to reflect upon our lives and how we can make it better both physically and spiritually.Ramadan comes as a mirror for who we are and what we are capable of doing. We pray five times diligently ,give alms to poor, fast from sunrise to sunset refrain from bad things like lying ,backbiting , hurting others, cheating etc ,this is a reflection of who we can be when we truly want and also of what we are not everyday when it is not Ramadan !!

Recently I was reading Volume 1 of Masnavi and  came across the wonderful story  about Yusuf A.S and his friend who gifted him a mirror. the conversation between them is beautiful , what I liked most  are the lines below :

“I brought you a mirror, O light (of my eyes), so that when you
look at your face you may remember me.”

then Rumi(A.S)  goes on to explain the deeper aspect of reflection.

What is the mirror of existence? Non-existence.(So) take
non-existence (as a gift), if you aren’t foolish

The existence of anything can really be felt by its non existence. While we are fasting and we feel the pain of hunger , we are nothing but reflection of food. May be that is why we go on cooking all the delicacies for our iftaar and  infact  we could hardly eat much after breaking the fast. What is the worth of  rich man’s wealth if he hasn’t suffered or realized the pain of poverty. A mere good reflection could be helping the poor. The life of duniya (world) is nothing but to give what you have be it a smile, a helping hand or a shoulder to cry upon. Give what you have to those who don’t and you will receive what you have not. Look out where you are needed , improvise solutions  of problem you have, maybe you will discover a way and   help others too.

givewhatyouhavetothose0awhodon27tandyouwill0areceivewhatyouhavenot-default

 

Will be back soon with more of my such reflections, do tell me if you like it or want to add  your thoughts.

Thoughts of a Hijabi on the Beach

Last weekend we had  nice sunny weather in Belgium, and we thought to make the most of it, We planned a day trip to Ostend, a Belgian city on coastline of North Sea.

Would like to share some of my beach moments as Hijabi may be fellow Hijabis can commiserate with me:

  • You look so ‘not for the beach’ with your full body covering including your head when everyone around is scarcely dressed! People look at you with a shock as if they really see what they see! Sorry to embarrass you guys! I too need to see beach sometimes 😉
  • You sense the feelings in your neighbours’ frowns and stares  until they give whatever blah-blah look and go back to their sun-tanning lying on the back pose.
  • Your eyes constantly searching for fellow Hijabis.
  •  After some time you will find few hijabi birds flocking around bringing their mat/sheets closer to yours, frequently exchanging the empathizing glance and smiles.
  • The wind making it difficult for the hijab to be in place and you are struggling to pull it back all the time and if you have kept your sandwich outside for few minutes it already tastes sand, you reach out to your water bottle and it is warm already.

Once you start looking at the sea and hear the sound of big joyous waves, the mesh of thoughts inside your brain gets dissolved and washed away. The sea makes an instant connection with you irrespective of who you are and what you are wearing. I tried reading a book for some time but sun was too strong to be overlooked. I decided to walk down the shore the cold water providing me relief and chill at the same time. I looked around the beach with my scanner eyes: kids playing in water, laughing and running. Few little ladies were busy making their sand castles and so engrossed in their work. There were some elderly couples walking hand in hand and contemplating life. I stood there watching the sea waves arriving and departing, thoughtless and contented.

20160507_155938-1

( a child playing with waves , Belgian Coast , Ostend  8 May 2016 )

so while I was finishing off my post and it was time to choose a  category I came across an already existing category  ‘Hijab Awareness’ and indeed the idea behind post was creating awareness for Hijab.I used  a comic sense in my post but behind the light jokes lies crude reality that people still don’t know much about Hijab and if they know they do not have very good thoughts about it, few  people I crossed on the beach gave me weird looks. I might be out of place according to them  or a criminal for fashion police but it’s my choice just like they have theirs , why should  there be a set of rules defined of how  one be dressed according to a place/occasion. One should  wear whatever according  to his/her comfort level , likeness and not out of social pressure  to fit in .We need to have acceptance and tolerance of each other’s beliefs ,culture and life’s choices.

Reflections of Pain

Pain in the heart 

sits  heavy on chest

Making it difficult,

To take my breath.

The mind gets helpless,

my feelings reason less

stuck in a woe,

 I silently wonder

How much of myself

 I still don’t know.

with time gone by ,

hands enough burnt

and  lessons learnt ,

to adjust my sail.

I  no longer wail

 when it pains.

They say  ,

all which arrives us

is from beyond.

 So is this pain.

A gift ,a cleanser

 to clean my soul.

Like a child,

 I sit and watch ,

like a mother she

 Washes and cleans,

Also rants how dirty

Have I made it again?

It hurts when she rubs

rough and  tightly scrubs.

but when she is gone

i can feel my soul

 like a newly born

smiling and  shining .

IMG_20150423_115348

( This picture is from last summers from a park in Brussels, the reflections in water represents more our inner state, like a clear water reflects better so does our souls and the two swans represents  inner and outer self  )

Food for thought from Rumi

For this week, I bring you this verse from Rumi’s Masnavi Volume 6 . The chapter is called Peace with in the Heart. Translated from  Persian by Ibrahim Gamard (with gratitude for R. A. Nicholson’s 1934 British translation) .

The original verse in Persian :

az ko-jâ jôy-êm `ilm? az tark-é `ilm
az ko-jâ jôy-êm silm? az tark-é silm

If you read the above lines, the flow in couplet is flawless and rhythm perfect. The original verse didn’t even have the brackets of true and false, they were added while translating for ease of readers to differentiate between the two.

The words of Rumi are always soul deep, playing with few words and putting reader into utter confusion is his best game and he is not even willing to teach you wisdom so easily, Right?  You need to sit back and keep wondering what he meant by his words, like a tricky homework from teacher.

Although one thing is always certain; he definitely meant something beyond our normal routine life offers to teach us.

How can we search true knowledge? :  By abandoning false knowledge!  But what is false knowledge? It could mean different things to different people, in world of information where we live today; we are blasted with data and information every microsecond of every minute of the events happening around the world and now it has become our habit to stay connected and keep checking.

If I talk about updates from Newspapers that I have subscribed to (unfortunately no better options available), some example of News:

A celebrity is getting divorced, or another is caught dating with someone! How a cruel murder was plotted, a minister slammed another minister on twitter? How an ex-wife avenged her ex-husband?

Do we need to know all of it? May be 1 % is the useful information and rest is all just crap.

Knowledge is awareness of facts; or possession of some skill .What could be false awareness and false skills? May be something which is not useful for us or others, abandoning such knowledge would magnify our view on more useful facts and skills that will benefit us and others. Instead of wasting our time on something insignificant, learning or acquiring a useful skill will give us true knowledge.

With the first jargon a bit solved, second one seems easy.

How can we seek true peace? : By abandoning false peace.

Peace is a quiet state or state with no conflicts, or absence of war between any two parties.

Let us take an example: There is a cruel king and his subjects. The subjects never protested to King for his ways of treating them but they are not happy, this is also a state of no conflict, there is no war, the King might think his kingdom is in peace, but we can easily say it is false peace. Both the parties are not happy and there is also a presence of fear in one of them. This could not continue for long, one day they will protest and yearn for true peace.

I feel it similarly, we are all cruel kings that don’t listen to our inner selves, we keep indulging in our desires that give us pleasures but momentarily, we are happy for some time but then unhappiness returns; we then chase for our next desire and so on! The conflict keeps rising until one of the self gives up. Which one gives up depends on what we choose! We become a seeker of true peace or a follower of false peace.

True peace for me is a state of no conflict between my outer and inner self. The moments of quietness of mind, tranquillity in heart and absence of fear from it are the moments of peace for me.

Ping back ->http://silverthreading.com/2016/02/03/writers-quote-wednesday-bewow-c-s-lewis/

 

The soul is quiet today

The soul is quiet today and the heart is heavy

A bit  sad ,a bit tired or perhaps both.

My heart’s eye blinks a silent tear,

 Its heaviness weighs me down.

Restlessness has engulfed

my heart from  every corner.

Locked inside the cage of flesh and bones

my soul flutters to break free.

While my body devours

 soft morsels of worldly food.

My soul famished and my heart cringed.

Lost and numb , with a body

weighing so heavy I  stood to pray .

I put my head  on the ground 

in sujood and in submission.

Few moments of quietness and

Restlessness was disarming 

chains were removed.

My heart  felt at peace

and my soul free again.

( Another day when you feel low and only praying/meditation helps( at least for my case)  . I strongly believe that our soul needs to be fed , nourished and  taken care of similarly  like  our bodies.  Good deeds, good thoughts ,remembrance of God ,being grateful and prayers  are its food .

This picture was taken an year before in port of Barcelona with seagulls enjoying the sun )

Screenshot_2016-01-22-13-17-04-1

 

Mawlid : A war of words ? (Edited)

As the day of Mawlid is coming closer the war of words between Islamic scholars is getting heated up, my Facebook newsfeed is flooded with only two types of Posts, One saying celebrating the birth of Prophet is wrong and others justifying it. There are arguments and reasoning from both sides but they are going up to the level of calling each other sinner and many more things and it all breaks my heart to see our Leaders fighting over the birth of their Beloved Prophet. I think the people who chose their sides are still happy in their minds and calling each other with due names but people like me who are weighing arguments from both sides are just left confused and still without a side.

Arguments put up against the celebration:

  • The day of birth is unknown and it is the day of his ‘wafaat’(death) so celebrating this day, doesn’t make any sense!
  • It is an innovation which is termed ‘bidaah’ and is not allowed in Islam.Anyone doing it is a sinner.
  • Celebrating birthdays is a pagan tradition, and is not allowed.
  • Prophet never celebrated his own birthday.

Arguments in favour of the celebration:

  • It is blessed day as our prophet set his foot on earth and he was sent as Mercy and blessing for entire mankind.
  • If being a Muslim you will not celebrate the birth of your prophet, what will you celebrate then?
  • Not happy on the day when your prophet was born on whose Ummah we all belong, which day you will choose to be happy then?
  • In light of Quran the news of arrival of every prophet was referred as good news to the people.

So what should I do, be happy or be sad? Or just let it go like any other day? I sat there juxtaposed. Will my Allah punish his people for celebrating the birth of his last and final messenger, without testifying on whose name along with Allah you cannot even be a Muslim? How can Muslims use such harsh words for their own brothers? The thoughts were becoming too much on my head.

I asked my husband, he was at peace, not disturbed with all these things, he said ‘There are always difference of opinion among people, I would do what my prophet was doing on his birthday”.

“So what was he doing” my quick question.

“He was fasting”, he replied.

To be clear on this, our prophet was fasting on Mondays and Thursdays because of Sunnah so even if  his birthday was falling on Monday or Thursday, he continued his fasts and since this time it is on Thursday my husband is planning to fast like he always do these two days.

Things started to become easy, I can do the same. What is fasting in general ? for me it is a state of purification and getting nearness to your Lord and the doors of mercy are opened upon you. I can fast on this day and pray for peace in our lives and for the peace in the world and thank Allah for sending our prophet ,Muhammad ( peace be upon him)  to us .

So that would be my celebration or non-celebration still finding words to express it. My post was to highlight the point that do we need such a big debate on this?  Muslims around the world can have difference in opinions regarding it, we can agree with or disagree with,  but at the end all our actions will be judged by Allah swt and He knows best,  let us not state judgement on our brothers and pray for the true guidance.

3 Day 3 Quotes Challenge : Day 3

This is my  last  Quote of last day of this challenge , I hope you have enjoyed them all these days.

Rules of the Challenge :

  1. Post 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days
  2. Thank the person who nominated you
  3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each single day of the challenge

My nominees for today  are: farheen siddiqui , JaniceLOUBNANYA

I am sharing  4 thoughts from  the bestseller called ‘ The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz.  Below is gist of wonderful pieces of advice  given in the book.

1.Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

 

 

3 Day 3 Quotes Challenge : Day 2

This is my Day 2 for this challenge so I have to nominate another 3 bloggers , rules are same again , I have mentioned again for the ease.

Rules of the Challenge :

  1. Post 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days
  2. Thank the person who nominated you
  3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each single day of the challenge

My nominees for today  are: accidentallyinked , Papatia , revels1

the  quote  I am sharing for today  is from Hazrat Inayat Khan, which I stumbled upon while reading quotes from Goodreads.com  . It has created a curiosity to read  more of his works. Not much I could gather except that he spread the idea of Sufism in the West and is considered to be the founder of International Sufi Movement and a bridge between East and West.

There-are-two-aspects-of

I never heard his name much in Indian Sufi Lineage although he was born and raised in India,He also spent a lot of time travelling abroad and lived many years in Europe , ultimately  came back to his homeland, buried in complex of  Nizamuddin Dargah in New Delhi . The reasons I am anticipating  could be differences in  his teaching methodology and ideology  compared to traditional Sufism or the other case could be my lack of knowledge for Indian Sufis . Well, I didn’t read enough to comment more about him , that’s why more curious to read his work.,what I could gather from researching online  is his  teachings were based on Universalism  and coming from all religions . We can always take the good teachings from people no matter where it comes from at least that is what I believe in.