- Most recognize the merit of humility, whether or not they possess it.
- Admonishing the self is a means of growth, but an exhaustive approach; so, many will favor deluded enjoyment over the internal conflict. However, the conscientious prefers spiritual turmoil, through it, they known they are not yet numb.
- To ask for guidance is most sincere when the requester has taken the time to pinpoint their shortcoming. A generalized request is void of effort.
- All forms of reliance are not the same.
The feeling is seated in my heart, but I haven’t placed much of it in my mind, so it is a task to somehow communicate what the feeling is. I have not recently taken the time to rationalize it, it is not a coherent or accessible declaration ready for retrieval during a discussion. Why rationalize clarity rested in the heart if it doesn’t conflict with any fiber or flow?
This isn’t to say that I haven’t asked critical questions, or learned of evidence to give a foundation to this feeling. No, but for some reason, I don’t remember these verifications, the verses that have quenched my inquires, the proofs if you will. I can hardly remember any of them. I only hold on to the mystic flight I feel in faith, but such is a personal experience, and subjectivity is not transferrable or worth substance in a discussion about the validity of religion.
When I was younger, the fuel of my faith was of the mind. I enjoyed debating scripture, questions posed by inquisitive friends at lunchtime would lead me to an extensive search for evidence, my dinner would get cold on those evenings.
Over the years, however, other demands have led me to complacency and comfort, to spiritual numbness. The foundation of faith I’ve critically built earlier in life is not maintained by that same criticality, it now just exists without being expanded upon, or questioned to thereby prompt its growth. I don’t want my spirit and rationalization to be immiscible. I need to return to those inquisitive habits of my younger self to then link the clarity of the heart with that of the mind. The latter is what I now lack.
Peace & Blessings,
Waxaan gooste sanadka cusub inan af somaliga barto
I’ve decided that in the new year I will learn Somali
I’ve always had the desire to know the language of my people, but the inconvenience of asking my parents about grammatical nuances and struggling in pronunciation deterred me. Where and how would I even start? This isn’t a rhetorical question, starting with the basics would not work for me. I ‘d grow incredibly bored and consequently quit the whole effort.
So I’ve settled on a more sophisticated approach. Each morning, I jot down intriguing headlines from Somali BBC and translate it with one of my parents, whichever is awake at the time. I then think of my own phrase, one particularly relevant to my life, and I translate that as well. Google translate can be helpful but inaccurate, and it doesn’t convey the “woqooyi” dialect I prefer.
Below is a translation I did with Aabo this morning. The verse of this song personifies the new year. It is simply beautiful.
waan ku heybinaaye
ilaahey hakaa dhigo adna hogol
da’aysiyo habeen dhalad barwaaqiyo
I’ve been seeking you
May Allah make you a designated rain
That falls in the night bringing forth an abundance
Hogol is an enchanting word. It is not just describing any rain, rather hogol is like a sole cloud, releasing rain upon where it is most desired. It is rain that attends to the specific need of the chosen recipient.
…Perhaps it’s best that I only now begin to learn the language, for I can reflect upon and dissect the nuances that native speakers might undervalue in the mode of practicality.
P.s. It is January 1st, so happy birthday to the many Somalis who were “fortuitously” born on this day.
Peace and Blessings,
As the year reaches la fin, I am satisfied with how I’ve grown. Notably, there are two points that I have consistently reflected upon throughout 2019 in efforts to enhance my candor and presence.
- “A bad day for the ego is a good day for the soul”
- “Don’t greet people with your head but rather with your heart”
Understand that not everyone in your life will recognize your sincerity, some people are deluded by chronic skepticism and that is their prerogative. Don’t live to convince others of your goodness, if they can’t recognize it, they can miss out. It is not your responsibility to prove anything about yourself to anyone. Just be.
In entering the new year, I want to work on solidifying my values such that I do not waver across my social circles. Overall, I’m consistently kind and respectful, but I’ve identified an area for growth.
It is embedded in most of us to please others to a certain extent. Such allows us to be more agreeable and socially accepted. In many cases, it is to our benefit, as the full truth can offend. For example, telling your colleague you like the color of their blouse is a safe part of the truth, and it’s perhaps best not to share that they should avoid wearing that material given the size of their sweat stains — you could if you were closer, but this is just your colleague and your upbringing has taught you discretion (i hope).
Anyhow, when sensitive topics arise in conversation…I don’t know, say of religion, politics, or anything personal, the answers I deliver depend on who I am speaking with. Are they liberal or conservative? Are they civil or offputting in their aggression? These factors influence how comfortable I feel in my expression… I don’t quite like this.
In the new year, I am going to minimize the influence others have on the discourse of my expression. To do this, I will revisit all of my values and debate them with myself. I want to engage in the practice of formulating the opposition to some of my opinions, not so that I can script a rebuttal, but rather that I may find knowledge gaps. I know some may argue that my approach is prone to confirmation bias, but it isn’t. I am not strictly seeking evidence to support my values, rather if I do reason to actually believe in something, that must not be the end, but rather an invitation to explore what I proclaim a stance on.
The productive conversation necessitates knowledge of what is being discussed. I’m a very emotional being and thus have PLENTY of emotional dialogues. This is primarily why I fall short. I’m all for the pathos, but ethos and logos need some attention too. In 2020, I want more conversations infused with evidence.
Peace & Blessings,
“Take advantage of your disadvantages” that’s what someone said to me yesterday. What a stunning perspective!
I tend to give an overwhelming focus to my strengths in hopes of optimizing my performance in areas I already perform well in.
I do also pay mind to my shortcomings to grow, but never do I look at my deficits as areas that can already serve me as is.
What I’m trying to express is a bit confusing, but stay with me. I’ll give you an example.
So I have difficulties sleeping sometimes. A lot of the time. I never bothered with melatonin or other remedies because I still function well throughout the day, so there isn’t a pressing need for me to sleep soundly… I suppose from a biological perspective there are many needs so to speak, but I’m not going to get into that realm right now. I listen to my body, so if I feel good, I’m probably good.
Anyways, back to my point, I have trouble sleeping because my thoughts grow louder than the sound of the heater. For the longest, I dreaded this inconvenience, but I’ve had a recent change of perspective. My thoughts are quite incredible at nocturnal hours. I think of book plots, hit songs to ghostwrite, global sustainability solutions, & general ways to just dissolve subtle tensions in my life. It’s very much like a combination of cognitive and problem-solving dream theory, expect it happens while I’m bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (such an odd idiom, loolzz).
I’m going to now start paying more attention to these loud thoughts of mine. Better yet, I’ll keep a journal and lamp by my bedside so that I can jot down any novel idea that pays an unwarranted visit. I do somewhat worry that by putting the lamp on, my cortisol levels may spike, but why premeditate potential problems? I’ll address that later if need be.
I do acknowledge the evidence-based research to support recommendations of sleep, but at the same time, I want to explore my limits. Certain scholars and other brilliant minds are often known to have lower sleep quotas. Yeah sure, a slight wiring difference can account for needing less sleep, but more likely I think it has to do with the state of mind and quality of food we ingest. In feeding our bodies the right fuel and having a mentality less narrowed in on human limits, one could vastly expand their potential.
So while I can’t so easily suppress my consciousness in the hours designated for sleep, I can welcome these thoughts and make use of them, I can “take advantage of this disadvantage”. If I’m credited for some spectacular discovery in the next decade, I owe it to this shift in my perspective.
How will you seize the good in your inconveniences?
I’ve had so much on my mind, and there is a great deal of content that I have written, but they all remain in my drafts. So much of what I’ve been going through has involved other people… for better or worse, and altogether, it is best not to put it out there. Yes, I could keep things anonymous and distort details, but I can’t be bothered. I’ve moved on.
All the writing I’ve kept to myself isn’t in vain, It has served as a form of therapy. I looked into counseling twice in the last 5 months and never went through with it, but putting pen to paper is my shit, and it works!
I have made the intentional effort to make each and every day exciting in some fashion. On some days, that means getting an overpriced scoop of gelato, espresso flavored of course. On other days, that means going for a walk downtown with a world-renowned pianist who happened to be in town for Cecile McLorin Salvant’s show last Thursday… that whole encounter felt like I was in a movie & I don’t really feel like elaborating haha.
The world works in funny ways. I’ve been going out to dance more, meeting interesting people like seafood chefs or bouncers lol. I’ve also been keeping my nails painted and polished, toes too even though the old me wouldn’t bother in the colder months, for who can even see when I got boots on? No more of that though. New me puts in the extra time to stay on point for my own satisfaction, I have literally no one but myself to impress, and it feels damn good.
On another note, I really haven’t had dreams at night for the longest, so I’ve been doing brain research and listening to self-proclaimed lucid dreamers for how they hone in on the skill. Collectively, they advise people to journal first thing in the morning about what they can remember from their dreams.
How exactly am I suppose to do this when I dream of nothing? I don’t even see darkness or something I can describe, it is as though I never fall deep enough into sleep to exit the realm of consciousness. Well anyhow, I woke up at 5 this morning and sat at my desk, all I could write of was how I didn’t know how to dream… I think I wrote a random line or two of feeling full again, not of food, but of something. Not of happiness but of something along those lines, full of something good, I don’t know an exact word for it though.
…I daydream more than I should, maybe that depletes from what I have left for when it is night. I don’t know, I’ll keep at this journaling thing and see if and when a breakthrough happens.
Peace & Blessings,
Melancholic yet compassionate. For the people yet for my solitude. I’m weary of horoscopes, I don’t appreciate when they overstep boundaries and attempt to predict the future. I don’t keep up with them nor have an interest in delving into astrology. However, It’s quite entertaining to read the personality descriptions. Beyond entertainment purposes, this video gave me clarity, dissected my reservations and unspoken understandings and laid it all out in sunlight. It’s interesting, and I’ll leave it at that.
It is 2:38 am and I lay wide awake with thoughts sprinting across my mind. I don’t know if it’s the double shot espresso I had at 4 pm last afternoon, or if it’s the lack of control I now suddenly feel. Perhaps being on the second day of my mensuration cycle would have something to do with this too, but damn it, I hate attributing my inconsolable state to hormones, for if that’s all this is, then it’s a matter of a waiting till I come afloat rather than having a valid source to address and mend… right here, right now.
Overwhelmed is an understatement. Without disclosing too much, I must preface this by saying my dear companion is incredibly supportive. However, I still lay awake at what is now 2:41 am, overthinking it all, and frustrated with the fact that I can’t appease everyone in the process of this very particular journey.
I hope to look back in some years with the wisdom and newfound ability to better compartmentalize my emotions…to not take the visions of others so personally at the expense of how I want this carried through.
What is to be done when one party says this is how it must be done whilst the other says that’s not how they know it to be done?
What is to be done when the resolve you and your companion devise puts more responsibility on the both of you when beforehand you entrusted your mom to do the timely matters on your behalf?
What is to be done when you contemplate ivy garlands, songs for the playlist and questions to ask the man in charge of staging decor all in the span of 5 minutes like a madwoman?
What is to be done so that I no longer lay awake, at what is now 2:53 am.
Sometimes I share too much, and sometimes I don’t share enough.
Rather than worry yourself over the source of stress I vaguely allude to, just know that none of us have it perfectly together. We just make it work.
2:57 am. Good night?
Realistically speaking, these things are never easy, but they’re worth it in the end. I am grateful. In me, there is love.
*The following is a small excerpt from a paper I wrote, If you are interested in the full text or works cited, please ask. *
While one’s morality is the manifestation of guidance, their intuition is the result of acquired knowledge and introspection. In the Alchemy of Happiness, Al-Ghazali states “Nor are such intuitions confined only to those of prophetic rank. Just as iron, by sufficient polishing, can be made into a mirror, so any mind by due discipline can be rendered receptive of such impressions”. The acquisition of merely any type of knowledge does not guarantee profound intuition. Rather the knowledge must be sufficient in that it is from the right cloth and of the right length of thread, i.e. the right quality and quantity; this is for the individual seeking knowledge to discern. Furthermore, in alluding to a mirror, it suggested that the internalized knowledge must then be reflected outwardly in character, as knowledge without action is only a dead letter.
One’s morality may be greatly influenced by their culture. Culture is the enactment of ideologies and often varies geographically. The generational teachings that constitute a culture may serve various agendas, either contributing to objective achievements or in the oppression of a scapegoat. I will not make a case for what makes a culture right over another, but it is worth highlighting than an individual may exercise autonomy in choosing which aspects of a respective culture they wish to follow, with recognition of the associated implications. In the cultural context, knowledge is useful in preserving the integrity of traditions, while also preserving dignity in the face of oppression or ignorance.
It is narrated in the authentic book of the prophetic tradition, Bukhari and Muslim, that during an Eid celebration, Ethiopians celebrated outside the prophet’s mosque with spears in their hands, dancing to the rhythm of leather drums. The prophet’s companion, Umar ibn al- Khattab was inclined to interfere in the joy of the Abyssinians, as their means of celebration was not aligned with the celebratory practices Umar ibn al-Khattab was conditioned to through the Arab culture. The prophet ﷺ seized the interference and stated to the converts, “Play your games, sons of Arfida, so the Jews and Christians know there is latitude in our religion”. The prophet ﷺ made a point to bring his wife Ayesha to enjoin in observing the celebration—lifting her on his back so that she could witness the celebration clearly and so that they could bond in appreciation of the Abyssinian culture.
In doing so, the prophet ﷺ made clear that the Arab tradition was not a prerequisite for adhering to the Islamic faith, but rather, that Arab customs are lawful within the premises of Islamic law, and that the customs of any other culture are religiously valid when they are in accordance with the Quran and the messenger’s teachings.
In Islam, many Muslims believe that abiding by the teachings of Islam is paramount; however, this does not mean that individuals reject all aspects of their culture. Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah, an American Muslim theologian indicates that Islam is a vast tradition and like a river, a means of purification for the heart and soul, reflecting the patterns of the bedrock it runs over. Just as water runs on top of the bedrock, Muslims believe that religious observation rank above cultural obedience. It is up to an individual who wishes to practice Islam to discern which religious and cultural practices they choose to participate in. In Islam, it is believed that every person will be held accountable for their actions on judgment day, and so many Muslims discern between culture and religion on the premise of what serves them best in the pursuit of attaining heaven as outlined by the Quran.
It has been some time since I’ve laid in bed and stared at the ceiling fan
To hear the rain and listen…
To have an arm bent under my head and the other rested on my stomach
To look at my toes and marvel at how I still have ten
It has been some time since I’ve laid in bed and stared at the ceiling fan.