Tag Archive | relationships

Finding a Global Balance

Finding a Global Balance

By Hwaa Irfan

The words of Miguel D’Escoto-Brockman brought life to journalism for me which I would not have read if it was not for the excerpt:

“Only by recognizing the rights of all things, and Mother Earth, can humanity hope to find balance amid mounting global challenges.”

I would not have believed such public conviction could come from the pen of a president of the UN General Assembly. These are the words of someone who does not represent the status quo – the status of world affairs that have descended to the status of civil liberties around the world. Only have I seen such sentiment expresses consistently in Islam, a sentiment that is not represented in Europe’s growing populist position towards Muslim women wear, a position that represents the states position in relation to civilian life. D’Escoto-Brockman continues:

“Our indigenous peoples have known this for millennia. Yet, as Western civilization expanded, and brutal capitalism entrenched, the ancient knowledge and wisdom of our indigenous brothers and sisters was more ignored, diminished, and repressed by imperial powers. By armed conquests, colonial powers were able to steal, pillage, enslave and desecrate the lands, goods and peoples of the South. But I believe the greatest tragedy was not the wielding of their economic and military superiority; the greatest tragedy consisted in the all-pervasive and prevailing ‘colonization of the intellect. The gradual assimilation of intellectual elites across the world into a capitalist system of obsessive consumption and pursuit of profit lies at the root of today’s multiple converging crises. It has contaminated us all.” 

It has contaminated all to the extent that of those who are vaguely aware of being poisoned, the dilemma is reflected in the confusion that is brought about by the question “poisoned by what.” It has all come across as being quite natural, to want, and to get. The governments around the world have grown arrogant, and after becoming the worshipped idol that feeds and provides, we have become the slaves that feeds on what it provides, and cries when governments tell us to cry, and laugh when governments tell us to laugh. Our lives have become shaped and determined by the media the pharmaceutical, and food industries to the extent that when governments fail, which they have done severely as represented by the food price and economic crises, the only thing we recognize is our right to food, out right to work, our right to homes not fully paid for when the means for those rights is based on the continual plundering of natural resources, the abuse of our health, the abuse of our mental health, the abuse, the right to find and create work as opposed to being given work which is not really there, and the commitment and responsibility that goes with having a family. Instead governments have taken on these responsibilities to the extent that these governments dare not admit that they are in reality redundant, as the growing dysfunction of the systems they have put in place are unsustainable. 

We do not recognize the extent to which these economic, social, medical systems are failing, yet as Joe Public we continue to want what they want us to want. In pursuit of this better and more advanced world, we have become disconnected from ourselves, and each other, and all the antagonistic self interests are the result of that broken connection with life as it is meant to be lived. Everything has been reduced down to appetites for sex and food as the only two lusts we are capable of perpetuating to extent of annihilating the balance of our bodies, and the balance within our minds. We find ourselves yearning for what we have lost, but unable to define what that loss is! Even when that loss is touched upon, we fall back on the props that sustain how we project ourselves in the world with true passion and commitment amiss. This is because we fail to make the direct correlation between our relationship with ourselves, each other, and the earth that sustains us. How we see ourselves, is how we see the earth!

We must take the time to visualize our lives with nothing, and then from there, ask what we really need to make us happy, and then to truly ask ourselves what we need to do make each other happy! What are the basics, and what is it we do to complicate it all!

The keepers of that illusive connectedness fight the good fight, away from our obsessions with wealth, status, looks and lusts – it is these desires that have led to the exploitation of others for self gain/interest in terms of livelihood, health, and the environment. At the first conference of the People’s World Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Tiquipaya, Bolivia, 35,352 people attended what was ignored by mainstream media April 2010. That is 35,352  people (indigenous peoples, scientists and activists from 130 countries) who are seeking real change and cannot find the likelihood of this happening in the usual international conferences that only seek to maintain the status quo. The U.N which pledges to fight the growing problem of hunger it is short sighted as to the real causes of hunger because to really fight hunger is to replace the very system that perpetuates hunger:

“The principal cause of the destruction of planet Earth is capitalism and, as people who inhabit it, let us respect this Mother Earth; we have all the right, we have the ethics and the morals to say here that the central enemy of Mother Earth is capitalism.

“The capitalist system seeks to obtain the maximum possible profits by promoting unlimited growth on a finite planet. Capitalism is the source of the asymmetries and imbalances in the world” said Juan Evo Morales Ayma, the president of the pluranational state of Bolivian in the opening speech to the conference.

This might seem threatening to many who have grown to see the system that has shaped the world we know on every level, but take a look around and count how many global problems that have been taking place, and how it connects to one’s life. Take a look and see who is being listened to, and who is not being listened to. It is one planet, yet all the problems are down to a lack of mutual respect, and mutual respect requires understanding and appreciating the “other”. Day needs night, just as summer needs spring, when one part of the world harvests, the other part of the world hibernates – rests for a while until it is time to harvest; instead what we find is that one part of the world wants to claim all the harvests so the other part of the world starves.

And so it is that we all starve emotionally, psychologically, and physiologically! Our global factory education system reflects this usurping the creative mind for the mind that consumes and produces on behalf of the state. The state does not want any distractions away from its goal, and so it is that organized religion, the Divine religions become a threat, especially when the spiritual essence of the religion is practiced, and not the material, for the material only perpetuates the state. This is difficult to see when one is in it, but for those who have taken the mantle of their forefathers as keepers of the earth, this is not so difficult to see. We treat the earth as if it has endless capacity to provide for our unlimited appetite, but we forget:

{Surely We have created everything according to a measure} (Al Qamar 54: 49)

The Pachamama Alliance 

Pachamama means ‘mother world’, and is a term that is used in the Andes of South America. The Pachamama Alliance grew out of the Achuar people of Bolivia 15 years ago, as a call to all people around the world with an initial call to preserve the world’s rainforests. The Alliances vision has grown to encompass an “environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on Planet Earth.” They call this awakening the dreamer, and changing the dream. What a challenge, but a challenge we must meet, and one we would want to meet if we are honest with our own dissatisfaction with our current reality. Over 1024 organizations around the world have joined the Alliance, and  moving towards a collective sense of what is possible as opposed to what is happening now, which is the responsibility of governments which is making our lives impossible.

May Ayma life remain with us to fulfill his mission, for many attempts on his life have been made. Practicing what he believes in drove him to go on a hunger strike in April 2010, demanding that Congress pass legislation allowing for the general elections to take place in December. So what! Thousands joined him, and they included Spain and Argentina so that the new year would start with the right to vote for the indigenous people, and the right for the president to be re-elected. “The words “growth” and “development” do not appear in the new Bolivian Constitution because individual and corporate gain are seen as anathema for a society which seeks to meet its needs based on cooperation, collective distribution and reciprocity” writes Donna Lazarus. When the vision is clear, the commitment is strong! 

Clearly a man who has truly worked for a living with his hands, Ayma a former cacao farmer presented the Pachamama proposal at the conference, and also presented the proposal to the U.N. The proposal is based on four principles:

  • The right to life: this includes all species 
  • The right of the earth to regenerate its bio-capacity
  • The right to a clean life, which includes the earth’s right to live without pollution
  • The right to harmony with all

The initial response was to create an International Mother Earth Day, let us hope that the U.N commitment goes much further than that!

Things and Emotions

Take time out each and every day, and look at what you did, what you used to do it, what was the source of what you used, and what was the process and the result of what you used. Did you really need it, or did you just want it! If it is hurting someone, why do it, and if it is only hurting you, who else are you hurting! 

Juan Evo Morales Ayma’s Speech at the People’s World Summit on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, Bolivia April 2010 

“For the planet or for death!  I salute the social movements, unions, government representatives, and many people who have come to Bolivia, the heart of the Americas, to participate in this conference in the defense of pache mama.

“Copenhagen wasn’t a fiasco; it’s a victory for the people and a failure of the powerful nations of the world.  It’s the so-called underdeveloped countries protect who respect Kyoto.   Copenhagen Accord will lead to warming of more than 4° Celsius.  That’s why we’ve called this meeting.  We’re facing mass extinction and other terrible effects.   We need to establish a limit of 350ppm in the atmosphere.

“But underdeveloped countries are only responsible for 5% of GHGs. 

“Developed counties are blocking any kind of progress on this front.  COP15 agreement eliminates the Kyoto Protocol, and responsibilities of developed countries to cut their emissions.

“Capitalism is the major element responsible for the destruction of the Earth.  Capitalism depends on the greatest profit possible.  Yet globalization is manifestly creating poverty.  For capitalism, we’re only consumers or workers.  There is no other aspect to our identities.  Capitalism commodifies everything.  

“We must choose either corporations and death or life.  We cannot live in harmony with Earth when a few people are controlling the vast majority of the planet.  Our new system of collectivist socialism will solve these problems.  We are again unlimited development.

“We are united here to celebrate the role of indigenous peoples a stewards of the Earth and as an alternative to unsustainable development.  Mother Earth belongs to all of us and cannot be sold.  Capitalism is synonomous with the destruction of the planet.

“For example, capitalism persecutes indigenous people for raising coca, a product we used for centuries before European conquistadores arrived.  But today our indigenous communities know that tea made from coca is one of the best medicines available. 

“We have to reverse the illegality imposed on use through the ‘War on Drugs.”  What if we decided that another traditional indigenous food, quinoa, was illegal and went around persecuting health food proponets in the US for eating it? 

“GMOs are another example of how the West’s values are wrong.  We know that eating GMO chicken makes men effeminate (!).  GMOs also create baldness, so if we all eat them soon the entire planet will be bald.

“We also need to embargo Coca-Cola.  This drink only makes us sick.  I know certain plumbers who use it to unclog toilets.

“Another example is the difference between traditional clay plates and plastic plate.  Evo tells UN representative that when he went there for dinner, they gave him food on plastic plates.

“Evo then took a poncho, the type worn by indigenous people in Bolivia, and demonstrated how waterproof it is by pouring water all over it.  He was flanked on both sides by generals, and the water went dangerously close to them as it swirled off the poncho. 

“Evo then says that these small examples show that we need to go back to indigenous ways.

“Capitalism constantly invents wars, he said.  Wars on drugs.  Wars on terror.

“When it can’t sell its products, capitalism manufactures weapons and starts wars in order to sell those weapons.

“If we unite all the people, he argued, we can defeat capitalism and imperialism, and save the planet.  He then advanced a series of five action points:

  • Reduce carbon dioxide levels to 350 parts per million.
  • Prod the UN to sign the Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth
  • Open frontiers to receive the millions of climate migrants in coming years
  • Help underdeveloped countries cope with effects of climate change
  • Recognize people’s rights to things like water, and recognize their right not to be exposed to things like excessive pollution.

We need, Evo argued, a huge global intercontinental movement in support of the rights of Mother Earth.  We need to indict the countries that don’t support the Kyoto Protocol in the International Criminal Court.  

“We are confronted with two paths: pache mama or the path of the multi-nationals.  If we don’t take the former, the masters of death will win, he argued.  If we don’t fight, we will be guilty of destroying the planet”. 

Speech by President Evo Morales to the G77 at the United Nations regarding the conclusions of the First World People’s Conference on Climate Change

Speech by Evo Morales Ayma, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, before the G77 + China at the United Nations 

May 7, 2010

“I have come here to share the conclusions of the First World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held last April 20th to 22nd in Cochabamba, Bolivia. I convened this Conference because in Copenhagen the voice of the peoples of the world was not listened to or attended to, nor were established procedures respected by all States.

“The Conference attracted 35,352 participants, and of those, 9,254 were foreign delegates, representing movements and social organizations from 140 countries and five continents. The event also benefited from the participation of delegations from 56 governments.

“The debates that took place at the Conference were organized into 17 Working Groups. The “People’s Accord” adopted by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth is a summary of the conclusions of each of those 17 Working Groups. From among all of the documents, I would like to place special emphasis on the project of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.

“We, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, formally presented these conclusions last April 26th, along with a technical proposal, to the negotiation process taking place under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

“The Government of the Plurinational State of Bolivia convened this Conference because the so-called developed countries did not comply with obligations to establish substantial commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions at last year’s Copenhagen Conference on climate change. If these countries had respected the Kyoto Protocol and had agreed to substantially reduce emissions within their borders, the Cochabamba Conference would not have been necessary.

“I am personally convinced that the only way to guarantee a positive result in Cancún, México is through the broad participation of the world and the ironclad unity of the countries of the G77 + China.

“We in the G77 + China are a group of 130 developing countries that are the least responsible for climate change, and, nonetheless, the most affected by the dire impacts of global warming. We represent two-thirds of the countries comprising the United Nations, and close to 80% of the world’s population. In our hands is the task of saving the future of humanity and planet Earth, and making the voices of our peoples heard and respected. 

“That is why I have come here to address the G77 + China!

“We all know that, within the G77 + China, there is a great diversity of political, economic, and cultural positions. This is our strength: unity through diversity. I know that different criteria exist within our Group, but I also know that, when we agree, there is no force that can stop us or detain us. This strength is like the unity of so many sardines before sharks. This is what happened at the last climate change meeting in Bonn from April 9th to 11th, at which we were slow to reach an agreement, but once we achieved consensus in the G77 + China, the rest of the developing countries had to submit to our consensus.

“I would like to begin by highlighting the points of convergence between the G77 + China and the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. 

“The first point of convergence is the need to preserve and fulfill the Kyoto Protocol. That is to say, the need for developed countries to make substantial commitments to domestic greenhouse gas emissions reductions under the framework of the Kyoto Protocol.

“In the G77 + China, nobody is proposing to liquidate or dilute the Kyoto Protocol. We all agree that the Annex 1 countries that are historically responsible for causing greenhouse gas emissions should honor their commitments and obligations under international treaties on climate change.

“The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth demands that developed countries reduce their domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 50% based on 1990 levels for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

“Current offers for reducing greenhouse gases in developed countries would at best only amount to a reduction of 2% based on 1990 levels.

“The Cochabamba Conference does not propose substituting the Kyoto Protocol with various voluntary reduction commitments that are not directed toward global goals, and in which no distinction is made between what the different developed countries must do.

“The People’s Accord states: “The United States, as the only Annex 1 country on Earth that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, has a significant responsibility toward all peoples of the world to ratify this document and commit itself to respecting and complying with emissions reduction targets on a scale appropriate to the total size of its economy.”

“The second point of convergence among the World People’s Conference and the G77 + China is the need for the reduction commitments made by developed countries to be as deep possible in order to stabilize the increase in temperature to, where possible, within a range of 1.5 to 1 degree Celsius.

“We developing countries present here are aware that an increase in temperature will bring grave consequences for the provision of food, for coastal zones, for glaciers, and all of Africa. All of us here in the G77 + China are resolved to avoid letting a single island state fall into the ocean.

“A third point of convergence among the G77 and the Conference is the concept of the climate debt that developed countries owe to developing countries. This concept was much discussed at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change, and it became clear that the concept has the following components:

“The first component is the need to give back the atmospheric space that has been occupied by the developed countries and their greenhouse gas emissions, affecting developing countries. Developed countries should decolonize the atmosphere to allow for an equitable distribution of the atmospheric space among all countries in accordance with the size of their population.

“The second component is the debt with regard to forced migrations due to climate change. The number of forced migrations has reached 50 million worldwide, and could increase to 200 million to 1 billion people by the year 2050. To honor this debt, developed countries, as the generators of climate change, must open their borders to receive the affected migrants. The existence of migration laws like that of Arizona or the Return Policy in the European Union is absolutely unacceptable.

“The third component is the debt to our Mother Earth. This is because not only have human beings and developing countries been affected, but so has nature. To honor this debt, the First World People’s Conference considers it fundamental to discuss here in the United Nations a proposal for a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth that establishes obligations for all human beings with regard to nature and that recognizes, in the form of rights, the limits that human activity must have if we are going to preserve planet Earth.

“Some of the rights of nature that it proposes are:

– The right to life and to exist

– The right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free from human disruptions;

– The right to be free from contamination, pollution and toxic or radioactive waste;

– The right to not have its genetic structure modified or disrupted in a manner that threatens it integrity or vital and healthy functioning

“We hope that this proposed Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth will begin to be discussed and analyzed within the General Assembly of the United Nations.

“Finally, we have the fourth component, the economic component of climate debt, which is comprised of the adaptation debt and the development debt that the industrialized countries have to developing countries. 

“On the topic of financing, the World People’s Conference considers that, to confront climate change, a budget should be designated similar to the budget that countries allot for military and security spending. 

“The amount of 10 billion dollars that developing countries are currently offering is less than 1% of the total amount of their defense budgets. It is simply not possible to dedicate 120 times more resources to war and death than to preserving life and our Mother Earth.

“Developed countries should commit to annual financing from public sources in addition to the Official Development Assistance in order to confront climate change in developing countries. This financing should be direct and without conditionalities, and should not violate the sovereignty of States.

“It is necessary to establish a new financing mechanism that functions under the authority of the Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and with significant representation by developing countries to guarantee compliance with the financing commitments of Annex 1 countries.

“The World People’s Conference proposes the creation of a multilateral and multidisciplinary mechanism for technology transfer. These technologies should be useful, clean, and socially appropriate. The Cochabamba Conference considers it essential to create a fund for the financing and inventory of appropriate technologies free from intellectual property rights, particularly by moving patents from private monopolies into the public domain for free access.

“The People’s Conference notes that developed countries increased their emissions by 11.2% in the period from 1990-2007 despite having claimed that reductions would be assisted by market mechanisms. 

“The carbon market has become a lucrative business that commodifies nature, favors a few intermediaries, and does not significantly contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases.

“The recent financial crisis has demonstrated that the market is incapable of regulating the financial system, and that it would be totally irresponsible to leave care for and protection of the very existence of humanity and our Mother Earth in the hands of the market. 

“In this regard, the Conference considers it inadmissible that the current negotiations attempt to create new mechanisms that broaden and promote the carbon market. 

“The first Conference proposes the substitution of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) by a new mechanism that is not based on the promotion of the carbon market, and that respects the sovereignty of States and the right of the peoples to free, previous, and informed consent. This new mechanism should directly transfer technologies and economic resources from developed countries for the restoration and maintenance of forests and woodlands.

“The topic of agriculture and climate change was also widely discussed, and the concept of food sovereignty was adopted. This goes beyond food security by implying not just the right to nourishment, but also the right of the peoples to control their own seeds, lands, water, and technology for food production in harmony with Mother Earth and at the service of the whole community, not just the sectors with the highest income.

“In this regard, it was put forth that, to confront the climate change crisis, it is necessary to bring about a profound shift away from agriculture solely based on business and profit, strengthening instead agriculture for life, communities, and equilibrium with nature.

“In the negotiations and in the application of the accords on climate change, it is necessary to fully guarantee the rights of the Indigenous Peoples.

“The Conference also proposes a new theme to be discussed in the climate change negotiations and more broadly in the General Assembly of the United Nations: the establishment of a Climate and Environmental Justice Tribunal to try developed countries that fail to meet their commitments and sanction States and corporations that negatively affect the vital cycles of the Mother Earth.

 “Among our peoples there is much worry because the international accords to which we have subscribed are not ultimately complied with. For this reason there is an interest in creating binding mechanisms that guarantee compliance and are capable of sanctioning violations to international treaties relating to climate and the environment.

“Another proposal has to do with the need to convene a Referendum on Climate Change so that the world’s population can decide what should be done about this important issue. 

“The Cochabamba Conference challenges us to begin to imagine and to promote a kind of global democracy in which the major issues facing humanity can be decided by all peoples. 

“To bring about all of these proposals, the Conference resolves to initiate the construction of a World People’s Movement of the for Mother Earth.

“The Cochabamba Conference places special emphasis on analyzing the topic of development and what kind of development it is that we want.

“Some of the principles agreed upon were:

– There cannot be unlimited development in a finite planet

– The model of development we want is not that of the so-called developed countries, which is unsustainable in a planet with limited natural resources

– So that developing countries might satisfy the needs of their populations without affecting planet Earth, it is essential that developed countries lower their levels of consumption and waste

– To achieve development in harmony with nature, we must also seek harmony among human beings through an equitable distribution of wealth

“The First World People’s Conference proposes that the climate change negotiations analyze the structural causes of global warming and develop alternative proposals of a systemic character. 

“For the First World People’s Conference, the root cause of the climate crisis is the capitalist system. What we are seeing is not just a climate crisis, an energy crisis, a food crisis, a financial crisis… but also the systemic crisis of capitalism itself, which is bringing about the destruction of humanity and nature. If the cause is systemic, then the solution must be systemic as well. For this, the People’s Conference discussed the theme of alternatives for living well in harmony with nature.

“To conclude, the Conference considers that to construct the future we must learn from the past, which remains present among us in the example of indigenous peoples that have in all parts of the world preserved their forms of living in harmony with nature.

“Esteemed ambassadors of the G77 + China, I believe that the best way to strengthen our unity and our actions in the negotiations is by strengthening our consensus and discussing our different positions in a frank and sincere manner.

“On this path, it is fundamental that situations like that of Copenhagen last year not be repeated. We should respect the position agreed upon in the Bali Plan of Action and defended by the G77 + China, and ensure that climate change negotiations continue through the two established channels of “Long-Term Cooperative Action” and the Kyoto Protocol.

“Our unity gives us the strength to guarantee that the negotiations will be broadly participatory, transparent, and respectful of the equal rights of all member States of the United Nations, whether large or small, and to ensure that the voice of our peoples is heard and respected. 

“In the unity of the developing countries lies our potential to forge a new world in which harmony exists among human beings and with our Mother Earth.

Ambassadors:

“The response to global warming is global democracy for life and for the Mother Earth. Let us choose to be clean and active today for the sake all of humanity, not toxic and reactive tomorrow, against nature. Esteemed ambassadors, we have two paths: to save capitalism, or to save life and Mother Earth.

“Thank you very much”.  

Sources:

D’Escoto-Brockman, M. “It is Not All About Us”. Al Ahram Weekly. Issue 1021.

Lazarus, D.  “Evo Morales Presents Mother Earth Proposal at U.N.”

http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_55711.shtml

Morales, E.  “Evo Morale’s  Speech”. http://www.socialtextjournal.org/live_blog_april_2010/2010/04/evo-morales-speech.php

Speech by President Evo Morales to the G77 at the United Nations regarding the conclusions of the First World People’s Conference on Climate Change http://boliviarising.blogspot.com/2010/05/speech-by-president-evo-morales-to-g77.html 

The Pachamama Alliance. http://www.pachamama.org/

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Forgiveness Between Sand and Stone

Sand and Stone

Two friends were lost in the desert, trying to find their way to the nearest town.  The strong rays of the sun were taking its toll on the friendship. Food was none existent, and the water they had was no longer, and each began to think only of themselves.

At one point of the journey they had an argument – and one friend slapped the other one in the face.

The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything, wrote in the sand:

“TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.”

They kept on walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one, who had been slapped, got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend saved him.

After the friend recovered from the near drowning, the friend who was slapped wrote on a stone:

“TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.”

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him:

“After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?”

The other friend replied:

“When someone hurts us, we should write it down in sand where winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

More Moral Tales:
The Lesson That Cannot Be Taught!

Live to Work or Work to Live!

Fajr and Shaytan

How Not to Master a Skill!

The Echo of Life

The Sieve

The Gift of Sharing 

Love and Time

All Things Are Linked!

The House of Three Rooms

The Emperor’s New Clothes

The Flowering Tree 

When the Waters Were Changed 

A Depleted Spiritual Bank Account

A Depleted Spiritual Bank Account

By Hwaa Irfan

Another day begins, but we wake to it less refreshed, as the day will be a repetition of the previous days, weeks, months, or even years. We switch on the automatic mode in order to get through this new day, which we approach in old ways. Regulated by time, we get through a set of challenges that seem to have increased with greater force.  The only difference is, is that we are not as energetic as we used to be, and it all seems to demand off us much more, but we keep on going until the weekend. The weekend descends upon us, but we find like the evenings of the week days, the energy seems to be only available to get that paid work done, and before you know it, your life is all about work, which keeps on demanding more, and more, and more. The holidays descend, and a week into it, you are able to enjoy it with the family, and just as you really unwind, the palpitations start, the indigestion, the blood pressure rises, and waking exhausted from a full night’s sleep has returned.

Sooner or later, you realized that you just cannot do it anymore. You might not fully understand why, but you do know that your health is on a downward slope, the perpetual feeling of exhaustion is causing your body to ache, and there are days when it is hard to move your legs; and your world has shrunk to exclude all the things that you enjoy. There is always tension in your neck, an your spine is always sore, and so in the process you have learnt to walk with a lot more tension in order to control the pain in your spine, and increasingly your pelvis – you want to rest, but you are fighting gravity!

Well, it is not that you do not like your work, and that you get on with your colleagues quite well, but is the rest of life going to be like that! All your loved ones seem to be barking at you as you share less and less with them – how much more are you going to lose before it is all too late! You give out more and more energy, but nothing seems to be coming back because you have depleted your spiritual bank account!

Energy is all around us, but somehow we do not seem to be tapping into it. It is in all that Allah (SWT) has created. It is in the air we breathe, the birds that sing, the smell of nature, the wooden chair that has been carved inspired by – the food that has been inspired by – the recitation that has been inspired by – the music that has been inspired by The Greatest Love of All. We know all of this, yet, it slipped us by, because we forgot before we have to have energy before we can give energy. Emotions are a form of energy, just as thought is a form of energy, and if we are fragmented emotionally, so too are we fragmented physically, and spiritually.

We thought we had grown accustomed to the noise pollution, and the rude mannerisms, and the almost, no not almost, actual sexual innuendos written to every daily social transactions, and the length of time it takes to get anywhere, or the deteriorating level of service, when one wants to get the washing machine fixed for example, oh! And of course the growing greed that explains the increased prices, and the poor food quality. We thought we had gotten used, and in fact had become quite adept at handling those empty conversations which have become normal conversation.  

Or you did make that all important decision, when you became dissatisfied with your life and you chose to acknowledge your purpose — your gifts. Everything seemed to be going OK, and you have had some quite interesting realizations. However, at some point along your journey, you went beyond what you were ready for, and have found yourself vulnerable to certain risks believing far too much in your skills, and unaware of what you still needed to do.

Or you have been one of those fortunate ones who discovered Eckhart’s “The Power of Now”, missed out on the spiritual context, and the real meaning, and up until now you have been feeling quite liberated from the past, and having no guilt, shame, or responsibilities. Now, you find that certain incidences have happened which have challenged your belief, and that certain things you want to reach out to is evading you.

These are a series of situations, which one might find one’s self in, making one feel quite inadequate, or powerless – the effect of not recognizing what one is experiencing. The mind wanders, drifting off in a manner that one may not be quite aware of. One is easily distracted even in mid-thought. Promises seem hard to fulfill, and decisions seem to be hard to make – one is going through a shift in paradigm. There may be mood swings, or obsessive thought, with extremes in ideas that may seem contradictory, because one has shifted one’s polarity, and may be vaguely aware of something else – the problem is that “something else” has been hanging around for a long while seeking your attention, and you are still not quite aware of it. In a state of limbo, one might have decided to over-ride this “something else” as a matter of survival. You may have over-ridden it for so long, ignoring all the answered questions until your emotional and psychological body could take no more – hence your current state and it is a state that leaves you unable to respond to instantly when the situation demands it, which is usual in cases of pain, illness, mental/emotional/spiritual struggle.

Prophet Muhammed said: “There should be neither harming nor reciprocating of harm” (An-Nawawi #32)

This includes the harming of the self!

You are not who you thought you were, because you left your spirit self out of the equation. The essential “I” has been trying to wake you up from your sleep with warning signs of excess tension, depression, muscles aches/cramps, sleeplessness headaches, frequent indigestion, problems remembering everyday things, and constant tiredness. If you do not wake up now, the symptoms will become worse manifesting as illnesses, and if you have been struggling to work at a higher level, a psychic attack!

All of the above happens because we are not living in harmony with ones’ self i.e. when one is nor living having integrated all parts of one’s self.  Yes, we may have made changes, but those changes in our lives were superficial. One has hurt oneself with lies, self deception, withholding compassion, and as a result one has hurt oneself more with guilt, shame, anger, jealousy, ego, frustration, repression of feelings, unworthiness, greed etc. It is time to take time out/slow down, and to spend time getting to know oneself. One can start with the pains, and symptoms – spending time with them to discover with an open mind and heart what the source of the sleeplessness nights are. What has one not been listening to, practicing (spiritual), seeing, or has there been a situation that has been difficult to digest, and one chose to refute/ignore it! This is where mindfulness is such an important skill, because it teaches you to be open and available to the signs around and within you.

Exercise

One can start by setting the same time each day to do these exercises. They can take place anywhere, but one might find it useful to have a “special place” to do the exercises. The benefit of anywhere is that it teaches you to be prepared in any situation, and as such, personally I prefer to do them after prayer.

#1: Sit in a place that is comfortable to you. Relax. Take in how you sit, what you are sitting on of you, the feel of what you are sitting on, the position of your legs, your back – each part of your body and what each part is in contact with, even if it is the air you feel/breathe!

–          What do you see around you – look at each feature. What impression does it make on you (the colors, the shape, the size etc).

–          What can you taste? Identify the flavors

–          What can you smell? Identify the odors.

This will help to awaken the senses that have gone to sleep!

#2: This can take place anywhere.

–          Listen to all the sounds around you. What can you hear?

–          Separate and identify all the sounds, the rhythm of life – nature. If this is done at night time, or before Fajr (dawn prayer), one may even hear the sound of the earth, and feel the shift of the earth.

This will help one to identify one’s own inner sound, rhythm, and voice – that which is one’s own and not lost in everything else! Those things that truly gives one pleasure – enthuses one are clues to one’s own nature, they are guides along one’s journey in life. They can direct one to one’s true nature, and thus one’s true path, or present a media from which one can learn an important tool to further one’s self development. By practicing them, and in remembrance of where all creation comes from, once can discover what is within one’s own environment a sign as to the changes one needs to make in one’s life in openness. As Prophet Muhammed (SAW) divided his day into one third work, one third others, and one third study, one can discover the balance. Study can be self study, and worship is in everything that one does – it is not a time set aside only for prayer.

“…Everybody starts his day and is a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or bringing about its ruin” (An Nawawi #23)

After one greets the day with the Fajr/dawn prayers, instead of hurriedly ending this all-important time with Allah (SWT), and just sit in quietude. Listen to all the sounds you can hear, and as you do so take deep breaths.

In, 2,3,4

Out 2, 3, 4

And then when one is comfortable

In 2, 3, 4, 5

Out 2, 3, 4, 5. 

When one feels the stillness, focus on the aspects of one’s life that one is not at peace with. Ask yourself, (without answering), what you can do to improve upon it, remembering those whose worlds are torn apart around the world. Give thanks for what you have, and make du’aa (supplication) for these people, and let the answer to the problem present itself as one goes about one’s day.

If the problem involves others, we may need to ask ourselves what has been our role in the problem. We might have expressed outwardly the opposite to what we are internally. Have we been communicating with our true self? When we communicate with our true selves, there are fewer contradictions. We communicate with the truth of who we are, we reach out with the truth of who we are without expectations. After all communication is the basis of all relationships so is it not worth it? By communicating with our true selves we honor those we communicate with, and they too will feel more able to communicate with their true selves – speaking without blame, attacking, insults, and the need to manipulate. Listening without reacting — without being defensive – but listen by acknowledging the other, and each other’s space.

After all, it about taking care of one’s self, so that one care take care with what one does!

It seems easy does it not, but try practicing it with an open heart, and with the practice more will be revealed!

Related Links:

The Lesson That Cannot Be Taught!

The Unity of “I”

Fasting in Shawwal 

Distractions of Life vs. God

The Importance of the Creative Principle in Life

Finding the Real You!

Avoiding the Silence!

Self-Love is a Journey

The Echo of Life

From the Symbolic Ascension to the Ascension of Our Lives

The Law of Three: Concealment and Attraction

Climbing the Mountain

No Wonder Women Are Bored!

Prosperity and Abundance Now!

The Flowering Tree

Happiness Doesn’t Grow on Trees!

AHome or a House!

Home or a House!

By Dr Ahmed Adam

I like my house, but I love my home

A house is made up of bricks and stones
But a home is made up of flesh and bones

A house is built with layers of bricks
But a home is built with layers of people

A house is a piece of Real Estate in your street
But a home is a piece of Real Estate in your Heart

A house is cold and empty
But a home is warm and lively

A house is made beautiful by furniture
But a home is made beautiful by those that you love

A house is a place for shelter
But a home is a shelter for your heart

A house has got property value
But a home is something that you value

A house has a price
But a home is priceless

A house has a rug and a ceiling
But a home has a hug and a feeling

A house is held together by cement and plaster
But a home is held together by love and laughter

A house is a place that nourishes your body
But a home is a place that nourishes your soul

A house is merely a collection of rooms
But a home is a powerful collection of memories

A house is held up by roof beams
But a home is held up by lofty dreams

A house is where you can walk around without a shoe
But a home is where everyone understands you

A house is a place where the paint is peeling
But a home is a place that is full of feeling

A house is a place that you can lease
But a home is a place where you can find peace

A house is a place for entertaining and socialising
But a home is a place where you don’t have to say anything

A house may not look like a castle on the inside and outside
But a home is a place where everyone is treated royally

A house is a place where you go to sleep at night
But a home is a place where someone worries when you don’t come home

A house is often a one year project
But a home is usually a life-long project

A house can be replaced
But a home is irreplaceable

A house can be rented, bought and sold
But a home is more precious than diamonds and gold

The best places in the world can be exotic and thrilling
But there is no place that is as sweet as home.

Related Topics:
Discovering Your Emotional Intelligence
Happiness Doesn’t Grow on Trees!
The Brain Says Men and Women are Different When It Comes to Stress
Hassan Fathy: The Barefoot Architect
Love and Time
Forced to Build Sandbag Homes in Gaza

The Eternal Quest for Beauty.

The Eternal Quest for Beauty.‎

By Hwaa Irfan

During the month of Ramadhan, our bodies will be in a state of rest and purification ‎by breaking away from the bad habits that have developed throughout the year. ‎However, before we return to those pre-Ramadhan habits after we have broken our fast every night, us ladies should take ‎a second look before we decide to deny our skin the right to breathe again.

As ‎the world of physical attraction continues to market its illusions, it is not telling ‎us the real content of its beauty products. ‎

Healthy skin needs oxygen and needs to release carbon dioxide. However what ‎we put on our faces can inhibit this natural cycle. Wide- ranging ingredients with ‎chemical sounding names confuse and convince us. Mineral oils in skin creams ‎are actually from crude oil. Forming an oily film, it suffocates the skin. In holding ‎large amounts of moisture on the skin it causes immature, unhealthy and ‎sensitive skin that dries out easily. So what do we do, we buy more cream! ‎

The US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and the Center for Food Safety ‎and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) estimated that $35 billion is spent in the US ‎annually on cosmetics alone . A staggering figure for an industry that remains ‎largely unaccountable for its products. Director of FDA’s Office of Colors and ‎Cosmetics, John Bailey stated:

    “If we see we’re getting a number of complaints ‎for the same product, then that is cause for concern.”

He referred to ‘organisms’ in ‎the atmosphere that could affect the preservatives in the products. However, a ‎study by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group found these ‎preservatives to be the second most common cause of allergic reactions and ‎hypoallergenic products only offer a partial solution.‎

One of the foremost preservatives used is formaldehyde. US made cosmetics ‎may include Quaternium 15, a formaldehyde-releasing agent found in deoderized soaps, mascara, talcum powders, ‎foundation creams and firming facial creams. It is also in shampoos, ‎conditioners, fluoride toothpaste, ‎mouth -washes, hair colors and nail varnish. The Garden Botanika market ‎‎‘natural’ ‎cosmetics that contain diazolidinyl urea – a formaldehyde releasing preservative. ‎Formaldehyde is a known carcinogenic.‎

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate are ‎detergent emulsifiers added to remove oil and soil from the skin. A study in the ‎Journal of American College Toxicology found that the longer these chemicals ‎stayed in contact with the skin, the greater the irritation.

Common in shampoos, ‎Tom Mower’s of Images International found SLS inhibited hair growth, caused ‎hair loss and cataracts if it got into the eyes! Industry uses SLS as a garage ‎floor cleaner, an engine degreaser. SLS is known to cause potentially ‎carcinogenic nitrates to form in skin cleaners from its reaction with other ‎ingredients. It is cheap and small amounts are required to generate a large ‎amount of foam. When salt is added the foam thickens. SLS has a systemic ‎effect, causing liver abnormalities and kidney damage when in contact with the ‎skin. It is retained in the eyes, brain, heart, liver and kidneys with potential ‎long-term effects .‎

Since last year, a FDA initiated the ‘Imported Cosmetics Program’. However it is ‎dependent on voluntary participation from the industry and only focuses on ‎imported products, which only constitutes 1-2% of annual American consumer ‎expenditure.‎

Second though is also required on natural products. John Bailey of FDA said:

    ‎‎‘There are no standards for what ‘natural’ means and who’s to say what they’re ‎actually using.”

The cosmetics trade journal Drug and Cosmetic Industry stated:

    “ ‎All plants (including those in cosmetics) can be heavily contaminated with ‎bacteria, pesticides and chemical fertilizers widely used to improve crop yields”. ‎

For example cerebrosides in skin products provide a smoother skin surface. ‎Marketed as ‘luminous’ and ‘improved hydration’, it is produced from the ‎deepest layer of the skin. Secreting into outer cells, it serves as a protective ‎coating, providing the skins moisture and suppleness. The raw material for ‎cerebrosides comes from cattle, oxen and swine nervous system tissues and ‎occasionally plants . ‎

As a part of FDA’s voluntary program they ‎aim to regulate bovine substances from cattle born, raised, or slaughtered in ‎countries where BSE exists, but this doesn’t fair well for American Muslims who ‎might be using creams with cerebrosides sourced from the US bred swine. ‎

Collagen comes from the connective tissue of young cows and ground chicken ‎feet. It has a moisturizing effect, but it is an insoluble fibrous protein, too large ‎to penetrate the skin. ‎

And the list goes on…‎

There is no evidence that vitamins added to cosmetics can penetrate the skin, ‎Aloe Vera added to products is too small to be beneficial and the claim that ‎human placenta can stimulate tissue growth and remove wrinkles goes ‎unproven. Bentonite is porous clay that expands many times its dried volume ‎when it absorbs water. Found in foundation products, it clogs the pores and ‎suffocates the skin. The popular glycerin draws moisture from inside the skin ‎and holds it on the surface drying the skin inside -out.‎

We all like to believe that we are in charge of our lives, but the global beauty ‎industry is a clear example of the impositions of a Westernized/globalized which ‎out of it’s Catholic heritage hence its colonial past, the West has implanted a ‎particular notion of beauty that many women of colour suffer from, and many ‎women in the West have fall blindly for. This notion is the notion of perfection, ‎which permeates our lives from childhood through our parents, relatives, ‎friends, and media, through to school where we learn to not like very much ‎about ourselves. This self intolerance then moves onto color platonic and ‎personal relationships. However often do men subject their women to that ‎idealism? Unfortunately, a growing number of Muslim husbands are subjecting ‎their wives to this notion of perfection by discouraging their wives to wear hijab, ‎or to dress in a particular way. Once all the changes have been made, the ‎appeal has been lost because that is not what strengthens the bonds of ‎marriage. Entrained by images projected by the music industry, and ‎pornography in particular, there are some men who are not attracted physically ‎to the women they love. They admit this, and they know the cause, lost in the ‎abyss between what they love and what they are attracted to. A pseudo-life in ‎suspended animation, This inner dislike is so prevalent that it is considered ‎normal. Only when we explore the effect physiological-psychological effect it has ‎on our relationship with ourselves, and consequently others (including those we ‎love), that we begin to realize that something is seriously wrong. ‎

This was originally written in 2001…‎

Sources:‎

CIR. “Cosmetics Ingredients Review Alerts”. 2001. 1-2. Ingredient Alert. ‎Cosmetics Ingredients Review. http://www.cir-safety.org/alert.html

Dori, Stehlin. “Cosmetic Safety: More Complex Than at First Blush”. FDA ‎Consumer Magazine. May ’95. CSFAN-FDA.gov. 1-8. ‎
‎‎

FDA-CSFAN #1. “FDA Authority over Cosmetics”. 02/03/95. 1. Cosmetics. ‎Csfan.fda.gov. http://www.csfan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-206.html‎

‎ FDA-CFSAN #2. “Cosmetics Compliance Program: Imported Cosmetics ‎Program”. 12/08/00. 1-16. Cosmetics. ‎http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/cp29002.html

Foulke, Judith. “Cosmetic Ingredients: Understanding the Puffery”. FDA ‎Consumer Magazine. May ’92. Fda.gov. 1-5. ‎http://www.fda.gov/fdac/reprints/puffery.html

Penn.com. “Abditus Veritas of Harmful ‎

Ingredients”. 1-6. Users.penn.com. ‎http://users.penn.com/~rarearts/harmfulingredients.html

Related Topics:
This Ramadhan I Will…

Miller. Linda. “Avoid Skin Care Cosmetics.” Daily Oklahoma. ‎Carasnaturalchoices.com. 1-2. ‎http://www.carasnaturalchoices.com/Avoidskincarecosmetics~ns4.html>‎

Scidiv. “Formaldehyde”. 1. Cosmetics. Scidiv.bcc.ctc.edu. 12/12/01. ‎http://www.scidiv.bcc.ctc.edu/wv/From-cosmetics.html

Related Topics:
This Ramadhan I Will…
Society Says Your Body Not Your Mind
The Ideology of Charisma
Finding the Real You!

Women are Emotional and Men are Pragmatic!

Women are Emotional and Men are Pragmatic!

By Hwaa Irfan

Women… how many times have you found yourself in a series of misunderstandings because the discussion was with a male who just did not seem to register your emotions? You might have even reached the point whereby you have had enough from what has become an exasperating scenario, because they just do not seem to get! An example is the character Khan played in the film “My Name is Khan”. However with Khan, he had a form of autism known as Asperger’s Syndrome (occurs mainly in males), where he could not register emotions. The difference is, Khan knew that he could not register emotions, and he let everyone else know that.

Autism is one of those diseases that fall under the category of diseases which have a strong gender component. Some researchers have been focusing on this issue. A team from the Université de Montréal Centre de recherche en neuropsychologie et cognition (CERNEC) looked into the problem with physically and mentally able men and women. The aim was to establish whether women are better at distinguishing emotions than men.

To help assess the reaction of the volunteers, real people were used to demonstrate feelings through facial expression. The importance of facial expressions in the experiment was as described by one of the researchers, Olivier Collignon:

    “Facial movements have been shown to play an important role in the perception of an emotion’s intensity as well as stimulate different parts of the brain used in the treatment of such information.”

Auditory stimuli, visual stimuli, compatible audio-visual stimuli, and contradictory audi-visual stimuli were used. The emotions that were focused on were fear, and disgust, as these two emotions have been considered as prerequisites to human survival as they are protective, and cannot easily be supplanted by the nature or nurture reasoning.

The study proved conclusively that men are less efficient at distinguishing and expressing emotions than women, reaffirming previous studies. Women responded more quickly to expressions portrayed by a female than a male, and women were faster than men at responding to multisensory expressions.

Improving Husband and Wife Communication

How men communicate and how women communicate is not the same. In general, men use different parts of the brain to women. This may have something to do with genetics, but there are other factors involved including evolution, as women have always multi-tasked.

Men think mainly with the left brain although in schooling (factory education) the left brain of girls functions faster than boys in a coed environment. The left brain is seemingly logical and rational. Reasoning is linear, task orientated and holds the navigational skills.

The bundle of nerves between the left and right brain, the limbic system, is thicker in women; so women use both their left and right brain simultaneously.. The right brain is where memories are stored, were the skills are better for phonetic language (reading). The right brain is also where the communication and visual skills are located.

Women are more expressive and in touch with their feelings due to their larger limbic system. Women are raised to be in touch with their feelings and the feelings of others.

Women communicate multimodal in verbs (rapport speech), and men communicate in nouns and to the point (reported speech). Men tend to use only one side at a time for either logical thinking or for feeling. Asking one’s husband to focus on their feelings may preclude logic temporarily and the wife might be asking for more than she bargained for.

If you expect someone to do more than he is able to do, then expect him to fail you by as much as you have exceeded his capacity” – ‘Ali ibn ‘Abu Talib

Wife/Husband Scenarios

The wife wants her husband to do the little thing that show he has thought about her, and cares about her feelings. If the husband does not want to be misunderstood, he can show more of his himself in a way that his wife can understand. This will let the wife know that he is not trying to push her away, and that he does want to be close to her.

Men are more biologically reactive, focus on negative words, and criticism. They stay upset for longer following a conflict, and will withdraw to protect themselves in general. Men must feel that they can achieve their goals, in order that they may feel good about themselves.

Women tend to share with others through their feelings, and the quality of relationships to feel good about themselves and to negotiate closeness, but men tend to communicate to negotiate status. So how do the two get together!

“You just never listen!” might be a wife’s response, as the husband moves to a solution and problem solving right away, without her. He just jumps in with a solution before the wife has had a chance to process her options, when the wife wants to talk about the problem and solve it collaboratively. The husband may understand that processing is a way for women to include others and build relations, and the wife may know this so to override the problem the wife needs to be upfront. Say what you really need from your husband otherwise he might just feel manipulated.

“I’d really appreciate it if you’d help me process this problem by listening and asking questions”.

If the husband is really not sure what the wife wants from him he should ask upfront.

“Do you want my advice or just someone to listen to you?”

Women must learn that the kind of intimate talk they are used to with their girlfriends should remain just that. Trying to turn the husband into a girlfriend will usually fail because men, in general, do not create feelings of closeness in that way. Observe and listen rather than process out aloud.

“But he won’t let me help!” This is where the wife needs to understand that the husband is resisting help and support because to him, help may infer a lack of trust in his ability. The wife is preventing him from learning what he needs to learn for himself so do not be so quick to offer advice. But when the husband offers to help, this presents an opportunity to show support and care.

However, if a wife is doing what she wants the husband to do, or expects him to do it, one has to think consciously about what makes a spouse feel valued and cared about.

Ask yourself:

• What is the purpose or the goal of that communication?

• What do we mean when we say/feel we want to communicate?

What we really mean, way deep down inside, is that we want to feel good about ourselves. Both husband and wife want that! We want to love and be loved, be appreciated, be recognized, be honored, and to be respected and supported – don’t we?

{ If He pleases, He causes the wind to become still so that they lie motionless on its back; most surely there are signs in this for every patient, grateful one} (Ash Shura 42: 33)

True or False?

Someone might be saying, well, that’s not true of the women/men that I know. Well, I have to say, that the context of the above is western and/or secular. As we increasingly live in individualist societies, certain polarities are likely to develop where one is only responsible to one’s self or those one

    chooses

to be responsible to/for. I grew up in a generation where men and women did share their concerns, and were sisters and brothers to each other, and I still come across types who do not fall under the above categories. In fact some women are becoming to pragmatic, and some are men overly emotional but disguise it with pragmatism – some would call this politics!

{And (as for) the believing men and the believing women, they are guardians of each other; they enjoin good and forbid evil and keep up prayer, and pay the poor rate, and obey Allah and His Apostle (as for these), Allah will show mercy to them} (Al-Baraat 9: 71)

Sources:
Science Daily. Women Outperform Men When Identifying Emotions http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091021125133.htm

Related Topics:
The Missing Link in the Education of Our Boys
The Tresses of Forgetfulness.
Discovering Your Emotional Intelligence
The Brain Says Men and Women are Different When It Comes to Stress

The Patterns of Our Lives

The Patterns of Our Lives
The Natural Laws of Life
Intro + Law of Nothingness

By Hwaa Irfan

In Islam today, many Muslims have been facing many questions that challenges their faith as they gradually submerge themselves more and more in the secular world; and so it has been for all people of faith.
Some of these questions could be answered but shouldn’t, if it is about convincing them as to why they should remain a Muslim. In fact those questions can be faced by anyone from any faith, as they essentially question the idea of God, as secularism increasingly makes their minds and hearts unavailable to them.
Life reflects God – even when we ignore the pattern of things, life still reflects God no matter how much we try to take Him out of the equation. Everything is built on a pattern, and when we stray away from that pattern consciously and/or unconsciously, the consequences lay down their own patterns the result of which are inevitable. Everything in life reflects His laws for there are signs in everything.

    {It is He, Who brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living, and Who gives life to the earth after it is dead…<strong>} (Ar-Rum 30: 17)

    {And among His Signs is this, That He created you from dust; and then, Behold, ye are men scattered} (Ar-Rum 30: 20)

    {And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves that ye may dwell in tranquility} (Ar-Rum 30: 21)

    {And among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colors, verily in that there are Signs for those who know} (Ar-Rum 30: 22)

    {And among His signs is the sleep that ye take by night and by day and the quest that ye (make for livelihood) out of His Bounty} (Ar-Rum 30: 23)

And so the above are examples of the signs pertaining to our world whether physical, psychological or spiritual, with each serving a purpose which we may or may not know.

Just think of a scenario, small or big, and transfer the sequence of events to another situation and so on and so forth. All the modern sciences are based on this pattern from social science to political science; however the only thing that cannot be guaranteed is how the subject will react/respond as we all have our weaknesses and strengths. In whatever way the subject responds, there too are patterns for each reaction up until a certain point – a point which not many experience. The beginnings of western science are founded upon these patterns or laws of nature/universe for these laws describe what is otherwise there would be chaos. Look at the world we live in today, and the emerging chaos.

The Source

The west came to know of them through the Arabic “Kitab Sirr al-Asar”, a book of guidance which was translated into Latin by Johannes Hispalensis in 1140c. Muslim scholar Jabir ibn Hayyan (a 12th century, Andalusian astronomer and mathematician known in the West as Geber) translated these laws as follows:

0) Balinas mentions the engraving on the table in the hand of Hermes, which says:
1) Truth! Certainty! That in which there is no doubt!
2) That which is above is from that which is below, and that which is below is from that which is above, working the miracles of one.
3) As all things were from one.
4) Its father is the Sun and its mother the Moon.
5) The Earth carried it in her belly, and the Wind nourished it in her belly,
7) as Earth which shall become Fire.
7a) Feed the Earth from that which is subtle, with the greatest power.
8) It ascends from the earth to the heaven and becomes ruler over that which is above and that which is below.
14) And I have already explained the meaning of the whole of this in two of these books of mine.

Sir Isaac Newton, 18th century English born astronomer, mathematician, and theologian translated the text as follows:

1) Tis true without lying, certain & most true.
2) That which is below is like that which is above & that which is above is like that which is below to do ye miracles of one only thing.
3) And as all things have been & arose from one by ye mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
4) The Sun is its father, the moon its mother,
5) the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth its nurse.
6) The father of all perfection in ye whole world is here.
7) Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth.
7a) Separate thou ye earth from ye fire, ye subtle from the gross sweetly with great industry.
8) It ascends from ye earth to ye heaven & again it descends to ye earth and receives ye force of things superior & inferior.
9) By this means you shall have ye glory of ye whole world & thereby all obscurity shall fly from you.
10) Its force is above all force. for it vanquishes every subtile thing & penetrates every solid thing.
11a) So was ye world created.
12) From this are & do come admirable adaptations whereof ye means (Or process) is here in this.
13) Hence I am called Hermes Trismegist, having the three parts of ye philosophy of ye whole world.
14) That which I have said of ye operation of ye Sun is accomplished & ended

Sufi mystic Idries Shah translated it as follows:

1) The truth, certainty, truest, without untruth.
2 )What is above is like what is below. What is below is like what is above. The miracle of unity is to be attained.
3) Everything is formed from the contemplation of unity, and all things come about from unity, by means of adaptation.
4) Its parents are the Sun and Moon.
5) It was borne by the wind and nurtured by the Earth.
6) Every wonder is from it
6a) and its power is complete.
7) Throw it upon earth,
7a) and earth will separate from fire. The impalbable separated from the palpable.
8) Through wisdom it rises slowly from the world to heaven. Then it descends to the world combining the power of the upper and the lower.
9 )Thus you will have the illumination of all the world, and darkness will disappear.
10) This is the power of all strength- it overcomes that which is delicate and penetrates through solids.
11a) This was the means of the creation of the world.
12) And in the future wonderful developments will be made, and this is the way.
13) I am Hermes the Threefold Sage, so named because I hold the three elements of all wisdom.
14) And thus ends the revelation of the work of the Sun.
The West became acquainted with these laws through branches of Islam, or to be more accurate through Muslim scholars like ibn Sina, Sufi ibn al-‘Arabi, and the Brothers of Purity or Ikhwan al-Safa’.

What is the actual source of these laws will probably remain unknown, but if all was born in a state of Islam i.e. submission to our Creator, and the “originator” of these laws gave rise to them out of this state, then the laws should reflect the laws of nature as what goes round comes round. Many great scholars both Muslim and on-Muslims have explored these laws to their satisfaction, but how do they affect our personal lives?

Our physical is governed by the law of the land though there are attempts to govern our hearts and minds, but our body is not just physical, and is not just our hearts and minds, and therefore can only be governed by the law of the land if we relinquish our higher selves, and think only of the material world. Our spirit recognizes the truth of any given situation, but when our minds are disconnected from our spirit, we communicate a lie, which can then translate into actions of envy, greed, lust, hate, manipulation, corruption, death, death and more death in terms of our own self development, and in terms of others whether that death occurs on the emotional, psychological, spiritual, economical, environmental, and/or socio-political plane – in others words injustice reigns as we become pawns instead of rising to our higher selves to become the player. Many great scholars have explored how the laws of nature apply, so let us see what it means for our personal lives.

The Law of 0 = Nothingness = All is Mind/Spirit

Can you imagine a world that is not earth, where day and night (i.e. time), hot or cold, gravity and mass, and all that you can touch does not exist including yourself? Fourteen million years ago: (who can tell actually as we measure everything according to earth time, even that which is not within the sphere of the earth.

The Law of Nothingness says that everything came from the Void. From Him we come, and to Him we return the Qur’an tells us. Cosmology tells us that the beginning of everything and the end of everything is the Void for He is our Alpha and Omega.

All sounds familiar, but what does it mean? A Cherokee Indian teaching describes it as follows:

    “From the Mystery all came forth. All manifestation is in harmony with that sacred Law; nothing is outside of it”!

So from nothing came something, but evolution has led us to believe that everything came forth and originated of itself from the Big Bang. This understanding is contradicted by the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states:

    “Energy cannot by itself be created nor destroyed. Energy may be changed from one form into another, but the total amount remains unchanged.”

{Surely We have created everything according to a measure} (Al Qamar 54: 49)

So His intention was made manifest and from the Void came energy. Albert Einstein demonstrated that matter is but another form of energy as represented in the famous equation E =MC². If all energy came from the Void, and all matter is energy transformed then we are energy transformed in part to matter. Spirit, thought, mental activity, and emotions are but forms of energy before being transformed to negative or positive energy – after all we have a choice!

But where did the energy come from?

Again we measure in earth terms. We measure what we can detect, and we can detect the universe and so it is measureable, or would it be more accurate to say that with earth time, and experience, that man has learnt to detect now what he could not detect before. Man can now detect planets he could not detect before, so how is he supposed to detect the Source of the energy, the Void? Quantum theory gave birth to the ability to detect quarks of energy that could not be detected before, but it has always been there!

Hold This Thought

As recent as 2001, the Wilkinson Microwave Anistropy Probe (WMAP) was sent into space to explore the ability of X-Ray cameras to map the constitution of the universe. Two years later the evidence revealed that the universe is made up of 73% dark energy, which is invisible and is the cause of spaces itself, 23% dark matter, which generates a gravitational pull that keeps the universe together, and what we can see with our eyes is only 4% physical matter!

Now say it is impossible to create something from nothing!

{He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth, and He directed Himself to the heaven, so He made them complete seven heavens, and He knows all things} (Al Baqarah 2: 29)

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics also contradicts the theory of evolution, which is:

    “All things gradually and ultimately decay”

Whereas in the theory of evolution, it is believed that all living things become more complex. From an evolutionary point of view there is a case in terms of the evolution of the species, but with all species, including man there is a “sell by date” especially as the prediction of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics proves itself i.e. a system left to itself will, in the course of time, go towards greater disorder. Man has been proving this to be the case, as man insists on eliminating His Creator from the equation called Life.
A life system cannot sustain itself without the Creator. We cannot sustain ourselves without His Laws maintaining the balance, which we deny: because from Him, everything both seen and unseen is derived.

{Say: He, Allah, is One. Allah is He on Whom all depend. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And none is like Him} (Al-Ikhlas 112: 1- 4).

What Does the Law of Nothingness Have to Do With You!

When we believe we have no reason to rise above our situation, we become a slave to that situation because for us at that moment, the situation is our god. It directs and influences our thoughts and emotions, and we feel powerless. A people who feel powerless allow their minds eye rule, and this creates the self perception that they are alone or separated from their Creator. Of what is within their physical realm, they become possessive, and the truth of their spirit is submerged by the lies they tell themselves so that they can feel in control in order to create a false sense of security through neglect, blame, persuasion, manipulation, deceit, greed, bullying, and a gamut of other negative emotions.

Prophet Muhammed (SAW) struggled with the ignorance of the town in which he lived, an often escaped to the desert to meditate in a cave. The process of meditation is a process of connecting with the Nothingness, of letting go of thoughts that invade the mind, of arriving at the point of complete silence, by which one can listen to one’s spirit, and connect with the Creator. In that Nothingness, comes the Truth, that we are all one in Him, and life is more than what we have limited our lives to. We discover what we have and can be grateful for, and we open inner lines of communication to a more wholesome self because then we would have accessed our subconscious mind where our will aligns with His Will, and the Laws of Nature. As Muslims, we are given the opportunity to do this at least 5 times a day in a state of submission(Islam)/prayer where we can open ourselves to the power of gratefulness to Him. Our mind becomes more in line with our spirit, and with the collective consciousness because we would have flowed with the pattern:

Attention + Intention = Manifestation

Reaching that meditative state increases relaxation, there is increased activity in the limbic area of the brain which connects both the left and right side of the brain, triggering positive emotions. One becomes more receptive to the higher self, and less responsive to external influences allowing for new patterns of thinking. One improves ones relationship with one’s self, God, and with others.

Our Creators attention led to His intention and so the universe was born becoming manifest. Your attention to your relationship with Him, and thus your higher self brings about intention/will that manifests to bring about a more balanced life from a state of nothingness. Open to the new learning experiences of life, you become more acquainted with other parts of yourself over your limited self. Equally the equation attention + intention = manifestation can bring about for example “war on terrorism”, which goes to show the pattern of our lives for good or for bad.

Sources:
The First Law of Thermodynamics http://thermodynamicstudy.net/first.html

Needham & Holmyard. Sacred Text. The Emerald Text of Hermes http://www.sacred-texts.com/alc/emerald.htm

Seyyed, H. Nasr. “Mystical Philosophy in Islam” http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/H004.htm

Ywahoo, D. “Voices of Our Ancestors” Cherokee Teachings from the Wisdom Fire”. Shambala. 1987.

Related Links:
Who or What Gave You Life?

Happiness Doesn’t Grow on Trees!