Endure your joy

We entered this world through the pangs of labour, and we exit this world to the heartbreak of those who mourn us. All of life is like beads of meaning threaded on a string of discomfort. Trying to separate from pain fragments one’s cohesion and reduces everything to compartmentalized, meaningless beads.

Your departure will always be difficult on those who survive you, but how your life is going to continue after that departure depends on how present you were for your life now. It may very well be that the things about you that you dislike the most is the very reason why you were created.

how to: make a difference

Malcolm X didn’t become the Malcolm X we know just because of his political rebellion or his bravado (or his fine self 😉 ) . He became a permanent fixture in our history because he stood for his beliefs when people hated it. He suffered for his beliefs when people attacked him for it. He gave up his freedom for his beliefs when he was threatened with imprisonment.

Ibn Taymiyya didn’t become the Ibn Taymiyya we so often reference today just because he was a prolific writer. He became ‘Shaykhul Islaam’ because of the lengths he went for the knowledge he acquired. He internalized the knowledge so much so that it became fused with every iota of his being. And any threat to his principles, he’d lay out his body to be punished instead.

Albert Einstein wasn’t born into the legacy he’s left’. He went against the tide of his time and had to rely on little more than his hunch in developing the theory of relativity, and contributing largely to quantum theory and revolutionizing modern physics. His theories were controversial at times. And because he chose to believe in his hunches more than the established science at the time, he took us to new planes.

These people are seared into the collective memory of humanity because they created their own paths in life, and expanded our minds into new, previously un-imagined dimensions.
When you want to bring your imagination into this world, be it a new make-up technique or a political paradigm shift, you’re birthing something absolutely unique that humanity has never experienced before. You are required to build the path you’re going to take and that is going to be an immense undertaking, a great spiritual struggle. You won’t have the advantage of being well-liked or the protection of the herd or the security you get from walking a path that has already been paved and trodden. You’ll have to wing it. Alone.

أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
                                 وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ

Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: “We believe,” and will not be tested.

And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allâh will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allâh knows all that before putting them to test). 

(Al-‘Ankabut 29:2-3)

Reverse engineering

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The world has never appeased me but in texts; books, quotes, articles. Anything in its raw form where I can put together my own meaning. I hate everything that’s manufactured or put together towards an end result in mind. Don’t think on my behalf! Thinking is my life. I like to pick stuff apart. I like to figure out how they work. And whenever I’m rushed or find myself in the midst of way too many moving parts that I’m pressured to accomplish a certain task with, I shut down. I retreat into my shell where I have to make sense of where I’m going, why I’m going, what I’m going to do once I’m there. I’m not an organized person by nature, but because of the anxiety caused by a very busy world, I have to keep tabs on everything before I venture out. So I run the risk of procrastinating life if I’m averse to taking a certain trajectory and I don’t have an immediate alternative. Intrinsic motivation is not easy to find. It requires a lot of introspection, a lot of risk, a lot of uprooting whatever truths you’ve taken for granted.

It seems like it’s easier to be pushed through the cracks and submit to gravity. But so is death. Life is a struggle against returning to non-existence. As long as I have a soul, I’m constantly pulled and pushed to bigger and greater things and in my resistance and reluctance I shall find my torment. If I abdicate my power to grow, I’ll be left with the pain that accompanies growth but with no actual result.
Like a phantom pregnancy.

I don’t want to discover on my deathbed that my life was empty, in vain. I don’t want to spend my life staring at it, expecting it to take the shape of some deeper meaning or legacy only to die staring at a blank canvas because it wasn’t a canvas, it was a beautiful painting that I didn’t unwrap.

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