Dangers of Falling into …

Cleansing one’s self of the diseases that plague the heart is a continuing process. The moment you think that you have wiped away an evil aspect such as jealousy, envy or hate, that’s the moment you have to be careful for it to not come back. I do believe, our hearts are different. Hearts are born with different qualities but more importantly, how we nurture our hearts becomes the deciding factor as to what qualities it possesses. If you constantly remain on guard to not get angry, to not backbite, to not speak ill of others, to not harbour grudges, to not feel envy, the more likely you are to increase yourself in qualities such as gentleness, forbearance, calm temperament, contentment.  When we see others with faults, those faults are also reflected within us. That’s true in many cases, but it’s not always true.

Sometimes it is a matter of seeing those faults in others and separating yourself from such people who possess them. Your environment, your boundaries, your company is a thing to be mindful of. There is a saying, Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are! And at times, just hearing the toxic conversations is enough to make you fall back into those diseases that plague the hearts. With this I have a question for you! What is the norm? Confront the person directly to point out their faults, mistakes, shortcomings or any behaviour you find odd? Or do you indirectly convey the message through indirect talk or talking about their actions without specifically mentioning them? I am usually aware but I tend to ignore other people’s habits as long as they don’t affect me. Perhaps there is a lesson to learn here too, who not to be like? What qualities and habits to steer clear from? How to conduct yourself in day to day dealings with others?

Writing everything isn’t evidence of my wisdom. I write, so I can perhaps gain an objective insight into myself. I am full of faults, although I am mostly calm, anger is something I have struggled with most since childhood. At some point, I learnt to manage it. But even now sometimes the frustrations, irritations, stress and whatever else bottled inside, can quickly explode at times if not released through other mediums. 

I am writing this to assess the link between different diseases of the heart and whether any outside influence is responsible in lighting those evils? Responding to what comes at me is a choice where I exert influence. It mostly always comes back to me as an individual, how I respond, how I react, what is my demeanour, how is my behaviour, what is the state of my mind, what is the tone of my voice?

Picking up on this as the new year starts. 2022, here we come! The year begins with reflections upon death. So, I guess I might as well talk a little bit. I fell off the tracks mostly because of my own thoughts were overwhelming me. Because of the many events that have happened in the past, mixed with current issues, I was having suicidal thoughts. Not that I will act on them, but still they were present and getting me really down. So, I spoke about them to some close friends and after some reflection, I realised the underlying reason for it was that my self-esteem was hurt. I have always had great expectations from myself. When I fail, it’s often a struggle to pick myself up.

Fast forward to today, I mentioned earlier that I am finishing writing this article tonight. I wrote this in October 2021. Right now, I am sitting, fully awake, grateful, yet quite distressed. Distressed because Noor is nearing end of his life. The speechless boy I wrote about before. For the past week, Noor’s health deteriorating has been occupying my mind. It’s also making me reflect on life, a blessing! It’s making me reflect on death too. You see, no one knows how many more breaths he has got left to breathe. No one knows, how many breaths they themselves have left to breathe. Every soul shall taste death. It can come anytime in good health, good times or poor health and difficult times.

Noor has lived a wonderful life. The best he could have, even though he is not fully capable. Everyone around him prepares to part with him. I keep wondering if the miracle continues living. His survival for the past 30 years has been a miracle. He defied odds over and over. He clung to life. His will to live is strong. Even now, he breathes, rhythmically. He takes 3 to 4 deep breaths and holds it for 8 to 10 seconds. This pattern has further slowed, he now holds it for 20 seconds. He only has one lung functioning. The rest of his organs are slowly shutting down. Yet, his will to live is as strong. I am hoping that tomorrow, as the new sun rises. He gets better because he has taught me that life is precious. Too precious for any human’s intervention to try cut it short. However long we tarry on this earth, death is a certainty for us all.

Life is a blessing. Life ought to be lived fully. It is not a bed of roses. It is tough, the world can be cruel, circumstances can be harsh. No matter, it is still a blessing. A blessing to be grateful for. Give gratitude with each breath.

I sit here next to him waiting for him to breathe his last, yet I don’t know if I would breathe my last before him.

This makes me question the life I have lived, whether I done enough good. Whether I enjoyed it in good times, whether I remained patient in difficult times. Whether I have been grateful enough! Nothing else matters except a sound heart. Do I have one? I know Noor does, his heart was never tainted with the diseases. Even if his body suffered, his heart has remained pure, his heart is full of light. If you listen closely, you can hear him praise the Creator, his heart sings praise. His body suffers, we can only try lower his pain. All of this and much more that I can’t put in words has been occupying my mind.

It has also lit the spark inside me. He has helped me realise what a blessing life is. Life is beautiful if you are grateful for the things you have. Count your blessings.

He doesn’t want to see us cry or shed silent tears, so he breathes and his will to live remains strong.

Still Searching

Standing in front of the mirror, in search of a different me. How is it that I can see myself, but cannot see my thoughts. The very thoughts that remain buried in the depths, it’s a struggle to scream them out! In the mirror, I see many faults. I see some good in me too.
Standing at the door, I step outside in search of a different me. How is it that I feel caged inside the four walls, but cannot escape those thoughts. The very thoughts that remain buried in the depths, it’s a struggle to scream them out! Standing at the door, I see the cage I am in, I see open scenery in front of me too.
Standing on the road, I start to walk in search of a different me. How is it that I walk with no destination in sight. I hear a call, “To Me you belong, To Me you shall return.”

Sometimes I write to release stress but also, to see what I have written as I read it back because in that moment, I am able to connect the ideas and writing with my thought patterns, my weaknesses, and see where I can influence a change. These spontaneous yet, linked thoughts help me a tiny bit to see things in myself that a mirror doesn’t show me. Writing is a form of therapy for me. Better written out than buried in my head. It doesn’t matter how it sounds so long as it helps.

Beyond Stars [Wings of Gabriel]

ستاروں سے آگے جہاں اور بھی ہیں
ابھی عشق کے امتحاں اوربھی ہیں
Sitaron Se Agay Jahan Aur Bhi Hain
Abhi Ishq Ke Imtihan Aur Bhi Hain
[Beyond stars, there are other worlds to behold, Many struggles lie ahead in the path of love!]
تہی زندگی سے نہیں یہ فضائیں
یہاں سینکڑوں کارواں اور بھی ہیں
Thi Zindagi Se Nahin Ye Fazaen
Yahan Saikron Karwaan Aur Bhi Hain
[These winds do not lack life. Hundreds of other caravans are here!]
قناعت نہ کر عالمِ رنگ و بو پر
چمن اور بھی آشیاں اور بھی ہیں
Qana’at Na Kar Alam-e-Rang-o-Bu Par
Chaman Aur Bhi Ashiyan Aur Bhi Hain
[Do not be content with the world of hues and fragrance. Other gardens there are, other nests, too!]
اگر کھو گیا اک نشیمن تو کیا غم
مقاماتِ آہ و فغاں اور بھی ہیں
Agar Kho Gya Ek Nasheeman To Kya Gham
Maqamat-e-Aah-o-Faghan Aur Bhi Hain
[Why be sad upon losing a single aerie? There are other places to lament and sigh!]
تُو شاہیں ہے، پرواز ہے کام تیرا
تیرے سامنے آسماں اور بھی ہیں
Tu Shaheen Hai, Parwaz Hai Kaam Tera
Tere Samne Asmaan Aur Bhi Hain
[You are a shaheen, soaring high is your specialty. Heavens stretch out before you!]
اسی روزوشب میں آُلجھ کر نہ رہ جا
کہ تیرے زماں و مکاں اور بھی ہیں
Issi Roz-o-Shab Mein Ulajh Kar Na Reh Ja
Ke Tere Zaman-o-Makan Aur Bhi Hain
[Do not get caught in today’s and tonight’s tangling. There are times and places ahead of you!]
گۓ دن کہ تنہا تھا میں انجمن میں
یہاں اب میرے رازداں اور بھی ہیں
Gaye Din Ke Tanha Tha Main Anjuman Mein
Yahan Ab Mere Raazdaan Aur Bhi Hain
[Those days are no more, when I was a lone star. Many here are my confidants now!]

This is a poem by one of the most famous poets after Rumi, in the East. Allama Iqbal a philosopher and a poet. This is an excerpt from Baal-e-Jibril (Wings of Gabriel). Shaheen is a subspecie of Eagle family. It’s native to the Indian Subcontinent, China, Burma and Srilanka. Shaheen is unique because it can fly upto a speed of 200 mph. Shaheen makes it nests in high elevations. Here, Iqbal presents Shaheen as a metaphor to latent human potential.

I thought of reading and translating this poem because I haven’t posted anything for over a month. This poem serves me a reminder to not get caught up in daily trappings. It reminds us to not get complacent, not lament over lost things. There is much more life will offer, so long as you embrace the blessings and be grateful.

If you want to read more motivational poems like this. Share and comment. Perhaps next time, I will pick one of his famous Persian poem. 👇

A collection of Iqbal’s Farsi poetry