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Excerpts from the London Underground- Meeting the Devil Part 2

Warning: This story is for 18+

Meeting The Devil 

I was planning a celebration for my 16th Birthday. Being young and carefree, naturally I wanted to try out some drugs. I wanted to experience a different feeling. It wouldn’t be my first time doing them. Last time I tried acid, it was on my 14th birthday and I done it with two other friends at a festival, camping on-site.

It was a bizarre yet frightening experience. Petrifying! I was stuck in this world which seemed like an eternity, everything around was distorted, warped, and it seemed as if I was linked to all dimensions in those lasting hours, which as I said, seemed like an eternity. 

It was in that connection, and discovering the fact that there was more than one dimension in this universe, that I experienced psychosis.  This is the term used by the mental health experts. I don’t believe it to be true though. I saw things, I experienced things, with all my senses, although distorted and influenced by the acid that I swallowed. 

I heard a crying cat, the cat’s cry was coming through a hole so, I followed the voice and jumped into the hole. I felt like I could do anything, I wanted to save the poor cat. I wanted it to stop crying. As I landed down the hole, it felt like my body was transmitted instantly into a different world. I felt my weight disappear and then felt my body once more as I landed. I was naked at this point. My hair untied, with just my underwear and bra. I had to be, because when I swallowed the acid, I swallowed it inside my 3-man tent. I undressed and so did my friends. My other 2 friends were also girls. We were close, we had done a lot of stuff together. We had been in the same school since year 7. 

They were not present in the new dimension where I seemed to have landed chasing after the sound of the crying cat.

Why? I don’t know. Perhaps, the experience was different for us all. I relate this story after having recounted the events to someone I could confide in. Since this incident, I have been able to sense people’s energy around them. This was how I was able to choose him.

On the contrary, I have been surrounded with darkness and heaviness since this experience. I experience what they call hallucinations and delusions. 

When I found myself standing in this other dimension, I searched for the sound of the cat. When my gaze fell upon the cat, I saw it hanging by a thin thread down a ceiling which had no end in sight. It was an abyss. The cat was being skinned alive, except the head. It was intact with skin still on. The beings that were skinning the cat were surrounding the cauldron in which its body was hanging into. The cauldron was see through, it was filled with cat hair and slimy liquid, cat skins. The cat skins inside were full to the brim. It wasn’t just this cat alone. It was many cats, their skins carefully and skillfully detached from their body.

If the cats were tall enough perhaps, I could have covered my naked body with the cat skin. What were these hooded beings doing? They were tall, cloaked in all black. Looking at them standing where I was, behind their backs, I felt powerful, yet scared at the sight of skinned cats. As I drew closer and closer, with each step my sight adjusted better to the new surroundings. More cat heads hanging from this thin, somewhat invisible thread kept appearing. That provided the answer, why there were so many cat skins inside the cauldron. The slimy liquid could be blood. But the colour was different. It was see through, thick throughout. The cauldron was the most visible thing with everything inside, then the cat heads.

It was as if, I was meant to be seeing what was happening in this world. I wanted to stop this cruelty, and I wanted to know who was behind it. So, I took each careful step forward, planning in my head what I was supposed to say and do. Perhaps, I felt invincible because of the acid effects. I was scared because I wasn’t wearing all my clothes and I was surrounded in this place with cloaked and hooded tall figures, and a cauldron full of cat skins.

As I stepped forward, I couldn’t seem to close my distance towards the cauldron. I was stepping forward, yet the cauldron was as far as it was when I started moving towards it. Perhaps, there was an invisible barrier around it. I decided to shout and speak up. This seemed to be my only option. I don’t know what I would have achieved by getting close to it anyway. It was just my sense of invincibility. 

As I screamed, the cloaked figures turned all their gazes at me. It was a piercing sight. It felt as if, they could see through me. They knew who I was, what I had been through in life. I felt ever more naked and stripped. I had lost all clothing to my inner self too. This dimension with all its vivid colours and weird sense of space and time, exposed me to the horrors I had never witnessed before. As they turned around, I saw that these figures weren’t humans. Their eyes looked like cat eyes, with changing colours and slits for pupils that glowed. The rest of their features were fiery, like ribbons of smoke and fire forming their body and face. In the next instant, they surrounded me. Out of my fear, I lunged at them, kicked and punched one of them. However, I seemed to have passed right through them. Those were actual ribbons of fiery smoke that they were made of.

I screamed out, “Why, why are you so horrible to the cats? Why are you skinning them?” 

They replied in unison, “This is how we dress ourselves. The cloak you see us wearing is made from the cat skin. Our job is to be the guardians of clothing to our tribes.” 

I was frightened, it wasn’t that they replied in unison, but the reality in this world perhaps, was different. The one speaking was speaking in many voices, it had more than one voice.

“W…who a..a.. are you?” I stuttered. 

“We are living beings, that have existed long before humans. Although, you can’t see us. We can see you. How is it that you have managed to come into our dimension, beautiful girl?” Asked the being with multiple voices. “I followed the sound of the cat crying and I ended up down here, jumping into the hole,” I replied.

“And how were you able to see that hole? Humans cannot see the entrance to our world,” said the being with multiple voices. 

I thought it was better not to tell them about how I ended up here. They seemed to already know though. So, I asked a different question. 

“What is your name? How can I get back to the human world? 

“I am ifreet, the leader of my tribe. My name is Sansabeel. Look behind you Emile. You will understand more once you do,” said Sansabeel. 

I screamed as I looked behind me, there was a similar being right behind me as if it was clinging to my back. Latched onto me!

“I don’t understand, what are you doing?” I shouted. 

“What do you want from me? GET OFF ME!” I screamed.  

Sansabeel replied, “Quiet down Emile. She is your partner. All you humans are born with one of us attached to you. They cannot speak, they can only whisper. If you quiet down your thoughts, you can listen to her. Her name is also Emile.” 

“How do you know my name? How do you know her name?” I asked scared. 

“I know things that you don’t. I see things that you don’t. I can communicate with Emile from a distance. We employ message carriers. It’s surprising that you came down here. However, it is not surprising considering it was meant to be,” said Sansabeel.

“What do you mean it was meant to be?” I retorted.  

“You are beautiful and talented, you will grow up looking even more beautiful. Emile is jealous of your beauty, so she clings to your back. She wants to be you, but she only shares your name. She lives the same life as you do, next to you. Yet, it is forced upon her. So, she envies you. She wishes to be you. You can be one and you shall be one. For it is the only way out.” said Sansabeel.  

I quietened down my thoughts and my mind as Sansabeel spoke. I discovered that I could talk to Emile. I was surprised. She told me, she has always been there, whispering, wishing and talking to me. She told me to be on my guard in this world and not get tricked by the devils. I asked what she meant.

She said that she was a devil. A lesser one. The one called ‘Sansabeel‘ was a greater devil. Higher in rank, power and authority.  ‘Ifreet‘ was his rank and position in their world. Hers was ‘Qareen’. She told me how all humans have qareens. Most would share the same name but some would have different name to their human counterparts. I asked why should I be warned and listen to her when she was one of them. How were they trying to trick me? But she said that she had warned and told me what she could. The rest was up to me to figure out. 

I turned my attention back at the surrounding beings, rather devils. I looked at the one called Sansabeel. I asked him, “What do you mean by the only way out?” 

He replied, “You will know soon. Try find your way out first.”

I tried, I tried finding the hole from which I entered,  I tried get near the cauldron but couldn’t. I was stuck in this never ending vast space and the longer I remained there, it seemed as though time was passing quickly. My chest and thighs started to mature more. My buttocks got bigger, my nails and hair grew longer. It felt like many months had passed, perhaps even a year or so.

At this point they were back to their task of skinning cats, some left the place, others joined them. Emile and I were still here. Rather, I was still here and Emile invisible to me in the human world, was now piggy backing me in this world. She seemed weightless. Perhaps because of the fiery smoky ribbons that they were made of. She would whisper in my head now and then but it was getting harder and harder to distinguish whether those were my own thoughts or hers. 

A thought occurred to me, what Sansabeel said once, it was meant to be that we will become one? What if the longer I stayed in this dimension, we merged together? I turned to look at my back and Emile on my back seemed to have her body and head on my back now, her hands and legs were inside me. That’s what it seemed to me then. I was scared, is this what was going to happen? Were we going to merge and become one? And would I only leave this place after that happened?

I was scared whether I would leave this place after we merged or would it be the devil Emile who was slowly merging with my body? Remembering what Sansabeel told me about her, she wants to be me. She was jealous of me and everything he said, it only made sense that I wasn’t the one that was going to leave this place. Rather, Devil Emile who would become me would leave from here as me. Her desires and wishes fulfilled. 

I was scared. Not knowing what to do, I ran back towards Sansabeel. When I finally reached him. I questioned, if there was any other way of leaving this place? 

He replied, “Yes, there is!” 

I was delighted to hear his answer and eager to know how? I asked him. “What do I do? Tell me!”

So he said, “The other way for you to leave this place, is to put on the same clothes as us. You were able to enter this place because Emile was whole on your back. Now that she is merging with your body, you can’t leave until it is complete. Although, if you are in a hurry, you can pick one of our clothing, put it on. It will help you to pass through the hole that you came from.” Said Sansabeel 

“Ok, how do I put it on? Do I need to put on the cat skin? Will that really fit me?” I asked. 

He replied, “There is a slight nuance to it though. You can only put on a new clothing, if you get rid of Emile. Only you can choose to do that. You will have to kill her.”

Ever more scared, I asked him, “Tell me how? I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know how to do it.” 

Sansabeel replies, “All you have to do is, repeat the spell after me.” 

“Demon Emile, demon Emile,  Now you are, No More!” 

I repeated it after him and Emile completely disappeared. I asked him, “Is she dead? Has she been killed? What if you tricked me to merge us together quicker?” 

He laughed, ” Ha ha ha, did you think I was trying to trick you? Perhaps, that’s what she told you and warned you against!” 

I was surprised he knew. So I said, “So was it a trick? I still feel as me? I wouldn’t know till I am back in human world again?” 

He laughed once more, ” Ha ha ha, I don’t have to trick you girl. All worlds are mere illusions. All of it is deception. The only thing real is death. You done her a favour, killing her. Now she has been set free of her desires, her envy, her wishes that could never come true. She has passed onto the afterlife.” 

“Listen child! When you put on the clothing, you will share some of our knowledge. Though it may be little, it will suffice to get out of this world. It will make you one of us in the human world. You will appear human. But you will also be one of us.” 

Scared and having no other option. I took the devil’s word. He offered me a cat skin, white like mine. No hair, it was small though. But when I grabbed it, it grew to my size. I put it on. The skin was cut neatly through the mid-section, I couldn’t zip it or tie it. He told me I would have to sow the skin together with the cat hair. A thread made of cat hair was given to me with a needle. I started sowing, starting by the legs, then the mid and the arms. It took long but I managed to sow it altogether. He showed me a mirror and I looked beautiful wearing the cat skin. My doubts about Sansabeel vanished in that instant. Seeing myself so beautiful, I wanted to thank him for his help.

He laughed when I did, and said that he was thankful that I accepted his offer. I had no idea what he meant. Perhaps he was happy, that I will be one of them. I was scared at the thought of it. But didn’t know what other choice I had in this world. I wanted to get back to our world, the human world and if that meant, killing the demon Emile and putting on the cat skin, so be it. 

Once I had the cat skin on, I was able to levitate. Move faster and probably do more than that. I only wanted to get back to our world. I don’t know how long I had been here. The time and space was distorted. I had grown slightly, matured more. I was eager to get back. 

With the cat skin on, I was able to see the wormhole that Sansabeel pointed towards and thanked him before leaving. He laughed and said we will meet again.  

I jumped in the hole, and found myself back in our realm. I felt human still, but I felt restrained. I was lying down in a bed. One of my two friends I was with when we took acid was by my side. I asked Annie, “what is happening? Why am I tied up? Where am I? We were meant to be at the festival?”

She took a deep breath, hugged me and started sobbing. “Oh Emile! I have been so worried, I have been coming here everyday to see you.”

She filled me in all the details from that night we were together. She told me how Sasha had died. I screamed because I didn’t know what else to do. I screamed more and the nurses rushed in, they injected me with something that put me to sleep despite my attempts at trying to stay awake. I saw them taking Annie outside the room and telling her on the way out, that she was told not to mention anything to me. She apologised and left. 

I fell asleep and woke up the next day. I was still restrained in the bed. Apparently, the nurses had been looking after me in my unconscious state. According to them, I was in a frantic state, mostly asleep and when I would wake up, I was talking to someone.  They deduced that it was an extreme condition of schizophrenia and psychosis. 

Perhaps I was lucky, being diagnosed with psychosis and schizophrenia, I was able to get away with killing my friend at the camp site. Annie filled me in all the details. I killed Sasha, as Sasha was hugging me because I kept screaming and talking to someone, unconscious tripping on acid. Annie told me I had strangled Sasha. She had tried to stop me but I was too powerful for both of them. She told me, how there were multiple voices coming out from my throat and how I had this super strength. She told me, I laid there unconscious after killing Sasha and only properly woke up after 3 weeks. I was sleeping most of those 3 weeks and would wake up now and then in between screaming and talking to someone. I was being fed glucose and other intravenous food. My nails were indeed slightly longer, I couldn’t tell what my body was like. I was restrained and strapped to the hospital bed. The room was small, all walls were painted light grey. The window was sealed with crossbars. The door had a window next to it through which I could see outside and those outside could see me. Sometimes, they would turn on the coating so I couldn’t see outside and only those outside could see me. 

I wanted to get out of here. I had so many questions and so much time to think. However, my brain had shut out thinking. It was crucially painful to think. To think about what had happened that night and what I had seen and witnessed in the other world. I mostly managed to scream. I stayed in the mental hospital for another 4 weeks till I had stopped screaming and started responding to a normal conversation. In fact, I was restraining myself from screaming so I could be free. I spoke to the psychotherapists and nurses daily and answered some of their questions every time they came in holding a file and loads of papers.  They were monitoring me and everything I said, all my actions, behaviours and apparent emotions. 

I remembered Sansabeel’s advice to quieten my mind. I couldn’t listen to my own thoughts but it felt calming just sitting there on the bed restrained, but with an empty mind. They asked me all sorts of questions, they asked me why I strangled my friend? Was I aware of it? Did I remember it? 

They asked me what I recalled of that night? What was the last thing I remembered? Why was I scratching my whole body and cutting myself with nails as if trying to sow my skin together? I left out most details from the incident. For some reason something told me, not to mention too many details. The doctors had strong evidence to deduce that I acted unconsciously and under the influence of acid in the incident. They further deduced I developed psychosis and schizophrenia, so I was eventually allowed to leave after a total of 7 weeks. 

I was wearing a hospital dress that was slit through the mid and tied in equally spaced laces. I felt sick thinking about the dress and how I came to wear it when all I wanted to do was get out. 

The Mad Boyfriend

“I never told this to anyone before not till I met you. There’s something about your energy, like maybe you would  listen to me and believe me,” said I. 

I spent 3 nights in a love hotel room, first time on the night of my 16th Birthday. I had met him a few times before but only to get weed from him. I wanted to try new drugs and he knew people who were able to get them. We also got acid but having done it the first time, I knew this time how much to swallow to limit it to a 3-day trip. We had all the party drugs, MDMA, LSD, weed, and acid. We swallowed acid last and once I did, it all started it again. 

I found myself in the realm connecting all worlds. I was wearing cat skin that I had sewn roughly 2 years ago. I had to be wearing it because we were about to make love right before swallowing acid. I wanted him, and he desired me. He  started by kissing my neck and slowly moving his lips all the way down to my belly and kissing my thighs. My heart was pounding, it was beating as it had never before. As we swallowed the acid, it all began.

Once in this other realm, I met Sansabeel again. I asked if I was really with him? He said that I chose the right person and that he was indeed with me. I asked him whether it was me alone that was able to enter this world while my physical body still remained in the human world. He said that I was of the few. The boy I was with, had different gifts and he was leading on a different path. He told me however, that our destinies were intertwined. Sansabeel was the boy in the human world. He had influence over the boy. I asked him how? And he went on to explain that he could communicate with the boy and make him do his bidding. That’s how he was able to find her again. He said that there are no coincidences in life. Everything occurs as it is willed. Be it the divine Will, the choices we make ourselves or the path we are led onto. It is all mere manifestation.

“I don’t understand what you mean Sansabeel,” said I.

“You will in due time, my love!” said Sansabeel.

He went on to tell me that this was a special night, 16 was the coming of age. Tonight they were to be wedded. Joined together in union, Sansabeel my king, and I his queen. The ritual began, many of his kinds surrounded us and watched us as we made love in plain sight. Our naked bodies intertwined. Sansabeel had the power to change forms, he was the boy whom I was making love to. At first, I didn’t know whether the boy was summoned to this realm or was it Sansabeel who transformed. He explained it. He told me, that I had been chosen the day I put on the cat skin.

This ritual were to last 3 days. We were to fast the entirety of the remaining 3 days of human world. This seemed like an eternity in this realm. I was given a new skin to put on. The skin for the Queen. Sansabeel wore his new skin, the cat skin reserved for the Kings of his kind.

He explained that with this new skin I was able to share some of my power and abilities with the boy in human world. He told me that he would always be with me through that boy.

When it was all over, I found myself energised. This new found energy made me feisty. Instead of having a happy and loving relationship, our relationship turned abusive. He tried exert his control over me and I over him. It always led to arguments and physical confrontations.

We were only ever happy when intoxicated and under the influence of different drugs. In that state, I was able to meet the real Sansabeel. I wanted him to remain with me in the human world. He said that this is how it was meant to be. He told me there were some boundaries that were impossible to cross. It was the unwritten ‘Law’. It had to be upheld. Those who broke it, were condemned to abyss for the remainder of eternity. Burnt in flames in perpetuity.

We were special however, what we had was special. Over the years, we have managed to sustain this special relationship, through intoxication, rituals and innate evil.

Excerpts from the London Underground- Part 1

Writing this story after having read some of Dostoyevsky’s works. This piece of fiction is an “Excerpt From The London Underground” There are 2 parts to this story. A twisted tale, I wrote few years back but the idea to complete it finally dawned upon me after reading ‘The Notes from the Underground’ and ‘The Double’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It inspired me to write a few notes on London Underground .

1.

I am a sick and a wicked man, people! I laugh about this fact. I take great pleasure in it. I still have a good heart deep inside me. I too, question why I do what I do sometimes, people. I often act as if I am not my ‘self’. The self I want to be denies me. The self that’s easy to be, becomes me!

Let me ask you this question, people! Why is it so hard for some people to be good? Morally good, act good towards others! While it is easier for others to be more self-centered, and act out of spite against others. I fall in the latter category, people! I am addressing you as people, not because I am trying to be friendly or telling you all this. Rather I write all this, as I imagine myself to be standing in front of a jury. It does not matter to me how you judge me, but perhaps I am seeking critique of my character, who I am, what I am and who I have become over the years.

I do not work, people! People work for me, or to be specific a number of people work for me. I enjoy the money that comes in. They make a decent sum, it allows me to live somewhat lavishly, extravagantly. Yes, in the eyes of many of my haters and enemies, I am a rich man. They despise me because they haven’t been able to build what I have, people! What is it that I have built, you may ask? I will reveal that too, in due time, people!

But first you must understand to learn to look at things objectively, only then you will be able to judge fairly. As I mentioned, I don’t care how you judge me, however, some parts of me want to know this perspective of a jury. I may be a smart man, indeed I am. That’s the very reason I have managed to stay alive and free all this time. Despite having many enemies, frenemies. You see the life I live doesn’t allow me to distinguish friends from foe so easily. I am a great observer of people, yet I lead a life where friends become enemies if you’re not careful enough.

I guess I am talking all over the place, I may only be making you more curious as to who I am and what I do. I live differently from most members of the society. I take great pride in it. The big brother watches all, but I evade him, people! I find great humour in the fact on how many different occasions, I have slipped through the trappings of big brother. Just how water slips through the net when one catches a fish. I am not a fish, people! Most people are fish and get caught, but I slip away just like water.

When I said I was seeking critique of my character, I lied. I don’t think much of critiques, I know myself too well perhaps. I can say this because I am a great observer of people. To understand yourself, it is important that you understand others. Once you understand the different workings of the minds, it is easier to dissect your own mind. Please be wary though, the mind and the heart are often conflicted, people! If you were as spiteful as I were, the conflict between the heart and the mind would be blurred. This conflict holds true for those who still have command over their caprices, who do not give in to such inner desires, who are in constant battle with these inner whispers.

2.

In the 21st century, you may wonder with all the advancements and technology, why the world remains in turmoil. It is because people such as myself exist in many places. Are you free of all impurities, people? Are you free of your desires? Are you truly free? Then I have another question for you, people? Are you weak? Or are you courageous? Weak-willed and cowardly people such as myself do more harm, bring more harm, and suffer from much self-inflicted harm. The weak-willed man dare not stand up to his friends or foes. He shall never confront them but he schemes and plots to procure harm against his friends or foes. The weak-willed man smiles with you, eats with you, laughs with you and pretty much does everything as a strong-willed person would. The weak-willed man if it came down to it, would hurl curses, swears and aggression the same way towards you as a strong-willed man who loses his temper. Note people! I said lose control over one’s temper for a strong-willed person. I cannot say the same for the weak-willed person because he always reacts emotionally. He fumes up if you pinch him. I have tried to develop a strong-will but because of life circumstances and experiences I have failed at it. I acknowledge my weaknesses, people! I admit that I am weak-willed but only do so when I write here. If I were to admit this fact in front of others, then I will not be as free, or the freedom I have created for myself, the lifestyle I live will slowly push me out of the food-chain and leave me vulnerable. Yet, despite the fact, the circle around me has pushed me to extremes and condemned me to a life of minimal contact with people over the years. It is because I have many enemies, and few whom I could call friends. Even my friends seem to only tolerate my presence. I tolerate theirs too. In fact, not only tolerate, I am always able to get what I want because I buy it with money. Money is a hard commodity, people! Easy to come by if you know of ways to obtain it. Money influences many people. It inspires many people, it enslaves many people. What you do with the money is your business, people! I am only telling you from experience how money can do many things, and perhaps even buy things when a fine glass of wine and drugs of some sort accompany it!

You will know what I mean, if you were to take a walk in the heart of London after midnight. That’s when the devils’ work starts. Perhaps it starts as soon as the sun goes down but it comes out on the streets after midnight. The weak-willed people easy to get to are found on the streets. The devil seeks them and they seek him. Drugs- weed, cocaine, heroine, alcohol, crack. Indulgence for all, rich or poor is widely available. I am the devil, people! But I am not the worst of them. I am merely one of them!

3.

Abandoned by my mother at a young age of 6 after a divorce between my parents. I was sent off to be put under foster care. I hated everyone there. The food, the people and the school. I was often bullied by my senior school mates. I tried to befriend them on several occasions. The three of them lived on the same road as me. I often used to run into them during the morning walk to school, only to be kicked down or forced to do star jumps, sit in a puddle on a rainy day or given their school bags to carry them to school. I hated it, but I did it to be their friend.

Then one day I got into a fight with another boy in my year. The boy had a group of friends whom together with him, beat me up. So, the next day, I went to my senior friends and asked for help. One of them gave me a pocket knife and told me to stop being cowardly, stop crying and be a man. I took the knife and during the break I thrust it into my enemy. Other boys watched in horror. The police was called and after things calmed down, I was sent away to a different city in foster care. Apparently, the boy suffered serious life threatening wounds but the size of the knife wasn’t big enough to cut through the vital organs. If I had to be punished, I still regret not finishing the job.

I was a little devil from a young age, people! I am not writing this to confess my crimes, this is already in the knowledge of the authorities. I despised my life at school, being sent away was no different. My only friends in that town were sand and beaches. My foster family was always suspicious of me because I started sneaking out and smoking at a young age. I even started selling everything to my classmates. I was taking everyone’s lunch money. I enjoyed this, and in turn, I made friends. Friends as some may see it. But to me they were fish and I was the sea drowning them in.

4.

I am still a devil, and just like the sea I am drowning people in. Like I mentioned before, people! I am merely one of the devils. Why do I live such a lifestyle you may ask? Because it has always come easy to me. I am still that child who enjoys taking people’s lunch money. Addiction is a scary thing, it makes one want to spend money on dirty habits rather than looking after one’s self. God help you, my dear people, if you are an addict and have a family too. Despite being the devil I am, I still acknowledge that God exists. But how does God let me do my work while He is there watching? My belief in God has been shaken and strengthened many a times. More than likely, I hold distorted views that a proper believer may disagree with. You see people, there exists in this world ‘Good’ & ‘Evil’. I am sure you must know this already, but I emphasise it in this moment, so you are aware what sort of world waits out there.

Using these very tricks of the devil and often flaunting around some freebies, I have women at my disposal. Parties, drinks and drugs are my way to a woman’s heart. You see, I have never been able to be in a relationship without using these tricks. These tricks serve my purpose, people! In return, I fulfill someone’s desires. I don’t go around seeking it, it just so happens when you know to be in the right places.

5.

This is the very reason why I am also perhaps paranoid. I know many that envy my lifestyle, I know many who hate me. Furthermore, living the way I do, I constantly have to watch over my shoulder. The big brother watches on and I have to be sly, so that I can evade him. I could write a lengthy detail of my many encounters with women and customers, friends and enemies, authorities etc. However, there are plenty of movies in our 21st century, that permit me not to delve too deep into specifics. I will tell you of one incident though, although of no fault or part of my own. I was once stabbed and left to die on the road by random strangers. Teenagers looking to take out their frustration on someone and I happened to be that person. When I think back on this, I still wonder if there was some sort of planned set-up for this to happen or was it just karma telling me, ‘this is what I owe you’.

I leave the remainder to your imagination, people! Imagination is a wonderful thing, it should be cherished. Imagination is also crippling if all the thoughts that pass over and are whispered paint the narrative of doom and gloom. Perhaps, drugs and drinking is also a factor. Is it the only cause though? I don’t think so, people! There are forces such as inner desires, strong enough to tempt and incline one’s soul towards evil slowly, and bit by bit, it eats away the remaining goodness.

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

I have learnt a lot from these books

So as promised, I have been wanting to share my booklist. In this booklist, I will share the books that have helped me with psychology and self-development. I don’t read 52 books a year like an average CEO, but I do think I read quite a lot for my lifestyle. I listen more than I read. By the way, if you are a blog reader, I talk about a lot of different books in my blogs too…you just have to be willing to read and find the diamonds among the pile of treasure 😉 haha… am not for self-praise but you see what I done there 😀

Anyhow, if you want to grow, develop your character, learn more about yourself, your business, or even just reflect on life and understand the world through different perspectives. I would recommend checking out these books. These are my top favourites in psychology/ self-development genre not in any particular order though.

  1. The Examined Life ( How we lose and find ourselves) by Stephen Grosz
  2. The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters
  3. Option B By Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant (I am a big fan of Adam Grant’s work)
  4. Give and Take by Adam Grant (You see what I mean lol)
  5. Originals by Adam Grant ( on my wish list is his latest book Think Again)
  6. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
  7. Principles by Ray Dalio
  8. Atomic Habits by James Clear
  9. Deep Work by Cal Newport
  10. Focus by Daniel Goleman ( I am a big fan of Daniel Goleman’s work on EQ)
  11. Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman
  12. Maximum Willpower by Kelly McGonigal
  13. The Crowd Study of the Popular mind By Gustave Le Bon
  14. How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie
  15. A Hero with a Thousand Faces (Joseph Campbell) I know this is philosophy genre, but there is lots to learn from this book.
  16. Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche
  17. Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
  18. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy by Jason M. Satterfield
  19. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman ( This is a classic)
  20. Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza
  21. 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B Peterson
  22. Maps of Meaning by Jordan B Peterson

Instead of including any external links, I will let you search for these books. Most are available on Amazon, Audible, Waterstones or any other book store. I have some of the above books in hard copy and some in audible version. Basically the easiest way to get them in possession ahaha. Nietzsche is quite difficult to comprehend but there is value there to be found if you keep an open mind. They say there is a thin line between insanity and a genius mind. Wow… these are just some of the books I have read since 2018. Before that I used to read fiction only.

I stopped reading fiction for a while, but I still do from time to time. Maybe next time I will share some of my favourite fictional novels.

While you are here, check out my previous post on How to read a book! 📖

How Rhythm Can Help Execute the good ideas?

Focussed attention and deliberate practise at one task is what sustains success and rhythm.

Bringing our lives in rhythm stacks the odds in our favour. The circadian rhythm, the constellations, the rhythm of the tides and moon cycles, the rhythm of the day and night, the rhythm of the seasons. Everything surrounding us is beating a drum of its rhythm.

Understanding and reflecting upon this rhythm reveals mysteries to many, creative ideas to others and helps finding peace within ourselves.

When practising any arts, the practitioner should he/she wish to become an expert or a master at them, must understand rhythm, practise and hone the skills to develop that rhythm. After diligent practice with focussed attention and deliberate efforts, it is possible to attain mastery/expertise in the chosen art.

Why then do so many talented people fail? Why then do so many creative people and entrepreneurs fail? In my view, a few factors behind the failures are as follows:

Lacking focussed attention

Lacking deliberate efforts

Lacking professionalism

Poor mentorship/ coaching

While the above factors hugely define the difference between success and failure. In some rare cases, success has been achieved without mentoring and coaching.

In terms of ideas that involve working with other people, the success of the ideas depends on the vision of the leaders and a great team that can translate that vision into practicable actions and put the organisation on the path to success.

I have been trying to increase focussed attention and deliberate effort lately but been failing over and over. So, I have come up with few hacks that will probably help shift my subconscious mind in an attentive state, one that can help manifest the rhythm required for the arts. Hacks like weekend preparation, not just the plans but down to some other details that look after my health; body, soul and mind.

Most importantly though, quiet the inner critic, getting back on track when slipping, accepting the things as they are not in my control and finally, increasing the focussed attention, deliberate efforts to follow a rhythm that can help me execute the ideas in practise.

Beauty and Love Inspired 2021

مگشا در اندیشه و برگیر رباب
صدگونه نماز است و رکوعست و سجود
آنرا که جمال دوست باشد


Let the beauty of what you love

Be what you do,
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the earth.

میں اکیلا ہی چلا تھا جانب منزل مگر

لوگ ساتھ آتے گئے اور کارواں بنتا گیا


I set upon the journey all alone but,

People joined along the way and it became a caravan

کیسے کہوں میں دل کےفرماں

الفاظ بن نہ سکے جو تھے چھپے ارماں


How can I tell you the secrets of the heart?

Those hidden desires could not be translated to words

واقف جو ہے سینے سے میرے

جانتا ہے وہ دل کی دھڑکن کو تیرے


The one who knows these hidden secrets,
He knows your beating heart too,

کیوں کرتا  ہے تکبر اتنا

چلتا ہے تو اکڑا کر جتنا

Why have you such pride?
Why walk conceitedly?

پہاڑ بھی نہیں تیرے ھم قد

نا ہی چھو سکتا ہے آسمان کو تو

Neither are you as tall as mountains, nor can you touch the sky

ذرا غور کر اعمال پر اپنے

اعتراف بھی، اعتراض بھی

Ponder over your actions
Accept some, reject some

کس منزل پر چلا ہے تو

کیا ممکن بنانے چلا ہے تو

Where do you plan to go?
What impossible are you trying to make possible?

اس زندگی کے موڑ پر چٹان ھیں، اور دریا بھی

گزر گئے ہیں جو مکاں، وقت کی رفتار میں

In life’s journey, every turn you will either face a mountain or a river
The moments that have been lost in time,

توجہ دلانے کا سبق اٹھا

تنظیم کا پرچم لہرا

Learn to focus your attention ahead,
Waving the flag of discipline

خودی  کو کر بلند اتنا

کے ہر تقدیر سے پہلے

خدا بندے سے پوچھے

بتا، تیری رضا کیا ہے

Raise yourself to a rank, that before every distribution of fortune
God asks of you,
Tell me what you desire!



Obviously I started with Rumi and ended with Iqbal. The thoughts are really based on some poems I read long ago.


Here’s to a new year… 2021 starting it differently; beauty and love and not a Bang 2020 😉 yeah that didn’t go well last year did it haha

Every day is a new day. You can start all over again from today and when you decide to start again.

Body, Soul and The Mind- 2

Few Mondays ago I posted a poem with the same title. I wanted to elaborate on why I wrote it and how are the body, soul and the mind intertwined.

Self-awareness is to be able to observe one’s behaviour whether in real-time which takes a lot of practice, or through hindsight. In addition, dissecting the emotions away from the thoughts and behaviours. So that we can look down from above. An objective view.

Metacognition is the ability to change one’s emotional state through thoughts. Our minds and limbic system doesn’t know the difference between emotions that are felt through real life experiences or the ones we feel by daydreaming or visualizing an event and emotions before the event happens. Feelings influence thoughts, similarly thoughts influence feelings. When feeling the emotions that we don’t want to feel, the research in psychology suggests, we should replace those feelings with positive feelings. Visualisation is powerful technique that can help us anchor our being in a state of calmness and joy amidst discomfort and adversity.

Chronic stress is a stress response that is built in the body over a long period of time. A chronic stress response when triggered is difficult to control as the chemicals released when in any situation that triggers chronic stress, are the natural state of the body. The body goes into the fight, flight or freeze response, cortisol and adrenaline kicks in, heart beat pumps up and the person loses control over their thought process/rational thinking and emotions. As a result, the individual is likely to make poor decisions and underperform. It’s a self-sabotaging mechanism. For many individuals, if they do not address instant stress then there is a greater likelihood of chronic stress getting triggered.

I have a lot of unfinished articles laying about in the drafts. Despite knowing theory and believing that I am emotionally intelligent, emotional self-awareness in real time can be quite challenging to actualise, especially in high performance situations/sports. But such challenges also give us an opportunity to grow.

So, having explained those terms that I think link the mind body and soul, I will refer back to this diagram I drew when I wrote about the ego.

Ego, heart and mind connection

Heart and brain coherence can be observed scientifically through exposing people to different situations that will trigger a response and the ability of those people via meditation/breathing techniques to remain calm. Exposure and deliberate practise is one of the ways to develop heart and mind coherence.

How the heart beats when under stress and when there is a shift to appreciation

Conscious breathing is a great tool and anchor to shift to appreciation when feeling stress. Wim Hof has proven scientifically how he can control his body temperature under cold stress through breathing technique. It unlocks the potential of mind, it taps into the ancestral genes that lie dormant within us. Joseph Campbell in the ‘Heroes with a Thousand Faces’ describes the many journeys of the hero. The archetypal journey of hero is full of challenges, stress and obstacles. That is the nature’s way of nurturing the potential of the hero.

It is possible to reach the highest state of consciousness and keeping in mind the struggles of ego as presented above, the rhythm of the heart and breathing technique to consciously shift to a state of appreciation. Practising this over and over can help release all the trauma, stress and dispel negativity. Below are the emotions and how they rank on the spectrum. The elevated emotions on the upper end and the limiting emotions on the other end. The elevated emotions are selfless and also the creative emotions. The limiting emotions are survival emotions which keep the mind, body and soul pinned in a scarce surrounding. There is no room for growth in feeling these emotions. Growth starts when one replaces the limiting emotions with elevated emotions. Deliberate practise through focus, meditation and breathing technique can help reach a higher state of consciousness. One of abundance, one of gratitude, one of appreciation.

Where are you on the wavelength?

Which frequency are you tapping into? Is your mind constantly bombarded with beta waves? Do you rest and sleep to energise yourself? In our sleep, our mind goes into the slower theta waves. With deliberate daily practise of breathing and meditation, it is possible to access to slow down the brains waves to gamma frequency and access higher consciousness. Traditional meditational practises of different religions have proven this. Although, it is not an easy thing to achieve, it is not impossible.

Instead of describing the different frequencies of brain waves, here’s a link to a short video of a crash course on brain waves. How they help us achieve higher consciousness! how it can help us open the path to new possibilities!

This is an explanation via what I have learnt from studying psychology, a little bit of neuroscience and reading and practising meditation. If you are not a science person, refer to my previous article Affairs of the heart. In there you will find other techniques and meditations, if practised with deliberate focus, those techniques can help you get near the path of higher consciousness.

Body, Soul and The Mind

Image: Samurai Art

I search the vastness,
The deep recesses of my mind.
I close my eyes, but it only turns me blind.
Staring in this void,
No answers I can find.
An epiphany occurs,
The pieces of puzzle I must bind,
Body, Soul and the mind.
So, I plunge in my heart, I heard that’s where the Soul resides.
The darkness rings a familiar hollow,
Like the one in my mind.
Still searching…
Maybe it’s the way I am spending my time,
I plan to change, but the body’s still left behind.
Through hindsight, I realise,
The stress response built along the course of my life.
Progress seems slow, but it will compound over time.
I try to configure my bearings,
So I set upon this journey, in the darkness of the night.
Astrolabe in my hand, I reach a turning point,
I must sail and ride the waves,
For I am the warrior of the light!
Light above, light below, light all around me!
Darkness is no more, so long as I hold the pieces of this puzzle, tight…

Fragility

It’s very easy for me to talk about the good things that I am constantly trying to improve on and implement.

Today I want to talk about the difficult stuff. Fragility- how vulnerable humans can be? How easy it is to do away with the positive emotions that require a lot of work to build and let them be overwhelmed by the negative emotions that are quick to take over. Our survival mechanism that has been built in us, ensures that we feel these negative emotions for our own benefit. This is how we survive and thrive in the world.

To give you some context, I took up some challenges to build new habits and compound on them, all was well until it wasn’t. One of the challenges was a combo of meditation and exercise twice a day for 90 days. I meditated and exercised at least once every day for the last 50 or so days. I have skipped the last 3 days and missed some meditation sessions and/or exercise combo that goes with them, so there goes the 90 days challenge as I broke continuity. It doesn’t sound that bad writing that yeah, I missed those 3 days, but when I talk about why I missed those 3 days, it may sound like that I went through a slump. In those 3 days, my mind was occupied with anxiety, worries and cues for depression seemed to be returning. I was trying to suppress those emotions simultaneously, which is the worst thing to do when feeling such way.

” It’s good to express your emotions and it’s not good to suppress your emotions”.

This is a line I repeat often in some classes I have been holding. Yet, I was not exercising this myself. That said, I don’t mean that you should scream when you’re angry or eat sugary foods when craving food. Good and wanted emotions are good to express and bad and unwanted emotions should be managed and controlled. The 3 days I skipped on all the little things I do to win the day and ingrain the process fell apart. In those 3 days, I felt a lot of other emotions too; self-doubts, feelings of being ungrateful, feelings of burn-out because I may be trying to take on too many tasks, combined with some concerns for my well-being and health and thinking how this may impact me. All of this to me, highlights how fragile and vulnerable I can be at times and, how easy it can be to get derailed. I can go into much deeper details and how my mind works but that may not necessarily be how your mind works. If you have through experiences learnt the cues for anxiety and depression, if you have learnt through reflection how to overcome, if you have learnt to not suppress emotions, rather allow yourself to feel the emotions and then overriding it with your cognitions and actions to stop these cues from returning. This is how perhaps; I think I have been able to pick myself up through slumps and periods of low mood and energy. To re-centre myself, I have to take a step back and start again at the causes and resolving those causes. The causes and cues of these negative feelings and slumps can be rectified through addressing the cause and/or reinforcing the actions that will subside these emotions and bring back the positivity and process back in sight.

3 days of slump may have seemed like a huge setback to me in my head and because of the overwhelming feelings I felt in those 3 days. What helped me is being able to detach myself from’ my Self’ and observe myself objectively. I know that I can never do this with full objectivity but what helps me is, talking about myself in 3rd person as if I am not me and am just looking at my behaviour/actions because that’s what’s visible outwardly, I then observe my emotions and try see how they are affecting my thoughts and behaviours. Wherever there is a disconnect and wherever there is a causal reaction, those areas identified then need to be rectified. It may all sound a bit fancy because of how I might be explaining things, to give an example and make a relation between emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. Consider this, which in my case, is one of the cues for depression and anxiety returning. What I want to do is wake up and carry on with my daily routine but instead, I lay about in bed. In not getting up off the bed, I start feeling lazy, this then brings feelings of being unproductive and uselessness, I reinforce these feelings through my actions of remaining lazy. The actions reinforce the thoughts in my mind that yes, the feelings and behaviours confirm that I am actually lazy, unproductive, and useless, the thoughts then turn to rumination. Rumination is a cue for depression returning. It’s not a simple process for me, thoughts, behaviours and emotions either reinforce each other or often there is a disconnect, when my feelings and thoughts lag the actions/behaviours. Sometimes it is my actions that lag the emotions. What I am simply saying is, yeah, it’s complex to explain it. Which shows how fragile and vulnerable I can be.

Once we are in the fragile and vulnerable state, our lower self, survival instincts, survival mechanism overtake our rational thinking and rational behaviour and we fall into old habits which may also be a precursor for anxiety and depression. We may feel afraid, we may become distrustful of others and/or ourselves. We may start eating unhealthy foods/ binge eat/ consume high sugar foods. We oversleep, we may lose our appetite, we may become disengaged with our surroundings and disconnected with those close to us.

Being able to reflect while going through this can be really helpful, as it can help you get back on track. I am a big believer in dreams and what shape they take in our sleep. If we try connecting to our unconscious and subconscious minds and what they are trying to tell us, we can recognise the areas where we have to give attention. I am not going to delve into interpretation of dreams. I am not an expert in the area, I feel that I am well connected with how my dreams are shaped and my ability to influence my own dreams in my sleep. Anyhow, back to the topic at hand. Reflection, allowing yourself time to feel emotions, accepting them is a good way to address the slump. Self-awareness and recognising early on the shift in your routines, behaviour and emotions is a great tool to possess too. Remembering this one line, that no soul is burdened beyond what it can bear helps me a lot. It helps me reinforce the confidence and grants me persistence and wisdom to keep working towards my goals and visions. The ability to implement even in small ways, this is the way to start working on your dreams and goals. Wishful thinking and having great ideas lead to get rich quick schemes and hoping for overnight success if you lack the courage to pursue them knowing and dealing with periods of setbacks. In modern age, our brains are more prone to instant gratification because of the impact of the social media, environment, constant bombardment of advertisements and reality TV shows.

Most of all knowing yourself and your ability to re-centre when overwhelmed is what can help you overcome setbacks. In all honesty I want to add that I don’t think I know myself well. It’s an ongoing process that perhaps never ends till you’re dead.

p.s. I do not suffer from clinical depression. What I talk about in this blog is the feelings of depression that people may feel in different stages of their lives. This is not an expert advice, just moments of self-reflection. I really wrote this to allow myself to feel all emotions and be able to reflect on them. It also helped me overcome the slump which in the moment was overwhelming. Keep a note of this when reading it. Thank you!

Welcome New Habits, Bye Bye Old Habits

Good habits and process compound. If you were to seek results, it’s the quickest path to lose sight of the goal, lose motivation. Especially when things are not as smooth flowing as per your expectations.

Most of us either overestimate or underestimate our abilities. It is better to underestimate as that keeps you in constant check to improve every day and focus on the process. We overestimate our abilities/capabilities due to one of the following: lack of knowledge, not enough experience, and overconfidence.

It takes time, consistency, and persistent effort with discipline to patch up routines, process; creating learning loops that put you on the path of incremental progress.

From my past experiences, habits you want to eliminate require a minimum 3 months to get rid of. This being the tough period which requires many other aspects such as replacing those habits with new habits, creating new interests or hobbies. Furthermore, getting rid of bad habits successfully also means knowing yourself and the cues that can trigger those habits to resurface. E.g. the place, the people, time of the day but more than these factors if you can recognise the cue that your hippocampus signals to your emotions and thoughts for the cravings is the first step in not falling back into the old habits. Our reward seeking hippocampus and amygdala which triggers emotional responses play a big role in emotional arousals, cravings etc. Ultimately, as a responsible individual, you should learn to not point fingers and find reasons as to why you fall back into the old habits, and instead, take responsibility for your actions. You control your actions, you are given the choices whether to perform those actions or not, whatever they may be. Here, of course I am talking about the things that are under our control and things we can influence.

The 2nd step would be changing your thoughts about those emotions, and those changed thoughts should propel you to take action that stops the bad habits from coming back. For example, if I crave unhealthy food, I will usually feel hungry too. How then, do I stop myself from eating unhealthy food? I may tell myself, that what I really need instead is water or a healthy sweet. Most of the time when we are hungry, what we really need is water. Once I change that feeling with a thought, then it is followed by the action. In doing so successfully each time, I could essentially train myself to recognise these triggers and create a process thereby which, I can stop the cravings for unhealthy food. Doing it over and over and through repetition of a minimum three months from my experience, it is possible to train ourselves to completely overcome a bad habit. An alternative to this step can be, action preceding thoughts and what we think about our emotions. Actions therefore lead and mind follows. You can tailor it for yourself and see what works best for you. I being, more a cognitive type, use the former approach more but obviously it’s a mix of the two, because a lot of the times actions provide the opportunity to reflect and then, they can be tweaked, improved and/or replaced with something different. Important point being we don’t know until we try change.

Over a period of time, even if you don’t reach your desired outcome, the progress and improving process will definitely be noticeable, so long as you are doing something right, using expert advice/help and taking help and support from those around you. This is just a moment of self-reflection for me personally, by writing this down, I am trying to peek into my own mind as if I were looking at myself as my own student. haha this is what solitude leads to… you become your own teacher, you become your own student, you become curious about different emotion, you have thoughts about those emotions and then you try dissect them, improve on them, think and reflect. Writing this out seems a bit hilarious but fun at the same time. Thank you Lockdown haha

I will keep this short and sweet and not jumble it up too much as this is not an expert advice, just a moment of self-reflection.

Chasing dreams

There is a lot of things I can talk about, when talking about fulfilling one’s dreams. The way I have always approached this, even before I began reading all psychology books, self-help books and talks; is through focusing on short-term goals and having the bigger dream etched in your subconscious. This then helps you be flexible no matter how meandering the path you tread upon is, there is always a centre to gravitate back to. When I say meandering, I don’t necessarily mean getting knocked down or falling in pits, I also mean, always seeking alternatives, being flexible and not fixated on a single path that will lead to that eventual success in the future.

When I was in school and college, I wanted to be an engineer and a pilot. Lol I am far from that path. I am not going to delve into my current path in this moment because I am enjoying the pursuit. However, this is what I will tell you, it has helped me overcome so many of my struggles and has helped instil good habits. It is a combination of good habits, processes and improving every day. I will keep following it as long as there is more room for improvement, which I see no end to 😉. For those of you who know me and are well acquainted know that I can sometimes be too stubborn, doing things on my own. Sure, things can be hard, you get steam rolled many times. That is the whole point, right? Grit, determination, and persistence. Along the road to achieve great things, your character is tested, moulded, and strengthened. You connect with strangers who have the potential to be lifelong friends, coaches, mentors, peers, and people who push you to be your best. You come across strangers who for no apparent reason will show hate- that is because they do not have the ability to either dream or the courage to pursue. They will always have excuses or negativity to discourage and derail you from your path. This is also part of the journey that tests your persistence and character. Your mission is to stay focussed and keep getting back up when knocked down.

It is how you choose to respond to different situations.

There is a false belief held by many people that, successful people are born rich, or they come from privileged backgrounds. They falsely measure success by money, material possessions such as cars and clothing and other indulgences of lavish and luxurious lifestyles.

Furthermore, those who become successful and get rich too, are demonized by those that are not. The class system is like a prison for the minds of the masses. Obviously, there is a whole area of inequality and equal opportunities to address here but right now, I want to talk about reasons why a lot of rich and successful folks should not be demonized. I was writing about this some weeks back but cannot seem to remember where lol.

What most people see is the tip of the iceberg. The peak! They do not see the failures, rejections, broke nights, fear, grit, courage. Either they have a false sense of success and they do not know how to measure it, or they are just hesitant to uncover their own potential and love to stay in their comfort zones. I feel that this deserves more explanation, but I may do the injustice of demonising other parties in the discussion if I go on about it. Personally, I look at individuals and do my best to not be prejudiced. I do not look at what group they are standing behind, what flag are they flying. Those attributes of an individual are pretty irrelevant to me until they prove it so through their tongues and hearts. Even then, perhaps because I believe in mercy and forgiveness more, I always encourage the art of thoughtful disagreement and negotiations instead of divisive actions that can escalate quickly. One such example is what is happening around the world currently. Protests turning into riots. The proponents of protests will say that our cause and agenda was peace, but they must assess the likelihood of mob mentality, individuals and groups that will take the opportune moment for vandalism. Many might not agree and back other evidence that may show that outsiders masquerading are responsible in reality for the riots and damage caused. Heck! I don’t even know why I am talking about this. Perhaps, because I recently read the book on the mind of the crowd. What influences them, what controls them, how they can be a good force and how easy it is to turn the situation into anarchy and chaos. Yeah, I know I said that I will talk about the mind of the crowd in a new blogpost, but that is such a lengthy topic. The blog will get all political because the book is based on revolutionary events and wars that have shaped our world. It discusses other historical events and how leaders emerge and qualities they possess. It is a great read for anyone who is a leader of a country, group, or community. Personally, for me, it is good knowledge to be able to maintain my individuality and not get caught up with the distractions that will divert me away from my personal dreams and goals. If you are interested the book is written by a French Psychologist Gustave Le Bon, I have two of his books. One titled, ‘The Crowd: The Study of the Popular mind’ and the other one which I still have not read despite owning it for nearly a decade, ‘Psychology of Revolution’ but I can assure you both books are rich and very thought provoking.

Sweet dreams are made of this…. who am I to disagree? I travel the world and seven seas; everybody is looking for something… this song just popped in my head while writing this ha-ha

I am planning to finish writing this and the other post that has been laying in my drafts, almost complete.

Being spontaneous sometimes, I cannot explain things the best way, because I am not really researching this particular topic just writing from what I have learnt from life experiences thus far. In one of my previous posts I mentioned that words are powerful, yes sure they are. However, when words are negatively impacting, all you need is a thick skin to deal with them thick skulls, the right kind of thick skills that you need to deal with thick sick folks. You see what I done there lol  

Ok, let’s get back to talking about chasing dreams, there’s many lessons that I can share from personal experiences, not all seem relevant to me right now but what I will share is that, learn from other people’s mistakes and experiences because if you don’t you will be learning the hard way by making all those mistakes yourself. Trial and error approach can be a good thing, it is not for everyone though because if you cannot recover from failures, you will keep falling into chaos. If you are set to learn from your mistakes, you best develop skills to coach yourself, be coach-able by listening to experts, reaching out for help, and accepting help. Synthesizing information. My belief is that knowledge increases when shared, knowledge is an asset unlike any other, if you are stripped away from all worldly possessions, you still possess your knowledge so long as you keep strong mentally. What differentiates those who reach their potential and those who do not with all great ideas is the ability to implement. A human thought! Is it really unique? We all share some connection and there are over 7 billion people in the world and many a generation that have lived on this planet before us. So, think about that again? Is your thought really unique to you? What is unique however, is the ability to act upon them.

Over the years, what I have realised is that it sometimes feels as if you cannot remember anything, all learnt knowledge has been lost. It is very easy to retrieve and access blurred information and memories if you apply the right methods in doing so. That is a whole different area where I may possess some practical skills, but my understanding and knowledge is not sufficient to even try explaining how that happens. How are those neurons wired? How do they get rewired? How do you connect old pathways again? What is the link between different compartments of the brain? Short-term memory (RAM) long-term memory (hard drive), then there are different methods like being able to recall through picturing and imagining. I don’t have a clue how to explain this but what I know about myself is this, my auditory memory is better, I absorb more information and understand better when I listen, I learn by doing, learning theory is good but application-less knowledge is easiest to forget.  Then for some other things I have a photographic memory, it is not the best photographic memory because perhaps I realised at a much older age that I have one. So, I am working on it slowly to improve it again. Neuroplasticity or what I refer to it in simple terms how malleable is your brain? Malleable materials can be hammered into sheets, ductile are used to make rods and wires. That is where I get this word from, it may save you a google search if you have never studied physics. I have never studied biology. I used to hate rote memorisation when I was younger. Even though I had a really good memory, it is just that at that age I did not know which methods worked better for me. I have always understood concepts better. I had some teachers who saw that in me.

Anyway my main point and why I am sharing this is so you can work out for yourself, no matter at which stage in life you are, what your age is, find out how your brain works, how you learn best, this information is crucial if you want to go after your dreams, it will help shorten learning curves by uncovering your potential and lighting things up for you that make the most sense to you.

I do not even know how much of all that I have written makes sense right now Ha-ha, I have been just jumping around trying to connect dots in my head.

Anyhow I have gone on long enough I reckon, I have to get back at chasing my dreams, currently that will be watching a particular video because it explained stuff in detail and at an advanced level that can help me get to that next stage. That said, remember you can get better every day. 1% improvement, marginal gains, compound on good habits and good processes.  I don’t talk about all my endeavours because that’s probably my introverted side, soon perhaps I will share it or maybe I won’t at all, because I want to blog about stuff, other than those endeavours because If I mix up everything then I won’t be able to find a niche that I am looking for in my writing outside of those endeavours, and probably blur the line between two different passions that I lose the spark in one of them. I do not want to eat, sleep and drink on a single passion alone ha-ha. I think that is what I am trying to say here.  This is why I mostly relate it to martial arts because that is what truly helped me understand first principles and power of synthesizing information and knowledge. A period of different growth started then. A journey within….

You must find balance within yourself before you set out to bring balance to the world.

This ☝️being the reason why I am extra wary of mob mentality, groupthink, social conformity, and trend following. Basically, anything that can turn you into a sheep. You do not want to lose your uniqueness and individuality on your path to achieving greatness, rather embrace it, accept it. Proactively building on your strengths and eliminating weaknesses. When I say eliminate, I do not necessarily mean cut out completely because that is impossible because we are humans, fallible and make mistakes continually. There are many methods- minimising, being systematic and setting rules, following a principles-based approach, leveraging- getting help from good people in areas where you are weak, triangulating with believable others.

I was supposed to stop writing lol because I still got to edit this blog. Remember to share this if it helps you, not for my sake but to help others whom you would like to help and benefit. Obviously if you find it helpful yourself ha-ha because I know a lot of people reading this will know a lot of this already.

If my mumbo jumbo made sense in this blog, leave a comment ha-ha. In the coming blog, I might pick few key words and concepts and expand on them. One of the reasons why I am writing all of this is also because these streams of thoughts that come, often help me find clarity in my goals, objectives, and dreams. I really write to help myself 🤣😂🤗 ha-ha but share in hope it helps you too.

Until next time,

Enjoy the weather while it is beautiful and lockdown coming to an end.

I want to learn at least one new tricking move that I do not know this summer. Going to go do that. Looking to learn aerial or 540 tornado kick.

Deep Reflections

It’s the last 10 blessed nights of Ramadan. I want to take this opportunity to reflect upon my life, goals and dreams.

The meandering path that I have tread upon, the struggle against the heavy currents, the deep desire to constantly improve, learn more about myself and increase in knowledge. Through the practise of martial arts the main lesson that I have learnt is that by going to the first principles, we can see how different paths in life are similar. Through reflection I have been able to seek these similarities in many different fields and sciences, the principles hold through time. Principles are universal and those who deny it, they are deluded within the realm of their ego and self-esteem. Humility and open-mindedness are traits to possess when seeking knowledge, it will help develop critical thinking, analytical thinking and a mindset that questions before you start following anything blindly.

I am reading a psychology book which talks about the minds of masses. Throughout history we can delve into this study and see how many events of the past have been shaped because of these factors, perhaps I will write all of this in another blog post. For now, let me stick to discussing my reflections, goals and dreams.

One of my dreams in life is to eradicate poverty and child abuse. I know it’s idealistic to believe that all vices can be eliminated completely. However, I want to do what I can within my capacity and I want to achieve this through education. Hence, one of my main dreams from a younger age has been to establish an educational institution which is self-sustaining and once set-up it can function with minimum injection of additional capital- be that through any public or private means.

What I want that educational institution to be like? I have spent many hours in the past years thinking over it and I can say that the more I think and visualise it, the clearer the image of this institution becomes. It’s just an idea that I have shared on many other platforms before, not yet implemented on my part. However, there are many institutions around that have implemented many aspects similar to my thinking. I have learnt a lot by looking at these different institutions and how they function. One such institution is Zaytuna. If you read my blog, I would suggest you donate to them because for 1) educating and teaching others is an ongoing charity unlike other forms of charity which once given gets a set reward and 2) Zaytuna is one of those institutions that instil the principles in its pupils that help them succeed in whatever field they want to pursue afterwards. How do they do that? Through teaching the first principles, by developing the minds of the pupils enabling them to think for themselves; it grants them the ability to make sound judgement, utilising good morals and values. Through teaching them rhetoric and grammar, through teaching them the skills of effective communication, through eloquence.

I haven’t had the opportunity to study there and hence my words cannot describe their system the best way. However, what I would like to add to this is that, if you’d like to get to know the Islamic teachings through traditional way, not what the Mainstream media portrays what Islam is. E.g. Islam was the first religion to grant women equal rights, the first wife of Prophet pbuh, was a businesswoman, a source of comfort for him, a friend, who shared the responsibility of the household together. By getting to the correct teachings you can perhaps come to change your views about Islam, whether you follow its teachings or you don’t. The best way to remove animosity towards one another is by taking interest in others. Real interest that shows the real morals and values of the community, the people, the nation, the society.

I think prejudice, judging others and forming opinions without properly knowing others is the wrong way to get to know someone. It is an easy way for closed-minded people to stay within their comfort zones and live inside the bubble of their ego. We should especially be bursting these bubbles in these times, we have so much free time. Let’s take this opportunity to learn about ourselves and others. Reflect within and learn to see the goodness in others. If we look at others with faults, that’s all we will ever find. To expand on this, when we look at others with faults, we really are just extending our own subconscious on others. That’s a deep thing to ponder over.

For those of you who know me personally or are at least acquainted with me, I would like to request that you kindly donate what you can towards Zaytuna. If you wish to see more helpful muslims as your neighbours, as your friends, as community leaders who lead as good role models, as loving and caring members of the society then please donate. The institution runs with the help of donors and you can be part of providing good education, which becomes a means of an ongoing reward for yourself and anyone on whose behalf you donate, be they your deceased loved ones or those who are alive and close to you.

In my next few posts, I will perhaps talk a bit more about the educational institution that I want to build. It’s my long-term goal, if and when I have the capacity to follow this path. I will also talk about the mind of the masses and how to understand it. I perhaps being one of those deep thinkers, and who isn’t easily swayed by trends and someone who likes to call themselves a non-conformist (as in my name as the author), you can understand why I would lean towards reading such deep books. Anyhow, to end this blog, I would like to say, don’t fall into the trap of knowing-it-all and don’t fall into the trap that you’re worthless. Rather have a balanced approach, stay humble, stay curious, curiosity towards learning, not being nosy in other people’s matters or curiosity that leads to hate and envy. To create a harmonious society, I firmly believe that we all should strive to better ourselves individually, and then, only then extend that help forward. That said, this tells me that it is time for me to stop writing and look within myself to better myself. Look within, what’s within is what’s reflected outwards. See the funny thing about delusional people is that, they themselves don’t ever realise that they are deluded. The irony! Hmm, I still have the habit of being spontaneous when I write, just typing my mind out loud, perhaps it is my strength. With time, I will start writing articles with better research process. I am fairly new with this blog so I focus on consistency because I love writing. I started loving it more by sharing more and writing more often. You develop a passion by engaging in the arts. The art of writing has now become my passion, I know there is always room for improvement. The grammar, the sentence structure, how I articulate my thoughts, so much more to improve on. With time and years to come, I will seek to improve. I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Feel free to share this and help raise funds for a good cause.

Until next time,

Keep safe

Ramadan

أعوذ بالله السميع العليم من الشيطان الرجيم. بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

ياايهاالذين ءامنو كتب عليكم الصيام كما كتب على الذين من قبلكم لعلكم تتقون. أَيَّامًا مَّعْدُودَاتٍ ۚ فَمَن كَانَ مِنكُم مَّرِيضًا أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ أَيَّامٍ أُخَرَ ۚ وَعَلَى الَّذِينَ يُطِيقُونَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِينٍ ۖ فَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّهُ ۚ وَأَن تَصُومُوا خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۖ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ [البقرة : 183-184]

O ye who believe, fasting has been prescribed upon you, as it was prescribed upon those before you. So that, you may learn self-restraint. [Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] – then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are able [to fast, but with hardship] – a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess – it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew.

رمضان كريم وكل عام وانتم بخير. تقبل الله منا ومنكم صالح الأعمال.

اللهم إني أعوذ بك من الرياء وأعوذ بك من شر ما خلق ومن شر النفوس

I said those prayers ☝️because I am not a knowledgeable expert or a scholar and lest I fall into the trap of رياء.

To listen to the experts and people of knowledge and to especially understand the context of the current circumstances and how it relates to Fasting watch this lecture.

These are the verses commanding Siyaam (fasting) for the month of Ramadan. In this month was revealed the Quran. From Loh-e-Mafooz (The Preserved Tablet) to the lowest heaven. Then from the lowest heaven it was revealed part by part through Angel Jibreel عليه السلام (Gabriel) to the heart of Prohet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم. May God bless us with hearts that preserve the Quran.

Once more, I do not intend to preach. Rather just wanted to share something good I stumbled upon. Found this biography of Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم by Martin Lings. It’s also available on Amazon in hard copy and audiobook form. Sussex university library and Leeds have a copy available too. The reason I am sharing it, is because Shaykh Hamza Yusuf has delivered lectures on this book covering the seerah(life) of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. I ask Allah for sincerity and lasting guidance so that I can study this book with lectures this month.

It’s a blessed month in a blessed time. Although, we cannot gather for Taraweeh, Itikaaf and other community worships this month. The practice continues in the homes of many muslims. The practice continues for the individuals and families. It’s a great time to meditate more, reflect more, ponder more, study more, memorize more, read more, recite more. Listen to this lecture on 17 benefits of tribulations.

With quarantine measures in place, it’s a perfect opportunity to cleanse our hearts. Cleanse yourself from the diseases of the heart; anger, rage, resentment, envy, jealousy, lying, foul language.

One of the reasons we have been ordered to fast is, so that, we can feel the suffering of the poor people. There will be many people struggling all over the world because many people live pay cheque to pay cheque. The labourers, the daily wage workers, and they will not be able to benefit from iftaar (breaking fast) gatherings in the masjids(mosques). How will those people get by and have enough to eat without the generous support that’s provided every Ramadan? These times are full of blessings and trials. Make sure you go out of your way to donate to charities who are on the frontline providing the necessities and food supply to the needy. Feed as many people as you can around you. Check on your neighbours if they have enough. Remember the best of us are those who feed others, and the best of us are those who are most beneficial to others. Keep others safe from your tongue and hands.

It’s a great start to Ramadan as the first day is Friday. A blessed day and a blessed month. We may be missing Friday prayers. However, there are still many acts of worship that we can perform on a Friday. Make the most of them. Recite the story of people of The Cave سورة الكهف Send صلوات وسلام upon the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. Remember ساعة استجابة: أي الوقت بعد العصر (time of supplication after Asr). Pray for the whole world and that we may find peace and ease.

Until then,

Receive a light till following Friday.

Leap- Progress & Process

Woooo weeee 

Leap year 29th Feb. A must post haha

If I were to post once a month, I get February off for 4 years. 11 posts per year. I can live with that :p

If you proposed your beloved on this day, you won’t have to celebrate for another 4 years. 

If you were born today, you can be cheeky and say you age 1 year every 4 years…

I know, I know I am chatting a lot of BS. But what’s fun, if you can’t ignite a little humour. 

I haven’t posted in a while, I wouldn’t say it’s because of laziness this time. It’s just that, I got to adjust my schedule and routine a little better to bring in consistency.  

If you are finding useful information from this blog and especially what you can implement in your own life, because our lives resonate a lot in general and yet we follow our unique journeys.

That’s some deep statement if you were to ponder over it. 

Anyhow: let’s get it started!

One good habit that I am implementing in my day to day life is journaling and tracking process and progress. In simple terms, you can call it the DRC, Daily Report Card.

What do I track in it? I will give you the list, you can tailor it to suit your life, however, what works for me is this : 

Sleep Time: 

Wake up Time: 

Dawn Prayer:

Meditation:

Work out: 

(Here I literally write what I had for the day.)

Breakfast:

Lunch:

Dinner:

Sugar intake: 

Caffeine intake: 

What did I do well?

What I didn’t do well? 

Monthly goal:

(Obviously, there’s a lot that I am grateful for, but if you can track and write down 3 things everyday, even if they are the same,  you will generate positivity in your life.)

3 things I am grateful for: 

E.g. 1. the in-breath, 2. the out-breath. (Signifying life and it’s blessings) (I breathe therefore, I exist, hence I give gratitude) 3. eyes that see goodness

This is how I end my daily report card. It acts as a habit tracker for me and helps me focus on the journey and process. 

Give it a go and see for yourself. Allow me to share some ideas, perhaps track things like:

Anger outbursts, ideas generated, water intake, lies you told, cigarettes you smoked or whatever that may suit your life and what you do. 

It’s good to track positives and negatives, if you can stare at your negatives and motivate yourself to eliminate them. What a feat would that be? The key however is to build upon strengths.

Another thing to consider carefully: 

Keep It Super Simple: KISS 

It should be fairly easy to fill in the DRC. I don’t complicate things and if I don’t have something to write in particular space, I leave it blank, if I skip a meal, I note that as skipped.

If I did everything very well, I leave the section “what I didn’t do well” blank. You see, I do things pretty well so that space is  often empty. It makes me feel proud of myself. 

Hahaha, on a second thought, I should add the section: Lies I told: the upper paragraph to be inserted there LOL 

Anyhow, you get the idea. the point is bad habits take time to get rid off and new habits time to stick to.

Until next time, 

KISS 

The Science of Martial Arts

The field of martial arts is full of showmanship, commercial popularisation,
taking the craft and presenting it as a commodity for the purpose of profits
and earning money. This results in as someone has said, “amateuristic
martial arts are a source of serious wounds.” (The Book of Five Rings)

In the pre-modern era the science of martial arts was an essential science
for the warriors. I will take lessons from what Miyamoto Musashi has written in his books when writing about the science of Martial Arts.

The science of martial arts has evolved in the modern era. However, the base teachings and values remain the same. The science of martial arts involves great skill and master planning. Martial arts in today’s world is seen more so as entertainment, blood sport, competitions and fighting. The military aspect of martial arts has been replaced by advanced weaponry, but the principles still work.

Having explained that, I want to focus on the science of martial arts and
individuals. Just like how, a master plumber is first an apprentice, learning from a teacher; the master martial artists too, start as an apprentice. The mentor-student relationship can be seen everywhere. A master scholar is once a student, a master carpenter is once a student. One cannot expect to be an expert at something without having been mentored/coached/taught by a master.

Why do I stress this? In today’s DIY world, where courses and videos are readily available online. The concept of learning from a teacher/mentor/master has become far-fetched. Many thinks and believe that they
can become experts without having been taught. I was lucky in terms of martial arts to have been taught by expert masters and mentors. The craft, the basics, principles and values were instilled after diligent practise over many years.
Practise is key. Bruce Lee once said that don’t fear a man who has practised a thousand different kicks. Fear a man who has practised the same kick a thousand times. I can apply these principles in other walks of life.

Writing these surprises my own behaviour in other fields. I am reflecting on
other arts, skills that I am trying to hone and how and where I went wrong. One lesson I learnt from that- confidence is good, however, doing something you haven’t successfully done before is a mistake without seeking mentors, teachers and professionals. Still, I am happy that I started off in the right direction and learnt from the professionals/experts, went out explored on my own, learnt lessons and took the right direction by seeking mentors. Depending on many variables, journey in mastering a craft/skill can take many different paths. However, if I can highlight the importance of one thing, i.e. finding the right mentors/teachers to learn from in whatever field you are pursuing is crucial to success.

When one has developed practical knowledge of all the skills of the craft, eventually one can become a master craftsman.A master martial artist has similarities to a music orchestra in a sense that the conductor runs the orchestra smoothly, effectively and skilfully. They know all different instruments within the piece, the notes, the structure. They can see the small details and monitor the flow of the bigger picture.

Coming back to the subject of marital arts practise and individuals. The
science of martial arts and how I have come to understand it, is through the
lens of emptiness, state of flow, fluidity, diligent practise. The purpose of
martial arts is to be able to overcome your foes, however, once you become an expert, you can do so without fighting. Understanding this is important. Master martial artists achieve serenity, calmness and understand its psychology and philosophy. These values in today’s world, in my view, are relatively pertinent compared to the military aspect.

Mastering a martial art helps the individual understand themselves and understand others. It instils discipline, routine, creativity and practise of deep focus.These tools and skills are transferable to many other aspects of an individual’s life. To conclude this, in my view, these latter reasons mentioned is why the traditional form of martial arts must be practised and the spirit kept alive. Once the individual understands the true philosophy of the arts, he understands many aspects of life on a deeper level. For example, personally for me spirituality, focus, and discipline have a huge overlap with the practise of martial arts.

Each one, Teach one

There’s a famous saying, teach an individual how to fish and they can learn to survive. Food is essential to survive. 

Similarly, dreams are essential to grow. The bigger your dream, the more one has the potential to grow. Why am I writing this? 

I find it essential to differentiate myself but at the same time, be able to lend a helping hand in many of the possible ways. This difference I guess stems from the deep desire for knowledge, learning, growing and improving. If you want to grow and step out of your comfort zone, continue reading…

 In this world where information is easily accessible within seconds, knowing where to look, how to filter, what to learn, from who are all very significant. I believe in sharing knowledge or at least guiding people to the right way so that they can reach their potential.

Yet, the world may not reflect this. We live in a world where greed, inequality, poverty and other vices are part of the norm!

Well, it is a sad reality! A reality that many of us wake up to everyday and few of us do anything to change it. 

Let me ask you this, can you help someone if you can’t help yourself! It’s how you perceive your surroundings! A good act, as small as helping an elderly person cross the road, holding the door open for someone or smiling a happy smile at someone. Why did I say a ‘happy smile’? People can smile out of mockery or just a half-hearted or forced smile. 

Smile from your heart and that’s the smallest of the help you can give to another person. Does this really work? Have I made you think? Do you have to think this one? Please! Hopefully we are on the same page 🙂 

I will touch on consumerism and contentment. What is contentment? A state of being where an individual is living in joy and patience with the little or abundance they have! Being balanced. Not restricting yourself! On the contrary, I mean that you should strive to improve, think and grow rich, yet persevering and still enjoying the pursuit of chasing your dream. Contentment is momentary for many of us- therefore we must centre ourselves to prolong its momentum and let it not be a fleeting moment. The true richness is the richness of the heart. A heart free of effects of consumerism, envy, hate and other negative emotions.

It may sound like I am extremely content and have a lot of patience. I still struggle, I still centre myself each time I feel different or find myself in trouble. 

The reality is, not everyone is born with a silver spoon in their mouth. True for the majority by just knowing and understanding how wealth is created, understanding different mindsets. Different ways of thinking! Understanding yourself before you understand others! Yes, I just said that. I really did! One of my favourite poems

Imitating others,  

I failed to find myself. 

I looked inside and discovered 

I only knew my name.  

When I stepped outside 

I found my real Self.   – Rumi

Peer pressure, trend following, social conformity, being able to associate yourself to a tribe or community or a group of people. All of this comes to my mind when I just read it. However, the true meaning of this stanza written by the famous 13th century poet, philosopher, jurist! A man known to walk the path of self-purification and spreading love, is to look deep within your heart and know whether your higher level you and lower level you are aligned as put by Ray Dalio in his famous work Principles. Or as put by Professor Steve, managing the chimp to be in sync with your computer! 

I like to think of this similarly but through the understanding of the sources of thoughts, ego, prefrontal cortex, the amygdala and gut instinct. All aligned with the Superego! I have mentioned this in my blog Secrets of the Self!

I have touched upon a lot of subjects- I want to keep this article as thought provoking and giving my broad perspective on how I look at things. So, what I mean is, consumerism although good for the economy because one man’s spending is another’s income. It can be devastating for those who are trapped in the vicious cycle of social conformity, trend following and going broke just to buy someone a present. More than gifts, although on occasions they are meaningful- I believe wishing good for someone weighs heavier than buying materialistic things to satisfy and be part of the trend following and stuff like that.

If any of this resonates with you leave a comment on where you would like me to navigate this. I am very spontaneous when it comes to blogging and just type my mind out loud pretty much! So always open to suggestions!

Feel free to ask me anything and if I can help you with it. I will! I always tell people that most of us have it in us. A little helping hand or push in the right direction is what many of us need to kickstart our journeys/careers/pursuit of our dreams! I have learnt this through tutoring others and being a student myself.

Balance

The Chaos Within! Conflicts, Ego, Despair, Fear, Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Rage, Resensentment

These are some words that make up our actions, feelings and thoughts when there is chaos within.

I will mention here two ways of dealing with the chaos within. I am sharing from accumulated experiences and learnt knowledge through courses, books and articles.

When faced with curve balls that life throws at you, you gotta get better at swinging the bat. However, unlike baseball you’re not out after 3 strikes. Life will always give you another chance, another path, another opportunity to face its challenges. You can either try get to the root cause of the issues to deal with the chaos within, or you can work towards solutions; purposely neglecting the root causes, however, leveraging what resources you can summon to work out a way. If both done together, it can work wonders. Counselling and therapy can help you get to the root causes. Designing and implementing solutions is in your hands.

An example, I can reflect on the past or present and try dissect the root causes, however, done alone, you will have blind spots that you cannot see; perspectives and errors that miss your way of dealing with issues. Help from others who truly care or a professional can be the right way to move forwards.

An example, one solution to find balance and resolve this chaos is through sports activities such as running, football or martial arts. However, you have to implement the solution. Taking small actions and celebrating small progress. Compounding and building up from a foundation of your design that fits you.

What you can influence is 1) how you react to the situations 2) spheres of life in your control. If you believe in God like myself, it can help to know that the ultimate control is with God.

Before you can set out to bring balance to the world, you must find balance within yourself. Harmony and in tune.

[You must never give in to despair. Allow yourself to slip down that road and you will surrender yourself to your lowest instincts. In the darkest times, hope is something you give yourself. That is the meaning of inner strength. You are not alone. Never fall into the trap that you have to face all your problems alone, without anyone’s support. There is nothing wrong with letting people who love you, help you. While it is important to always believe in oneself, a little help from others can be a great blessing.It is important to draw wisdom from many different places. If we take it from one place, it becomes rigid and stale. Understanding others will help you become whole. There is nothing wrong with a life you want to live, but I suggest, you ask yourself, what is it that you want from life and why? Quotes of wisdom from Iroh- Avatar: The last airbender.

Destiny is often a funny thing, often imposed on us by our environment/surroundings/expectations. Learn to think independently and make choices that reflect hope, wholeness and prosperity. To do this, you have to look inwards and begin asking yourself the big question. The purpose of life, what is it you want from it? What brings you fulfillment?]

One of the things that brought balance in my life is martial arts. I decided to join martial arts while I was going through some of the toughest tests of life. Oh! and it saved me, truly. Prayers alone then, were not enough. Although, they kept me away from falling further into chaos and directed me towards the better choice of joining martial arts. I am truly grateful to have been blessed even in difficult times. I share this, so that you can find paths that lead to better choices too.

In my next post, I will elaborate on the practice of martial arts. The martials arts I have practised over the years are Taekwondo, Kickboxing and some BJJ. Taekwondo being my main arts. It brought discipline and routine in my life. Aside that, it provided me with increased focus and attention which led me to complete my education. Self-studying was daunting but made easy because I studied and practised martial arts. I will mention though, it didn’t just happen overnight, after 2 years of not missing a martial arts class, I was disciplined and focused enough to do it.

I am updating this blog by sharing an article and study done by the professionals in field of psychology. This article is written by Dr. Brett Steenbarger titled “How to overcome major life setbacks“.

Until my next post,

Be good.

p.s. I haven’t forgotten to update the history blog. I am making progress with summaries.

Radically inspired 2020!

This song is all about radical truth and radical transparency! Let your new year start with a bang!

Chorus:

Radically truthful, radically transparent!
Can you handle the test? When I drop this mic, give it my best, the words will carry on, echoing!
Radically creating this space beckoning, 
Radically calling you out for this reckoning!

Verse 1

Too many manz
Want to be dissing others but when shit hits them back, they’re blinded.
Sign of the close minded. I am only talking the truth, listen with your eyes open, be reminded 
You best decide how you want to be with each other and put the past behind it 
Won’t ever stop, cuz am here screaming it out, the truth 
But your ego loves only misery, stressed
Lyrically you’re getting  messed 
Around in circles, smoking the reefa vexed
Stoically, you think you can handle it. Depressed 
Habitually, he backstabs his own circle. Behest
Blatantly, I spell it out, anger & this angst distressed 
Chronically, he will follow this path fatigued 

Chorus: 

Radically truthful, radically transparent!
Can you handle the test? When I drop this mic, give it my best, the words will carry on, echoing!
Radically creating this space beckoning, 
Radically calling you out for this reckoning!

Verse 2 

How can he be radically truthful or radically transparent? He only talks about hate and division, 
He did not see (Nazi) revision! 
The history has lessons to teach but, he skipped school to pursue his vision.
Blinded by his ego, sowing dissent turned into his mission, 
He labels it freedom of speech, radically charged nuclear fission!
Dropping bombs to blow you away, peace & love I wish ’em!
Life is a journey, not a comparison race, a healthy competition envisioned!
Point your finger at me without prejudice & hate, no ego barrier amidst ’em! 

Chorus:
Radically truthful, radically transparent!
Can you handle the test? When I drop this mic, give it my best, the words will carry on, echoing!
Radically creating this space beckoning, 
Radically calling you out for this reckoning!

Verse 3 

Getting the culture and people right, this is an idea meritocracy
Getting rid of all hypocrisy 
We’re still only one ship in the sea
Getting the crew right will determine our very might 
How consistent are you aligned with your values and what you preach? 
He believes in freedom like Edward D Teach
Newgate was the real hero who built the family right, expanding his reach!
Roger was robbed of kingship through natural disease 
The objective of my mission is to have a blast playing the game I love with passion 
Evolving with time and growing in fashion 
Distributing the meals across in right ration 
The real treasure I seek, the art of thoughtful disagreement, not condescending 
Believe in your mission & abilities, 
Stop politicising non-existent hierarchies 
Embrace reality, follow the steps to deal with it effectively 
Hold each other to high standards, survive the best you can, bring out the best you can, 
And if you don’t like what you see, there’s the D O R (door), Repeat with me- “ it’s the Man not the Dan”

Some backstory below:

These lyrics or poem, whatever the right term for it, was written after having spit some bars with a friend over the phone. They were inspired by Principles by Ray Dalio, and obviously have some references to martial arts and One Piece anime/manga by Oda.

For more on Ray’s work, follow these steps. This is how I approached it. It will make it all very easy to understand. He has written it all in an easy to understand terminology and language.

  1. Watch the 30 min youtube video. How the economic machine works?
  2. Read or Listen to his book Principles.
  3. Read his Template for Understanding Debt Crises (available online for free)
  4. Read the series of LinkedIn articles
  5. To expand further, you can read Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, Graham Allison’s Destined for War, Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads and The New Silk Roads.
  6. In my history blog I will be summarising these books chapter by chapter.
  7. I am doing it for 2 reasons, studying it myself in more detail. Share it with everyone.




The Secrets of the Self!

I am not trying to write what the famous poets Rumi and Iqbal wrote in their poetry, rather it’s just small glimpse of my understanding into their poetry.

Both poets have elaborated on the subject of ego and its secrets! However, I want to relate the spiritual concept of ego, as how can we apply it in our daily lives on an ongoing basis.

There’s a famous quote attributed to Buddha and Rumi, “Before you speak, let your words pass three gates. Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”

Speech is very powerful. It has the weight to uplift someone or break them. Another famous verse that just came to my mind, “Kind words and forgiveness are better than charity followed by injury.” Meaning, don’t do good unto someone or help someone just to look down upon them and count your favours upon them. From the characteristics of superego and higher level of spirituality is to do good and forget it. You shouldn’t expect anything in return. Help someone within your capacity as much as you can. Being of service to others, enjoining and promoting good will add to your scale of achieving higher spirituality.

These quotes are related more to spirituality of an individual rather than ego. However, the reason I am writing this is because, I want to present how I view ego, the overlap between superego/higher self and spirituality and love.

I will try write all narratives of my understanding of ego parallel. It will help me to collect this information in one article and consolidate the narratives I know of, and help provide an understanding perhaps, where I am in these narratives and what are my blind spots.

In Arabic, Ego is referred to as Nafs. Freud has also categorised it in 3:

  1. Id or The Commanding Self (Nafs al Ammara)
  2. Ego or The Regretful Self (Nafs al Lawwamah)
  3. Superego or The Satisfied/Content Self (Nafs al Mutmainnah)

In the Islamic tradition, ego is also linked to the state of the heart. Modern science has gathered evidence of heart having its neurons and ability to make decisions. The gut instinct that you often feel is the result of that. However, in my view, before following your gut feeling, you must be aware of the state of your heart. There are 3 types of spiritual hearts:

  1. A Pure/Good Heart- this is when your heart is in sync with the superego (higher self).
  2. A Diseased Heart- this is when your heart fluctuates between the higher self and lower self. Similar to the ego state, when one goes back and forth as I illustrate in this sin curve of ego. I just coined this term thinking about actions, sine function(sin) and ego fluctuation cycle one goes through.
  3. A Dead Heart- this is when your heart is in id state, and your lower level you controls your thoughts and gut feelings. So before following your gut feelings, it is often a good thing to be aware of the state of your own heart as I elaborate below in this sin curve of ego.
The sin wave and how it is similar to the ego cycle fluctuations.

Miyamoto Musashi said,

“In the practice of every way of life and every kind of work, there is a state of mind called that of the deviant. Even if you strive diligently on your chosen path day after day, if your heart is not in accord with it, then even if you think you are on a good path, from the point of view of the straight and true, this is not a genuine path. If you do not pursue a genuine path to its consummation, then a little bit of crookedness will turn into a major warp. Reflect on this.” End quote

In my view of this all and from experience, we develop our personality and traits over time and refine them(nature vs nurture). Hence, in some aspects of life you can access the superego state and stay in it, in other aspects you may struggle to even move beyond the id state. Id state displays animalistic behaviour and fights to override your rational thinking process and makes you follow your primordial instincts, so to improve and evolve you have to grow and climb on to the ego state. Once in ego state, you are in control of some bits of the aspects and to further evolve, you have to climb on to the superego (higher self) which I also view as the rational, logical and morally correct self.

From my experience, learning something new and making it your natural instinct or 2nd nature is what is involved in this process at times. However, for the time being as I am relating it to the spiritual state of the individual, I will relate this to the 4 different levels of love as categorised by Saints and relate them to the different levels of meditations:

  1. Love for yourself- any form of meditation which helps you improve, positivity and focus. Including exercise, nutrition and keeping fit.
  2. Love for the community- No particular meditation technique, rather actions show this.
  3. Love for the world- Compassion meditation. It connects new neural pathways and grants access to the subconscious state. It also increases one in love for others.
  4. Love for the universe- Transcendental meditation- I am not sure how correct this form of meditation is here. Although from my experience- it is a state where one detaches him/her self from all negativity and be able to stay in constant state of flow. Performing at one’s peak. From the spiritual perspective- being grateful and appreciative of everything in the whole universe. Known and unknowns.

Next time, I will delve more into meditation techniques and how we can increase our focus, attention and be able to visualise our goals.

Body, Soul and The Mind

Image: Samurai Art I search the vastness,The deep recesses of my mind.I close my eyes, but it only turns me blind.Staring in this void,No answers I can find.An epiphany occurs,The pieces of puzzle I must bind,Body, Soul and the mind.So, I plunge in my heart, I heard that’s where the Soul resides.The darkness rings a […]

Body, Soul and The Mind

لا دینی ولاطینی کس پیچ میں الجھا تو

(Zarb-e-Kaleem-197) La Deeni-o-La Teeni, Kis Paich Mein Uljha Tu



La Deeni-o-La-Teeyni, Ks Paich Mein Uljha Tu
Daru Hai Zaeefon Ka ‘La Ghaliba-Illah Hu’

Secularism and Latin script! What a meaningless controversy!
The panacea for the weak is: Naught is powerful except God.

Sayyad-e-Maani Ko Yourap Se Hai Naumeedi
Dilkash Hai Faza, Lekin Be-Nafah Tamam Aahu

Those interested in spirit are despaired of Europe;
The atmosphere there is pleasant but its deer is without musk.

Be Ashak-e-Sehargahi Taqweem-e-Khudi Mushkil
Ye Lala-e-Paikani Khaushtar Hai Kinar-e-Ju

Khudi hardly becomes strong without morning tears:
This arrow‐shaped tulip can well grow by the riverside.

Sayyad Hai Kafir Ka, Nachcheer Hai Momin Ka
Ye Dair-e-Kuhan Yani Butkhana-e-Rang-o-Bu

This old tavern, the world of smell and colour,
Is the hunter of the unbeliever but the prey of the believer.

Ae Sheikh, Ameeron Ko Masjid Se Nikalwa De
Hai Un Ki Namazon Se Mehraab Tursh Aabru

O Shaykh, get these rich people out of the mosque!
The niche is sour‐faced at their prayers!

Allama Iqbal- poet of the East.