Tongue and Speech

Words are powerful. What we say, how we say it often has consequences attached to it. Words have the power to uplift someone or break them depending how you say them. I express some thoughts around it in the linked article.

There’s a reason why the tongue, just a small muscle but that has a capacity to bring out so much good or cause much damage, is caged behind the teeth. If the lips were an entrance to the prison, the teeth and jaw comprise that prison. Tongue is the prisoner. Why? Because we should only speak when necessary.

Rumi said, before you speak let your words pass three gates. Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

In today’s world, this has somewhat changed. We can speak online via blogs, articles, comments, opinions that can be shared with the whole world. Or as many people that read those thoughts/online speech. There is a blur between speech and thought.

Like how I am currently writing out my thoughts and turning it into an article without saying a word. My tongue is still in its cage, yet it speaks. It speaks through words that have been typed.

This is why in today’s world, this golden narration that mentions the best of you are those from whose tongue and hands others are safe, becomes even more relevant.

Hands are not just used to cause physical harm to others in today’s world. Hands can partake in emotional harm that we can cause to others by typing out thoughtlessly, by uttering hate speech, online arguments, trivial talk, online gossips, backbiting through private messaging, spreading rumors. The more I think, all vices that were committed by the tongue prior to Internet connectivity, can be now committed remaining silent. I am silent in my speech yet my mind thinks, the hands and fingers type.

Now it is up to each of us individually how we make use of this thinking and typing. Do we use it to spread love, peace, goodness, call to peace or whatever other good there is? Or do we use it for malignant purposes?

Unlike being able to sense other person’s energy in real life, you can’t sense the electrical signals that type out those words.

It is still possible to grasp some of it through well articulated thoughts, articles, opinions etc.

Trying to follow down the spiritual path, I try to restrain my tongue and increasingly my thoughts. I smile as I write this thought because I do think since starting blogging regularly and with more consistency, I have allowed myself to become more quiet. I talk less, reflect more, prefer solitude, even though I score quite high on extraversion on the personality tests. Regardless of how extraverted I may be I think that I am well balanced with introversion and extraversion. Simply put, I am an ambivert.

This said though, I do see this online crises of trivial talk, disputes and arguments, hate speech worsening. Why? Because of rising inequality, a continuing widening of gaps; political, social and wealth.

Ever since I learnt martial arts and became confident in my ability to fight, I saw fighting as useless, something that will not bring me any good. I stopped being the aggressor. I stopped being the provocative type, I stopped being the mocking type who would push others in an argument to get physical.

Similarly learning and spirituality has helped me overcome some of my other faults. I am not implying that I have reached some sort of enlightenment, I can only hope to get there, some day perhaps? I don’t think I am at a level that can come close to the great spiritual leaders.

Because I am thinking out loud and not muttering the words writing this article, I am shifting from thought to thought. The direction I was trying to steer my thoughts after mentioning the rising values, social, political and wealth gap is how the Internet helps fuel all this. The media and news puts more light on fear and despair. The media and news does more to divide than unite. In addition, the rising populism of the extreme right and extreme left is very quickly reshaping many narratives. Combine this with the Great Reset and trying to shift the paradigm towards environmentally friendly world. What we see so far is like Dr. Anas has mentioned in this thread The mother of all Enrons. Carbon neutrality is just another window dressing and accounting fraud. In reality, current policies are exacerbating a brewing crisis.

I can’t help but think that what is actually happening is that the widening values and social gap is being taken advantage of. Totalitarianism is swiftly taking over under the guise of Liberal democracy. While some groups are being empowered currently, it is being done so without them realising that in actual fact, their freedom and rights too are being jeopardised. Haven’t the masses learnt the oldest trick in the books yet? We keep repeating this over and over again throughout history. Divide and rule! Take a moment to think about this, you are empowered to speak up but the speech creates a shift in the other end of the spectrum leading to an increasing divide. The two sides then, are pitted against one another.

This is a world wide phenomenon being actualized in different ways in different countries, hence why I am speaking or rather thinking about it in general terms. The biggest driver behind it was covid. It’s like, a mass experiment is being conducted in various ways. It’s most vivid in the so called Western democracies.

I stand for peace, I neither see myself on the right nor the left. We don’t know whether in the coming years this will resolve without a conflict or there will be a lot of internal and external strife before a resolution. Rather a revolution!

Lol I am neither a conspiracy theorists, nor a revolutionary. I much consider myself a wanderer that likes to observe and think. I would like to think that my views are formed after a lot of research and learning about different social, values, political and economic issues. But I leave it here for you to decide. Think things through…are you a pawn on the bigger board? Is the force behind you leading you to the other side? Will that happen through strife and unrest or through sensible agreements and disagreements? Is the force pulling your strings allied to you, or is it associating itself to you for their purpose, gain and glory?

You don’t have to think of the whole world. Because I am thinking in general terms. A good place to start is by asking which group do I belong to? What is happening around us? What forces are empowering us? What forces are engaged in the disenfranchisement? Are your rights and freedom in jeopardy? What can you do to engage your community to raise this awareness?

Damn! When I started writing this article, I had no idea my thoughts were going to go down this path. I guess I have been thinking a lot. Or perhaps I have been reading a lot and reflecting on the many different things I have been reading. But reading books only empowers me to think things through different perspectives. It spurs different thoughts about current affairs, both political and economic. At the same time, these are loosely held opinions as I am not trying to speculate on the future, I am not trying to delve into the unknown.

I am content and living in the present because I know ultimately what my beliefs are. All that is happening, has happened or will happen is through the divine will. Our choices are merely manifestations. I just have to work and make efforts to choose wisely and ask for wisdom to be patient with things that are not in my control. I’d like to urge you to do the same whatever your beliefs. Focus on making the best choices in the present moment.

To get a further idea on what has shaped some of my thinking before, take a look at this post. I wrote this at the end of 2019 reading some history books, and all of Ray Dalio’s then published work. However, I found that my thinking was too idealistic and looked at things from an unrealistic perspective. International relations, geopolitics and politics itself has a big influence on how things unfold/transpire.

Writing this once more, my thoughts turn their attention at the power dynamics that is in play between nations/countries, between different ideologies, different groups and the individuals themselves that are power hungry. So far as the human nature goes, power corrupts humans. Yet without their being an authority, civil strife and chances of anarchy increase. Ok… I think if I keep carrying on I will not stop writing this post. The original purpose of my writing this post was to remind myself, how blur is the line between keeping others safe from my hands and tongue. It is essentially the same in this day and age. Another important reminder that I have mentioned in prior posts comes to mind here paraphrasing, kind words are better than charity followed by injury and insult.

Finally, a new lunar year starts tonight or tomorrow depending on the new crescent. I don’t usually make new year’s resolution. However, this being a special day today, I want to commit to introducing some new changes. Developing a winning mindset. Here’s the linked 2 videos I watched in the morning to feel inspired. Muhammad Ali and Kobe Bryant, two top athletes talking about how to be the winner. While I practise writing without muttering and just paying attention to my thoughts and being cognizant of my thoughts. I wonder whether any of you feel an electric pulse run down the centre left and bottom part of the brain, when you feel inspired or when you feel focused. Often when I feel inspired and create a connection for that inspiration with some of my already set goals, I feel this electric pulse in the centre left side of the brain that runs down towards the bottom left side of the neck. Like something getting rewired in me, it is motivating, the sensation and the feeling itself. Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

So recently, I have been listening to exegesis of some chapters for the purposes of spirituality, reading some philosophical books. Eric Fromm, currently reading Fydor Dostoevsky, and will probably revisit some Theology and Nietzsche after going through Dostoevsky’s work. This extra reading is to satiate the curiosity and thirst for learning more and looking at the world through different perspectives.

What I wish for is the ability to be able to read a book from a writers perspective, that would be a powerful thing. Imagine reading it from writer’s perspective and then reading it once more shedding that perspective and bringing in your own insights. It can be done I think, because some of the fictional works I have read e.g., Dan Brown, Robert Ludlum, J.K Rowling and Haruki Murakami, some of my favourite authors whose works completely captivate me and I can just immerse myself into a different world and at times feel so in tune with writer’s thoughts that I can see how the story is growing but at the same time, the curiosity and escapism keeps me latched on to read more and more.

Haha, this is what happens when I write spontaneously and just listen to my thoughts and type them out. I guess last year and when I first started writing on here, this was very much my style. Now, I sort of try to stick to the topic but that makes it sort of tedious.

Here once more, I have to remind myself the importance of humility and knowing the Creator of the thoughts. Recognising the apparent and real ability and be grateful for the many opportunities and vigour that keeps me at learning more stuff. Imagine the amount of knowledge there is in this world. Of the past generations and the present, if that knowledge is equivalent to the oceans. Then my knowledge is probably equivalent to a single molecule of water. It won’t even equal a drop.

While it is great to acquire more knowledge and learn more, it’s even better to specialise in a niche field. That’s where my current focus is. A winning mindset is essential to successfully specialise.

Restarting the Economy

How to Restart the Economy and Ease the Lockdown Measures?

Covid-19 pandemic has caused a global depression within a few months. There is no cure currently as of this writing or a vaccine. The only viable option available to remove these economic sudden stops and bring back productivity and normalcy is to design a way to stop the spread of the virus transmission.

Thus far, the governments and various health departments have issued self-isolation measures, lockdown measures, advice on PPE such as N95 respirators and surgical masks, hand sanitisers, washing the hands with soap for minimum of 20 seconds to dissolve the virus. But the measures have not been enough to stop the contagion and rise in number of deaths globally. Here is a snapshot of the global pandemic via John Hopkins University

There is a case in every continent, and those who initially flattened the curve such as Singapore and South Korea and China are reporting new cases. The second wave and reinfection are what is preventing those countries from a return to normal. To be precise, pre Covid-19 normal.

Furthermore, what we know so far from the researchers is that even if vaccine is developed, the vaccine fades away and the risk of infection remains once it does. We are coming dangerously close to a time, where only the healthy population survives and the others slowly inch closer to death. This is a stark reality when you look at the number of deaths and how quickly it has spread globally. The first cases were reported some say in December, some say in November, the bottom line however, is that in Four Months, the global cases stand at 2.9M, the deaths at 203.5K.

There is no consistency in measures and response either, different policy makers have taken different approaches. Some who responded earlier, limited the number of fatalities, others who were slow to respond and hoping for herd immunity have witnessed an exponential rise in number of cases and deaths. In previous wars, military heroes and political heroes emerged. In this new war, it is the doctors and nurses fighting the invisible forces of the universe.

The health damage is not limited to covid-19 fatalities, the mental health, domestic abuse, paedophilia, sexual and physical abuse is creeping and gripping upon those who are vulnerable. Here is an article by FT related to this subject; The Hidden Health Costs of UK Lockdowns. This is not just a UK phenomenon. The bigger risks are developing countries.

The reason I am mentioning this is because everything is very much connected to the global financial system. Economic failures, risks and unemployment in the developing world where many are daily labourers face unprecedented risks. This economic collapse of demand and work is creating ripples and affecting the mental health.

Economic Impact

To understand the global monetary system and how it is currently shaping, have a read of this thread by Raoul Pal of Real Vision. Flight to dollars has caused a shortage of dollars globally, everybody wants to hold the reserve currency because 55% transactions occur in dollars globally. The stock market has seen outflows in trillions of dollars since the spread of pandemic.

The travel and tourism industry has come to halt with forecasted business travel spend revenue loss in billions of dollars. According to data by Statista, China is projected to lose $404.1 bn, Europe is projected to lose $190.5 bn, with the rest of the regions bringing the forecasted total to $810.7 bn. The actual numbers will be much worse because it is difficult to quantify the impact of coronavirus and the extension of lockdowns with each milestone.

Here is a look at US Non-Farm Payrolls for the month of March. April’s data will be released on the 1st Friday of May given no delays. The US economy lost 701 thousand jobs in March, much worse than market expectations of a 100K cut, reflecting the effects of the coronavirus and efforts to contain it. It is the first decline in payrolls since September of 2010, but the figures were not as bad as those seen in 2008 as the number excludes the last two weeks of March when unemployment claims surged by nearly 10 million. About two-thirds of job losses occurred in leisure and hospitality, mainly in food services and drinking places. Employment also declined in health care and social assistance, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction via Trading Economics.

I think the next couple of months are going to look terrible,” White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told reporters. “You’re going to see numbers as bad as anything we’ve ever seen before.” Reported 26thApr20, 15:33 BST.

The US economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, less than market expectations of a 22 million cut, and after declining by 870K in March. It is the largest drop ever, bringing the employment to 131 million, its lowest level since February 2011, due to the coronavirus pandemic and consequent restrictive lockdown restrictions imposed such as business closures. Job losses were widespread, with the largest 7.7 million decline occurring in leisure and hospitality. Almost three-quarters of the decrease occurred in food services and drinking places (-5.5 million). Employment also fell in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry (-1.3 million) and in the accommodation industry (-839,000). The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised down by 45,000 to +230,000, and the change for March was revised down by 169,000 to -870,000. With these revisions, employment changes in February and March combined were 214,000 lower than previously reported. [Trading Economics]

I do not think any amount of economic data justifies the message I am trying to convey. The reality is not yet fully quantifiable. Looking at the April NFP data, some of the quantifiable impact can be seen. Although investors such as Ray Dalio and others iterate that this was a likely outcome, coronavirus is the cause for the effects which would have inevitably taken hold of the global economy. He is right, the global economy would have come to this point because of some other cause. However, what can we do to address current issues? What can the people with wealth and money do to address this issue? Call me a cynic but, is that best that they can do? With vast resources in possession, the best minds, tech available? I am sure they are equally dumbfounded at their own powerlessness when faced with the forces of universe. We have already witnessed negative oil prices, the futures for May WTI Crude oil contract settling in negative territory for the first time in history. What more are we waiting for before we kickstart the economy? Yes, it is a dangerous approach and majority are against it because everyone fears the virus, the risk of reinfection and the burden on the health and medical facilities. However, we leave many bigger problems unaddressed, if we do not find an alternative to a new normal. A normal amidst the pandemic and a post-pandemic normal. Politicians are weaponizing the pandemic in US to smear at each other’s inadequate responses.

I am addressing this document as a proposal to put out an alternative solution. It seems a viable option, effective in theory to stop person to person transmission of the virus. It can be an effective way of easing the lockdown measures while researchers and scientists work hard at finding a cure and developing a vaccine. And as we know thus far, vaccine is not the ultimate solution. I am sure the people involved in inventing and designing these measures are doing their best and I wish them the best of luck, considering they are really putting the heart of the world before anything else.

A Drink from the Cup of Knowledge

Long ago in a distant land, a boy was looking to find something to give him purpose in life. He searched and searched, but then everything changed, when he decided to go at war. War within himself. He set on a journey to travel within. 

He decided to walk down the same path of overcoming the ego that many great people had tread before him. 

Once when Rumi’s Friday procession was marching towards the masjid to deliver the Friday sermon. On the way, he encountered a mystic, a wanderer. The wanderer stopped his horse by getting in the way, looked at Rumi and asked him this question. Shams [(sun)-the name of the wanderer)] asked of the scholar, “O you who are as knowledgeable in meanings as a money-changer is with coins, tell me who was greater, Muhammad, the Elect of God, or Bayazid?”

“Muhammad is the Prince and the Commander of all the Prophets and all the Friends of God. All power and greatness is his.” Rumi Replied. 

Shamsuddin asked, “In that case, what does it mean that the Prophet said, ‘Glory be to You! We have not known You as You ought to be known,’ while Bayazid said, ‘How great is my glory. How exalted am I, the sultan of sultans.’”

Some may have called Bayazid’s statement/poetry Blasphemy, but Rumi knew what it really meant.
Rumi answered, “Bayazid’s thirst was quenched and the container of his comprehension was filled by a single sip, and he appeared to have been satisfied. The light entered in proportion to the opening of his heart. The Chosen one of God (peace and blessings upon him) had a profound desire that had yet to be satisfied. For the Prophet it was thirst upon thirst. His blessed chest had become God’s vast dominion… For that reason he said, ‘I have not known You as You ought to be known’.”

The cup of knowledge/wisdom and the thirst for knowledge/wisdom are directly proportional, the greater the thirst, the more it can hold. 

How big is your cup? How thirsty are you for knowledge and wisdom? Are you content with little or let ego take control and make you think you know it all. Or, do you continually learn and learn more because your heart and mind remain open?  This is a great reminder for a people who once sought knowledge even if they had to travel to far places, places as far as Fars and Cheen. In the medieval times, those were vast distances to cover. Have a listen to this lecture, thank you Youtube for recommending it to me. Spirit of Islam. p.s. I am not trying to preach, that is not my intent. I am not qualified to do so, neither do I have knowledge of such level. I am a firm believer of the teaching; practise what you preach! I struggle everyday. We bicker more than we do Dhikr. That made me laugh, listen for some good Islamic rhymes. Liquor conference and Dhikr Conference. Hamza Yusuf is one of my favourite scholars. To check out his work go to https://zaytuna.edu/ this is the college he has established for traditional Islamic studies in Amreeka. Check out https://sandala.org/ to access his lectures, recordings and explanation of many books. Amazing person(Tayyab, Mumtaaz) and very humble. So if you wonder, where does my knowledge of the self and Ruh(soul) comes from, it is Hamza Yusuf’s lectures and explanations of the many books he has delivered lectures on. While you’re at it, check out these lectures 17 benefits of tribulations.

In all chosen paths of enlightenment, be it the way of Buddha, the way of Moses, the way of Christ or the way of Muhammad peace be upon them all. Or even just a spiritual path to enlightenment. First, you measure your cup and see whether your thirst has already been quenched. Refill your cup over and over, the gems will hold, and the froth will be removed just like when a cup overflows with excess liquid. But once you find your chosen path and after many lessons you have learnt to hold more gems than froth. Dig down in that cup and turn it into a well. Perhaps something even magical that never seems to get full. This reminds of the scene when Dumbledore is drinking to recover the fake amulet (a Horcrux) already recovered by R.A. Black. No more Harry, please stop! That’s a little magical crazy. I am not talking in that sense. 

Hmm, talking about this and thinking of Dumbledore and his old friend the dark wizard, forgot his name lol and I call myself a Harry Potter fan. Oh yeah- Grindelwald. Grindelwald and Dumbledore once set upon a journey to become great wizards seeking power and motivated by greed. Don’t be the dumb Dumbledore. Be the wise Dumbledore, who upon realising that love is a stronger force than power, changed his ways, although only after suffering great losses. I don’t know why I even started comparing the path of righteousness and purification to the path of Deathly Hallows. I guess, some of you might find it interesting looking at it from this perspective. The path of enlightenment whether righteousness, gaining knowledge or whatever pursuit of happiness you choose to go after, they all have similarities. Principles, you find them take different outward appearances but principles hold through time. As Dumbledore says, “Love Harry, it’s love that protected you and shielded you. That’s how you got the scar on your forehead.” 

In all paths to greatness, the road is rocky, the path is difficult to remain steadfast upon. Grit, persistence, overcoming setbacks, abundance, believing in Providence are your tools through all thick and thin.
Grit, virtue, focus and drive
Resilience and persistence 
A thick skin! 

Found this through James Clear’s 3 2 1 Newsletter. An excerpt from the poem “Youth” by Samuel Ullman, a Jewish poet:

“Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigour of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust. Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living.”

Source: Youth

Why am I linking what I have just shared with this poem? The way I see it is that, to follow the path of your choosing, you must live in your youth as Samuel Ullman mentions it is a state of mind, a matter of the will, a quality of imagination and the freshness of the deep springs of life.