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.

A History Lesson I Learnt

No summary or shortening of the book can justify what the author himself has researched, dedicated his time towards. My chapter by chapter summary’s purpose is to create an audience who starts to see the importance of understanding history or perhaps take interest in reading such big heavy books.

I remember vividly, as a secondary school student, sulking over history lessons. My God, what a chore!

It was the most uninteresting and useless subject I had to attend as a teenager. I didn’t care at all. I was always inattentive, and even cheated in my mock exams for GCSEs. I was stressing over passing my history exam. I was an intelligent student although, I hardly ever used to study, and given it was my least favourite, ‘history exam’. I decided to write up the main notes. That was a lot of effort haha, hid them underneath my shirt and stuffed some up my sleeves for my mock exam day. However, my history teacher was an ex-army major, and that made it a telling tale.

It’s hard to remember how I had the courage and the audacity to cheat on his watch. I had the notes underneath my legs and feet. I was writing away all the answers, the plan was going well. Until, a lot of cheat papers were right in front of me, some under my thighs and some underneath my feet. I didn’t know how to stuff them all back inside, without attracting the attention of the ex-Major. Having come this far, I didn’t want to give up on my plan. I managed to get all the papers in a neat little bundle, and I was about to stuff them under my shirt, but the ex-major started marching towards me.

I froze! I thought he clocked me. I was devastated. Picturing all of this, I can feel a swarm of emotions I felt then. I gulped! I coughed! It was hard to breathe. My arms went heavy and knees went weak. It was like, the floor had vanished, and I was floating as a speck of dust. I became ‘nothing’ in that moment. My reputation as a top student was on the line.

School assembly headlines for next morning were ringing bells in my head.

Chiming, “A once honest and brilliant student, fallen to the lowest level! We want to announce this news in front of the school to make an example out of it. He will be marching in front of you all. The walk of shame begins NOW!”

I managed to clear my head of the anxiety and pressure I felt in that moment. I reacted to his footsteps! I threw away the ‘cheat notes’ underneath the seat in front of me. Silly! I know.

What made it feel even worse was, that the ex-major didn’t march towards me. He marched in my direction. Yes!

But he marched to catch another student who also happened to be copying the answers from another student. His footsteps came to a halt!

I was so absorbed in my world, that I wasn’t looking around to find out who else was riding the wave with me. The student got caught red-handed, his exam cancelled. He was sent to the Headteacher’s office. As the student left, the ex-major looked towards me, smiled and surprisingly noticing the papers lying underneath the seat, from where the student had gotten up. He came closer, leaning towards that chair, he picked up the papers. He looked at me and saw the guilt in my eyes. Asked me, “Do you know, who these belong too?” Naively, I managed to stutter, “I don’t know, sir.”

He looked at the papers, the handwriting, and looked at my open answer sheet. He exclaimed, “Are you sure these are not yours?”

I replied, “Erm, the handwriting seems to be mine, but I don’t remember bringing the notes out of my bag sir.”

 “Very well, if you don’t admit. We will have to investigate. However, under the given circumstances, it is my understanding, that these belong to you and that you will not be allowed to take this exam. Head to the principal’s office. I will see you there!

The walk of shame thus began, as I left the classroom, with my belongings. I questioned myself? Did I belong in that classroom after all that?

Haha, I know that it’s a rather sad and funny story looking back. To add to the comedy, I will tell you how the situation went ahead too. In short, at the principal’s office, I was scolded, told that wasn’t expected of me. However, being from the best students in class did save me. I was awarded 70% in the mock exam without having to cheat further and attempting a grueling history exam. I was over the moon.

That kind of had a positive impact on me. It made me think!

I thought to myself then, I wasn’t expected to act in such a way. I was expected to know stuff, know history. The ex-major who taught history and the two principals, who taught mathematics and geography concluded that, had I not cheated, I still would have passed the exam. So, to be strict, they awarded me 70% and said that they believed I would have scored higher, had it not been for the mishap of magically appearing notes. They didn’t accuse me of cheating. Instead, they done something powerful that changed my mindset just a little. A little, that I started studying history. A little that helped me score 89% in my History GCSEs.

Fast forward some 15 years, here I am reading different history books! Still trying to learn more. However, I understand its significance even more. So I will be sharing my blogposts here, it will help me keep my knowledge in an open place where I share it with others and perhaps, create an urge among the readers too, to understand it.