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.

How to motivate yourself to sustain your productivity!

I am sharing an old post I wrote back in 2015 when I was studying for exams. This is very relevant in current times.

Many of us have so much free time, many of us are bored, binge watching shows. I am not saying that I don’t watch shows at all. I am a big anime fan, psychological and thriller genres being my favourite. My favourite anime is Monster by Naoki Urasawa. An underrated anime definitely. What I mean is, often if this habit is not kept in check, it turns into escapism. Like binge playing video games, binge watching TV shows, movies, binge listening to music. These are all forms of escapism and many of us fall into this trap without ever realising. Escapism although, it can be good at times to keep the mind busy and away from anxiety, stress, depression when you have no other solution. In no way ever, it will solve any of those problems. It will just halt them temporarily much like what other addictions do. Drugs, drinking and what not. Since this is a norm in today’s society and especially the youth. Here is what helped me when I was a student, although I still am, but not sitting any school, college or university exams.

How To Motivate Yourself To Study?

I may not be the best person to answer this query, but let’s just say most of us struggle similarly. Work, life in general, family, commitments, enjoyment and so much more that life has to offer gets in the way of studying. Am I right? (rolling eyes) hmmm i guess so…. On the contrary, sometimes it is simply laziness, poor time management and lack of discipline that gets in the way of studying. I think together the two hold true for the majority. Motivation, is a word so deep that you have to dig out from the depths of your inner self, your consciousness, your conviction, errrr…. thinking deeply, I would say Motivation needs a regular check up. Just like how you get a health check up, how you maintain your diet, how you keep up a work routine; motivation similarly needs to be renewed, pondered over and rejuvenated yet to keep it going strong.

I hope that helps, but let me tell you something, we are capable of a lot more than we can comprehend ourselves. The mind is limitless just like the universe. We are strong and it is said that no soul shall be burdened beyond what it can bear. Getting back to the subject of motivation and linking it with studies, it generally works if you treat studies and exams just like your job or part-time job. Spend 2-3 hours daily, if not then, regularly. Follow a routine, plan ahead, more importantly do some exercise to help relieve stress and keeping a healthy mind and body. Physical and mental fitness is essential, especially in today’s world. We all live a busy life, hard to squeeze new things in our daily routine, sometimes so busy that we don’t pay attention to our closest relations.

I personally being a bit lazy leave everything and do it at the eleventh hour. However, I do pass and score average marks. If I was to work harder, better put like this, if I was to manage my time more efficiently and study properly, I could score better in exams. My point is ‘Motivation’, that’s what I lack too and yet I am writing this article to help you, because sometimes it’s the human nature, people can advise other people better than they can themselves. Does that make sense? hmmm…I guess it does. So by advising you, ultimately I am noting all of this for myself too and work to improve my motivation, and find the trigger to take it one level up every time. Hehe, I think that last line was overly ambitious.

“Find the trigger to keep it in Resonance.” Don’t let it fluctuate too much, just like the Miller Orr Model for cash management. Well, I hope this helps, I want to continue writing but I have to get back on my studies 🙂 Good Luck with your exams 🙂

Well, all exams have been cancelled. You might not be studying at all right now. Think of the consequences when you start again. We are creatures of habit. If you break your good and productive habits during these times, a lot of us will find it a chore to bring those back when we need them. To ensure, that you don’t lose the productive habits, what you ought to do perhaps, is do a little of them. E.g. if you can’t study 6-7 hours like you’d during school/college or exam times. Study 1 hour a day. If you can’t do 1 hour workout in gym, do a 15 minute workout at home. Once more, what I am really doing is, by advising you, I am noting all of this for myself too.

I will share some apps that help me, my 2 favourites are Thenics and Mindfulness. You just need a small space and follow the app for a solid workout. If you can sustain these workouts for 2-3 months, you just might be able to do handstand, pistol-squat and other cool calisthenics moves.

In the mindfulness app, my current favourite meditation practice is Corona resilience. Immunity booster. Although, I always have my own ways to apply and make them work for me. I will perhaps talk about other different meditation techniques I carry out in my next post.

Until then, stay fit and stay productive.