Dangers of Falling into …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Denied or Denial

Why did I even come up with this name for the blog? This was a couple months back. To be precise I wrote the title of the blog per my drafts on 15th October 2020. What did I want to write then? I can’t really recall lol

But what can I write about this topic now? In this moment, when thinking of these words the first image that comes to mind is that of a judge. A judge listens to both sides of an argument of the party in question and draws conclusion by how well their arguments are presented. The party who may willingly/ unwillingly plead guilty thinks they are denied, hence sometimes they can also be in denial. Perhaps denying the truth or perhaps refuting the lies, maybe denied blessings, hopes and opportunities. Maybe denied hardships and trials that they cannot see unfolding. There is only one True Judge. The True Judge must be just beyond all comprehension. The one that brings all to light. The hidden and manifest, the seen and unseen. What is spoken of and what is kept secret.

Why did I write, “Denied or Denial ” as the title of the blog? Was I thinking about worldly life? Or was I thinking of spirituality? If I were to think from the perspective of spirituality, and the word denied- it is a blessing. Deny what the ego wants. There is a famous saying that comes to mind, a spiritual person is grateful for all the blessings the ones received and the ones denied. The human intellect and wisdom draws on past and present and projects onto the future. However, that wisdom and intellect doesn’t know what lies in the future. The wisdom and intellect of a spiritual person has to put all trust, hope and fear to the higher power. To God!

Denial in regards to spirituality in my thought and little knowledge that I hold embodies the lower ego. The id as classified by Freud. Or perhaps the unconscious mind and the shadow self as classified by Jung. The 2 ideas are powerful and as Jung says, if you don’t make what is unconscious conscious, it will dictate your life and you will call it fate. The id and the lower self is a force within the human mind, body and soul that entraps a person in a cycle of unconscious behaviours.

There is much more I can write on this… on and on but at the same time, I think that because what I know is very little, writing perhaps helps me explore the unknown, writing helps me gain wisdom and insights from the lens and pen I hold. It grants me wisdom the way my mind works and thinks. However, reading and listening is what truly opens the door to ideas, possibilities, different perspectives, different ways of seeing things.

Something that just came to my mind, the water that flows can create a path forwards. Even if it meanders to get there.

Why do I say this? In the context of denied and denial; whether looking at it from the perspective of a judge or the parties in question involved or, looking at it through the lens of spirituality. Staleness is what stunts our growth. Stale water eventually becomes a life source for micro organisms, algae and fungi. A person who does not want to grow and lives in denial- can be likened to that stale water. The mind of the person becomes a source and force for denial. Denial in the context of the idea of judge, and denial in the context of id and the shadow self.

Different Types of Fear

In this article I am going to explore different types of fear. The recent discussions with someone regarding my own fears and inability to overcome them, leads me to explore fear, where do they stem from? The category it falls under, they cause of it and its relation.

My purpose in doing so, is to identify why fears take root in our subconscious and unconscious minds. How to tackle those fears and/or manage or overcome them. Fear is a strong emotion, you can see in the image above how different emotions are ranked on the spectrum. Image was taken from an article I read on neuroscience.

So here’s a clip I found from Dr. Jordan Peterson’s YT channel explaining four different types of fear. Here is what he mentions 1) own inadequacy & malevolence 2) society 3) nature (environment) 4)unknown.

1- Own Inadequacy and malevolence he explains is often felt by soldiers when they find themselves doing things that they have never imagined. An example would be war crime- a soldier raping a civilian.

Personally I have felt this fear in sparring in martial arts and something that made me defensive. To get the aggression out again I had to explore this fear, the only way I was able to explore this fear was to face it, expose myself to it and then overcome it. Did I overcome it? I would not say I overcame it, but this particular fear is what I learnt to manage. I consider this fear a healthy friend, that keeps me calm. Let me give you an example, I get into a confrontation while at a party, entertain me here, do not ask me why I was there in the first place lol, I am just creating a hypothetical situation. A person barges into me, doesn’t apologize and instead gets aggressive, using foul language and tries to intimidate me. Being me or any normal response in this situation will be an adrenaline rush, Fight, Flight or Freeze response will try hijack me. Freezing in this situation will make it worse, fight- I won’t do it because I will have the fear that I might go overboard or use excessive strength because it’s not a sparring situation where I can go light or heavy according to the level of my opponent and rules. This fear, will make me subside the adrenaline rush, let the prefrontal cortex take control of the situation and quickly calculate an appropriate response. These things often happen in milliseconds to perhaps a few minutes. So, quick thinking and confidence to handle the situation becomes key. Ultimately exposure and confidence and situational awareness helps manages this type of fear for me. What really helps here is confidence in ability to diffuse the situation.

2) Society– living in the polarised world, with many different cultures, many different peoples. I think it’s fair to say, that those who don’t conform to the norm are judged by the society. While I won’t go into a lot of details here because then, I will have to explain the characteristics of today’s society. And people will form an opinion as to what views I hold, which side I lean towards.

You see what I done up☝️, that’s some form of fear perhaps of the society judging and forming an opinion on what I write. Withholding my views here can be considered as a result of fear. Oh well, it’s not like I am here to preach my sermon. I am simply trying to elaborate on what different types of fear are like when experienced in real life. Society can be harsh and judgemental as Dr. Peterson says. He also says, courage is what wins over fear. Humans don’t become less fearful, they become more brave. So, courage is what reduces our fears and overcome/manage them. Emotional awareness is a key component, our ability to recognise when these fears are triggered is the first step in overcoming these fears.

3) Nature (Environment) This I suppose is the healthy fear that has been built in us for our survival. Nature can be a relentless force, that can turn things around in an instant, swallow up land. Tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides and storms. It’s natural to fear the wrath of nature. Nature is also loving, the mercy and blessings far extends the wrath.

4) Unknown– Our minds constantly seek certainty. This search for certainty amidst uncertainty causes anxiety and brews up all sorts of other emotions; one of them being fear. Fear of missing out on opportunities. Fear of losing, fear of unknown. However, if can learn to embrace uncertainty, then we can take a step towards overcoming the fear of uncertainty. Uncertainty can be fearful, it can be exciting. Uncertainty can be potential, uncertainty can be possibilities. Uncertainty is sure risky but nothing in life comes free. It either has time cost or costs money. These last few lines of wisdom are shared from other great people I have learnt a lot from haha

What you seek is within you- Rumi

Hope is a powerful emotion to replace fear. Hope for a better future, hope for ease after difficulty, hope for achieving the goals. Hope… beyond the scope of this discussion. There is no fear and sorrow concerning those… in the world beyond.