Posted in Creation, Nature, spiritualzain

Creation

Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. (3;190)

The Holy Qur’an talks of Creation being a conscious well planned intention by God. It is further mentioned that all of Creation has one purpose, which ‘is the worship of the Almighty-the Creator of this world’. And this worship is restricted to not just prayers, but also encompasses, the appreciation of the wondrous creations around us. Each creation knows fully well the type of praise it needs to do. The birds sing songs of praise, the trees prostrate in adoration. All of nature worships the Almighty in its own ways without a need for reminder. The only one though who needs a frequent reminder, is the Noblest of all Creation-Man.

In Islam it is believed that Allah-God created Prophet Adam in the best form. So being the children of Adam, how can we ever even for a minute believe that we are anything but the beautiful children? The moment you stop believing you are a wonderful creation of the Almighty, you are dropping one of the ways to worship the Creator of all Creators.

You are a masterpiece that the Almighty thought of and executed, He however left the choice of reacting to the environmental factors entirely to you. Resisting the forces of nature is a challenge the toughest often succumb to, but that doesn’t erode away their essence, it only makes them more beautiful. There is an understated beauty in the weathered souls, who have battled the forces of nature, carving out a compelling persona inside out.

Nature takes its time to develop and produce its masterpieces. Seed by seed, leaf by leaf, petal by petal, thorn by thorn, root by root, branch by branch, fruit by fruit. And in that process one can truly accept the magnificence of creation, the wondrous work which, our Creator has put into making Our Big Blue, Our Home. And each element of our existence is in itself a work of art. Patiently the seed must push through to be the sapling before the enormous tree can spread out its magnificent branches, and as the saying goes, from only little acorns do mighty oaks grow.

Let your eyesight wander and feast on the sublime splendour that is Creation. From little critters creeping crawling under the soil, to the magnificent avian swooping down to catch prey, from the majestic trunk waving quadruped to the enormous blue beauty swimming graciously, words fail to capture the infinite creation of nature.

When you look at a crow, it’s just another noisy plain old black bird flying around. There are over 120 members of the common crow family. There is more to Crows than just being black. The Jay bird for example, is a delight to the eyes, sporting the most well put together colour palettes that nature has to offer.

The inconspicuous soil that the grasses and roots of plants hold on to is yet another plain old lump of black, yet there are varieties of soil that we are unaware of, and each variety plays a role in the development of a wide variety of flora and supporting fauna. Not only that, deep beneath the soil, are hidden treasures, a gift to aid our existence, from metals to oils to jewels to adorn our everyday life to fossils that hold key to our past life. The ground beneath our feet as simple as it may look is a treasure trove of things key to our subsistence.

It didn’t however happen overnight. Nature took its own sweet time making all these wonderful gifts for us, some even taking millions of years in the making. We are a gift of nature too, it takes nine months in the womb to take us from a tiny drop to a full-fledged baby, and then the years add on to grow us into a fully grown and formed adult. Then why is it that we forget that our souls and personalities also take time to evolve and grow? In fact, each day is a learning curve. Each day we become a better version of ourselves inside to out. There however also exists this group which believes they are already beyond perfect and don’t need any work. That’s just narcissism. The day you believe you are a perfect version of you, that’s the day you stop learning. We need positive reinforcements in our life, but not at the cost of becoming self-obsessed.

A by-product of our modern world is growing narcissism which is leading to unprecedented levels of depression and anxiety across the spectrum. The world is slowly becoming full of people who think they are the authority on beauty standards. These so called authorities are nothing more than proponents of the commercial cosmetic companies. They trap you in parameters of aesthetics and expect you to comply, a bit like selling your soul to the devil.

True beauty begins from beauty inside which reflects on the outside. We have enough and more “cosmetically beautiful” people in the world, but we don’t have enough of the real raw beautiful souls.

There is a saying attributed to Ali ibn Abi Talib, last of the rightly guided Caliphs of Islam, which helps understand this thought further, “Whoever beautifies himself on the inside, Allah will beautify him on the outside.”

When there is good inside, the good pours on the outside and it acts like a mirror reflecting the goodness onto whoever peeks in. The real raw beauty is edging towards being that thing of beauty we talked of in folklores of those long gone.

The battles of existing everyday leave behind their mark on our lives, sometimes apparent sometimes not. And it’s these marks making us the person we are today. And some may find those marks beautiful and yet there will be many to call them names of the worst kind. Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. I only truly understood what love is when my little one had the chicken pox. It was the worst breakout I had ever seen and heard off. Looking at her in suffering made me realise, that underneath all that scary horrible pox was still my beautiful little girl. The pox sure altered her physical appearance, but it was my baby all the same. And in that moment I truly grasped the meaning of beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.

The entire world has known and heard of the Grand Canyon, it’s a valley weathered down exquisitely by the forces of nature. The gorgeousness of the Fjords of Scandinavia are also a result of weathering over many million years by various elements of nature, and the world flocks to see them in their splendidness. The Alpine mountains and valleys are a similar result as well and they are known as one of the ultimate Romantic Destinations of the world. The beautiful moon that we witness each night has had its fair share of bombardment by the elements of the universe, yet it mesmerizes each pair of eyes laying sight, and if that isn’t enough, the female of our species are often likened to it in beauty by their ardent admirers. Some may call it spots on the moon, but they are those “spots” that add an enigmatic charm around it.

Likewise, each one of is truly beautiful in the way our Creator created us. Even the ‘ugly duckling’ grew up to be a beautiful swan. Our Creator created us all differently to show us that beauty lies in diversity. The rainbow is a spectrum of seven, the flowers are plentiful in each hue, the plants and trees are so many, that we don’t even know them all, the jungle is a home to bugs, cubs, a hiss, a roar and some more. And all of this make a beautiful world, and remind us each day we are different, but a unique kind of beautiful together.

That layer of pretence,

That layer of powder,

That layer of paint,

That layer of charades,

That layer of air,

That layer of fabric,

It all washes away,

It all fades away,

It all falls apart,

It all drifts apart.

The foundations stay strong,

The foundations cannot go wrong,

The unshakeable,

The unbreakable.

So stay strong and pure,

The dust is the undeniable end for sure,

And return with beauty in your heart and soul,

To bask in the eternal reward from the Creator of us All.

-SpiritualZain

Posted in Life, Nature, peace, spiritualzain

Peace-part I

Pent up inside,

The magma of emotions,

Burst onto the world,

Charring everything in sight,

Dispersing a melancholy of life.

The shockwaves go shuddering down to the very core of our existence.

Shaken, stirred and poured all over.

In that moment the mind believes, C’est la vie.

And the vicious cycle continues.

Not the prettiest picture painted, making one wonder, is this truly our existence every day? Let your sight wander, what do you behold? A rushed parent is dashing, the distance to the school, work and home, an agitated man driving and dishing out a few wonderful words to anyone who dare cross him, then there’s that old man who nobody says a kind word to anymore, scowling at the happy kids skipping. And further up is that woman just walking about without a care, not looking at what she is stepping over or knocking over and if you stop her, there’s no telling what your ears may have to suffer. We are these mini volcanoes waiting to erupt at the slightest provocation.

Why?

Why is it so easy to roar yet a struggle to be mellow?

Why are the turbulent waters always within reach yet the placid waters a distant vision?

Why do we complicate our lives by reacting instead of simplifying it with ignoring the drama and moving on?

Why does the search for serenity begin only in far flung exotic isles, when it actually could be within easy reach?

Peace. You can spend a lifetime searching for it and yet you will not find it, but it really is there, waiting for you to perchance upon it right there.

Throughout history, a quest that has met with moderate success has been the quest for Peace. From religion to philosophy to sociology to warfare, the quest for peace has remained a common theme. From symbolism, culture, fads to treaties, there’s something to dedicate to peace. Today peace comes under a whole domain area of knowledge to be studied along with its partner-conflict. The two together are keeping each other alive like a symbiotic relationship, where there’s conflict you want peace, when there is peace for too long, conflict feels left out. Long term existence seems inevitable. So it made me wonder why is that Peace is so hard to achieve?

We live in turbulent times, North, South, East or West, there’s hardly a place with no conflict that is sneakily ousting the days of peace. The Utopia of a peaceful world that was probably envisaged by the previous generation is edging closer each day into a nightmare version of it. We are edgy, anxious, materialistic, selfish, stingy, impatient, insensitive, negligent, cynical, and agnostic far more than ever before.

This “volatile cocktail of emotions” is that which fuels the unethical plans of the truly wicked elements of the society, whose only goal is to ensure peace can never prevail. The more conflict, the more the wicked elements flourish, while we the commoners suffer. The business of the powerful thrives on the lives of the ordinary who are petrified of the thoughts of having their routines being disrupted. This fear is slowly piece by piece taking away the “Peace” of our lives and in due process of the world.

And thus we are rapidly bidding adieu to the idea of World Peace in the Concorde. It crash lands or lands in the middle of the “Pacific” it couldn’t bother us anymore. It’s not the most agreeable notions to conjure, however as this thought does tinker the grey cells, a rather perplexing conclusion arises. When “Our” individual souls aren’t at peace, how can the world find peace? After all, ‘We are the World’. It’s when the inner circle is all about peace, does the ripple effect work its wonders and spread that peace everywhere it touches. The shackles which hold us back, which tie our souls to a selfish thought process can be broken. The mindlessness of just living can be altered to living with a purpose. And that purpose of living doesn’t have the painted with the paintbrush called ego. We are all capable of being in harmony with nature’s wonderful spectrum of seven. And when the sight beholds the rewards of that harmony, it will make you want to do more, be more and add that extra sparkle to your individual hue. Fairness and equality seem to be a thing of the past, its all about “me , me and some more me”. Even though its about “me”, that me is not at peace. Perhaps it could be that the “Me” moment has been achieved by stealth and thus the uneasiness.

It is pretty much a straight-forward process to find that peace again, provided you make the intention to find and stick with it. Almost every major religion of the world encourages the attainment of peace, yet the masses struggle. While some take a dramatic take on achieving it by renouncing the world, I found something simpler stemming from the values I’ve grown up with.

In Islam, one of the attributes used to define God is the Arabic word, As-Salaam-The Giver and source of Peace, the Perfection. In fact, the word Islam itself is derived from the word Salaam, and means submission in peace. Think about it, if you are at peace, you are in “perfection”, what more could you desire if you’ve found peace?! After all, this is what we spend our entire lifetime in pursuit of…that one moment of peace to last a lifetime perhaps. Taking “Peace” further, the Islamic greeting is “AsSalaamualaikum”, “May peace be on you”. Numerous times a day this greeting is exchanged around, yet we are so far from this peace. The Holy book Qur’an, even talks about hearts finding peace and contentment in the remembrance of God, yet how little do we remember!

We sing, sob and shout out about World Peace occasionally because it is fashionable and the world would like us to believe that, it is their agenda, yet it is like that fleeting mirage in the hot desert, nearly within grasp, but disappears when we get up close.

So is our modern lifestyle making peace unattainable? Do we give up our pursuit of peace because it is complicated or perhaps you need to be a “Goody two shoes”?

Of course not! At the end of the day you do want to be able to lie in peace in your bed, so let’s just try a little bit more. Our modern lifestyles of hurry and doing more are not just compounding our wealth, so are our health issues. And interestingly most of them are linked to high levels of stress which is an absence of…you guessed it, peace!

Peace is to our Souls like Oxygen is to breathing, where our Survival is linked to the inhalation and exhalation. This is what Peace has to the potential to do and does.

 

Stay tuned for Part-II, which delves into easy ways to bring back the peace.

Posted in Life, love, Nature, spiritualzain

Love

We all think we know love. Of course we do. It’s one of those innate emotions that we are all blessed with by our Creator, making it the most basic of human emotions. One of the sweetest sounds that you can ever hear is the cooing of a baby looking up in love at the parent. The season of spring ushers love in perhaps the most natural way. The sight and sounds of life starting afresh, stir the heart and the mind; the cooing of pigeons in love, the mew of the mini kitties, the soft woofs of the pups, the gentle bleating of the lambs…the fresh sprigs of green wonder spring in from the earth, the pop of colour blooming around. It is Mother Nature, doing what a mother does, setting us up for the challenges of the year with warm fuzziness and happiness. Sprinkling bits and pieces of beautiful love brimming with promise here, there and everywhere.

Love is also a warm mug of coffee, warming the body inside out. Love is a bite of chocolate, made just right to release the happy hormones. Aah the happy hormones… Our creator clearly comprehended as he created us… how often we would require a high sans the “stuff” not encouraged. Or perhaps he was aware of our struggles each day and gave us a natural mechanism to cope with all that and more. And thus the totally marvellous “Happy Hormones” were placed in our neurological wonder. Not being a biology buff, always assumed that the happy hormones were just what the name suggests. There is more to them than just the name, there are four kinds of happy hormones endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. Apparently they aren’t all real hormones, but more like neurotransmitters sending happy signals to and fro. Each one of them serving a specific agenda which altogether work to keep us uplifted and carrying on. Endorphins function like natural paracetamol masking our pain to keep us kicking. Chasing the blues, serotonin has got your back. The dope on dopamine is that feeling of satisfaction you get after having achieved what you set out for. The fuzziness and mushiness of a warm hug comes courtesy our “love hormone”, oxytocin. (It is an actual hormone out of the four happy hormones.)So the four working together work as nature’s natural healing for our troubled minds and souls. How convenient that actually is but above all isn’t our body a wonderful work of art by Our creator? Love functions like the real fuel to our machines, called Homo sapiens.

Where that “love” disappears as the seasons pass on is a wonder! Our sensitivities, despite the abundance of language to express, are boxed into compartments that we deem as the end all of those feelings. It is like living believing the myth of the World being flat. Out beyond our ideas of a horizon, lies this great circle called Life, wherein a progressive rediscovery of our emotions goes on. The discovery of passions hitherto undiscovered. The discovery of ideas hitherto unthought-of by our minds, which are capable of so much more if we only try a little bit more. The realisation that what goes around comes back around.

In all spheres of life, there is one or the other form of love; sometimes known, sometimes unknown, sometimes apparent, sometimes enigmatic. One such enigmatic love is the Love our Creator holds for us. Religiously speaking, in Arabic one of the attributes of God is Al Wadud-the most loving. It is said that the love of Al-Wadud is more than any mother could ever love her child. And this love manifests itself in every single thing that we say or do. Look around, these eyes that you are looking around with, this neurological wonder making you think and make connections, your existence are all evidences of God’s love for you. God loves you so much, that this world and all its things were created so that you could benefit and live comfortably. The innumerable variety of our sustenance, the plethora of beauty in nature, things around us that you didn’t even know existed. The mysteries of the ocean to the mystique of the sky, it’s a wonderful world out there.

When you really love someone, don’t we go all out? Promise the stars and the moon and what not. So why wouldn’t our Creator who loves us more than any could ever, do even more? Our Creator, in the “love” for us created this exquisite world with all its wonderfulness that we are still discovering.

So shouldn’t we reciprocate that love? And exactly how you may wonder is that possible, well, its simple, give some love back. Share a moment with family or friends, light up someone’s dark life with your wonderful smile. Share the joy of trust, benevolence and courage. Let someone trust you to be there for them. Share your privileged life with someone not so privileged. Build the courage to stand up for what you believe in, the courage to brave the winter of life, the courage to repel the forces of evil and maliciousness.

Let us help to make this world a little warmer, a little better for you and for me and the entire human race.

SpiritualZen

Posted in hope, Life, Nature, spiritualzain

Hope

To live without hope is to not live at all. It is like being in a permanent winter, dullness and greyness abound. However even the coldest winter ends. Remembering a line of Shelly, “when winter is here can spring be far behind..?” That’s how our Creator designed the world. Every winter leads to a beautiful spring. And that spring promises a beautiful summer ahead. And as one walks through spring, looking at the shoots shooting out of the earth, the beautiful blooms blooming, they all fill the heart with hope. Their colour a refreshing hue chasing away the blues of gloom and making the heart roused up again with excitement, hope and positivity. That little bud of colour energises the soul to feel alive again after the spell of dreariness, making it one of those wonderful moments when the vibrations of our heart and our neurological wonder work in unison.

In our quest called life, we often burn the candle at both ends to light what we presume is our endless winter. And in that light we fail to see what the shadows hide. Probably, because of the inherent fear of the unknown and whatever is out of sight is out of mind.  The muted glow of the candle veils our view of this marvellous creation called nature. With every sunrise and sunset, a new day flows in, bringing with it, a change from yesterday. And each change of season heralds new perspectives on our myopia of life. If we only change the view from our lenses, a whole new avenue opens up for dealing with our everyday uneasiness. A calm mind takes better decisions. And that’s what nature wants to do, placate our ruffled neurons, arouse that hope, that life is to be lived.

Look around at the first blooms of the spring season. They are mostly a fantastic shade of yellow. It’s like our creator knew we needed the cheering up…so daffodils, crocuses abound with their cheery yellows amongst other happy hues. Continuing the cheery brigade the cherry blossoms begin blooming their elegant pinks, looking like little pieces of amethysts glistening in the showers. When all these meet the eye, it’s like sheer bliss, a little piece of heavenly peace, and the soul is stirred with contentment. And that fuels the hope that life is better than yesterday.

But we’ve forgotten this natural therapy that Our creator endowed our realm of existence with. Our winding down instead is with inorganic contraptions, which eventually trap us in their web of never-ending fixes to our problems. A saying I came across and indeed is profound,… “It is so simple to be happy, but it is so difficult to be simple…”.

We have complicated our lives with the evolution of the human race, and forgotten if Our Creator, created us, then is also well aware of the possible complications that may arise timely and thus equipped us with means to ease as well. It’s all about opening our minds and eyes to understand that and see that.

The rains bring the rainbow and eventually give way to the warm sun shining down positivity. That is hope, the clouds depart, the sorrows end, but once hope departs, that is the end. Pause, reflect, unwind, nature is oozing with positivity. A snowy shower in spring doesn’t stop the blooms business of blooming away. Icy cold winds don’t deter the deciduous leaves from making a comeback. When nature doesn’t give up…why do we give up hope?