Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Finding Peace Part 2

So where was I? Oh yeah, I remember. This may come as a surprise to most, but yesterday’s post has very little to do with “Finding Peace”, the main theme here, but I had to explain myself so that today’s post would make more sense.

See, on this 6th day of October, exactly 1 year since I’ve officially begun blogging, I'm chronicling a spiritual journey of note. There were highs and there were lows, but with every experience came knowledge and wisdom…some form of enlightenment. These pieces of enlightenment were like pieces to a puzzle, or what I like to call ‘keys’ to my freedom. In fact, the whole debacle with the company was just one more key to unlock my Personal Scylla, as I mentioned yesterday; a catalyst of sorts in my Personal Renaissance.

For months now, I’ve had little epiphanies and what I’d like to believe was Divine Revelation of some kind. I didn’t fully comprehend it at the time, but I explored many facets of life from the concept of human resilience and adaptability to making acute resolutions to LIVE my life. I revamped this site and my life to accommodate my spiritual awakening, and developed my version of the Promised Land. As one of the keys to my evolution, the Promised Land was created to symbolise an emotional and inner peace, a state of mind that isn’t longing and yearning for elaborate answers to the universe or for what cannot be, and recognising that our only real purpose is to worship.

I initially developed the concept of my Promised Land after an intense discussion with a good friend and an ex-colleague of mine. We were talking about our lives and how what we experienced throughout our childhoods influenced what we want as adults. This conversation had a profound impact on how I saw myself as well as determined what I wanted from my life, and from it we developed a theory which is based on our personal circumstances.

Fatima grew up with two parents and two siblings, in a nuclear family with a close to perfect childhood/life, getting almost anything she wanted from financially and emotionally stable parents whilst conversely, I grew up with divorced parents, surrounded by a lot of conflict with no financial or emotional stability. However, up until the point that we had our conversation, Fatima had dropped out of her studies at University, gotten married to a physically and emotionally abusive man, had a child, gotten divorced and remarried again to someone who was considered ‘different’ to your typical Asian man. But this kind of trauma didn’t end with her, and her siblings endured similar dramatic lifestyles in their adulthood. I told her that I had been through enough shit in my life, and that I expected nothing less then the best in my adulthood, but that most of all, I wanted peace especially in my relationships and in my home.

It was at this juncture that Fatima made me aware of our contrasting circumstances and suggested that maybe it was because she and her siblings had grown up in such normal and peaceful circumstances, that they had craved for and ‘created’ all the drama in their adult lives. At that point, a light went on and it occurred to me that because I had to endure trauma from a very young age and because had dramatic episodes for most of my life, all I really yearned for was peace in my adulthood. At the time, nothing made more sense to me. I received my very first key to enlightenment and I could see evidence of this theory in everyone I knew, thanks to my conversation with Fatima.

LIVE I did, throughout the year and fabulously too, in theory and in practice, but I’ve come to see that up until a few weeks ago, it was mostly in theory. Throughout the months, I've received clarity in many forms but the common thread amongst it all was always a Higher Power at work. I’ve learnt and said that shit will happen and that what will be will be, that we are all insignificant in the grander scheme of things, and that nothing really matters. I even recorded some of the lessons I had learnt along the way in 10 points or more. I stand by it all, more so today than ever before. They are all keys, little epiphanies that were catalysts in my spiritual Renaissance, the evolution of Azra.

The whole debacle with the company forced me to re-evaluate a few things. Up until that point, I had come to believe that success for me would be the stability and freedom I craved for, and that stability and freedom can be attained by being financially secure. I had mentioned that, for me, money meant that I had options and the freedom to make choices. Ironically though, seeking this ‘freedom’ meant that I would have to be a slave to the company. What I hadn’t realised then, was that I wasn’t seeking Freedom as much as I was seeking Peace, and that no amount of money in the world was going to buy me the Peace I desired. So to a large extent, I’m grateful that what was initially a war and a fiasco with Goliath, turned out to be just another form of enlightenment for me, forcing me to go back to the drawing board to re-evaluate and re-define certain beliefs and perceptions I had.

For a long time, especially these past couple of months, while accumulating my keys of knowledge and enlightenment, I felt like I had all the answers but that something wasn’t quite clicking. It’s like I had all these keys, but the box still wouldn’t open. Then, about three weeks ago, I came across what is now part of the Promised Land’s ‘Constitution’ in the most unlikely of magazines:

''For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to get through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that this was my life. There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way'' ~ Alfred D Souza

This quote opened all the doors in my mind and spurred me on to such an extent, that I just HAD to make it a part of my life. It became my Constitution and my Facebook status and I told anyone who’d listen. I could feel life flowing in my veins but there was still something lacking. Little did I know that liberation, salvation, deliverance and redemption was on its way and that they would all visit me on a single weekend. I went out early this past Saturday morning, fed up with the world, determined to lose my mind in a good movie. Now, of all the movies I could have chosen to hire, I chose ‘The Pianist’, a movie I’ve seen before, and ‘The Count of Monte Christo’, which I hadn’t.

Upon my return, I found my Dad sprawled on one of the couches, he had come to visit. We got chatting and it wasn’t long before I expressed my frustration with the world to my parents. It’s like everything in the entire world irritated me. I expressed my detestation of society and corrupt religious leaders to my father, and he found it very amusing that I was shunning society and opting for a life as a recluse. He then told me something that was not really profound, quite simple actually, but made me put things in perspective.

My father told me that no matter where I went in the world, I was always going to find fault with something or someone, because that’s how we humans are. He said that instead of trying to fight it, I should do what his father did. His father, my grandfather, was a very pious man according to most people. And the one thing my grandfather was, was tolerant. Of everyone. He accepted and respected people just as they were, without trying to change them and without necessarily adopting or sharing their beliefs. This tolerance, acceptance and respect won him the admiration of many many people, who still revere and venerate him today.

These words were still with me as I sat through a morbid ‘The Pianist’ followed by a very apt ‘The Count of Monte Christo’. I don’t know why I chose these two movies, from all the thousands of titles in the shop, but the message was clear. Coupled with all the other keys, the puzzle finally came together, the box had finally opened, my Scylla finally unleashed a surge of personal power, in the form of the greatest peace I have ever known. All my anger dissipated, evaporated into thin air and I suddenly saw life with new eyes. Both movies seemed to re-assert some of my beliefs and establish new ones. ‘The Pianist’ made me realise that I had been correct all along, that Nothing Really Matters, because in an instant your life could change and then you suddenly find yourself powerless, with no control over your circumstances and you have nothing or no one to turn to besides God. Ironically, ‘The Pianist’ also gave new meaning to the quote: “…do not commit the crime for which you now serve the sentence…” as I found it particularly interesting that everything the Jews endured in that era, the Zionists inflict on the innocent in the name of Judaism today. This message was important for me, as it re-affirmed my belief that no good will come from seeking vengeance. ‘The Count of Monte Christo’ was apt to this theme of vengeance as well and led me to believe that real justice can only come from The Almighty.

It was a series of events that catapulted me to where I’m now. Many of these events didn’t make sense as they occurred and there were many times when I asked ‘Why?’. But in hindsight, I can see how they all needed to happen for me to get here. I needed to experience what I experienced to be the person I am today, in order to deal with Goliath’s tyranny in the manner I had. And I would have never been the person I am today, had I not been through what I had. I will never feel the need to ask ‘Why’ again. The greatest lesson I take from everything is to TRUST in The Almighty. It’s easy to say ‘Trust’, it’s so abstract and ambiguous and we all know we should do it. But to LIVE that Trust, it is something else…it is the very core of my enlightenment because I know that no matter what happens from hereon out, I will be fine and it will all work out for the best in the end, it always does. It is for this reason, that I don’t have problems anymore. I’ve relinquished all that control because I refuse to do work that is not mine to do. And I refuse to take on problems that are not mine to solve. Until we realise that we will never succeed until we surrender to the Will of God, we will never be Free or at Peace.

Abbe Faria: Here is your final lesson - do not commit the crime for which you now serve the sentence. God said, "Vengeance is mine".
Edmond Dantes: I don't believe in God.
Abbe Faria: It doesn't matter. He believes in you.

I knew that change was coming. Water never bodes well in my dreams, as I’ve mentioned numerous times. I knew that something was going to alter my life for eternity and even blogged about it, thinking it was death. I knew there was money coming my way, although I never anticipated it would be in this way. I just never expected change to come in the way that it did. And in a certain respect, the old Azra is dead. I’m now living the truth, instead of talking about it. I walk in the light, as corny as that sounds. My soul is finally free and these days, my liver is not the only part of me smiling, my heart, mind and just about every organ is smiling too. My soul is so lightI feel like I'm walking on air. Life will go on as usual and things like work and studies will resume, but fundamentally, there have been gargantuan changes in my life that will resonate in my being forever. In many ways, I’ve come full circle all in the span of a year. The Promised Land flourishes. And I could never have done it without Divine Intervention. The Almighty SWT is truly Great.

I’m home.

“Life is a storm, my friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout... ‘Do your worst, for I will do mine!’ Then the fates will know you as we know you” ~ Edmond Dantes

Light at the end of the tunnel image by the_absolute_muse


  1. Azra, Wallah that's such a beautiful post. I know I've had a rubbish morning, but it has moved me to tears.
    You really are blessed Mashallah, that Allah Swt has granted his mercy on you, and given you enlightenment. Some of us are still searching for that, and some may never find it. Subhan'Allah I'm not sure how this is going to sound but I really envy you, I truly do...Peace is such a simple small word, yet it can change your life, and more importantly given you a firm direction and focus...May Allah Swt fill our hearts with Noor, strengthen our Imaan, and give us the understanding to accept our kismet for what it is, and to put our trust in him completely. Your 10 steps are going to be bookmarked and referred to, and Inshallah put into practice. Make dua for us all sis. x

  2. Hmmm

    The Storm quote reminds me of an Alama Iqbal quote that I love:

    "May God bring a Storm in your Life;
    the Sea of your Life is placid,
    its waves devoid of tumult."

  3. Congratulations on the 1 year blog anniversary! I/d never have guessed you hadn't been doing this for years. And wow, thats an awesome pic at the end of the post!

  4. honestwaffle - I'm touched that you're touched by this post. Sometimes I think I share too much on this blog...but if it can help or make a difference in someones life, thats all that matters. I will pray that InshaAllah you and others like you find your peace too, and soon. Ameen.

    Shafinaaz - Nice quote :) I'm choosing to sit in the eye of every storm for now. The calm in the midst of all the chaos :D

    Geekisiddiqui - Thanks :D I began blogging randomly - like once ever 6 months - and anonomously in 2006. It was only last year that I succumbed to and embraced it completely :)

  5. I love the way u write.. I wish i knew u personally, not only cos u so cool :P, but also cos u can teach me how to drain all that thoughts out of ur head and onto blogger paper :D

    Im glad uv found enlightenmnet. if it was me, well, i wouldnt have been able to pen it..