By November 18, 2018 Read More →

On the way to Progress

What are some of the best excuses that we often hear when we fall short on accomplishing tasks or achieving goals? 

  • I do not have enough time.
  • The train was late.
  • Traffic is horrible in this city.
  • My cat ate my project.
  • Life is too short…and the list goes on and on.

A couple of days ago, I found myself saying to myself: “There are just not enough hours in the day.”  Does that sound like a catch-22?  Well, if you have ever found yourself facing that dilemma, then we should re-define our concept of life and time.

In this fast-paced world, human beings get themselves busy with myriad of tasks that sometimes life gets too overwhelming for many of us.  The reason being that we often take too many tasks to handle all at once.  That is how the system is set up i.e. the more you have on your plate, the more accomplished you feel when you cross out every checked box for task completed.  This, in turn gives you a sense of temporary satisfaction.  Similarly, we love having our calendars full:

  • Friday—Girls night out.
  • Saturday—Dinner with Sam.
  • Sunday—Meet the Parents.
  • Monday—Kids Soccer Game.
  • Tuesday—Cat’s appointment with the vet.
  • Wednesday—Zumba Dance.
  • Thursday—Happy Hour.

Knock Knock, can we meet?  “Oh! You want to meet with me, well, let me check my calendar to see my availability.”  As if we are some important figure and you will be lucky enough to get one hour of my time.  This artificial lifestyle is really sickening!

The other day, while checking out my to do list, every box was checked.  That is not surprising to most of us, after all we are such over achievers ?  You know that feeling of contentment that imparts on you where you just want to pat yourself in the back and do smiley jumping jacks.  “Boy! Am I brilliant or what?!”  However, I was thinking, this is not normal, there has got to be something more to add, or you know what, let me create a new list.  And so, my friends that is how we work out our circular life.  Morning to evening, Monday to Saturday (Sunday evening is mostly spent dreading for what is to follow on Monday…” let me jump-start on my to do list, I must go to work, I must submit the project, I must drop off the kids to school” …), January to December and year to year.

The moment you bid farewell to College life, you are thrown into thinking about the following: “So, where do you see yourself in five years?  How about ten years?”  As an entry-level candidate, you have a long list laid out and you are prepping up on how to eloquently express your 5 to 10 years career/life goal on a job interview.  As a mid-level professional, you may also have a few enticing items on your to do list.  As a senior, (if you are the exciting type ?), then you are good to go if you still have a nice up- to-date wish list.

Now, that I have achieved all the worldly things, what am I to do with my life?  What is next or what is essentially my end goal?  Kids are in College now, what do I do with my time?  Human nature is in search of an end goal to provide ever-lasting satisfaction.  But nothing here provides the ever-lasting satisfaction that human spirit seeks since everything here is subject to transience.  One may wait for retirement to reach that end goal; then what?  By then you are ready to depart this world and your body is too frail to go hiking in the Amazon.  This quest for seeking a satisfying end-goal is related to our spiritual/existential needs.  After all, I am given existence here and how can I make things meaningful for my spirit here?  That is the main human concern.  We want all our interactions and transactions in this universe to be meaningful in a way that satisfies our human nature i.e. the need for Eternal Happiness.

Reaching the end-goal of any transaction should not be our main concern, rather the journey that leads to “the end goal” is of essence here.  Long time ago, in my professional life, a mentor shared with me: “Time is of essence.”   Yup, everything boils down to “time”.

What is time really?

Time is everything.  Time is what I experience i.e. the moment.  Time is what bid me farewell.  Can I define time?  No.  I cannot define the essence of time, but I can share in what I experience as time.  I am experiencing time right now.  Time is creation RIGHT NOW.  Time is being aware of my existence RIGHT NOW.  It is a well-known saying: “God is time.”  What does that mean?  Everything is in continuous motion, which means that the Source of my Existence is the One that is brining change which I refer to as “time”.

  • Time is the order of the universe that I see manifested before my very eyes.
  • Time is the qualities that I experience in my interactions with the universe.

What is life? 

Life is everything.  We experience life every moment.  While breathing, you are experiencing life RIGHT NOW.

Both life and time are intertwined, or you can say that they are essentially pointing to the same concept or Source.  Nevertheless, why is it that we fall into the trap of spending our time and life in completing worldly affairs first and foremost, tasks that are trivial and transient?  The concept of death is not very serious to many of us, is it?!  Yes, I will die and see what is to follow.  “HELLO, this is serious matter!” 

  • “Verily harm has afflicted me, and you are the Most Merciful of the Merciful! (21:38)”

If this life is the end to my existence, then what am I to do here?  Death cannot be the end to my existence here.  There has got to be something more beyond my experiences here, otherwise the experiences that I am made to experience here would be meaningless.  The story of my life may end here with a final episode but as a character, I must live on.  The end goal is not to gain this universe, which is impossible as nothing can sustain its existence here.

My end goal is to seek what is CAUSING this universe to be in motion.

  • If there is motion, then there must be a One turning the wheel.
  • What is that One is what the human being needs to seek!
  • In search of that One is the end goal/plan of all human transactions.

So, how do I progress in my journey living in this universe?

Another well-known saying: “Yesterday, I was changing the world, today I am changing myself”.  Yes, it is all about me after all.  It is not about you, it is not about him, it is not about them.  I am the one that goes through certain conditions with the emotions that are imparted unto me.  If I do not do anything to help solve my human condition, then I am contradicting my reality.  My human reality requires me to be satisfied with my existence at the end of the day.  I need to be happy with my existence and what is given to me at the end of the day.  This, in turn means that I am in desperate need to connect my existence with the Source of my Existence by attributing all my hopes and desires to It alone.  As a result, I am at peace and happy with the Source of my existence.

  • Change must occur within me. I do not have to change my surroundings or hair style.  Even if my surroundings were to change, does my perception of the world change?  If I change, how do things around me change?
  • Anything that I do or responsibility that I take on, I should ask: “Is it bringing me closer to the Source of my Existence?”

We are all journeying here in search of the key to Ever-lasting Happiness.  That key is made available through the Institute of Messengership and the Highway of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him).  Click on the link to check out the Series on Messengership  The key to Eternal Happiness help us connect our existence to its Absolute Source of Existence.  After all, nothing of this universe brings the joy and happiness that the human spirit desires.

“There is no god by You, Glory be unto You!  Indeed, I was among the wrongdoers. (21:87)”

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