Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sleep, food and philosophy of life

I have figured out the root of all my problems. Whether my day would be awesome or horrible is determined by whether I am tired or not. That is, more or less, determined by the amount of sleep I have. When I wake up early, I tend to get more things done and I tend to be my happy chappy self, which in turn feed into each other. Hence, I must wake up early. Therefore, the amount of sleep I have is determined by my bedtime. Therefore, going to bed late is the root of all my problems.

I just had an amazing mug of mocha. I took a few teaspoons of Lindt hot chocolate flakes (a gift from SB - cannot thank him enough!), one teaspoon of cheap coffee (although it claims to be 'gourmet' on its tin), a mug of milk and whipped cream - and created magic! That, along with the thought that 'I have figured out the root of all my problems', has lessened my dampened spirit a little. The secret of un-dampening your spirit is to spill all your thoughts in some way (I prefer to do so in writing), put them in their respective categories, sort out the ones that aren't making sense, decide what to do next, and get on with your life.

Ramadan was quite okay in terms of balance. However, the last few days have been horrible - every skill I supposedly gained/maintained throughout the month seemed to have gone down the drain. This made me realise yet again that we cannot ever think we've accomplished something. Yes, we must recognise it when we have made an improvement, or know we have done something right. Then we must thank God for making us able to do it, because, nothing can be done without Him. Every single step of our life is guided by Him.

Amongst the many practices I love in Islam, one of them is dhikr. 'Dhikr' can be loosely translated to 'remembrance' - these are words that you repeat over and over again in your mind or out loud. The reason why I love it is because, although they are words that you utter with your tongue, when used properly, they have the power to change your attitude, give you peace and strength. These things then give you that extra push to do what is right and eventually get you where you want to be. One of the dhikrs I love is 'la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah'. Arabic is such a rich language that it cannot be translated and done justice to. So, one article I've read broke it down in this way:

The phrase may be translated word-by-word as:
lâ = no, not, none, neither
hawla = change, alteration, transformation, movement, motion
wa = and
lâ = no, not, none, neither
quwwata = strength, power, potency, force, might, vigor
illâ = but, except, if not
bi = with, to, for, in, through, by means of
Allâh = Arabic name for the Supreme Being
So basically, it means, there is no change/transformation/progress/power/strength/might except through Allah. I love this concept. When internalised properly, it brings your feet right back to the ground. It also prevents one from preventing oneself from trying to reach high in order to stay humbled. Because, at the end of the day, every thought and action of yours, every opportunity, every moment that is good is from Him.

So in summary - keep climbing those steps. If you stumble, its okay. Figure out what went wrong, fix it, then keep going. If you find yourself feeling like you've climbed a great number of steps, look up and you'll see how much more is left. If you find yourself feeling like you haven't climbed enough, look down and you'll see you've come a long way. And thank God for allowing you to keep your balance while climbing.

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