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Showing posts from September, 2009

The bearing Will Power has on our lives

People have moments where they stand up to do what is needed of them. An example can be meeting a deadline or quit smoking. We make these efforts many times in a day, for the smallest of matters that have to be done right. Thus when the ‘will’ to do the right things is strong there are good effects.

There are also moments that have had power ‘over’ us. These moments make us uneasy. Sometimes a conversation that we witness or a moment on t.v. or a moment in a movie captivates us so much so that it’s hard to pull out. These moments are my lows where I think I didn’t resist enough. And thus when the ‘will’ to do what is needed is weak there are bad effects.

Clearly then ‘will’ is the most important resource we have. More so than knowledge, wisdom or money for if one does not have sufficient ‘will’ all their knowledge and wisdom put together will not be sufficient to rescue them from the moment.

‘Will’ is the tool by which we can move mountains. Somebody has said that ‘will’ is energy and ‘…

How to unlock greater joy from within every moment

In my last post I proposed that the absolute pinnacle of our aspiration might simply be to interact with the world in a way that we are rewarded with joy; that such a reward would have to be based on a struggle on our part to do something worthwhile such as making a living, taking care of family or doing good for people not in our immediate circle.

Interestingly in an earlier post I had mentioned that the choice that each moment presents to us can reward us if we choose to do in it a good act because the good act creates a good effect that would benefit us.

Now you might see that there is a relation between experiencing joy that I mention in the first paragraph and the choice that we make [that I present in the second]. This relation is simply that the choice can lead to joy.

But the key as it were to unlocking from this choice its latent joy is the ‘intention’ with which I prepare for each choice.

If we intend in each moment to do well, good will happen and if we compromise on our inten…

What should we aspire to

I have come about an understanding about the absolute purpose of our being and I think it’s not ambition but an aspiration.

But if it is an aspiration what could be the absolute aspiration?

Clearly the pharaoh must have taught his people to aspire to a position in his court. His method must have been a reward for serving him. But what service did he put his society to? It was the building of the Pyramids.

Now the pyramids like all his other social projects were aggrandizement meant for him. And with the pharaoh at the top and his workers at the bottom another structure was created which was the hierarchy of society. Interestingly this entire society was put to one goal only: aggrandizement.

Aggrandizement of any kind is inherently fleeting. For example if we aggrandize money it will get used up and disappear. If we aggrandize a seat of power sooner or later it will also disappear. Hence neither aggrandizement serving ourselves nor for another can be the highest we can aspire for. In fact…

Why feedback is important

We learn about the world as we get feedback from things within it such as from family, friends, mentors and even books.

Feedback can tell you where you went wrong and affirm what you do right. It can thus help you predict the future.

Interestingly there are people I have met who question the importance of feedback. They say: “I can figure out everything I need to on my own. I don’t need feedback like others do.” This is not true. In fact there is a big danger lurking in this notion.

If the world you are creating is your own you might get stuck in it or some part of it and not know what to do next.

If however, this world of yours and all parts of it are based on some feedback you will always know who to ask if you get stuck.

Somebody once said that "fundamentally we are here not to be seen, but to see" i.e. to see things outside of ourself. You will notice that all growth you have had has owed itself to some consistent feedback.

Suppose you wrote an essay. You wouldn't rea…

The story of Rukhsana

Rukhsana was discussing the matter of her job at the family dinner table. Her father said: "You should apply to 100 different places", Her mother "What have you planned, what are you going to do?".

As this was happening something must have sparked in her because she said "Let's bring this discussion down to earth and out of the clouds! Let me think this out with you, let us all be Rukhsana and let us think as if I had to get a job. Let me bounce my ideas against you."

Her mother said "Rukhsana i'm in a different field and don't think i'll understand"

Rukhsana: "I am sure you will, I will help you make sense of it"

Mother: "But it sounds like Greek!"

Rukhsana: "I know but I can translate it into something you can understand. It's all common sense and because you are a rational, professional person it will make sense to you too. Here me out..."

Mother: "ok...go ahead..."

Some conversation took p…

The valley of wonder in the tale of the seh-morgh

Allama Iqbal has written a book called the Javaidnama which was meant to be a guide for his son [whose name is Javaid]. It narrates the story of the seh-morgh i.e. the story of a large gathering of birds who decide to find their King. They travel across 7 valleys and eventually find him. However as they cross each valley many among them stay behind. The fifth valley was the valley of Love and the sixth valley the valley of "heran-eyat/Wonder". In the seventh valley they find their King.

The sixth valley is beginning to make sense to me. I am sure there are many in the world who are mentally numb - asleep and I begin to see this reality not intellectually but through my heart.

In our culture it seems there is many times a "auto-immune disease" among many peers and even adults such that people generally get uncomfortable talking about serious matters even if they are their own.

And many people I am sure don't have anybody to sit down and hear them out - hear them o…

To find peace within

To find this peace the first step is to identify our different faculties. These are:

The Body: A physical tool - connects us to the world [through it's pleasures]
The Mind: Corroborator of the heart
The Heart: A guide for us - a compass
The Soul: The soul I think connects us to God like a baby to their mother's womb. Thus the purpose of the soul I understand is to connect us to HIM. [Thus it connects us to the total view of reality, something more encompassing than the heart, mind or body. The heart for example may at times be too tender to allow us to connect with reality and to acknowledge it's potential for brutality.]

If these faculties are not clearly identified and thus not understood they will leave a person vulnerable to the outside world.

One example of what can happen if the heart is not identified is shown below:

Somebody once said to another: When you go to a party do you prepare something to say? How else are you so comfortable at speaking to everybody at the part…

A little about us and a little about God

We clearly operate at these four levels:
1: Body - We want affirmation for this and thus it is that it affords us an opportunity for pleasure
2: Intellect - writing my first software program was a great achievement. Every time something makes sense to me intellectually there is a pleasure in it
3: Heart: When somebody affirms my heart/qalb* I take comfort in it
4: Soul: When somebody removes a deep-seated contradiction in my world view I become powerful by it

There is a pleasure at each level and clearly as we move from 1 to 4 the pleasure derived increases. So when the intellect is affirmed [and not idled] you enjoy more than when the body is affirmed. Similarly when somebody [actually] affirms your heart, that is more enjoyable than an intellectual experience. And finally when somebody solves some deep-seated problem, it can send quite a shudder down our spine.

This is not a framework or a model this is our psychological built!

And this is how Allah has created every human being!


A few thoughts on the movie "Shawshank Redemption"

Shawshank Redemption is a story of a man [Andy Dufrain] who seems to be at peace in a place so overwhelming that others got 'institutionalized' [one convict when freed committed suicide because he couldn't adapt to life outside prison. Another convict said "every time I have to go take a piss I can't squeeze two drops without first asking my manager" - this was when he started to work at a supermarket].

Andy never looses hope, while he himself suffers he chooses to struggle in ways big and small. He helps a kid [who doesn't believe in himself and so ends up returning to prison time after time] pass an exam; he writes a letter a week over a long period to get funds for the prison library. [When he finally gets the funds and a response asking him to stop sending the letters, he starts sending two letters a week!]. While he does all this he digs night upon night for a long time with a tiny hammer to get through - to get his freedom.

It shows he was not insti…

Why choose Good over Evil

The universe works on the principle of cause and effect. Thus it is that every act has an effect.

There is beauty; love and happiness in the world and these are also effects.

[From the previous post you will note that] as the effect emerges from an act so does an act emerge from a choice.

To get beauty, love and happiness a choice must be made.

In the movie Matrix Revolutions a dialogue between Neo and Agent Smith – metaphorically a dialogue between Good and Evil proceeds as follows:

Agent Smith’s Question: “Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something? For more that your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of perception. The temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose. And all of them as artificial as the Matr…

The relationship between the moment, our choice and its effect

Being in the present moment results in two things [as I understand]:
1. A clear view of the present moment [which leads to visibility of choices] and
2. The choice that is made [by us, in that moment]

The choice can be split further into:
1. The Act; and
2. The Intention behind the act;
With both having their own separate effects.

The section below explains the 'separate effects':

I think actions have good and bad effects. I also think that intentions have good and bad effects.

If a good act is done with a corrupt intention it is going to have a bad effect simply because the corrupt intention is going to cloud your judgment. With a clouded judgment you are bound to make mistakes.

A bad act done with a good intention is also going to have a bad effect in the short run but should have a good effect in the long run. The bad effect is owing to the reality check that the environment will impose on us and the good effect is a clarity one will receive through a catharsis [owing to the initia…