Good health is a flickering thing. Spiritual statisticians would claim it a phenomena which is negatively correlated with the idea of gratitude. When one increases, the other sharply decreases. On the surface at least, the logic seems watertight. In good health, we are cognitively predisposed to overlook the most trivial of biological blessings. Deduct the most insignificant of physical convenience, or even the threat of withdrawal, and we suddenly find ourselves unhinged without constant gratitude.
For instance, when is the last time you were appreciative of breathing without significant difficulty? If you’re a distinctly average person, like myself, such inartificial reflection will rarely permeate your thoughts without an external trigger. That said, in this year alone, nearly four million people will suffer from severe breathing difficulties. This condition will often impact their lives in extreme ways. Let us take it a step further. Think about your family members. Stories of death, injury, or the development of a terminal condition, are all around us. Yet, sincere reflection on our exemption from such calamities rarely predicates our thoughts, at least on a consistent basis. And if it does, such moments more aptly represent scattered practice, as opposed to a uniform approach.
Is forgetfulness of that which we possess an innate human propensity? In personal analysis, or at least on initial impressions, this particular assumption can be deemed reasonable. Even those of us who claim to be persistently grateful for good health, and the immeasurable blessings that are attached, might be guilty of subconscious dishonesty. We are predisposed to yearn presence in absence, and overlook absence in presence.
Pain and loss dominate the design of our constitution. Our reality. And a highly advanced civilisation, which is addicted to preoccupation and entertainment, excels in divorcing us from this recognition. A recognition of our time-bound nature. An understanding which highlights that we, our family, and friends; will perish. External endeavours, whether they are social, economic or ideological, further compound this divorce. And through the instruments of life, God shows His inconceivable mastery at reminding us of this constitution. That our existence, and that of our loved ones, lives in a falling raindrop, the surface it seeks will remain a mystery. Until the point of impact, of course.
This post is not a condescending reminder. Or even meaningless rhetoric. By all means, I am fully aware of this not being the first time someone is advocating the act of calculated gratitude. Conversely, my intention is to communicate the infallibility of comprehending the temporal constitution we exist within. The material around us has a designated expiry date. The vegetation in our garden. The stars painted across the sky. The warm and affectionate gaze of our mothers. These things will fade. And we, as individuals, or as components of a whole, will eternally be defined by our comprehension of this reality, and consequently, our capacity to deal with it on a practical basis. A practical basis which takes root in our day-to-day life. Nothing is more humbling than the comprehension of our finiteness. When caught in life’s stormy streams, having to paddle vigorously against the current becomes an effortless task if you conceive the sea where every river meets. Seeking indifference to worldly matters allows your heart to be liberated from the vicissitudes of this world. And nothing is more cyclical than our existence. Not seeking undue elation in every success, and seething distress in every loss, is the formula for contentment.
Therefore, if you fear a loss, close your eyes and inhale faith. If you seek success, open your eyes and exhale belief. In trouble, pain and sorrow, or happiness, joy and elation- seek His countenance, and embody His decree. And submit. Submit to the ordinance which got you this far. My purpose isn’t to engage others in constant negativity. Rather to strap your camel, and then enjoy the ride. To know that a flower already lives in the seed, even if your crop didn’t flourish. At each and every separation; to not drown in tears, but rather remember the moments which breathed a smile. When the road gets rough, to always remind yourself of the map.
At every turning point, every pit-stop of pain and disappointment, we are pregnant with the possibility of gaining more from God. He waits for us to unfold our hands, and take this secret medicine. Some of us do, others wail in remorse, keeping their hands tied firmly tied behind their back.
If you believe the words above to be overtly idealistic, then feel free to ignore them. Although do not overlook a simple reality; the people who changed the course of history, or even our lives, learned to smile through sorrow and be contagious in their ability to do so. They certainly will not be infallible; nonetheless such individuals understand the essence behind every cut and graze. They will comprehend every loss and every grievance, yet apply unrelenting context. You can spend your life observing such individuals, talking about them, or even scolding them. Or, alternatively, you can become this person. As always, the choice rests with us. Until we truly awaken.
To close this week’s post, I have included an amalgamation of a few poems which befit the topic above. None of the work is mine, my input ceased at the conjoining of separate ideas. For another week, peace, salaam, and God bless you all.
The ear in the centre of the chest speaks;
“Hear what I have to say!”
“Who gets up early and adorns the dark, and suddenly discovers the moment light begins?”
“Who comes to a spring thirsty, and finds the moon reflected in it?”
“Is it not an oyster that opened his mouth, to swallow one drop…
Now there’s a pearl.”
Do you not understand? Did the prophets not dance with anklets of fire?
“The stream knows it can’t stay on the mountain forever.”
“Leave and don’t look away from the sun as you go, in whose light
you’re sometimes crescent, sometimes full. “
Will you keep shining…