By Hikmet Tewfik
Lo! In the difference of day and night and all that Allah hath created in the heavens and the earth are portents, verily, for folks who ward off (evil). [10:6]
Of course everything is supposed to keep one going, keep one busy. Thus is why life is such a way—a sinusoidal graph, with its ups and downs. Fixations are the most prominent syndromes with varying manifestations in each of us. Some are still living the memory of the past, some lost in dreams, some overwhelmed by the present. But then I’ve always wondered about how in the world would one be able to keep all the cherished from the past, hope for the future but live the present decently. I am sure most of us are engaged in such thinking, so I would like to share what I have thought of and is helping.
First of all, it is always wise to know that there is no such thing as “I want a stress-free life”. Remember the graph (or if you don’t like math, think of the tide). And most importantly remember the above aya from Qur’an and in fact there are countless examples one can think of. Know that such “stress-free lives” are only possible in Al-Jannah, with the will of Allah Azza Wa Jal. Hence make sure that you keep in your mind that all sorts of things happen to us, and they are supposed to happen to us.
Now keeping with the chain of thought from how one has to go through the grief of losing a loved one, the stress of an important exam, the burden of unimaginable work, to everything else a culture, family, friends, society expects from one, remember that is never the beginning nor is it going to be the end. So, still drawing from the aya above, keep in mind that after the night comes the day, and after the day follows the nigh and so forth. So after one exam is another assignment. Thus after acknowledging the fact that this is no Utopia-land, one should also acknowledge the fact that there is more to come. This is very important in helping oneself from what psychologists call “fixatedness”. Once again, we want to keep ourselves able to function in our social lives that are moving past us, so make sure you also move on. Move on with a positive attitude as the aya above indicates (ward off evil).
Next up is to draw on the knowledge of how big this world is and how vast the universe is beyond our everyday block. Perhaps one might have been through a lot, had the worst days and the like, just take a walk outside and observe around you, you’ll be amazed to see how many people are around you…countless people you’ve never met, people you might never see in your life ever again. If you had thought that you were the only one in the entire world, felt like crying and screaming, just take a walk in the market or downtown…and look around you: the world is still moving, the sun going towards the West.
Once in a while we might also feel like we know what our problems are or we know every solution there could ever be. But think twice and remember the story of Mussa, Aleyhimu Salam, where he had to learn how to be patient. Remember that we speak different languages, look different and live differently also means that we think differently. Thus be wise and draw lesson from others, learn how they think and behave, so that if ever you’re faced with a situation where you feel suffocated, then your mind is familiar with an alternate way of thinking—one you’ve learned from a brother or a sister.
And always, always remember that what you know is there to help you be better, live better and think well. Therefore make a use of that Hadith you’ve learned of an aya you’ve read in the Qur’an, since the best knowledge is that spent in practice. Make Dua’a and seek help from those around you. We’re meant to be social, so don’t be shy to share your mind with others perhaps they can also relate and know again that Allah helps one in different ways. Finally remember to read in your Dua’as:
Our Lord! Condemn us not if we forget, or miss the mark. Our Lord! Lay not on us a burden as thou did lay on those before us. Our Lord! Impose not on us that which we have not the strength to bear. Pardon us, absolve us and have mercy on us, Thou, our Protector, and give us victory over the disbelieving folk.
None of the above is meant to give a blue-print to problem solving since we all walk different walks, but is a means to show that our life is a struggle and we can never pass a struggle without being equipped with an accessible knowledge. Therefore make sure you connect with yourself first and foremost so that, as the main struggler, you know what you’re capable of accomplishing. Know that you’re responsible for your actions from microscopic to macrocosmic level, thus take charge and find your own struggle worth living for—and of course that is Al-Jannah: an official stress-free abode.
Allah Knows Best.