Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A HoLe in tHe Road of ConTinuitY SwalloWs InteGriTy

A HoLe in tHe Road of ConTinuitY SwalloWs InteGriTy 

When you are on a roll, you should try and keep on rolling, as long as you are rolling towards the right place. As soon as you stop, you might find it difficult to get moving again. Movement is life and inactivity is death.

If we stop for too long we can forget how to move, how to steer and where we were going. We are on a vehicle that doesn't seem to stop in one place for too long, like it is sloping upwards so that it is engine driven upwards or rolls inevitably backwards. We can't always pick up everything where we left off, so it's better not to stop in the first place if we don't have to.

When our engine stops we can get distracted by everything except what we want to be distracted by. If someone is regarded as a danger to a particular group of people, and that individual's work is feared, the endangered group will do all it can to hinder the work of that dangerous individual. A whole city may not produce one thinking man, but one thinking man might make a whole city think or he may even give birth to a city, which although impressive, could be quite painful. Stop that man thinking, break his concentration, cut off his flow, throw him off balance and see how quickly he can fall. Take your eyes off the ball and the ball can hit you in the face.

When you are in the right gear and moving forward any break in concentration, any wrong handling of steering or obscuring of the way ahead may turn the vehicle off the road. Consider the thinking man requiring silence to hear his own thoughts, any disturbance may break the walls of the castle he built in his mind and the bricks may become lost. All the kings horses and all the kings men might not be able to put Humpty Dumpty together again, and that's quite a problem because a lot of children wont ever get to see him sit on the wall. And that wont do in a society where people get along by building walls and sitting on fences or walls.

When we engage in productive work we are flowing like a river, we may switch direction and change speed several times due to the environment, but we remain a river while flowing. If we stop prematurely we can fast become a stagnant pond, we can't move and then we can't breathe. If the river meets an obstacle it needs to maintain the momentum to overcome the barrier or break through the dam. When it does so, it demonstrates its drive and direction and its unwillingness to cease its own nature and purpose. If the work has to be done, then has to be done so its best not to listen to the detractors and distractors. 

Aisha reported that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, 
 "The actions most loved by Allah are those done continuously, 
even if they are small." (BUKHAARI, MUSLIM)  

Continuity allows us to repeat our actions until we gain proficiency, it allows us to prepare for what our past journey showed us.

Continuity makes tasks easier through familiarity. This is not only familiarity with the task itself but all the matters associated and surrounding it. The expert smoothly enters the world of the familiar whereas the novice is thrown into the world of the unknown.

Continuity instills discipline. The continuous application of effort, thought, and focus translates our purpose into facts rather than dreaming about them. Laziness and escapisms can become a virus in a body which has allowed its defences to be breached through indiscipline, stagnation and carelessness.

Continuity moves us closer to the gates of success. Interruptions and stalling of a task or project make it's end more distant and can result in demotivation or losing interest altogether.

We are creatures of habit, if we instill the right actions on a regular basis, we build our nature and our personality, we become our actions and are then known by them. A writer writes, a builder builds, a fighter fights, a thinker thinks and a mover moves. Similarly, a quitter quits. Our bodies are withering away but our actions can live long after we have gone, so if we find the right thing to do, we should keep doing it.

Beware of stratagems to break your perseverance and dedication. Your opponents may hope that you will give up if they can distract you. If they can make you pause, make you doubt your potential, make you lose sight of the road and even more so, the destination. When any such distraction occurs, any faltering of the machinery, it is vital to get back on board immediately. If you wait too long, more obstacles may arise. Stop the rot before it stops you. At that point the gates may close so another path has to be found. Although such alternative routes may keep the journey worthwhile, it is better to try and keep the original plan in place that was previously assessed to be the better one.

When we are on the ascendancy, our opponent is on the decline and is hoping for respite. Give that respite, then we find we no longer are pushing but are being pushed, a small opening in the defences and soon our walls of security can come tumbling down.

We don't always know what good fruit the seeds of our action will produce, we march down one road and another view opens up, other opportunities and new horizons are cast into our vision. It may well be that some don't want us to see the road ahead nor the mountains and valleys it leads to, so they continue to confuse, interfere, deter our hearts and distort our vision. But we can maintain our integrity if we continue to walk forward with caution, not allowing ourselves to fall down any real holes nor paralysed by the fear of false ones.

Anas bin Maalik reported that the Prophet Muhammad (saw) said,
“If the Hour comes when one of you is holding a seedling in his hand,  
if you are able to plant it before the Day arrives, do so.”  
(AHMAD, BUKHAARI in 'Adab al Mufrad')

Friday, 6 December 2013

General Boredom is for Idiots

General Boredom is for Idiots

Our regular state
We often get a sense of boredom, either in general or with something particular.

It is of course natural to get bored sometimes of a specific reality, for human beings were built for diversity, change, progression, varied tasks and numerous spheres of life. It is abnormal to desire continual occupation with a trivial or monotonous task. Life though, is not just one fixed state of activity.

Life is characterised by hundreds of regular tasks and an uncountable amount of possibilities. So no-one could genuinely state that life is the performance of one tedious activity, as life consists of millions of states, activities and experiences. However, a frozen state of mind can create the illusion of uniformity and continuity.

If we don't pay attention to details, if we don't pay attention to the environment, if we don't take note of change, if we don't look in different directions, then we can miss the show of transformation and diversity in operation surrounding us.

Boredom has its benefits
We could have no sense of boredom unless we had a sense of joy, happiness and excitement. Our occasional or even regular boredom is a proof that life is not exclusively boring and that we are often not bored. As seeing as we know these things, we have experienced them and most likely, on some regular basis.

A sense of boredom can cause a person to analyse their own thoughts, to look introspectively and extract some elements of stagnation or blindness to be operated upon and mended.

Boredom can cause a person to explore other dimensions in order to cure his boredom. Exploration increases knowledge and wisdom is gained upon its diverse winding paths.

Boredom can be the psychological breaking system that prevents the car crashing into the walls of dull and docile activity or derails the mind from the tracks of stasis before the train terminates in the dungeons of decrepitude.

General boredom is a deficiency of perspective
Now what of a person who is in a state of prolonged boredom or general boredom? Bored by almost everything and most of the time? Firstly, such a person may have the wrong impression about life, simply considering it to be some joyride, a platform solely for entertainment. Secondly, it indicates an absence of deep thought and realistic judgement.

Life is in fact full of responsibilities and a narrowing window of time to fulfil these responsibilities, so life a panic? Yes, but boring? No. Is it reasonable to have concern about many issues, anger about many things? Indeed these feelings make sense, but a prolonged state of boredom? No, there is something wrong with the thinking process or absence of it, if that is the case.

The one who is bored is perhaps not impressed by the natural surroundings and that indeed is an unthinking position to adopt, it's an opinion indicative of stupidity. Who but an idiot can not be impressed with the sun, moon, stars, clouds, mountains and trees? Who can not be impressed with the human body, animals and insects? Even if an insect or animal annoys you, you still can't fail to be impressed by the existence of these creatures. A fly can be a few millimetres or smaller yet it is a fully functional complex living machine. Who can not be impressed by the human body and all its organs and systems? Who can not be impressed by consciousness, that we are aware of ourselves, our thoughts, feelings, desires, goals and intentions and amazed that we possess those things in the first place?

We know that many are not impressed by these things, but that surely is only because they are not thinking about them. Therefore, when boredom raises its negative head, let us kill it with reflection and deep thought.

General boredom is a problem as it is a type of negative state that veers towards ingratitude. A state of ingratitude will lead to other negative states and feelings. If we nip that in the bud and call to mind our blessings, inward and outward, then we can instead start the train of positive feeling, positive thought and positive action.

In reality this world is full of wonder and enjoyment for all the senses, there are oceans of things we benefit from and enjoy everyday and throughout our lives.

It is reported by A'bdullah ibn A'mru that the prophet Muhammad said:-
 “The world is an enjoyment...”

Boredom can lead to disastrous consequences
One of the reasons some people turn to narcotics is 'boredom,' hence the term 'recreational drugs.'

Bored of reality, so turn to an alternate artificial or chemically adjusted state to turn off the perceived boredom of the real world. But the real world is still there, but under the influence of drugs we can no longer judge it accurately, sense its dangers or properly enjoy its treasures.

Some people get bored so they start to entertain themselves at the expense of others. For their amusement they will harm others, directly or indirectly. This can lead to much distress and oppression in a community, family or relationship and it can escalate so people seek revenge or retribution for the harm inflicted on them. Eventually, you have a war zone or state of chaos, all triggered by some people who got bored because of their own stupidity and sought a stupid means to remove their boredom.

Man needs entertainment
A person can not continuously occupy themselves with noble pursuits, important tasks and deep thoughts. I sometimes feel like we are all children whose bodies have outgrown our small intellects too fast. Our character and behaviour did not not catch up with our physiology, or maybe that is just me.

People enjoy entertainment. We like to play games, hear jokes, watch performances, listen to and nice and interesting things. We naturally are motivated and stimulated by things, people and events which bring joy and happiness. It is a relief to engage in activities which don't have serious consequences after failure. It's soothing to engage in an activity that doesn't take much thought or preparation. But too much of a trivial activity creates guilt within us because we know deep down there are important things to be thought about and done. 


“A little enjoyment in this world! And then, to Us will be their return...”
(QURA'N Yoonus [Jonah] 10:70)

And too much of a thing, especially with the awareness of it not benefiting much, becomes a drag. The activities which we engage in to remove boredom can themselves become boring if we exceed the limits with them.

The world and life is not just for entertainment, but it does possess many entertainments that can be harmlessly engaged in. But we should not lose sight ever of the greater picture and not lose sight of the ultimate purpose ingrained in the fabric of the universe.


“We have not created the heavens and the earth
 and all that is between them  in mere idle play.” 
(QURAN ad Dukhaan [The Smoke] 44:38)

Our Work should be our passion
People get bored in the workplace and engaging in long hours of work that is not enjoyed can be depressing and stressful. The cure for this is engaging in work we enjoy. We should should choose career paths related to our interests, things that are in accordance with our outlook on life, things that synchronize with our personalities.

If your work is something you enjoy, then you wont see it as work.

If we can not do work that we are passionate about, then we should at least try and do work that we are good at due to our personal abilities and talents. In this way, work will not be so torturous. While engaging in such work found easy, it can allow us to think about other things and not feel enslaved.

This though is not for all people, some people may want to feel challenged mentally or physically by their work and they need to be forced into exertion of abilities in order to remain awake and interested.

We don't have to be bored and we shouldn't be
If we are bored it is either because of our state of mind, our lack of knowledge or our lack of movement.

We can change our state of mind any time we want. We can choose the things we think about and how deeply we think about them, we can change the angles from which we think. So if we don't do this, it is our fault. We can change our thought about the same matter so that our judgement moves from 'boring' to 'interesting'.

If we are ignorant of the significance of something or its diverse paths of exploration, then we can increase this by knowledge from those who have travelled before or by treading these paths ourselves. In general, we have not been shackled to the ground, although we may sometimes perceive we have, again by lack of thought.

If we do not engage in different activities then we can not expect to enjoy the scenes of diverse experience. If we don't want to become part of the furniture or a blind statue, then we should move and remind ourselves we are alive and that will open our eyes and awaken our inward vision.

Do we have time to be bored? Do we not have the motivation to be occupied, to be thinking, to be analytical, to be searching and researching? There are too many things to be done, too many problems to be solved and too many blessings to enjoy and be thankful for. Sometimes we may eat like cattle, mechanically and monotonously but we should savour the moments. We should slow down our consumption and taste before we swallow. Life is something to be tasted and not wasted. But we shouldn't become gluttons eating ourselves to death and we shouldn't drink every poison that is offered to us.

So after all this, someone may ask me “Do you get bored?” My answer is... Yes sometimes, but only when I'm being an idiot and not thinking.