In lost and nothingness, we seek guidance.
Saturday, 18 November 2023
|Image source: Liane Metzler/Unsplash|
For long as I can remember, I have been living with a big void in my life. I have been always feeling that there is something lacking that makes my life so empty. That particular something, however, I can never describe, which is why I am writing this.
In my teenage years, my life revolved around a mission to fulfillment of my basic emotional needs my parents failed to give me. I label that emotional needs as validation. The validation that I have something to do in this life. The validation that I am wanted and allowed to live a life that is meaningful.
I used to think that I have achieved it. I earned many academic accolades, I started to make my own money, I felt productive. I felt that I have something to do in this life, something meaningful. I called that ambition as purpose.
I used to think that I have achieved it, but I felt empty.
Approaching my 20’s era, my life changed. What meaningful to me was no longer materialistic ambition, it was rather intellectual maturity.
That period of time, no matter where I went and worked, I used to have a standard to measure the person who should meet and lead me. That person should be somebody who has high intellectual maturity that I could possibly mirror. Beyond blessed, I was granted many of people who were willing to mentor me, as well as allowed me to mirror them.
I used to think that I have achieved it, but still, the achievement felt empty.
Personally I feel like I am always being a lucky person. That luck complements my effort to achieve all of those above. Today I took a detour on that perspective. Today I just learned that I was simply being guided to taste a bit of various flavors of life. Today that luck transformed into guidance. Let’s call it that way.
And yet, to call it a guidance (or sets of some), there should be some eligibilities that can legitimate it as such:
- We use guidance in a route towards something, meaning we need to know the final destination of this journey. What am I becoming in the end of this story?
- Guidance is provided by a being. What is the being that provided me these guides?
So here we are, seeing me confused and start my new journey of becoming, my new journey of curiosity with zero knowledge about myself.
As if the questions are being heard, there’s a book I just starting to read. It’s a book titled The Secret of Secrets by Abdul Qadir Jailani. This book feels like a gate-opener to the answers I am seeking for in this particular stage of life, as well as on what this life is all about. Specifically, the first four chapters mesmerized me a lot that all of those continued to stimulate my curiosity.
The first four chapters explained his thought about human’s reason of being and the starting of a journey in this world. He portrayed it very well and very clear that this life is a reversed path towards the Source.
The introduction chapter explains about the initial process of creation, as well as how pure we used to be. Then it explained that we are a lost ones for once we, the souls, were manifested to this bodily realm, designed to forgot where we came from. The Prophet (peace be upon him) felt the pain to see where we are now.
The introduction part of the book felt like an invitation to me; an invitation to go back on the journey towards The Divine. We, the souls that are bound to the physical bodies, need to realize that we are actually lost now and in need of guidance to navigate the journey towards The Divine. The journey, however, is not promised to be a smooth one after we realize and follow the idea of going towards The Divine. It instead will become slower and slower, much like a treasure hunt, even.
But we should not worry because there are two initial milestones to start the journey. One is to know more about The Divine, and then to know about the essence of The Divine. In this book, both are achieved with our wisdom. The wisdom has two aspects: the outer knowledge and the inner wisdom. We ought to learn how The Divine manifests Himself in the creations that we can see in order to gain outer knowledge. In inner wisdom, we are instructed to learn to live with purity and constant repentance.
Chapter one to chapter three is where the real story begins. We are reminded about where we truly came from. We came from the highest place and asked to live in the lowest of the low, which is physical world on earth. All of this life’s mission is about to go back to that highest place, The Divine.
Before we finally got our chance to be here, we were equipped with a soul. The soul is the real being of us that should lead us to live. Unfortunately, this place called earth is filled many distractions that make the soul go far and further away from The Divine. Once we realize that we are lost, we naturally seek a way back into it. Before that happens, we seek our soul.
I interpret it as if we are asking deep questions to ourselves, “where is it? Why is it failed me to navigate this life? Why am I distracted?”
The fourth chapter came up as the answer. We human being voluntarily leave our soul and surrender to the temptations of the world. Instead of our soul, our lives are led by our ego, which goal is to achieve worldly attributes and validations.
“If they give in to these temptations, they stop, they do not advance, they soar no higher. Though their goal was to close to their Creator, they cannot reach any longer. They become distracted; they are the ones with a single wing.” (Chapter four, page 29)
In order to be given a chance to know The Creator, The Divine, we need to sincerely reeducate and reprogram our soul so it comes back in position to lead. In my mind, it sounds like a rebirth of our souls, then may it rebirth.
“Jesus said, 'Man has to be born twice to reach the realm of the angels, like the birds who are born twice. It is the birth of the meaning from the act, the birth of the spirit from the flesh. 'That possibilitv is in man. That is the mystery. the secret of man. It is born of the intercourse of man's knowledge of the religion and man's awareness of the truth, sa al children are born of the union o ft w o drons o f water.” (Chapter four, page 30)
My decision to embark a new journey of becoming, everything I become.
I submit myself to the idea of the rebirth moment of our souls, so I give myself a permission to embark a journey of it, be it slow or fast. May Allah grant me His blessing and opportunity to do this.
First thing I do is to know deeper about Him, through his names that are manifested in 99 names which we can dive in, deeper and deeper. Another book is now facilitating me to learn about the meaning. I avoid self interpretation at all cost, for I start this from zero knowledge, even zero clues of what to know about. It’s the book titled Reflecting on the Names of Allah by Dr. Jinan Yousef.
Mind you, this is the instant answer to the questions on guide I asked in the beginning. Why?
The first name that Dr. Jinan Yousef explained is about the manifestation of Al-Hadi, Al-Rashid (The Guide). He explained that Allah is the sufficient guide for us to live. Starting from the linguistic to the synchronicities with Qur’an, he told us that Allah as The Guide will never leave you, only the guidance need you to be open in order to receive. For it to be seen and felt in your reality, you need to be aware of everything that happens around you, for the guidance can manifest in so many ways, including what we feel like a delay, a redirection, and whatnot. Sometimes it’s simply a presence from someone that will help you through things.
What I note and probably will always remember is that it takes effort to notice the guidance around us. Dr. Jinan Yousef wrote that we need to humble ourselves and ask guidance from The Guide, and use means around us. To quote directly from what he wrote:
Take the first step of realizing that He has this attribute, and have the certainty chat Allah will with certainty. Supplicate to Him, pray the prayer for guidance (salat istikharah) and talk to Him. Finally, use the means around you. Re-assess your goals, seek people’s advice and cake the step needed co try to find these steps may be hard, but God cells us 'And chose who strive for Us - We will surely guide them to Our ways.1 [29:69]. (Page 12)
It is indeed a full circle moment. The answers needed reveal themselves just in time. Those two precious resources, though I just read less than half of it, give me answers on who I am becoming in the end, as well as The Guide for me in my journey of becoming.
From this personal reflection, I encourage all of you to reflect about your life journey and the multiple themes of it. After that, reflect about the moments you felt lost and your expectation of The Guide presence, along with His sets of guidance for you in your life.
- What are you learning from your life journey?
- What are those all about?
- What are you becoming to in the end of your life?
- Do you feel lost in any way?
- Have you already found The Guide for your journey?
- What do you expect The Guide to be?
- How do you expect The Guide to give you sets of guidance?
- Have you ever seen that guidance for once in your lifetime?
Good luck! May The Guide grant us the clear vision of His guidance from the rebirth to the end of time.