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Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Gift

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Peter.

Peter was very much like other little boys of the same age, he played ball, he told jokes, he even picked his nose and flicked his boogers. Looking at Peter, you would think that he was just another ordinary little boy.

But there was something about Peter that was so different, so amazing, and it was something that Peter was so self-conscious of, that he hid it. This special gift that Peter had was, his brilliance!

Yes, Peter was a brilliant little boy. But deep down, he knew that his brilliance could take him places, far away places, and if he allowed his brilliance to shine, he would supercede his parents and brothers and sisters, and even possibly be separated from them. This fear held Peter back, and he did not tell anyone about his brilliance, nor did he show anyone how brilliant he really was.

Over time, this secret made Peter very sad. He wanted so much to tell someone, anyone about his secret. He wanted to tell his Mum and Dad, but they were always too busy worrying about bills to pay any real attention to him.

At night, Peter would hear his Mum and Dad fight over money. He saw how unhappy money, or the lack of money, was making his parents. And he began to rage a hatred towards money.

Peter was doubly sad because he knew that if he could only have the courage to speak out and tell people about his brilliance, that he would be able to solve all of his parents problems.

One day, Peter worked up the courage to tell his Mum about his secret. He practiced all day what he would say and how he would say it. Finally, this feeling of boldness formed in the pit of his stomach... well it felt more like a boulder than boldness, but it egged him on, and it helped him move his feet, and he began to feel pride and happiness swelling in the center of his chest. This warmth grew larger and larger and it felt as if the sun itself had reached down and touched him.

Peter got right up off of the sofa and walked tall and proud into the kitchen where his mother was making dinner. "Mum, I have something to tell you."

His Mum was really busy and harried-looking; "What is it Peter? Can't you see I am busy?"

"Mum, I have a secret to tell you." His chest puffed out in pride as he finally had found the courage to let go of this deep-seeded secret.

"Well, what is it? Do you think I have all day to be standing around listening to your silly little "secrets"? Do you know all that I have to do? Do you even care? There are bills to pay and your father is too lazy to do anything about them, so not only do I have to work until sweat appears on my brow, but then I have to come home and fix dinner for all you lazy children. So tell me Peter, what is this "great secret" that you have to tell me and it better not be something ridiculous , because honestly I really have notime to listen to a bunch of dribble right now."

With each word that came out of his mother's mouth, the warm feeling in Peter's chest diminished more and more. His back began to curl as he rounded his shoulders in. His head began to droop, and he could feel the heat of tears prickling the back of his eyes.

He knew... he knew he could not tell his Mum his great secret. He knew that he had to keep it locked away within himself.

"Well..." she crossed her arms and tapped her foot waiting impatiently for Peter to answer. "What is it?"

"Nothing. Just that I love you." Peter responded.

"OK fine. You've told me your "secret", now leave me alone so I can finish dinner."

Peter walked away from the kitchen, his heart swelling to the point that it almost burst.

After that day, Peter kept this secret locked inside of him for a very long, long time.

As he grew older, he began making choices that were not so good, and he had to live through the consequences of those choices. These consequences, and the guilt that he felt over making some of the choices he had made, added to his self-doubt, his loneliness, his isolation, and his fears.

One day, Peter met a young lady, and his heart began to swell in a love that he could not understand, and he did not want to truly understand. He decided to take a risk and marry this lady.

This lady was very different to anyone he had ever met before. When Peter introduced her to his family, they scorned her. They did not like the light that was shining out of her. She was the type of lady who entered into a room, and the entire room lit up. The more her light shone with love and compassion and friendship, the more Peter's family hated her.

And the more Peter's family hated her, the more he grew to love her.

Soon, Peter began to discover a new found strength inside of him, and he told his family that he would never leave his beloved bride; in his saying this, his family scorned him also. Finally, Peter had no choice, but to leave his family and so he did.

As the years went by, Peter and his wife fell more and more in love with each other. His wife's light began to rub off on Peter and he would have moments, great moments, when his inner-light shone so brightly, it was almost blinding.

And as Peter's wife observed him, she noticed something about him, a very special quality that could not be denied. As she began to notice this, so did others.

Soon, Peter's secret was beginning to be revealed. In small ways at first, but soon the secret of his brilliance was shining forth brightly.

Sadly, there were many dark forces who noticed this and who took advantage of it. Each time this happened, Peter began to withdraw his light a little more and a little more. His once shining bright star, began to grow dull. He began to get sad and fearful once again. And no matter what encouragement his beloved wife would offer him, what words of wisdom she shared with him, he did not want to hear or listen.

One day, Peter had an immensely brilliant idea. It was the idea of ideas. It was something that was SO brilliant, he would HAVE to share it with the world as it was just too great for one man to hold within himself.

Peter shared his idea with his wife. Immediately, she began to glow. The glow came from a deep place inside of her as she recognized the brilliance of Peter's idea. She encouraged him to work on his idea so he could share it with the world, and help light up so many lives that had grown very dark, and were decaying in so many places.

But Peter grew scared. Everyday he would go to his computer, he would determine inside of himself that "today is the day I'll start working", but then he would find other things to occupy his mind and his time. For weeks and weeks, then months and months, Peter would follow a routine. Each morning he would tell himself that "today is the day", but each time he turned his computer on, he would find himself another distraction.

Soon, he noticed that there was almost no food in the house and there was no money to go and buy more food because he was not making any money. The once shining bright light that his wife exuded was starting to dim. She no longer carried a smile on her face and her face was beginning to grow deep lines from frowning with worry and stress. He noticed that they began to have more and more arguments about little things, and he began to feel that she was picking on him each time she thought she was motivating and encouraging him. Soon, the love he once felt for her was also diminishing, and he began to fill his mind with thoughts of divorce.

Peter did not know what to do. He knew that this secret that he held on so tightly to was destroying his life. He felt himself die just a little more each day.

Soon, he told his wife that she had to stop pushing him to work. He began to let go of his brilliant idea because he did not feel the courage to pluck himself out of the sorrow and dark pit that he had formed around him.

As he let go of the idea, there was another man who lived in another state, and soon he was finding himself becoming filled with the most brilliant idea the world had ever known. And as the idea filtered away from Peter and filtered into this new man, the light within him started to grow greater.

This man was not a brilliant man by any means, but he knew brilliance when he saw it. He grabbed hold of this idea and began to work on it. Soon, he brought his idea to the world, and all the people of the entire world stood up and clapped. They jumped up and down with glee. The light that had been going out in so many lives began to grow again. Soon the entire world was glowing with the light of happiness, positive energies, love, and fulfillment, as this idea truly changed the world.

But in one small part of the world, there was a darkness. A sorrow so deep. A regret so great. A pain so tremendous. It emerged from two people, Peter and his beloved wife.

As Peter let his idea slip away into the Universe, the Universe realised that they needed to find someone else much more suitable to manifest the idea into life. So they did.

What Peter never realised or wanted to comprehend was that his gift of brilliance was just that "a gift". It was entrusted to him by the greatest force, but he hid it away. He was too afraid to let it shine. When he was entrusted with the greatest light-giving idea, he was too scared to let it out and share it. As he fell more into his routine of being busy by procrastinating, the Universe was always observing. Finally, the Universe knew that it was time for the idea to shine, there were more people in the world that needed this idea to materialize than just Peter. So, they found someone else and they gave him the idea instead.

Often, we do not realise that the ideas we are given are not created by us alone, they are entrusted to us by a higher and greater force. When we are entrusted with such a gift, it is our responsibility to hold on tightly and take that idea to the maximum limit. We do not know what that idea can do for others, but the Universe does. While we may be compensated monetarily or by wide-acclaim, the Universes compensation to us, and especially to the ones the idea touches, is so much greater.

When you have an idea, do all you can to turn it into reality. There are no true obstacles but the obstacles you place in front of yourself. They are nothing more than mere illusions that can be maneuvered by simple imagination and action.

Success has never been created by imagination and dreams alone, it takes action, work, and diligence in persevering the end goal.

Do not be like Peter, if you have an idea, put it into action, today! You never know when the Universe will remove it from you and give it to someone else. Don't let your fears or the words of others distract you or hold you back. Inspite of what others say to negate your idea, your dream, or your belief, do it! There is an even greater audience watching you and cheering you on.

©Leyla Hur
All Rights Reserved. Copying, altering, displaying or redistribution of this material without written permission from the author is strictly prohibited.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Awakening

Over the past few days, I feel like I have come into a new Spiritual Awakening, a complete and total understanding. To keep this locked up inside of me would not service me, or whoever might be reading this.

For too long, I have tried to find “understanding” within the walls of religion. Recently, I had a comment from someone that was very negative in its very words, but in comprehending, pondering, meditating, and then understanding, I find myself sitting here tonight with complete understanding.

The individual who wrote to me accused me of having an “identity crisis”, they told me that I should have “gotten over” my identity crisis years ago. While my initial reaction was one of complete shock and hurt at the words, I now am grateful for those words because it caused me to open my heart and my mind to complete and total opening up to my Self.

Over the years, I have traversed many spiritual paths, gone on spiritual journeys, and tried very hard to find my sense of “belonging” within the walls of organized religion.

This started in my mid-teens when I was in a foreign country attending school in a distant location from the town I was living in with my Grandparents. Alone, lonely, away from “home” (the home that I had grown up in with my parents), and without the friends I had known most of my life, I was friendless in this town. The only people I could consider as “friends” from school lived in the city, a distance from where I was.

In that loneliness, I was introduced to the Mormon Church via members of the church who embraced me and accepted me as one of their own. At 16-years-old, it was no wonder that their complete, total, unconditional acceptance appealed to me and drew me in. Whether I actually believed in the teachings of the church, I felt that I had found my place of belonging.

After I was baptized in to the Church, I found myself leaving within 9-months. I began my true “journey” through many different paths and religions, returning often to the Church, but never staying long.

For so many years I could not understand why I was not “satisfied” to just give up my life and any other beliefs that I might have and remain within the bonds of the church; at the same time, I wondered why I kept being drawn back to the church.

So when I was finally “out” of the church, my name removed from their records as if I was never even in existence; in essence, wiping me away from the mind and the cognition of God, I felt freed and relief. Now, I was finally released to truly explore my own truth.

After my father died, I delved in to the religion of my ancestors, my father and my birth; Islam.

Initial study taught me that Islam was more a way of life; it was a spirituality where Allah (God) was everything, not merely IN everything, but actually WAS everything.

Removed was the belief and teaching that God was a mortal man, an image that I simply could not comprehend since first learning about this “white-bearded Deity”. My mortal conceptualization of an omnipresent being contained within a body of flesh and bone seemed overtly limiting to me. The idea of a Holy Ghost and Son seemed even more foreign to me.

So, as I delved more into the study of Islam, things began to make sense. And that is why when I was first harassed by what are known as “haraam police” (haraam meaning “forbidden”), I was shocked. These individuals claiming that their “correcting” me was “sunnah” and that if I was to be a Muslim, I had “better get used to it”.

Often, I felt like I was a mere child being scolded continually by individuals whom I had never met and whom I did not know; strangers, that were labeled as “sisters” simply because we were both Muslim.

I became increasingly frustrated and angered at these people who were correcting my every thought, my every belief, my every action, and most often these individuals were much younger than me.

A couple of times, I came close to giving up the entire aspect of Islam because of the nastiness that was spouting out of these individuals, followed up by the prevalent “I say this because I love you for the sake of Allah”. What the hell did that sentiment mean? They only “loved” me to keep in the ‘good graces’ of Allah; and that “I”, the “you” they were correcting, had no matter, no meaning, no worth?

I began to withdraw from a lot of the social and religious activities within the community as the offense of more than one unnerved me. I was told by the select few I confided in to just “ignore them”; but in my doing that, I was continuing to give them permission to act in such an abusive manner.

An individual with my background does not accept abuse by simply rolling over and taking it. I have long-learned to open my mouth, stand out strong and tall, and shout out against abuse.

In my frustration, I tried to understand why I kept delving back in to different spiritual paths. Why was I not simply satisfied with “me”? What was I truly searching for, and would I ever really find it?

In a moment of complete and sheer frustration, I unloaded on a dear friend, and divulged a part of myself to her. I let down my barriers and opened up to a secret I kept long buried. In my doing so, in her amazing response, and in my thinking about her words, I finally saw clearly the whole picture. I finally understood myself, my frustrations, my “need” to hide behind organized religion.

This was a process that first began last year, but I could not let myself go enough to be honest and truthful with who I was and “why” I was.

In this openness that I finally began embracing, I began to SEE and see for the very first time.

I began addressing issues that I had seen crop up time and time in religion, and especially what I had recently learned within the confines of Islam “the religion”.

One of the biggest issues was the idea of covering in the hijab. When I first covered, I did it for myself. I did for my own reasons and it had nothing to do with the common misnomer held within Islam. And I had often questioned myself if my own reasons for covering were “in line” with what was common thought within the religion itself.

The verse in the Quran says; “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty…” Qu’ran 24:31

And when I finally came to understanding, I realized that when God speaks, He speaks in the whole sense of the explanation and it is us mere mortals who understand in literal, and in so-doing, MIS-understanding.

“Guarding” one’s modesty is something that most of us do already. What is “modesty” in the true understanding of the word? In the online Princeton Wordnet definition it says that modesty is freedom from vanity or conceit. When we guard against this, we are removing EGO (Edging God Out) from our lives.

So covering the body in “modesty” as the literal translation has been interpreted, might not be what the original belief was.

When I meditated on “lowering their gaze”, I realized that this was not something that was also literal, but realize that this was the precursor to guarding modesty. Again, I finally understood it to mean that we need to be aware of our surroundings. When we lower our gazes as we walk, we are being cognitive of the path ahead of us. While this is indicated towards us as individuals, it has a much bigger meaning to it. A deeper, more spiritual meaning and not the literal translation that has kept so many women covered in cloth for so long.

I questioned why, if modesty was such an important thing, were we all born naked and emerging out of our mother’s naked vaginas. And then I understood the complete picture…

We are already “covering our modesty” as we emerge out of the womb, as we are forming IN the womb. Our “covering” is our physical bodies, and this covers that which “drives” our bodies, our soul.

In discussion with my husband, he asked “So does this mean that we’ll all be naked in heaven?”

No. We will not be naked; we will not have the bodies which we have now, because we are nothing but forms of energy.

We say Allah is everything, not just IN everything, but IS everything. How could that be? What is true omnipotence? The concept is difficult to comprehend on so many levels. But as we transcend in Spiritual awareness, it makes complete and total sense. Upon shedding of our mortal bodies, we too are omnipotent in that we can be in more than one place at one time because we are nothing more than energy forms.

Does this concept align us with Allah and “enjoin” us to him? Yes and no.

Yes we are aligned because if we truly believe that Allah is the creator of all things, therefore OUR creator, we hold a strand of His DNA within us. This is shown in the mere fact that we are alive, we are breathing and we are feeling. We have a soul, and in that soul, He holds a part of us. This is what is called Divine Connection. This is also what links each and every single person upon this earth to each other.

Does this mean that we are in essence “Gods”? No. However, we do hold a part of God in us through that Divine Connection, but we are NOT Gods, at least in my comprehension.

In answering my husband’s question, no we will not be “naked” because we will have no form to be naked with, but rather we are energy.

Someone asked tonight “how can God judge us, and why God would like some of us or dislike some of us when he doesn’t have a character and human emotions?”

I replied, “From what I have learned over my years (not IN religion), I have learned that this "judgment" is truly that Divine source in all of us (our soul connectedness) that will be responsible for judging us based on experience culminating with the intensity of Love on the Other Side, as well as complete and total understanding of the ages once removed from our physical form and limitations as well as human, earth-held, understanding. I have a very difficult time comprehending a "court" with the energy force that is Allah at the head handing down judgment and "sentencing".”

And I truly do believe this. It just makes complete and total sense to me. I suddenly “get it”, I understand and I feel completely freed in my understanding.

I no longer feel confined within the bounds of man-made religion. I finally can understand the concept of living and experiencing without the man-made rules and regulations.

Am I no longer “Muslim”? Yes I am, because I understand the meaning of Islam being “to submit” or “to surrender”, from the Arabic root word “Peace” (Salaam). Muslim means “one who submits”. But again, I do not believe that it means this in the literal sense, but rather in the limitless sense.

We all submit and surrender in so many aspects of the meaning, being “submissive” does not mean the same thing which many have come to understand the meaning.

As a tree bends in the wind, so to we bend with the winds of change. It is a natural process.

Life is as easy or difficult as we choose to make it. For me, I choose to make life easy, without all the confines of rules and regulations, rights and wrongs. I choose to simply Be.

The true purpose of life; is to experience, and in those experiences we learn, we expand our minds, and we live.