Monday, December 15, 2014

Real present vs. uncertain future


This is the most thought provoking phrase of the week for me. It's by Alan Watts (1915 - 1973) a British philosopher and writer.

"If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are 'crying for the moon.' We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty...."

"But the future is still not here, and cannot become a part of experienced reality until it is present. Since what we know of the future is made up of purely abstract and logical elements - inferences, guesses, deductions - it cannot be eaten, felt, smelled, seen, heard, or otherwise enjoyed. To pursue it is to pursue a constantly retreating phantom, and the faster you chase it, the faster it runs ahead. This is why all the affairs of civilization are rushed, why hardly anyone enjoys what he has, and is forever seeking more and more. Happiness, then, will consist, not of solid and substantial realities, but of such abstract and superficial things as promises, hopes and assurances."


Reflecting on this, makes us realize how true it is, that people have the tendency to cry for the moon, that people seek future assurance. Because of restless seeking for a secured future we forget and fail to appreciate the present, let alone enjoy it. It is a waste of energy to be restless about the future. I think that's why there is such a thing as tawakkal and yaqin. And husnul zan towards Allah and His grand plans. With Him around, life should be good.

Let's enjoy the present because the future cannot be eaten, felt, smelled, seen, heard and enjoyed. Therefore, fret not. And don't bother about other people's future either. Mind your own present and chill. 

And this has got to be the most valuable advice and reminder this week. It's by our dearest Habib Umar bin Hafiz, as published on Muwasala FB, recorded from an event in Cape Town in Dec 2014.

"The believer is honored by being connected to the name of Allah in all his states. Even when he sleeps. The Prophet salallah alaihi wasalam taught him to say: 'In your name my Lord, I place my side and in your name I raise it."

Habib Umar asked: "What is our state with regards to bismillah? Did you wear some clothing without saying bismillah and without being aware of the meaning? Is there something in your stomach which entered without you saying bismillah first? Did you enter the masjid in a state of awareness of bismillah? If we have said bismillah then how much have we reflected upon it and understood its meanings?"

From the above, we may deduce:
In each state, that is in each present, if we were to connect ourselves to the Name of Allah by saying bismillah, our present would be in an honorable state. The present moment would be meaningful as we are carried from one 'present' to the next 'present' with mindfulness, because we are going from bismillah to another bismillah continually. And thus making each moment a good present all the way. In other words, if we mind the present in the right way, it is as if the future takes care of itself - bismillah.
Allahu a'lam.

A present from my employer, for each one of us ; D

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