I’m not all that old so I guess it’s okay for me to admit that after all these years of being alive, I know for a fact that I don’t really know much about anything.
Some days, like today, are empty. I have no reason to get off the bed except to pray or maybe go to the bathroom. I’m not hungry, I was thirsty last night and presumably as I slept given the dreams of drinking several chilled, sweet beverages, but when I woke up I desired none of that. In fact the thought of cold water going down my throat and sending jolts through my body seemed especially unpleasant.
We’ve spent the last few days going out, being with people, exercising, eating well, reading and being with family. Yet the feeling persists.
Why am I alive? What is my purpose?
‘ to worship’ is what I’ve been taught, and it’s what’s in the Noble Book.
I’ve thought about it much. I can’t deny the simple beauty of it. In fact it makes sense and I accept.
I just finished an incredible book, A History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, and it made me feel disappointed in mankind and what we supposedly do on this earth: live, and reproduce.
The living part I can understand. I mean we’re already here, might as well make the most of it. But to continue our bloodline? What’s the point of that? The universe got on just fine before we came along and although we’re hurting the earth a lot, in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t actually matter. Species go extinct all the time and the earth repeats the extinction cycle every now and then. Our era of existence is not even a blip in the earth’s history of doing its own thing.
In short life makes no sense to me right now, I’m only taking care of myself because a very loud voice in my head just cannot bear to see me looking pathetic or small like an insect. It’s got an overwhelming desire for me to be big and strong and powerful and I can’t help but placate that part of my brain.
So on the surface I look healthy, active and I’m cheerful with people (that part I can’t really help either, it happens automatically) but inside I have no desire for anything much at this point at least, and I’m disappointed that I don’t even look forward to or enjoy engaging in worship and remembrance.
It’s like I need to come out of the closet but instead of announcing to the world that I’m gay, it’ll be more like ‘I’m actually a rock and I just want to stay here on this spot forever and not move. Sorry guys but that’s just who I am’.
Something tells me this haze over my brain will pass, and I’m sure there are times in my life when things are a lot clearer and I feel a drive to do things.
But it’ll be back, and I’m worried that I know it with such certainty.
Hmm ok new point of introspection: I know I’m in a specific state of mind now and although I can rationalize and justify my feelings and thoughts now, it’s still something I don’t enjoy and I want to get out of it.
My mind tells me now ‘i want to escape this, this is reality, and be invested in the illusion of doing things that ‘matter’ and chasing some goal that ultimately has a high chance of being quite pointless really’.
It’s all so perplexing I think I need to shower now.
‘Have you read such-and-such book?’
No, it is filth.
‘How can you say so if you haven’t discovered it for yourself?’
Life is a journey. If those before us warn of excrement on a part of the road ahead, it would be foolish for us to tread that way. It has been identified and established that it is dirty, so why busy ourselves with rediscovering the discovered?
i realize why i’ve stopped using social media:
i don’t care what people have to show/say, and nobody cares what i have to show/say
i feel like talking about how dumb and mindless it all is but it’s not worth the time
it’s important to take some time every day to count our blessings
the syaitan and nafs are relentless and endlessly crafty; you can make one right decision and they’ll play out an entire drama scene in your head where you are the hero and you start doing greater and greater things
some cats look so adorable and have that ‘help me i’m lost face’ that i can’t accept it in my head that they’re excellent hunters and killas
i’m learning to cross over from barebones to minimalism to minimum-efficient-dose-functionality. also, it’s pretty fun to decorate a home i realize. such serendipity to realize my cat’s potty matches the blue of the candle in the living room. i think a sofa of that shad would look good too
mind away from this world, come on STICK TO IT ALREADY
In Islam our role model, super-est hero and dearest love is our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He is the door through which we reach God, and as stated in the Qur’aan, he (peace be upon him) was sent as a mercy to all mankind (not just Muslims!) and is a mercy to the worlds (not just earth or the visible world – more on that in another post maybe).
And from the life and example of our Beloved Prophet, we have records of his actions and words. This is called the sunnah, and as Muslims we must follow the sunnah. It is not obligatory, such as the five obligatory pillars of Islam: declaration of faith that Allah is God and Prophet Muhammad is his messenger, praying 5 times a day, fasting in the month of Ramadhan, compulsory alms-giving for those who meet the criteria, and performing the Hajj if one is has the health and wealth. But following the sunnah is something we are highly highly encouraged to do, its rewards are magnificent, and any Muslim who loves his Prophet will definitely want to do what he can.
At first my exposure to the sunnah was limited, but as i learnt more, i realized two things:
- the sunnah is EXTENSIVE. It covers so many many many things
- far from being a burden or problem, it actually simplifies our lives to an extraordinary degree
THE SUNNAH IS EXTENSIVE
Let me just make a short list of some of the things i’ve learnt, if only as a reminder and form of revision for myself:
- eat with your right hand
- eat as a group on a shared platter
- food for one is enough for two
- sit to eat and drink
- do not gulp water, but drink in sips
- start your meal with some water, have a bit more in the middle of it, then finish up your water at the end
- take things as good omens (i.e. think positive)
- expose a part of your body to the rain for a bit
- oil your hair some days and on some days don’t
- comb your hair on some days and on some days don’t
- use perfume (men: light coloured with stronger scent, women: more colourful with a mild scent)
- use the toothstick upon waking up, before prayers, before teaching, and a few other occasions i cannot recall
- do not blow into your food or drink if it is too hot
- do not add salt to cooking, but use your finger to touch the salt and place that small amount on your tongue before you eat
- eat fruits first before heavier food, not after
- sleep on your right side, with your palm under your cheek
- don’t be angry, don’t be angry, don’t be angry (feeling angry is normal but here the prohibition is acting out in anger)
- do not waste water
- give names to your belongings
We could go on for a very long time.
What strikes me as impressive and frankly a sign to me (i spent a lot of time thinking and wondering, not wanting to blindly follow the religion my parents brought me into. I always felt at home but i wanted to be very certain and unshakeable in my faith) that Islam is the true religion (that said i still respect my friends of different faiths; to you is your way of life, to me mine) is how the sunnah covers everything from the obvious to the minute. This is guidance for every aspect of our lives.
IT SIMPLIFIES OUR LIVES
Yes, and i know it might seem so otherwise because we have social norms, personal preferences, and even with all those out of the way you gotta take some time to learn the sunnah and start implementing them.
But the beauty in it is that it frees us from deciding, and we know that deciding takes up will power and cognitive effort, both of which are finite. Too many decisions leaves a person exhausted, and really sometimes we don’t know what to choose.
When you know you have an example to follow, set by the best of creation, it takes away the uncertainty of following and the hassle, albeit small, of deciding.
And as time goes by, we will all see little by little how science reveals the wisdom, validity and benefit behind the sunnah. So for those who want concrete facts as well, know that you will get it. We follow because it is good for us and because we love our Prophet, but we also research and dig deeper because it is also our command to seek knowledge and to strive to understand more.
Life is very simple, and the sunnah makes it so. I’m not a good example, by a long shot, but honestly i find that as i implement little by little, i feel good (i reckon it’s a combination of health benefits + placebo effect + benefits in my head cos i feel good doing it and i feel a connection to my Nabi) and have been able to free up so much space in my life, my head, my heart and my worldly possessions.
So many other philosophies and methods exist which point in the same direction, and to me they are all approaching the path that has already been set out by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
The whole world doesn’t have to be Muslim or follow the sunnah, but if each individual who reads this takes some time to think and act appropriately, there will be a positive spillover and ripple effect, God willing.
I would like to end this post with a reminder first and foremost to myself: the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was merciful to all and it was his beautiful character that won over so many hearts, healed so many people, and set the benchmark for what we must strive to.
I wish you all peace.
May Allaah bestow peace and blessings upon our Master Muhammad, his family, companions, lineage and people, forever and always.
- light, medium, heavy days
- daily work
- focus part + everything else 1 set
- rest days
- functional training
- work by week and not strictly by days
- 1st workout of the week is light, followed by medium etc
- focus days: arms, chest, shoulders, legs, back
- legs focus: sprints (functional)
- push ups (1 min and to failure?)
- 1 min handstand (and increase with time)
- pull ups (increase with time)
- leg stretching
- tues thurs sat
- tues fri sun
- whey protein
- beta alanine (till the bottle is used up then stop)
- l-arginine (same)
- glutamine (same? maybe already done)
consider factor in long-run + load
The purpose of this post is to explore some thoughts and feelings I had firsthand and my reflections on them; I might be wrong in my conclusions. I do not intend to offend anyone.
There was a time in my life when I hadn’t worked out for a long time, had long deviated far from my planned diet and even general eating guidelines. When once the thought of Mcdonald’s was nauseating, I was now looking forward to first an apple pie and eventually allowed more burgers (KFC and Burger King to be specific hahaha) into my life.
I guess a combination of my job, genetics and perhaps age kept me from becoming overweight, but I felt horrible. In fact I had been feeling horrible for a long time, but did nearly nothing to improve my situation.
And so one evening while eating an apple pie, I sort of realised a few things. They can be summarised to the following cycle:
You get too busy or tired with work/life/responsibilities and stop doing healthy things because you’re either exhausted, have no motivation, time, or a combination of the above.
You get out of shape and it bugs you, but it isn’t bad enough for you to take drastic action. Plus you’re barely surviving; fitness seems like a secondary goal now.
If you descent long enough you reach a stage where you are so far behind that it takes too much and too much out of you to climb out of this rut. This is when you don’t like your reflection, hide away clothes you can’t fit, feel like a weak loser in the gym, and maybe start despising ‘fit’ people and justifying your poor life choices. Food is more of a friend now.
If you’re just plain lazy or have never been fit and/or disciplined/strict with yourself, it’ll probably hurt a lot less. You just sink into this identity.
For busy and tired people especially, entertainment and food become a primary source of rest, relaxation and escapism from the grind. Food is special because it also meets a survival necessity. Good food is a bonus! You must eat to live and therefore have no reason not to enjoy it anyway.
For those who are upset with their state but can’t get out yet, food can become a consoling factor. You feel like crap about yourself and so eat delicious crap to get away from the crappy feelings.
That’s the beginning of the vicious food cycle: excessive (in relation to both activity levels and sheer survival need)/ unhealthy food soothes stress/bad feelings yet act as fuel for further negative feelings down the road.
You then either hide all the bad things away from your mind, or embrace it as your new identity.
But there are some who reach a rock bottom, and that’s actually their turning point: they figure they’ve had enough of the current state of things, and so they take control. Little by little they wrest back what was lost to lack of structure, pettiness, insufficient discipline, not enough guidance and perhaps the wrong crowd.
And the higher they climb they better they fare and so the faster they move. Then there will be that one moment when they look down and shudder at the thought that they let themselves fall so far down.
Ok that’s all.