A cure for anxiety – Extract from Remembering God by Charles Le Gai Eaton

Anxiety

 

I have revisited this quote countless times this week and I feel I will visit it countless more. A reminder of the nature of affairs.

Fatalism, as an attitude to life in general, is retrospective. Only when something has happened can we say that it had to happen. The notion that it makes people inactive is disproved by experience. The courage of the Prophet’s Companions, going into battle against overwhelming odds, must certainly have owed something to the conviction that the outcome of the battle was in God’s hands, not theirs, and that they would die not a moment before or after “a time appointed”. If their time had not yet come, the enemy’s weaponry would prove to be no more dangerous than a child’s toys; if they were fated to meet their end that day, nothing they did could prevent this. In our time, countless men and women suffer extreme stress in their work and this is often due to the belief that “everything depends on me”. For the Muslim, everything depends on God; nothing “depends on me”. Paradoxical as it may seem, the conviction that all is pre-ordained is liberating, whereas belief in total freedom of choice creates, for those who hold it, a prison of anxiety and uncertainty. It is for us to act. The outcome of our actions is God’s business, not ours. It is for us to do what is right under all circumstances. Subsequent failures does not mean that right action was, after all, wrong.

From Charles Le Gai Eaton’s book Remembering God

A supplication taught to Muslims by the Prophet Muhammad. On reflection, it is easy to adapt this into your life no matter what your religious inclination.
hammi-wa-alhazn

Kindness trumps intelligence.

image

Jeff Bezos recounted a story where he was taught a lesson by his grandfather. You can read the story here or watch it here but the gist of it is, he was being a clever young man when he happened to use his wit in a harmful way. His grandfathers words to him were:

“Jeff, one day you’ll understand that it’s harder to be kind than clever.”

For three days now those words have haunted me. Every now and then you read or hear something that rattles your bones or stops you dead in your tracks. Upon hearing those words, I took one of those deep sighs like when someone smacks you a good one in the thorax. My heart felt heavy and breathing slowed right down as I put myself on trial.

How often I let my intellect beat my forbearance, overcome my mercy or hold hostage my kindness only for it to be let loose like a rabid dog gnawing at someone else’s inability to retort back or playing a silly tit for tat should they be a worthy adversary.

I felt so bad for all the fights I’ve had, verbally or electronically.

It daunted upon me how rotten we are as humans, using ‘gifts’ as Jeff calls them to our detriment. Using intelligence to put someone else down, using intelligence to garner a favourable position even though it may not be honourable or imbued with integrity.

Why do we place so much emphasis on intelligence and so little on kindness? Would you rather a spouse or partner that could prove the sky is pink to you with philosophical rants ad nauseam or would you prefer a person shrouded in kindness and mercy? Is intelligence really that attractive when put in that light?

How many a husband or wife have used their intelligence to cut through the marital fabric, the carefully evolved tapestry of love between a couple that has survived the ages?

How many a daughter has spoken ill of her mother because she doesn’t fit into her social construct of what it means to be a woman, forgetting the kindness and patience her mother afforded her as she developed and was allowed the freedom to develop into the person she now arrogantly displays to the world as sophisticated and powerful?

How many a father has shattered the dreams of his son when he longed to build things with his hands when instead he was forced into a field he bore no passion towards.

The examples can pour on forever, but the take home message is, put yourself on trial and think about the things you’ve said to win an argument, to appear cool, intelligent, gather attention or rise to a position by using your intelligence and your gifts in a negative way then account yourself and make amends. Apologise, return the rights of the person, seek forgiveness, vow to change, apply yourself by the maxim of ‘Unless you have nothing good to say, then remain silent’. In the words of the noble Prophet Muhammad,

“Be kind, for whenever kindness becomes part of something, it beautifies it. Whenever it is taken from something, it leaves it tarnished.”

I’ve watched oldie a few times and I still get pleasure out of it every time.

The extrovert delusion

quiet

I love this quote by Mary Walsh. It was in review of Susan Cain’s book titled: Quiet, the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.

To say I am excited to read this book is an understatement. Without spoiling it too much, the praises are never ending and it’s description is something that appeals to me.
I’m utterly dissatisfied with the status quo of my and my fellow younger generations. Their utter disregard for the quiet achiever’s resolve, focus and ability is an imbecilic crime against ourselves and one another.

The worship of the extrovert has done nothing more than create a culture so superficially void and defunct that we will be feeling the pain of our momentary lapse in the time-space of eternity for a very long time.

We will be remembered for our ignorance and our ability to purposefully dumb each other down. Self inflicted stupidity, lack of intelligence seen as cool and the praise of self-admittance to lack of literary and educational prowess are so prevalent that if you differ, you’re an outcast waiting for the barrage of psychiatrists to invent a disease for your condition.

I am somewhat saddened but feel this overwhelming urge to forge an army of intelligent people, introverts of the highest order, the ones who care not for the glamour and fame but the ones who would sit for hours on end watching an organism grow so that they can record and understand it more in the wider scope of other organism, in hope to find a cure to help if but one person, just because he or she WANTS to. The ones who will strum their guitar until their fingers bleed so they can play a riff of perfection to make your hairs stand on end, one riff, that is all. The ones who will not stop reading until they have encompassed enough inside themselves to be able to pass if only one tenth of what they know on to another generation. The ones who will not separate a relentless drive and ambition for business success from morals and ethics and fight their ego despite the pressure of outside forces in their dealings. The ones who will throw away canvas upon canvas, waste oil and wear brushes, be buried in their rooms for days or weeks to produce a visual treat.

Introverts are belittled by default, but try as you may, when the shit hit’s the fan, the extroverts don’t know what to do, it’s to the ones who spent enough time resolving themselves that we all turn to, to their knowledge, wisdom, abilities or at least their candour and calm in the wake of the storms around us.

Next time you feel like making fun of or joining in on a back-biting and gossip session about the new kid at school or the employee who drinks water instead of beer at your social gatherings or the person in the street who just doesn’t quite fit in, know that they might have a few years or leagues above you, gained only by their introversion.

Do yourself a favour and add this book to your collection.

-ME