timeless vision

“to look at life through a bird’s eye,

or to look at it from the eyes of an ant,

to see everything and nothing,

or to see only what’s ahead,

 

and which sight is more complete

and which is more precise

the bird with its wings,

or the little ant on its feet,

 

yet how lucky is he,

that chooses the vision of God,

Life will no longer be seen,

But lived and loved!

 

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ageless heart

“who are you, that now speaks in my mind? Is it age that changes us, or is it our will in disguise?

And dear heart, why do you no longer reply? Has my face changed so much in your eyes?

Must a man reach out to you to win back his old life?

Ah, but Time has turned against me! And dangerous it is when it is against mankind!

For no tragedy is greater than the breakup between man and Time,

He becomes a sun that forgets to rise,

A person that forgets his own heart, and his own little mind…”

The King looked down, and then silently cried.

The Slave and the Master

‘Mustafa, what to your mind is the most important virtue in life?’

‘Dear Master, I know only the virtues of a slave’

‘Why, should the King live differently from a slave?’

‘It is required of him to do so, or else the kingdom should fail’

‘Ah,’ the King sighed, ‘then what to your mind is the most important virtue for a slave?’

‘Patience, dear Master’

‘Patience! What about it?’

‘Simple: it is the art of obeying the Master’

‘Why, how could such a degrading act be your most important virtue?’

‘But you have always thanked me for my services, dear Master. Why do you now belittle it?’

‘Well, because there are far more noble virtues than obeying the Master, Mustafa. Tell me, what else do you do in your life, besides obeying me?’

‘I spend what you have given me on my family’

‘And?’

‘And I make sure they are well’

‘And?’

‘And I spend great time with them. That is all, dear King’

‘Oh rubbish! You live the life of a mere slave, Mustafa’

‘But it is what I am?’

‘How could you accept such dishonourable way of living? It is disgraceful. I have far more grand things to achieve than you! Look at my kingdom, look at how I wake up every day with the power of life and death in my hands! There is definitely more to life than simply – ah, what do you call it – patience!’

‘I wish there was, dear King’

‘Of course there is! Does my life not manifest that to you?’

The slave thought to himself for a while, then resumed, ‘But you are not always the Master, dear King, for sometimes you are obligated to obey the laws of Time’

‘The laws of Time?’

‘Ah yes, the laws that all creatures must obey! We choose not when our loved ones should die or when we should reconcile. We are at all times obeying the Master, dear King, but some do it better than others’

The King laughed, ‘Tell me, which is easier, to obey one Master or to obey several ones?’

‘One is always best if one wants to obey in all sincerity’

The King laughed again, ‘Ah, truthful obedience you say! The truth is that we are all slaves, Mustafa, but only a few do the role honestly’

 

 

 

endless beginnings

‘Ah Mustafa… I have dived into the deepest mysteries of this Earth, sailed past generations and continents, and saw it slowly transform into my own empire. But empires, like thoughts, fall weak when they expand…they start to lose their links with everything’

‘What do you mean, dear King?’ asked Mustafa.

‘Well, it is in linkage and bonds that things become stable, Mustafa. See not how smoothly the streams of water flow? It is their bonds that hold them together – that unite the beginning and ending as One. In empires, and thoughts, it is a different story, for they expand with no linkage – with nothing to link them back to their origin’

The King placed his index finger next to his right brow, and then looked out to the distance.

‘May I share with you a secret, Mustafa?’

‘As you wish, dear Master’

‘I often miss ruling my small state. Before all of this expansion and glory, I wish to return back to my humble beginnings. Just as how the old miss their youth, and how the poets miss the emotions of their heart’

‘All beginnings are precious, dear King’

‘Yes,’ the King folded his arms and smiled gently, ‘it is those with the power to turn their endings into beginnings that truly know how to live, Mustafa. They are those that know the way back to the heart’.

 

 

an empty circle

Dear grandfather,

You told me once that our knowledge moves like the compass on paper – the most vital thing is to stay focused at the centre as our thoughts twirl around.

‘Stable thoughts create a stable circle’ you said, ‘and whoever holds your compass at the top will guide your thoughts forever’

‘What do you mean, grandfather?’ I asked you.

‘No one forms perfect circles in the beginning. Once you reach the age of reason, your mastery over your thoughts is still at a premature level, and the circles will turn out weak, unsteady, and incomplete,’ you paused, ‘hold this compass, Abdullah’.

I held the compass firmly.

‘Now draw a circle’.

I secured the needle of the compass at the centre, and then with my right hand, turned the compass across the page.

‘Think about one thing, one thing only’ you repeated, ‘and keep all your thoughts in line with it. Do not let your mind jump off to extremes, or to quick conclusions. Just focus on one clear line’

I did as you said. I thought of one thing: my father. Why does he no longer see us? Are the rumours true? Did he ever love us?

‘Abdullah, take care’ you raised your voice, ‘you are losing control of the circle, it is not steady’

I took a deep breath, and then started from the beginning.

Why does he no longer see us? I asked again. Was he lying this whole time?

‘Abdullah, you must control your thoughts as you control the circle’

‘But I can’t do it,’ I replied in agitation.

‘Let me help you.’

You placed your right palm on top of mine and then guided the compass.

‘Your thoughts represent the circle. If they are disconnected, the circle will be incomplete, and if they are too fast, it will be shaky’

I watched the compass slide carefully across the page, creating a clear and even line. My focus was now less on my thoughts than it was on the compass and the circle.

‘What are you thinking now?’ you asked.

‘Nothing. Just flashes of questions…but each one of them keeps disappearing’

‘Ah, yes’ you nodded, ‘this is how you master your thoughts. Focus on the circle, and all the irrelevant thoughts will vanish,’

‘And then, what will remain?’ I asked.

‘The centre’ you replied, ‘and this applies to everything else in life, Abdullah. Everything you’ve once had will flash into non-existence, whether it is work, money, or family – they all leave. At the very end, it will be the centre that is most precious’.

It was then that the compass completed the circle, and there was only one thought in mind: God.

 

numbers

‘Dear grandfather, how do you still hold onto love, wisdom, and faith amidst all the evil in this world?’ I asked.

He lowered his glasses and looked at me through his sharp blue eyes. The room was silent and he was sat in his usual position: the feather quill pen in his hand, the opened books on his desk, and his left hand covering his forehead.

‘I do not hold onto it, Abdullah, these things exist independently. They do not need my help to come to being’

‘But how?’ I demanded.

He lifted his glasses back to their position and then presumed writing,

‘Dear Abdullah, all the events of this world – all the tragedies, the joys, the cries and the laughter, the beautiful and the ugly – are found in the example of a grain’ he put down his pen and then looked towards me, ‘each seed grows seven spikes, and each spike has a hundred grains. If a tragedy can grow in one spike, then what makes you think that growth shall cease from there? Growth is infinite, it is unstoppable; it can travel in any direction. It can expand to cover the universe or shrink to the size of a cell. Each and every thing in this world is made up of layers – layers on top of layers on top of layers. The petals of a flower, the soil under the ground, or the strands of hair on our head, all follow the ultimate rule: to constantly and perpetually grow. If evil can grow in one spike, then goodness can grow in a hundred grains again. The tragedies of this world, dear abdullah, follow the rules that nature itself follows; they are not separated from beauty, but grow within it and from it. If you ever feel that there is too much hate in this world, or even inside your own heart, then remember that growth has no boundaries, and there will always be space for love to grow’

I contemplated his thoughts for a while, and then nodded in agreement.

Remember that growth has no boundaries, I repeated to myself, and there will always be space for love to grow.