“Fear not: for I am with you. I hear and see everything.” (Qur’an 20:46)
“The Ocean cares for every wave
Until it reaches the shore.
You are given more help
than you will ever know.” ~ Rumi
It is so easy to feel lost in this sea of illusion, this world of mirages. So many times we feel like we are being barraged with troubles, beset with failures, and frustrated by obstacles in our path. We set a worthwhile goal and find ourselves waylaid onto a path that is not leading us to our goal. At times we have traveling companions, but at other times we feel terribly alone. How can we ever hope to find happiness and satisfaction in this labyrinthine life?
The problem is, we believe we are in control of our lives, when in fact we are only in control of a small portion of our lives….basically we control our intentions and, as we mature, we also gain a degree of control over our responses to what life brings us. Nevertheless, our responses are also determined to some extent by our conditioning, what we have been taught and what we have experienced. As we grow into the fullness of our being, we learn and discover new ways to respond to our life circumstances. But the circumstances often remain beyond our control. So what are we to do?
Islam (as well as many other spiritual traditions) teach us that there is a benevolent power which controls certain aspects of our lives, (call it God, Spirit, Creator, Universe, or whatever), and our challenge as a human being is to respond by remembering, turning towards, being grateful for and embracing the Reality that we cannot control. Our first tendency when in trouble is to turn to help from people around us. We need each other. It is important both to offer and to accept help from others. However, even in community we face tremendous challenges, and sometimes others fail us (because they are human). When the challenges seem overwhelming, that is when we must turn to the One and seek help. Whether we seek it or not, it will come. But if we seek it we are more likely to recognize and appreciate it when it comes. Little do we know all the times we are saved from circumstances that might have been coming our way, but missed us by a hair’s width! If only we could appreciate all that we are being protected from when things are going well in our lives! Unfortunately, we have a tendency to attribute our successes to ourselves, and our failures to others (or worse, to God). That is part of the human condition and the ego, or little self. Our task is to keep in mind that we do have the ability to turn to God, to remember God, to seek help through prayer, meditation, and a myriad of other spiritual practices that bring us closer to our Source. The more we learn to rely on the Source of all Goodness and Love, the more connected we feel, and the more closely we draw towards that which is already inherent in our very being, drawing us like a powerful magnet towards Itself, which is, in fact, our Self.