“You shall certainly be tested in your property and persons; and you shall certainly hear much abuse from those who received the scriptures before you and from those that set up partners to Allah. But if you endure patiently, and guard against evil, then that will be a determining factor in all matters.” – Quran 3:186
I have this huge, looming fear that my life is about to implode. Things have been going well lately but, in a manner of speaking, I’ve been here before. Numerous times in my life I have excelled briefly only to go to a subsequent stage of long decline and stagnation. I know now how the deck had been stacked against me, many times. But, other times I was to blame–equally I suppose– for my own downfall. Now, as much as I would like to believe that I changed for the better… I’m being exposed to a new light which I feel I must again struggLe to live by, or else be held responsible for my rebellion.
To give a summary of some of the landmarks in my adulthood I submit the following: after a completely lackluster high school stint, I joined the U.S. Army; after the Army, I spent the next few years searching for the “Truth” (unfortunately, this is when I began doing drugs, which may have caused my mild mental illness, only partly I believe, though.); I moved to and was exiled from Atlanta; I spent over a decade as a mental health outpatient and gained over 100 pounds from my new medication and lifestyle; I moved into the second apartment from which I would be evicted, due to circumstances beyond my control; I quit smoking tobacco and reefer after being a chain-smoker for about 19 years, and I quit drinking completely ( I was just a social drinker); after living with my sister for over 6 years she kicked me out. And that roughly brings us to where we are, now.
About the summer of 2012 my life began an upturn. Since then, I completed writing my 2nd book, lost 85 pounds and kept it off, began practicing my religion a lot more, met a few more special people, and moved into my third apartment. So, what’s the trouble?
The “Book Of The Way (Tao) And Its Power”, Tao Te Ching, teaches that favor and disgrace are both troublesome, and that having favor makes one fearful. This is one of the issues i’m dealing with, now.
After the vast majority of my adulthood being viewed as the outcast it seems as though now I found favor with many segments of society. The trouble is I now feel naked by notoriety. Also, with the perception of goodness (real or imagined),there’s more expectations to satisfy. And lastly, I find myself having to struggle against the urge to now believe that i’m good or have arrived in some way. The underdog, outcast perception was better for my soul I do believe.
The Qur’an teaches that believers will be tested with fear, among other things, and this is what i’m going through, now.
“So lose not heart, nor fall into despair; for you must gain mastery if you are indeed believers.” – Qur’an 3:139
“And those who strive hard for Us, We shall certainly guide in Our ways.” -Qur’an 29:696
The new light i’m being exposed to is my understanding of “The Way”, as taught by both Islam and Tao (presentLy, I’m caLLing it FuWuT’ai Quan or Wu StyLe IsLam). I think Allah may want me to teach the lessons i’m learning from both Islam and Tao. For the short term, I plan to do that by blogging this blog. For the long term, I plan to do that by writing another book, Lord Willing. The challenge that comes with teaching the lessons is living by the lessons. Currently, it seems as though i’m standing still as far as progress is concerned. This may be becoming clear after being muddled, though.
“He who conquers others is strong. He who conquers himself is powerful.”
– The Book Of The Way (Tao) And Its Power, chapter 33
Another fear I have about the future is that i’m being dragged into conflict. What do you do when it seems somebody has determined to derail you and your desires for a peaceful life? One of the things you do is seek assistance through patience and prayer (Qur’an 2:45). Last year I spent a lot of time writing about the fact that I needed more prayer by me. I was only praying sporadically, then. This year I have improved. But, my prayer habit is not where I think Allah wants it. There’s always room for improvement. I’m fighting my demons,though. By the Grace of Allah i’ve won some battles. But i’m starting to feel battle fatigued, again.
Update 8.29.16: I’ve recently had a breakthrough in my prayer practice, this month I must have said about 60 saLaat ( IsLamic formal Prayers.)
-Yu Muhammad Zhivago