Tag Archive - Learning

If I Was Free, I Would…

What if I didn’t have to work? What if I had enough money right now to quit my job and do what I want? That’s fun to imagine :) So I though I should enjoy some fun written visualization!

I sometimes wonder how we made life so complicated! Our society is designed in a way to make sure many people will be stuck doing things they hate in order to survive!

Our needs are really simple. We need food, cloths and shelter. Once we have them, we’re good to go, and good to live!

“If you wake up free of illness, safe in your community, with enough food for the day ahead, then you can say good buy to any other needs from this World!” Prophet Muhammad

Why in the world did food become hard to find for millions of people?!

Why, when land is immensly vast, did it become expensive to get a piece of land and have your home in it? Why build those crazy skyscrapers, they’re complicated and maintaining them requires much more work and resources than a normal building! Did we already use every piece of land that we have to build up and high?!

Why would a house cost hundreds of thousands after all? It really doesn’t have to be this way.

People designed a labyrinth and they got lost in it. Then they designed tools and maps and jobs to try to make life easier inside the labyrinth! How about we just get out of the labyrinth?!!!

Well, most people are already stuck in it! We have governments designing our lives, we can’t just go out there and redesign our life. It’s not even about redesigning life, it’s about getting out of the sophisticated traps and get back to normal!

We even have countries, boundaries, visas, citizenships! Someone living in a poor country has to use tunnels to come into a richer one, they wouldn’t be granted a visa anyway!

Oh, politics! Politics is the proof that we gave up our life to the greedy, the heartless, the self-centered to take care of our needs and communities! Let’s get out of there or frustration will knock down my mind!

See where my though chain took me, I started by a fun idea and ended up into a depressing look at reality!

Back to my fun visualization :)

Now if I had enough money to pay off all my debt – car loan and some other debt :( – and be free from the need to work for money, what would I do?

I will not quit my job on the spot. I hope I can give a one month notice and make sure I hand my duties over smoothly, while working on the transition:

1. I would donate/give away all the stuff that I don’t need and don’t use. I’ll go through my cloths (which I’ve been already doing, slowly) and keep only the pieces that I really love. Dealing with my books will be harder! I won’t rush into giving them away (I’m already working on a plan to deal with my bigger-than-I-need library).

2. I will get a storage in Chicago where I will keep all the stuff that I didn’t give away, end my rent, get in the car and go on a road trip! The point is to visit the places that I think I want to move to.

3. Now I need to move somewhere warm and sunny. Lots of greenery and nature required! Ideally somewhere in or close to the mountains. I will look for an apartment with a balcony, looking to an open horizon!

Once I moved into my new place. How would I spend my all-free time?

- Lots of walking, hiking and biking!

- Now that I’m relaxed, no energy wasted in going to and back from work, no energy drained sitting in a dark room staring at the computer, I can engage in the kind of slow, focused writing that I really like. This type of writing is more of an introspection. No rush to finish anything. Just listening to my inner self and bringing it out in words. The kind of writing that is like taking a bath in the light of Spirit!

- I can also breath the fresh intellectual air of focused reading! I want to read about religions, history, get back to reading great fiction (haven’t done it in almost a decade!), philosophy, biographies, and the subjects relating to our present day problems and challenges, especially poverty and the environmental crisis. I’d like to gain a deeper understanding and make my own conclusions of what we can REALLY do to REALLY make a difference. It doesn’t matter how much we will change history. What matters is do what we have to, what we really can do to end the shameful injustice and humiliation that tens of millions of our brothers and sisters in humanity are enduring this very same moment! :(

- I will read and write out in nature.

- A great lifestyle change that I will now introduce is waking up early enough, every day, to witness the powerful everyday re-begining that is Sunrise!

 

Overlook_Sunrise 011

- Now I can also feed my body the things that I love most in nature: green and sunlight! You must already know how connected these two are, no mystery here! I have time to actually touch my vegetables, cut and prepare them slowly and mindfully, and smell them in the process! :)

Now, wouldn’t you love to do the same?!

Ok, and once you do it like I just did, what’s the point? Are we then to get depressed to the immense gap between hope and reality?

The point is to look at this vision, and start doing what can be done already. No waiting intended! Surely some, if not  many, of its components can already be started today.

I can, and already started to, exercise getting rid of unnecessary stuff and spending, in order to lose all the heavy weight that’s holding me down!

I can plan more walking and hiking during the week-end, during the summer. Indeed, the freezing northern winters have nothing to do with this vision. The trees take off their greenery. Being outdoors when it’s 15 F and colder is not too much fun! But while doing more of it in the summer, I can bring the vision to the center of my plans, instead of burying it under depression and hopelessness. With the vision energizing the hope, I can make a long-term plan for moving to the Sun!

I used to post in this blog once a month. Now I’m writing more even though I have more blogs in English and Arabic. I’m also trying to improve my reading. Both will not be as focused as the above vision would like to, but they can be gradually improved and increased.

Why don’t you write down your own vision? Why don’t you start today, little by little, to introduce pieces of it into your life NOW? I just wrote a draft of my own vision. I will build on it. That’s the way out of frustration into inspiration, from surviving into meaning.

Meaning is the food of the soul. We can’t be happy carrying around a soul in a coma in a polluted vehicle – the junk food bodies of modern times!

A Digestive Pen!

We might read hundreds of books, blog posts, magazines, newspapers, etc., yet all this mental nourishment doesn’t seem to do us much good. It does good, no doubt, but not as good as the actual quality of what we read. It’s like when we eat so much healthy food, but our body only minimally processes and benefits from it. The problem is not the quality of what we put into our body and our mind, it’s the quality of how we process it that really matters when it comes to tangible results.

In order to optimally get the benefit of the good food we eat, we need to improve our very own digestive system. This is the middle man that can take the healthy food and give it to our cells and organs. Without him, all this good food could end up in the trash! It works the same way with our much needed “mental foods”!

So who could be the middle man between “reading” and “doing”?! Between dead knowledge and lively action? The middle man could simply be a pen! Would a book be the same for us if, while or after reading it, we take a pen or a keyboard and write down a summary of what we just read? If we do, it will never be the same, it will be much more. The pen is like this all-natural digestive aid that makes us healthy, not by the nutrients that it has to offer, but just by its ability to make what we eat much more digestible. The pen works similarly.

One amazing example of the power of writing what we read is the story of Dr. Ben Carson. Ben’s mother was divorced with two kids. She was black, poor and illiterate, a combination that made life too difficult for any human being at the time. The best job her qualifications made possible was serving in rich peoples’ homes. Her son, Ben, didn’t seem to have any bright future laying ahead. At school, he was known as the dumbest kid of the class. The most likely path for him was to drop from school, join a gang and may be become a little drug dealer! Now Ben Carson is a renowned neurosurgeon! How did it happen? One day his genius mother made a decision, Ben was to read two books every week, then give her a written report of the books he read! This unpleasant task -that he had to do in order to be able to watch TV, play with his friends and take his pocket money- turned him into the smartest kid in the class, who then ended up in Yale, and from there to the University of Michigan medical school! His illiterate mother was smart enough to understand that if he didn’t write a summary of the books he read, his progress would have been way slower and weaker.

Same goes with how much value we get from a book that we read. When we hold the ideas and incarnate them into something that we write with our own hands and minds, the knowledge will be stronger, and its trip from ideas to reality will be faster!

The Wall Behind The Picture, or Why The Truth Matters!

Would you rather own a real size picture of a 2010 Mercedes, or a real 1985 Ford? How about the picture(s) of a million dollar, ocean front house, instead of a one-bedroom apartment? Well, the new Mercedes is no doubt better than the old Ford, and the house more enjoyable and heart lightening than the one bedroom. But it’s even more of a no-brainer that the real thing is way better than the picture. Well, it’s not even about better or worse. It’s simply that it “exists”! Pictures do exist also, I won’t argue. But in life, the car will get you around; the picture will –only- get your eyes round! The apartment will give you a real roof over your head; the picture a mere flat piece of paper that you can damage with a few drops of water or your bare hands. That’s the whole difference between truth and illusion, and what a huge difference!

Illusions do exist. That’s how they get to deceive us. They do have some type of existence. A flat existence, just like the picture. You try to go beyond the surface, and you either hit the wall, or, if you’re smarter than that, destroy the picture! When we are in less than smart states, we don’t learn from our mistakes, and we keep hitting the wall one time after the other. Our heads bleed, but we think that it’s just bad luck, and we try one more time. Then one more time. Oops! Then again just one more time! Ah! And we still can’t make the connection between the wall behind the picture, and our broken head!

Come on! I know we all realize the difference between pictures and real things, easily. I wish it were all that clear!

I will stop this post here. It’s too short, and may be I didn’t say all what I wanted to say. But that’s just how illusions are, frustrating. They give you the impression they hold something deep and real behind them, and you follow the road… to a dead-end!

That’s why the truth matters. And it’s worth looking for!

Why don’t we do what’s good for us!?

I always knew that reading a good book is good for me. I knew it from real experience. Yet sometimes I waste a month, or more, without opening a book. A few days ago I picked a book from my library, mostly unread, and started reading it. I was delighted as I went from page to page. I was inspired. Good words have a sort of spiritual, clean energy that goes right to where our higher self resides. They speak to the best in us. Every human has the possibility of moving between lower and higher levels of being, between the best and the worst of one’s self:

“And by the soul and how He formed it, and inspired it its own rebellious evil and its piety! The one who purifies his soul succeeds, and the one who corrupts it fails”
Quran 91:7-10

Even though I knew it, there comes long periods of time where I don’t attempt to do myself good by reading a valuable book. But when I do get myself to do it, I just wonder: why in the world did I waste all this time without reading anything! Why did I waste all this time (or all this life! time being life, and not money!), not doing what’s good for me! At times we can’t help but re-confirming that we are our own worst enemies!

The best promise I can make to myself is this: I will always have a book to read. There are too many great books for one life-time anyway, and we are even wasting much of this one life??!! How insane that is!

However a good book is not worthy just because it’s good in itself. Books are ideas conserved and communicated in words. And ideas change people, then people change the world!

We’re indeed here only to change the world and make it, along with our own selves, better. And again, there are too many things in the world to change and reform for one life-time anyway, and we’re wasting this one life not even thinking of ways to reform it!

The least we can do for those who are suffering the unbelievable cruelty and injustice of some people is to care and think. Yes, think. Of what’s happening, how it happened, and how to change it. Thoughts are energy. Didn’t you hear that you should be careful what you think, because it might just come true!

Does self-help literature really help?

Self-help books easily make it to the top sellers’ lists. Self-help gurus are millionaires. Readers, including myself, jump from one best-selling self-help book to the other, from one form of self-improvement content to the other. We read it, we listen to it when driving, and we love watching the masters on TV. But after all that, did we really get the help we need? Did this great book change our life? Did that breakthrough program move us from under-achievers to super-achievers?

I once was having a conversation with a friend of mine, a fan of self-improvement books himself. I said but you know what, self-help books do have a problem. They bring us a great deal of pleasure while reading them. Then that’s it. The pleasure stops there, at the reading. Then in order to have this pleasure again, we pick a new book. While we read those brilliant ideas, we already get a psychological fulfillment. We get excited, imagining ourselves doing all what the book is suggesting. Then when the reading ends, and the excitement fades, we still don’t have the will to change. Doing those things didn’t look as exciting as it did during the reading. The theory was more compelling as a theory than it was in action.

Does that mean I am against reading and listening to those beautiful things? No. Repetition is good on the long term. If we keep reading and listening to this type of ideas every day, we will at least benefit from it by improving our mood and having some moments of hope. But in order to have this benefit, we need not to have gaps. We need not to listen to one audio book, get excited, then stop for a month. Because this gap will then create something worse. We will feel incapable and weak. Guilt will be born, subtle but persistent. The undone promising ideas will torture us, will leave us depressed because we failed to do what we ought to do.

We need to come up with a consistent method to make use of what we read. Because if we don’t, it could work against us, instead of working for us.

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