Heightened Senses

Hello. I'm Imraan. This is the only thing I own outright; and yes, I'm wearing a T-shirt.

Hope to move…

This past month has been absolutely treacherous in terms of my health; a scare about a damaged liver, not being able to eat food, and something strange happening neuro-chemically that amounted to night-terrors, severe panic attacks to the point I couldn’t be left alone – apparently due to my liver not detoxifying sufficiently –  and of course, pain.

Now, in the midst of this, I receive a letter. I had more or less forgotten about sending a thank-you note to an ER doctor last year who kept an eye on me as I was struggling to breathe due to pain, and I not long ago received his reply. I truly don’t feel I wield any kind of power as such, nor the ability to transform a life. But, in this state of profound difficulty as I’ve been panicking over worse news, or contemplating my mortality, I receive a response from that kind doctor. He wasn’t able to do much for me that day, but he patiently listened, empathised, and treated me with a profound degree of respect.

If I’ve learnt anything… it’s that if possible, spread a kind word when you can. I didn’t think I’d share this letter, but I think it found me at a time when I needed to read it as much as mine did my doctor. So I transcribe parts of it to serve as an example.

“Dear Imraan,

“Your letter brought tears to my eyes. It reached me at a time that I was losing faith in people and this career.

“You have motivated me to not give up, and that I can make a difference in people’s lives.

“I have never received such a heartfelt message from my patients.

“I was on holiday with my now fiancé when I received your letter, it made it an even more special moment.

“…I do remember you. I hope you’re doing well and I’m sorry for all the difficulties you are going through. Hang in there.

“Thank you Imraan.

“I cannot put into words how much your kind words have impacted me.

“Your message will always stay with me and keep me going.

“Best wishes, “

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Subsistence in God

“The final point of the Tarīq (Path) is that you’re own being, and even your Nafs, reminds you more of Allāh than it reminds you of itself. In other words, al-baqā’ billāh (Subsistence through Allāh). You find your true identity. You are not just some human being that lives at such-and-such an address, but you find your true identity as an Aya (sign) of the Ayāt (signs) of Allāh. An ‘aya’ means something that signifies something beyond itself, it ‘tells’ something. What does it tell, what does it direct you too? Allāh.” –

Sh. Nūh Keller.

London Review of Books – Shared Article ‘Ella George: Purges and Paranoia’

I’m reading Ella George: Purges and Paranoia via the London Review of Books app https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n10/contents

Love, not Reason…

It’s love, not reason, which has no reign;

Reason is concerned with interest and gain.

A lover ever gives, not expecting a return.

Like God Who gives freely, for us to learn.

Virtue is to give without any cause;

The Domain of religion, at this point would pause.

Being saved from punishment, or gaining a reward

Is what pulls the masses to religion and the Lord,

But Lovers don’t like to amass and hoard;

Above this plane they’ve risen and soared.

Rūmī (abridged a little; trans. Tawus Raja)

From Liberated Soul: In Memory of Sayyid Hashim Haddad, A Translation of Ruh-i Mujarrad (ICAS Press: London, 2017).

If only this was the ethos with which we pursued our interpersonal relationships; heck, our online discourse, even? Truly splendid jewels from the great master himself.

 

“Borrowed” from Facebook – On Virtue

Jesus said, ‘Devote yourselves to obtaining that which fire cannot burn.’ ‘And what is that?’ asked the disciples. ‘Virtue’ he replied.”
–– Cited in Ghazali, Ihya, from Jesus in the Eyes of the Sufis by Dr. Javid Nurbaksh.

NYTimes: The Boys Are Not All Right

Sometimes I wonder if these gendered roles are there for some evolutionary purpose, or if they have intrinsic psychological imperatives, and that we ought not let French post-structuralists completely decimate them! Here you have someone on the Left talking about the full expression of the masculine gender, and all I can hear in my mind are attacks from more SJW-inclined friends who will scream that he seeks to perpetuate the Patriarchy. In truth, we as men should be able to live in harmony with ourselves, with women generally. But whilst feminism can serve as an inspiration to a discourse on masculinity, the reduction of male-ness to nothing more than a series of power games is perhaps what is most destructive. Their contributions are rendered meaningless especially if they’re straight and white, because their ability to ‘see’ the other side is somehow impaired by aspect blindness. I love Foucault as much as the next guy, but this is nuts.

I think enough is indeed enough. I’m all for a particular brand of feminism that does not reduce our sisters to the sum-total of their sexual organs – but male-ness shouldn’t be so reduced that the male psyche is emptied of its intrinsic nature. We too, can be loving, nurturing, productive, protective. I suspect it’s that latter one with which many of my sisters will have a problem. But else, if testosterone isn’t channeled towards healthier ends, then the psyche is damaged (I suspect) and we will see more carnage in America.

MIB has done us a service. We need more progressive voices speaking out for men, for the sake of their mental-health issues, their self-worth, for the safety of the women around them.

If they might tackle violent films, video-games, pornography and so on at the same time, it might help re-orient the discourse. Jordan Peterson has such sway precisely because he gives the male back his inherent worth – but I can’t follow him purely because I do not believe in his kind individualism except in the moral life. But he has men reading Dostoyevski, Nietzsche and the Bible. That’s something.

Grovelling Sycophants

https://youtu.be/53tqxdYlspg

So, is it just me, or are the grovelling sycophants being…well sycophantic?

Paul Ryan wants to *spend* federal dollars? I’ve never seen something so tragically asinine. What is it with the Republicans that they can’t tell the President to well… go to Hell?

I’m all for an infrastructure bill…. I guess if it costs the congressional Republicans their dignity, then so be it.

NYTimes: My Year of No Shopping

My Year of No Shopping https://nyti.ms/2k1AuLR

Definitely worth a read, as we descend into further materialism still. Sickness and chronic difficulties make this endeavour that much harder – Lord knows how many supplements, health foods and creature comforts I need to make it through the hour, but this (whilst a little superficial) might tap into a religious impulse that society has so-quickly lost, a rage against rampant Capital and value-materialism. Even if it’s not as radical as I’d like! 

“Are Christians Supposed to be Communists?” By David Bentley Hart in the same newspaper 

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/11/04/opinion/sunday/christianity-communism.html 
Perhaps a little more theological, but an intriguing (and perhaps not all-too-controversial) reading of the Gospel

The Door or the Road?

Return to yourself, oh heart. For from the heart a hidden road can be found to the Beloved. If the world of the six directions has no door, then come into the heart, the place of contemplating God, though it is not so now, it can be so.”

Rumi, Diwan (6885)

North Korea may have nukes, but we need to focus on the real issue. Lack of diversity in North Korean leadership roles.

The funniest thing I’ve read all day. In fact, at this hour, it still has me chuckling!

Blogging Theology

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