I was watching a commercial that talked about odor masking febreeze fragrance and it sparked a unique thought outside the realms of my obsession with cleanliness. Odor masking fragrances mask odors – they don’t remove them. The commercial showed a back seat full of dirty clothes but with the febreeze masking odor fragrance, you couldn’t even smell what was in the back seat. People came in and out of the car as test subjects and none of them had any idea there was any odor emanating from within the car because they smelled the febreeze only.
My thought circled around the tendencies of our hearts. Rather, the realities of our hearts which we sometimes fear and mask. Within the deepest realms of our hearts are the most sensitive matters to us. And not being at peace with a matter in a deep portion of our heart slowly affects us more and more as time goes on. For some, they may struggle with feeling inadequate, for some they may struggle with letting go of something, for some they may struggle with a bad habit – these are the dirty clothes. And we have trained our routines on a day to day basis to mask the smell of those matters most sensitive to us – not realizing that masking an odor will never eliminate it.
When I was younger, I remember I used to really have a hard time with certain things and thought processes that I have alhamdullilah, for the most part, overcome since then. One of the things I used to do was stay up late into the night so that when I went to bed – all I did was crash into it so that I didn’t have to bear my thoughts just before I slept. You think about matters closest to your heart when you lie in bed before you sleep. I remember going to sleep was the scariest thing in the world to me which seems so backwards because now – I love any opportunity I get to sleep. In fact, I just woke up from a nap when writing this.
While I am postulating the importance of getting rid of the odor rather than masking it, I’m also expressing the difficulty in breaking societal norms and daily routines to reach those deeper realms of your heart and thought processes. Honestly, it’s scary and almost unfamiliar even though they are your own thoughts. But the moments you spend embracing the realities of your heart will eventually give you an element of life that is very sacred – peace of mind.
Peace of mind isn’t just about feeling content with different aspects of your life. To me, peace of mind entails something greater. It entails that you’ve challenged the deepest levels of your heart and won. It entails that you could have a bad day but still lie in bed satisfied with who you are with a healthy motivation to be better. Peace of mind is understanding that you may not have got everything you’ve wanted, but you’re truly happy with what you have.
When you get rid of the dirty clothes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a good fragrance replaces it. It means that when the febreeze inevitably runs out and you’re left with just you and what is in your car – you smell with peace.
Fabreeze smells good. Peace of mind smells better.
The latest internet craze has been an audio clip where certain people hear the word “Yanny” and others hear “Laurel”. Sound pretty different right? It seems impossible that in a group of people, some may here one or the other but that is the reality.
I first listened to the clip last week and realized I was team “Yanny”. A few days later I listened to the same clip and heard “Laurel”. I was convinced I had listened to two different clips but I hadn’t. My certainty was thwarted by a scientific explanation on different sound frequencies resulting in hearing either Yanny or Laurel. Regardless of the science behind this phenomenon, there was a powerful lesson in what we perceive to know about this world.
And that is that we truly don’t know anything about this world. Even the things we seemingly know for sure, we don’t necessarily always have the full picture. As many dots as we may connect to render any level of explanation and understanding about the events that occur in our life will always fall short of the true reality. And that’s because only Allah has full knowledge of the full reality. Even when we are completely certain about something, there are levels of something’s reality that may not be apparent to us.
Realizing our conclusions and realities fall short of true reality can be a restricting thought. Why expend mental and emotional energy to trust certain realities if those very same realities are subject to change. The idea isn’t to stop ourselves from making the conclusions – the idea is to realize that those conclusions may change no matter how certain we are. And you can either allow the change of those personal realities to define your internal state or you can place the change in realities within the realm of spirituality. In other words, let go and let God.
Things are often not what they seem. Things are too often not what they seem. So don’t let any reality give you a sense of certainty. Have certainty in Allah and realize that this life is really only a medium of changing certainties. Our hearts often attach to our certainty and when we let our certainty revolve around our perception and understanding of the world around us, we subject ourselves to pain. Instead, attach your heart to something Greater and far more Stable.
Think – Connect – Reflect – I’m not saying to not do these things. In fact it’s very important to do these things. But don’t put your entire emotional state into the things you deduce. Allow your conclusions to fail, not because you failed at understanding something but because we weren’t created to understand the full realities behind everything around us.
Ramadan has a strange way of appearing suddenly even though you’ve known about it for months. When it starts, you feel pleasantly surprised but all of a sudden unprepared for the goals you lightly thought of in the weeks prior. Everyone around you gets into the spirit and you find yourself spirited as well.
Whether you set lofty goals beforehand or you haven’t set any goals at all, try to make to most out of this Ramadan by doing the following,
- Realize that this month is for you, at your own speed, and for your own betterment. Treat Ramadan daily as opposed to monthly. In other words, Ramadan is a combination of days of fasting and worship rather than partaking in a month of fasting and worship. There is a difference. I say this because by the time this post comes out, you will be on your 3rd (or 2nd) day of fasting and possibly already feeling behind on the lofty goals you have set for the month of Ramadan. Forget the monthly goals, seek the daily ones.
- Reflect on the negative sentiments you have. Sadness, anger, despair, etc. Reflect on these because Shaiytaan isn’t inspiring these negative thoughts into you anymore. These thoughts are the fruits from the seeds Shaiytaan has planted and this month is your opportunity to rip them out. Don’t feel disheartened or unworthy for simply thinking or feeling these thoughts – be patient with yourself and conquer them.
- Read more Quran. If you didn’t read, read an ayah per day. If you read an ayah per day, read 10. If you’re at 10, read a page. Just do more than what you did before even if it’s slight. Quran washes your heart. Even if you don’t understand the meaning, it cleanses your soul. If you chose to read with meaning, then it enters the realm of your mind and further deeper into your heart. Just read more.
There are tons of things you could be doing for Ramadan and these are just a few. This month is yours for the taking. Go all the way!
Rooh Afza’s bottoms up!