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Zen midst Chaos

In recent years, in many social interactions, I have come across people who exclude and discriminate people on basis of morals and worldviews. Everyone comes across moralists (one who is unduly concerned with the morals of others) whether they are fundamentalists or pseudo-mystics who always try to run a moral brigade on your head. Ethics while selects the ‘good’ choice in a particular situation based on one’s existential understanding; morality is more about strict rules of ‘right and wrong’. Though their intensity is different, some of them are standing with guns and daggers and some are just being too judgmental (this also have varied forms of expressions). Moralist in any form are equally annoying to those who do not like these chains.

The reasons for such moral stiffness can be many but I believe, the problem lies in our over-indulgence in Platonic thought of dichotomy for all beliefs, decisions and actions, though many times subconsciously. Even the most interpretive and open texts like poetry and literature is translated into worldviews and actions only in this strict way. Right and Wrong. Form and essence. Old and New. Start and End. Mortal and Immortal. Temporary and Eternal. Everything is in pairs, yes I agree, but what about sub-pairs within each.

In this demarcation, we forget to notice the eternal in temporary and temporary in eternal. Sometimes perceiving yourself too right can go to the extreme of hurting other. Other times, something which is apparently perceived as wrong can actually be contributing to other’s good. Then there is also a distance and restraint from material life. Is not spirituality more about balance and unification than our supposed separate worldly and religious domains? Why then are you sent on earth, you should have rested in eternal peace? Embrace the matter in whole, all its beauty and ugliness having beauty.I have also felt that God’s biggest blessing in the world itself is form but we take it for granted. How would you tolerate Art then? If you won’t, you will become staunch to any creative-imaginative ability as advocated by philosophers like Plato and in religion, the extremist groups because of their distasteful moralistic attitude. The act of painting is out of innate desire (both love and lust) and out of love, comes finesse. If you are judging strokes too much, you will never create the painting. I would ask those who say they are intuitive and prefer to go with the flow, how they can be disapproving moralist. Nature is the biggest form which leads to your essence. For me, nature itself defines eternal in a temporary setting. How it can be so soothing when temporal I would ask these fatwa givers. Yes I am concerned about afterlife but it is also important to appreciate God’s different bounties and blessings of this world as well.

One might ignore form on the presumed eternity of essence. Essence was always there, yes but would keep on evolving as it is creation of both mind and heart. Whoever thinks essence remains the same, does not appreciate what interpretation is. Everything is in flux – Science, Laws, Culture and Religion. The only essence that is actualized is God which is beyond our comprehension, that’s about it. The only way to achieve Zen is through prayer where you recognize God and Good, why do we then have to rely so much on outward recognition of our moralistic view-point? That’s why it is advised to pray on regular basis and love on regular basis in all humility. Your love for the divine should not cause vanity. Moreover, prayer which means different to everyone. For some dancing can be immoral but isn’t the beautiful samaa not also dancing and extremely spiritual. Moralist or inflexible people can never appreciate diversity, they can tolerate public constestation of ideas. They enjoy company of only those who can reaffirm their moralist prejudice.

Consequently, for all that incomprehensible and comprehensible, there would be chaos. There would be whirling. Obviously I am against the self-imposed depression and chaos of extremists that has nothing but physical dimensions. When it comes to intellectual, spiritual and emotional chaos has its own beauty, the chaos which the extremism of complacent people will never like to divulge in. Our bodies have not been given survival instinct and will power for no reason. Who guaranteed your life would an easy ride in any possible way, outward or inward?

History has seen the downfall of civilizations caused by mystics of reclusive nature who take no initiative out of fear under the false demeanor of complacency/thankfulness. Many civilizations have survived out of valor. The most philosophy-inclined and vocal Sufis were the ones who inspired generations.Too much Zen can make one idle and one’s inability to handle chaos leads you to a reclusive bubble. But bubbles cannot be forever, one day they will burst. Where then will you go? Back to the judgmental/illlusioned self? The creation is in movement, even in a still object, the atoms are moving.

There is also a different kind of fanaticism in some readers/followers of mystical literature who display lack of conviction in the subtext of the words. All civilizations do suffer from quote syndrome; it is some blabber and passing like Chinese whispers, however meanings are not generated out of it for TODAY. We need to interpret and adorn this symbolic literature with reasoning that is out of love and not out of religion, which means our apparent conceptions of right can no longer sustain. We need to see the goodness/beauty instead. The mystical literature says this as well. Mystical literature is not about your usual moral realms.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

― Rumi

Peace then is full of chaos and not what we understand of peace literally where the act of stillness namely indifference, silence and complacency become illusionary symbols of peace. Reed not only have to be cut to be played but even when it is playing the most beautiful tune, the wind is not free, most of the time it is prisoned. One can either love or waste your time in calculating right and wrong. You can either be kind or judge. When you are judged, you need to love yourself and tell the others not to take their moral vanity too seriously.

There is a thin line between contemplation with perseverance/rigor and being judgmental. Debating of ideas is not about seeing who’s right or wrong, it is not about affirmation, it is about sharing with no strings attached.  Sharing itself should be one’s joy and not appreciation and reaffirmation because conclusions does not have to be mutual, they can be personal, sometimes there would be none. Freedom of expression comes with responsibility and baggage of critique in public domain. Sometimes it would also include refutation. Yes sometimes there will be chaos in sharing as well but it is the responsibility of both parties to be patient. The real patience is where there is contemplation with contest. This patience is developed through trusting goodness of intent on part of the other person from the very beginning. Pluralism in the word itself signifies that it is a mutual value. If you would judge the intent then you will also be judged whether you like or not.

Life does not come on your terms, nor will people, life is not about having zen, it is about recognizing zen in the chaos. It is about understanding that you are always fallible so you cannot expect others to be pitch-perfect on your own terms. You cannot put your moral brigade on any one, no matter how meaningful you think it is. Everyone in your world would not tolerate judgments and then you cannot sigh on their reaction because you were not in control of yours as well.

Rather than being too concerned about right and wrong of others, try to invoke goodness and beauty. Rather than being cold, be warm, even at cost of being angry but be warm, let your clay feel the kiln. The thoughts presented here are also open to debate. Conclusions are not fixed, they will always be personal (even if it represents void of concreteness) even after debate and this fact is already accounted.

Wish you love and strength. Blessed Be.

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Author:

a coffee addict/ optimist sun flower/ can't-live-without-50mm photographer/ writing enthusiast/ [an almost inexistent] paper cookie smasher/ orange things collector/ wishes he had two antennas on the head; ps: philosophy-pistachio & educational technologist. to sound little proper: A self-taught, internationally published, photographer who loves to write/blog and read while breathing philosophy in between. Graduate of M.Ed. in Teacher Education with High Honors from Aga Khan University and currently works at the same university as Education Designer for Blended Learning. Candidate for Social Innovation in Digital Context (SIDC) at Lunds Universitet funded by Swedish Institute. Action Partner for Oxfam International Youth Partnership 2010-2013 led by Oxfam Australia. To cut the conversation short, an optimistic realist who believe in designing his life to fulfill dreams while sipping countless cups of coffee! I hope this makes some sense. http://www.raheellakhani.com

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