Tag Archives: hope

Deep Down A Lion

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(Ivanovic 2008) credits to National Geographic 

Deep down in the woods, lived just another lion, a lion that is not in possession of any skill making him substantially better that the other ordinary lions; just another lion trying to survive in a world were competition is fierce. He was born within laws of the jungle, where the fittest survives, and his options were not so many. His utmost pleasure is in exploring the unknown, but his knowledge of other lands was limited by the horizon, as far as his eyesight could reach. All what he knows about the distant lands was what he heard from the other lions, but he only trusts in what he could see. Every day he stood on top of a cliff, where his toes slightly extended from the edge, he wanted to see as far as he could, but he was afraid of falling into the sea, he feared the unknown.

This lion had a secret, a secret that he kept away from all the other lions; he grew up in a place where the greatest virtue was obedience, a place where all the other lions conformed to those of greater strength, a place where disagreement was punished, a place where acceptance was wrong, but judgment was righteous; he secretly knew deep down inside, that he was a rebel.

All the other animals feared him; after all, they were just potential victims, but none of them knew of his struggles, none of them thought of his reasons; they only saw what they wanted to see, just another lion.

One day, the lion wanted to learn of the other lands, he shared his thoughts with other lions, so they warned him that he will lose all the great things that he owns, they accused him of treason, because he took all the good he has for granted, and they told him he will lose his high status hierarchy as a lion.

On the next day, he woke up earlier than any other lion, he walked towards the cliff like any other day, and he slowly placed his feet at the edge; he looked towards the sky, as the young sunlight reflected across his eyes, and he thought of everything he owns and every single memory he had at this place; he wanted to be free, but his freedom came at the cost of losing all what’s in his possession; he turned back, he walked away, then he ran as fast as he can towards the edge, and he took a leap of faith.

No one knows what happened to the lion after he went into the unknown; all what we know for sure, is that deep down inside, he hoped to find what he was looking for, he hoped to find freedom as he pictured it. Every lion views freedom in a different way, but not all the lions are willing to let go.

 

 

 -Moufti

 

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Reflection On Perfection

ImageI remember when I was young; my parents always encouraged me saying, “ You did a great job there, next time you will do even better”, this phrase got me really frustrated at many occasions. Although my parents appreciated my efforts, they always made me feel that my efforts were not enough. It appears that my parents were trying to send me a message. I grew up in a small family that each member gave their best at whatever task they were handling; a family that I saw as somewhat perfectionist. My family was neither discouraging nor extreme; nonetheless, the task of perfecting everything seemed far out of my reach. As I have thought of the reasons why perfection seemed unreachable, I understood the message my parents were trying to communicate.

Each one of us sees perfection in a different way; yet, most of us are in the chase of perfection. Sometimes when we lay down on bed to sleep, we try to picture how our perfect life may look like. We wander with our thoughts and play with them like a kid plays with his puzzle; we search for the missing pieces to make the picture complete; we search for what we need to make our lives perfect.

I was not any different; I wanted a taste of perfection. I tried to think of all the possible ways that I can reflect perfection. I was always disappointed, because my expectations far exceeded my abilities. One day, I realized that I don’t desire to be perfect anymore. I felt grateful, I felt human and I felt that I was complete. In fact, I started to see that our imperfections are simply, beautiful. If our lives were perfect, we would have nothing to live for. Hope is the shadow of our flaws; so, if we have no flaws, we will live without hope, and I doubt the existence of a life without hope.

After my realizations, I have reached a stage of my life were everything seemed neutral. I was neither discouraged because of high expectations, nor encouraged to grow and improve. I started to think, “Okay, what should I do now?” I felt lost; I felt unchallenged. I needed middle ground, where both aspirations and acceptance meet.  I realized something more profound; I started to see a tradeoff. When we don’t care about perfection, we don’t grow and change that much, but we don’t feel bad about it either (because we are in a state of acceptance). On the other hand, when we try to be perfect, we grow and change, but we still feel bad about it (Because we put so much emphasis on our unrealistic expectations). So the optimal situation is when we grow and change while maintaining our state of acceptance.

When archers aim their longbows, they don’t aim directly at their target, rather they aim slightly above it, so that when they shoot, the arrow goes further and hits their target. Notice that the archers’ expectation was their target, not the point where they aimed upwards to reach their target. Same thing with us, if we do efforts slightly above our expectations, we will end up improving at our task.

Not all archers have the same bows; some archers have strong bows that can take their arrows further without much effort, while other archers have weaker bows that require a lot of effort for the arrows to go far; yet, all bows are adjustable. Same thing with us, we are not all born with the same potentials. Yet, some of us make use of what they have better than the others.

If the archers’ target was really far, aiming high may still be not enough for them to get their target, but bear in mind that if the archers aim higher, their arrows will go further than they would have gone if they aimed lower. In different words, doing our best may not be always enough to achieve our goal, but doing our best certainly gets us closer to that goal.

Yes, we can’t achieve ultimate perfection; but we can keep getting closer and closer. Every step we take closer is a step of improvement and growth. If we understand the beauty of imperfection, but at the same time we “make the best out of what we have”, we will end up not only achieving more, but also we will feel great about our achievements and progress. My parents were sending me a message that there is no limit for the steps you can take towards perfection; there is always room for improvement.

Moufti           

            

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