Monday, 22 September 2014

Lessons learned from The GIK Debate Competition

Rumi says 'Travel brings power and love back to your life'. That power and love, in my view, is being able to observe your life patterns through a different lens, in face of something new. That something new may be unknown people who you have to trust to reach your destination or far off places where you have to live for what you want to have. During our travel, we may be able to have an idea of what we are missing, or what we are so fortunate to have. Thus we are able to mark new destinations and be grateful for what we already have. And being able to expand and appreciate your life, you proceed towards a higher, more conscious way of living. That conscious way of living is a result of learning lessons from every endevour of your life,especially travelling. 

I was fortunate enough to represent team GCU in a parliamentary debate competition at Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute at Topi, KPK. It is an idyllic side of the world, surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests. The seven hours travel to and from Topi, Three days of debating and strolling through one of the most magnificent landscapes was a truly wonderful and enlightening experience. After I came back, I decided to pen down what I learned from my experience. Here are the new perspectives I was able to draw from my experience that I'll try to apply in my life.

1. Your capacity to suffer is your capacity to expand your life. Your willingness to let go of the known, to get out of your comfort zone and embrace the unknown is the mark of how far you will go in life.

2. The happiest people are those who have the courage to be  vulnerable in front of other people. Vulnerability exposes you to harm, judgment and betrayal but it also lets the light of joy, companionship, beauty and knowledge to shine in your life.

3. When you are hurt, all you can think of to relieve that hurt is by hurting other people, people you think are responsible for your hurt. It is one of the greatest misconceptions that we are led to believe that our hurt can go away by doing this. Projecting your hurt on the outside, on other people, strengthens it even further by making its monuments on the outside. On the other hand, rejecting that hurt on the inside makes it even worse for it engraves it inside your being. When you are hurt, instead of rejecting or projecting it, ask yourself this question; 'Can I become a person bigger than this hurt and through this hurt?' and stay with this question for some time. I don't guarantee that the hurt will go away but I do predict that you'll come to know a lot about yourself and your life will expand as a result. You can always confront that person responsible for that hurt later, but this time, it would be with out heavy emotions or judgments and you'll get a better understanding of the real situation.

4.For this insight, I'll quote Wasif Ali Wasif. I truly understood what he meant during a debate match.

'Jin logon ne battle of Waterloo larni huti hai, barri aur dur ki jangien larni huti hain na, wu yun chuti laraian gali muhale mien nahi larte. Wu kehte hain hum larien ge zror lekin dur ja kar'

5.Don't judge a person by his or her worse behavior. I have two reasons for that. Number one is an analogy, that when you go mining to search for gold, you may encounter a lot of dirt. But when you look for gold, you don't look at the dirt that came your way for the gold makes it up for it. So when interacting with people, look for the gold. Second, everyone has the capacity to become more than who they are today. May be this behavior is your call to help them on their way. Also, if you judge someone of their worse behavior, you are doing that to yourself too. Stop it, for your own sake.

6.Your bench mark, for who you truly are, is never the outside accomplishments. True dignity and goodness lies in the attitude of you being conscious of your actions, of your life. Be willing to explore what you do and why you do it.

7.The clues as to whether you can do something or not lies not on the outside but inside. Imagine yourself doing that particular thing and see the fears and doubts coming to surface. Know these fears and doubts intimately. This is the hardest thing you can do, but once you are through that, things will fall into picture.

8.One of the truly life enriching and nurturing experiences is a direct contact with nature. When you see all that life existing in nature, so wild in the outlook yet at peace, there is something that shifts inside you. I have not been able to figure out what it is, so can't tell you about that. All I can say is that wild peace becomes a part of you and stays with you.

9.You'll never know and appreciate how far you have come unless you occasionally visit the place where you started. I reflected upon that while I was travelling and the bus was passing through distant villages, meadows and mountains. Somehow it made me reflect on the place where I started and where I was now. I felt a wave of gratitude and a sense of responsibility.

10. When you reflect on your life, you'll see little things that somehow chipped in your life out of nowhere. Someone guided you, inspired you, helped you out of a tough situation, believed in you or gave you an opportunity and stuff like that. And though you never appreciated those things as much as they deserved to be, they turned your life around and made you who you are today. You can't help but notice a divine force chipping those things in your life, making things work when you lost all hope. You realize that there is something greater than life, greater than everything you have seen that exists and that force is independent of your opinion about it.

11. Respect how other people view the world but never let them impose that view on you.Also, when you find people who share your view, never let them go. Have the courage to be vulnerable in front of them. Have the courage to learn from them and let them shine new light on the view both of you hold so dear. 

12.Know that what you have to say is important. The fact that there is a lot of shout around it does not make it insignificant. 

13. The majority of the people are doing the best they can, with what they have, for who they are and want to become. You may not agree with the approach but respect the spirit. 

Pictures Courtesy

Humans Of GIKI
Danyal Butt

The Barren River

Like a barren river that waits for flood,
I wait for you.
And even though the river knows,
That the flood would break every bank,
Every trusted, known bank he made,
Since the last flood.
And that the great wave of water,
Would turn everything upside down,
And nothing will be the same,
And that wave will be gone soon,
And all the river will inherit,
Is the sand the flood brought along,
Still the river waits for the clouds to thunder,
For the rains to fall heavily,
For the waves to come quietly and powerfully,

I wait for you.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The Ironic Miracle

'Like an ocean that sails along, in itself,with itself with echoes of storm largely unheard I saw a ship that no one saw and I probably didn't see it myself,

but I wanted that ship to exist so much that I forgot the fierce winds,the cloudy skies and though it was a miracle

that that ship actually came into being
but I'd say that 

it was an ironic miracle for the moment the winds touched the sails, they tore them apart, the wooden framework was met with an iceberg I didn't believe that the ship was real until the iceburg sank it and the winds soothed it apart.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Free;As A Drop Of Rain

Rain. It flows like a continuum of suppressed rage when there is no fear to scare it off. That rage is fearless and thus honest and resounding.And with all that is blunt and honest and resounding, there lies a subtle beauty in rain.

That beauty is freedom.

A freedom that is revealed and embraced by every drop of rain.

A freedom to give up the ultimate heights at the message of a cold wind and dive fearlessly to unknown depths.

A freedom to transcend down with humility in a world that is not free, that has limitations both in essence and existence.

A freedom to make music when striking cords with anything on its way.

A freedom to venture for an unknown, dark destination and still be enthusiastic about it.

A freedom to bid farewell to their homes, where they got borne and cherished and found peace.

A freedom to bid farewell to other drops of rain whom it saw being formed, who embraced that drop like a part of themselves and the drop knew it was a drop when he watched those other drop.

A most importantly the freedom to bid farewell to its own self, for the journey between the cloud and earth will be the last time it will know itself before driven in to oblivion and a wait to see the sunshine again. 

That single drop of rain is free and willing to do all of these things,the moment a cool wind touches it.

Are we as free as a drop of rain?