So many of us are always in search of something more. Constantly in search of how to create peace of mind in the most stressful times.
Have you ever had the feeling that there’s something missing?
All of the goals that you’re achieving, all those accomplishments, all of those great things that you have in life, there’s always something still missing.
Have you ever had that feeling?
In this short article, I share some crucial information with you.
If you’re like me and all the other people out there who are constantly striving to improve themselves to do better in life, then understanding this will change your life forever.
That might seem a little bit dramatic. You might even think that’s a little ominous, a bit worrying, and maybe you’ll think what’s wrong in my life.
So let’s start off with, there’s nothing wrong with your life.
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But there’s always something that we’re looking for. You might feel as though it’s whatever you’ve decided for your big goal in life to be or that great dream that you want to actualise.
Or it can be your purpose in life, whatever it may be, in today’s world, stress has become a norm. It’s like we’re so used to it.
It’s like peace is missing in action. We’re always looking for it.
Finding peace seems to be a list of to-do’s and we feel as though, if we do X, Y, Z, we’re going to feel whatever we want.
That peace, the internal contentment. But it’s almost impossible.
Finding Peace in the Chaos
In the chaos of life at times, we almost feel that it’s impossible to find that peace.
So how do you find inner peace when you’re in the middle of a stressful situation?
There’s a simple, profound answer. But it’s most likely the place where people do not look.
When thinking of Islam, people often associate it with peace, but its true meaning is to submit.
Islam means to submit.
Submitting to the flow of life. Call it Qadr, destiny, call it whatever you like.
But Islam means submitting to or connecting to the source of all of your solutions.
All of those challenges that we face in life, when you are connected to the source of all solutions, the Creator of life itself, that’s the answer to all of your inner peace, all of your stress, everything.
But the challenge is, we are too stressed out for a peaceful solution. Instead, people strive for a stressful solution.
And as a result of that, we exacerbate the problems.
So you might be thinking that sounds way too simplistic.
In fact, you might even be thinking you’ve tried that. Where is the peace in that?
I get that. But bear with me.
A Simple Yet Profound Solution
Guaranteed, it’s so simple, yet such a powerful solution.
There’s an answer that is simple and doable. Right now you might be thinking, this guy seems like a bit of a tree hugger.
That would be the result of the happy thinking that I have.
But I assure you that you might want to be a tree hugger by the end of this. If you don’t, it’s okay.
But let’s move on.
Ask yourself what’s missing in your life.
You probably have asked yourself, and you’ve probably sat down and tried to figure it out at some point.
Quite often, we want a simple solution. But we look for the opposite.
In my own journey, I’ve met many people who work in the game of helping people. What I’ve come to realise is that we’re actually looking to solve our own problems.
And in the midst of that, we end up helping other people. Nothing wrong with that.
We search our whole lives for answers that help us to get clarity on how to best deal with our own challenges.
As teenagers and young adults, when we were young (I can’t speak for you but I’m still young), we were too busy thinking about amassing material wealth.
We thought those things were going to quench our thirst, that spiritual thirst.
And spiritual thirst isn’t always understood as spiritual. I call it spiritual.
When you’re a teenager, or in that period of your life, you feel as though accomplishment and fulfilment, and achievement, and all of those feelings of I’ve arrived, I’ve figured it out, I’ve found my purpose in life.
You feel as though that inner thirst can be quenched by amassing material things, wealth, or the world or whatever you amass.
As human beings, we go out and search for all those shiny objects in life, thinking that these things will quench our thirst.
Thinking they’ll fill that void that we’re trying to fill.
But the reality, and saddest realisation is when you gain all of the material wealth and all the accomplishments that your heart desires, those big dreams of yours that are now real, but the feeling of something missing is still there.
It’s actually not such a sad realisation. I’m being a bit dramatic.
The language paints a picture of what’s going on in our minds.
We like to dramatise things and add to that felt experience.
The missing link, or that realisation which is actually a good thing is that all of the material wealth and all of those things that you’ve been gathering from this world will never quench that spiritual thirst.
That thirst is spiritual and it cannot be quenched with material nourishments.
It has to be spiritual nourishment.
We spend most of our lives making the mistake that if I attain my dreams, get that nice big car or that huge house or the apartment, or that house by the sea, or that beautiful family and kids, if I get all of those things in that great job, it will quench my spiritual thirst.
But the truth is, it will never be quenched.
The material cannot quench a spiritual thirst. You can’t feed yourself with material things to fill a spiritual gap.
The missing thing has to be spiritual as well.
That realisation is actually a really good thing.
When confronted with the realisation that material success does not quench a spiritual thirst or bring lasting contentment, people often react in three common ways.
Here’s how people often react to stress. I’ll give you an example story.
The Story of Mariam
Mariam finally has the career that she wants.
It’s not what she had dreamt about. But she’s actually happy doing whatever she does. She has beautiful children that she loves to bits.
She’s a part of her children’s school and parents governing board. So she feels like she’s an active mother as well. She contributes to the community, and so on.
But as usual, life’s not all a fairy tale.
Mariam has various challenges in her life. Some of those challenges are with her own ambition.
Some of them are with her husband, her relationship, and maybe his family. All of these challenges have been going on for a number of years.
She just doesn’t understand why she can’t resolve them. But she puts a lot of her stress on these things. It has filtered through and affected all areas of her life.
She feels totally stressed out at times. She feels that time management is a real challenge for her.
She feels that she struggles to have balance. A lot of the time she feels unappreciated and that really weighs down on her.
Now, Mariam is a practising Muslim woman.
She prays five times a day. And she tries to be as spiritual as possible. But the lack of balance in her life causes her to feel really time-poor, and she struggles to be spiritual.
So she’s praying her prayers, and she doesn’t really feel that spiritual connection in her prayers.
That really weighs her down.
One thing she knows for sure is that when she’s spiritually connected to her Creator, when she feels connected to Allah, all of her problems are actually manageable, and she can handle anything.
However, the challenge is that this feeling of spirituality comes and goes. It is so unpredictable that she doesn’t know how to keep it on a more permanent basis.
The reaction Mariam has when she realises that none of her achievements have actually helped to solve this spiritual challenge could be one of the following situations.
What I want you to understand is that the Mariams of this world, all react differently.
And it’s not just the Mariams because this is not just a female thing. It’s also the Adams of the world. Men and Women alike.
3 Common Ways People Respond
Response 1 – She loses all sense of self-confidence and self-belief.
She feels like there’s something wrong with her ability to make the right choices in life. She questions whether or not she even knows how to live life the best way.
How could she possibly bring up her children, if she can’t even live a happy life herself?
This has a real knock-on effect on all areas of her life. She starts having a lot of self-doubts and falls into this negative spiral of thinking.
And of course, this causes her to feel bad about herself, a lot of the time, and over a period of time, it affects her relationship with her husband, her children, and even her work.
She finds it difficult to see all the good in her life. And she becomes so consumed by her feelings that one day she wakes up to realise that she’s being told that she’s actually suffering from depression.
That’s one type of response.
Response 2 – of response the Mariams of this world have. And Again, when I say Mariams, don’t misunderstand this to be a woman issue.
This is just an example. But, all the Mariams and Abdullahs and Abdurahmaans and Ayeshas, and all of them fall into these categories.
This is something that’s possible for anyone.
So the second type of reaction that Mariam could possibly have, is that she becomes obsessed with developing herself.
While she searches for the answers, she thinks that if she develops herself and improves herself, then things will get better.
And she focuses on bigger and more challenging goals. She sets herself these huge goals.
She feels, that the greater the achievement, the more likely she will quench that thirst.
And it will help her to find the missing link. So she works for years to develop herself.
She does different acts or rituals on a day-to-day basis to help herself stay focused on gratitude, and blessings and increasing in her own personal well-being.
To do that she also works out and focuses on physical activities to get her chemical juices flowing through her body.
Right now I’m thinking, dopamine, serotonin, and all these things. But essentially, physical activities have a chemical reaction in our bodies.
What she does is focus on those, and she knows from this, she can get a natural boost of happiness. So along with the mental, she does the physical.
Then she tries some journaling, some reflection, some meditation, and maybe even some affirmations like positive talk, to keep that positive state.
All of this helps her to manage her physical and psychological state.
But she still feels something is always missing. And what really bugs her is that she’s trying everything.
She’d been trying for so long, and she couldn’t seem to figure out what it was. Her challenges in life seem to get too much for her at times.
Most of the time, using these coping strategies, she deals with it. And she tells herself that this is just life, just get on with it and accept it.
That’s the best way to be.
So she sticks to positive thinking all the way and that’s what she focuses on.
But the one thing that she absolutely understands, after all of this effort, is that there is so much to do, just to get a little peace of mind.
Response 3 – reaction that Mariam could possibly have is that she realises all of the things in her life are great blessings. But she can’t seem to fill that void with any of them.
All of those blessings aren’t filling the void. So there’s a constant state of unhappiness.
And even though I call it unhappiness, she would never call it that, because that wouldn’t be a positive way to look at it.
It certainly wouldn’t be something that empowers her. So, she has a fear that it might always be like this.
And she knows that nothing material will give her the missing thing.
This is really good news because she now knows that she needs something different. So she starts to look at how she can develop her relationship with her Creator.
The challenge she faces is the fact that she has a pretty busy life between work, family, social, and her community stuff.
She has lots to do. So what does this all mean? How can we change this and fill this spiritual gap?
Because the truth is, you and I could fall into any one of those three ways. And in fact, we probably do.
If you can relate to any of these things, then know that you are not alone.
The answer is also simple. Yet it requires understanding.
Of course, that will take a bit of time. Up until now, we have spent our whole lives in pursuit of what we think will make us happy.
The Secret to Peace and Contentment
Allah(swt) tells us categorically, that peace and contentment is found in the spiritual, not in the material.
Allah says in Surah Ra’d, verse 28,
أَلَا بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ ٱلْقُلُوبُ
“It is only in the remembrance of Allah, that the hearts will find contentment.”
That is so precise. There’s no guesswork to it.
However, the direction we are striving in most of our lives is towards the outer experience of life.
We do that because we erroneously presume that these shiny things in life, the house, the holiday, the family, the great career, the business, all of those good things, will give us peace and contentment.
But in this verse, we are told explicitly, that we need to look inwards.
We need to turn inwards, towards a spiritual contentment.
That’s the only thing that will give us the solution to all of our material challenges.
Let me repeat that for you. Because this is so important.
We need to turn inwards towards spiritual contentment as that’s the only thing that will give us the solutions to our material challenges.
I hope you understand this because that point in and of itself, could change your life.
Whether we have challenges at work, in business, with our spouses, our husbands, our wives, our children, or with anything in life.
Everything in life is material. It’s of the created world. You and I, we’re of the material world, we’re created.
The businesses that we have, the careers, the jobs, the schools, the children, the holidays, everything is of the material world.
The spiritual contentment does not come from the material world.
Spiritual contentment comes from the contentment of your soul, the contentment of you, the inner you.
Now, there’s another challenge and you might relate to this.
We think by reading the Quran and praying the five daily prayers, all of our material challenges are instantly resolved.
So we go out and we do that. We learn the Quran, we learn Arabic, we study Islam and then we realise that the challenge is still there.
And in the event of this happening, I’ve seen lots of different types of reactions.
People become angry, they become despondent, they become sad, feel lost, and being demotivated kicks in.
I’m sure you could think of lots of different feelings that you’ve experienced when you haven’t been able to resolve your situation.
We’re grateful to Allah. We get so much out of our Islamic Studies, yet some of those challenges just never go away, and we can’t seem to figure it out.
And the answer is, without any shadow of a doubt, in the guidance of the Quran and Sunnah. But it comes back to that verse in Surah ar Ra’d.
أَلَا بِذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ ٱلْقُلُوبُ
You will find contentment in nurturing your spiritual connection to Allah.
That means understanding your life, understanding your spirituality, your spiritual nature, the Ruh (soul), understanding your psychological makeup, and your physical makeup.
And of course, all of that points to understanding how the reality of life really works, and how you work best when you are in alignment with the reality of life.
All human beings, not just the Muslims need to be connected to reality, connected to our Creator. Because that’s where all of the well-being comes from.
Allah (swt) says, talking about this message and why it was sent to humanity, Allah(swt) says, in Surah Al-Anbiya, verse 107,
وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ إِلَّا رَحْمَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.”
I have not sent you Oh Muhammad, except as a mercy to mankind. The message of the Quran and Sunnah was sent as a mercy; as a compassionate solution for mankind, all of us.
We need to understand how the human mind, body, and spirit work.
This is what led me to begin my quest. This is why I went out searching and I travelled across the world in search of these things.
This is the very thing that led me to teach the traditional Science of Ilmu Nafs.The knowledge of the self.
This is classical science. This is the journey. This is a journey for me. And it’s a journey for all of those who seek the truth of life.
It’s just the beginning. But I also understand that Allah guides us through the Quran and Sunnah to what we seek.
Spiritual nourishment is through the connection, the remembrance of the Almighty, of the All-Merciful and Compassionate, The All-loving: Al Wadud, the All-loving Creator of the Heavens and Earth.
That’s where your spiritual nourishment will come from. It’s that connection.
So the simple answer to your spiritual need is your connection to Allah.
Just in case I didn’t make it explicit and clear enough. That is the answer.
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