Monthly Archives: February 2011

Silence

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by JC Girard

The word itself rings truth in my ears… It’s smooth. The “c” can be held at the end of the word for emphasis; for silence. It’s so calm and for some people, reassuring; but, for me, it screams truths I wished never to hear.

I have a giant calendar hanging on my bedroom wall. Actually, I have a giant calendar, a smaller calendar, an agenda, and a white board to write out my daily to-do list. I have consistent reminders in my phone and Facebook notifications for upcoming events I have planned to attend. Why so organized? Because I never stop moving. My days literally goes as followed: school, work, friend’s, homework, sleep. Sometimes I find time to eat. Once in a while I decide I should probably stop to relax so I schedule myself two hours to watch a movie with my brother while I fly through my textbooks. In general, I have to actually pencil in best friends to spend time with them. They get a special spot on the calendar, but nonetheless, must be scheduled or it would never happen. I love it. I love the rush I get from having so much to do and no time to do it. Why? Because chaos and silence cannot co-exist.

This blog was actually due more than a week ago and this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down in months; and I hate it. I find myself running from silence, running from slow-motion and flower-smelling paces. I run. Have you ever sat quietly? Try it. Sit in your room. No sound, no light, no distractions. What comes into your head? What do you think about? I know what I think about… I think about how scary silence is. I won’t allow myself to sit in a quiet room; I turn on the radio or watch a movie on my laptop. I even fall asleep to a play list on my iPod.

Thinking about me scares me. My failures, my flaws, my worries, and my desires haunt my thoughts. So I shut them down by shutting them out. It’s like that saying “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.” Essentially, I protect myself from myself by avoiding all forms of silence or meditation. But in the long run, I may be hurting myself. I guess this entry was more for my own awareness. I understand things better when I write them out.
Perhaps tonight I will try to sit in silence. Just me and God. Perhaps tonight I will conquer my biggest fear and open my eyes to a scary tool that could save my life. Silence may be a fear, but it can also be a lifesaver… or so I’m told.

Shhhhhhhh… Be quiet. You speak louder when you’re silent.

Revolution

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by Sarah Mushtaq

“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”

– Malcolm X

We’re witnessing a revolution in the Middle East – first Tunisia, then Egypt, now Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain… and possibly many more. As I sit here in Canada, being a mere student, my heart still reaches out to all those overseas.

In Islam, we’re taught to love others as if they’re your brother or sister. I see these people being killed by dictators, massacred and know that my siblings are being killed. On top of that, sometimes I feel helpless so far removed from the situation but I am reminded of the following verse from the Qur’an:

‘O those who believe, Seek My help with patience and prayer. Verily Allah is with those who are patient.’ [2:154]

With all the fighting and massacring coming up, the question, “Is terrorism allowed in Islam?” will most likely come up. One of the best resources I can direct to can be found here, on the website called “Why Islam.” I’d like to share on excerpt here:

“Islam considers all life forms sacred. However, the sanctity of human life is accorded a special place. The first and the foremost basic right of a human being is the right to live. The Glorious Qur’an says:

‘…if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.’

[Al-Qur’an 5:32]

Such is the value of a single human life, that the Qur’an equates the taking of even one human life unjustly, with the killing all of humanity. Thus, the Qur’an prohibits homicide in clear terms. The taking of a criminal’s life by the state in order to administer justice is required to uphold the rule of law, and the peace and security of the society. Only a proper and competent court can decide whether an individual has forfeited his right to life by disregarding the right to life and peace of other human beings.”[1]

With all these allegation of being a terrorist religion, one should note that the religion does not endorse it at all. Right now, people are being killed by oppressive rulers who are not acting in accordance to their religion whatsoever. By getting to know a Muslim and researching the religion, one will find the actuality pretty easily.

I’d humbly request to keep these people in your prayers – sign any petitions, attend a rally if you can, lobby your local governmental representative. As per the quote I shared at the beginning, we’re all humans to begin with.


God, Ultimately is a Mystery

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by Aubrey

Today I’m thinking about who, or what, God is.

I’ve been reading a lot about the Raelian movement, which states that the God (or gods) of the Bible were extraterrestrials from another place. I’m not going to hide the fact that I have thought about this, or that, when reading the Bible, it almost seems reasonable. I even read Genesis and Leviticus this weekend, and I can see why people are attracted to it. But, I am not going to talk about that. I want to talk about what it caused me to think about. Who is God? Or, what is God?

I, also, have to admit that I do sometimes think of God in images. That means, sometimes, God is a ghost, a spirit, or even an old wise man. I am sure a lot of people can relate to this one: God is usually male, rarely female. My mother worships God as a goddess, and I can’t help but think of her when I try to imagine God in a more feminine way. But, I think it is important to remember that God, at least for me, is not really defined except through God’s actions. God, ultimately, is a mystery…much like how I’ve described God as ‘the reason we’re all here’. God, for me, is mostly something to be sought after; more like a question without an answer. My relationship with God is more about knowing there is an answer to the question.

It reminds me that God is more about what God has done (created the Universe, created Man, etc), or what God is doing, or will do, than what God actually is. It’s important for me to know that respecting everything around me and revering how I interact with it builds a relationship between me and God, especially with people. God’s creation is my connection to God. God being the cause of it, God is often found in the effect. For instance when I think of God as love. God becomes loving because we’re here, and being here (the effect) is a loving act from God, the cause. The love of God is found through God’s actions, and I think the most mysterious things about God are.


Stability, is it really important?

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by Ally Ferreira

I am on a spiritual journey. When I say this aloud to myself it almost feels as if I am native going on a spirit quest. I can recognize the similarities right away, because when you really think about it, we are all on a quest to figure out what our spirits want. What does my spirit want? My spirit longs for security. My spirit longs for happiness and for compassion. Although I joke a lot about the things I want I think that deep down inside I’m a pretty simple person. I could honestly do without all the crap that we think we need these days. Cell phones, expensive designer clothing, these things have crept their way into my life without me even knowing. I see my friends buying expensive things and I think that I want one too. Why are we always trying to one up ourselves? Why is there a constant struggle to be better than the next person? Where does this hunger come from?

I seem to be asking a lot of questions and I realize that I have to look to myself to answer these questions. Let’s start with, what does my spirit want? Well, my spirit wants to make other people happy because when I am able to make other people happy, I am happy myself. My spirit wants to live in stability because without stability and organization I cannot function. My parents have raised me to be very independent but I still have my moments when I feel like everything is falling apart. It’s only at this age that I realize that I’m not the only one who has those kinds of days where we feel that nothing we do is working in our favor. I used to move around a lot because my parents weren’t financially prepared. This is where my need for stability comes from. I have always longed to be the person who has lived in the same house their whole life and grown up with the same kids in their neighborhood.

Unfortunately we cannot always get what we want. But, knowing all that I know now, I think that when I decide to have children (in many years to come) I will ensure that they will receive the security and stability that I never got. I also am aware that with the instability in my life that I have developed great instinct and street smarts so I need to somehow come up with a way to let them have that too.

All in all I want my children to be comfortable with who they are and who they decide to become. I will make sure they go to church every Sunday because with religion I have found the stability that I thought I would never be able to possess.

For now I will have a few questions that may never be solved. But I’m comfortable enough and I’m stable enough to be okay with that. In time I know that some of my questions will be answered. I just need to pray about it.

Call for Prayer

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by Nadieh Esmaeil Poor

Sometimes when I forget to put my laptop or cell phone on silent in public places like the library, my call for prayer software goes off which makes everyone suddenly turn around and stare at me wondering what it was .This made me realize that there are a lot of people who never visited a Muslim country and therefore, might not know what exactly it is, so I thought of posting something related to it as an explanation.

The Call for prayer in Islam known as (Adhan) is a way for the people to know when  the prayer times are , and therefore go to the mosque ( for men ) or pray at home (women have a choice of praying at home or at the mosque ). Just like Christians ring the bell as a sign for prayer time, Muslims have Adhan which is a set of sentences and words to be said in Arabic .The contents of it are always the same for the five prayers except for the Morning Prayer where an extra sentence is added to it. The contents include (God is the greatest-four times,  I testify that there is no God except for Allah-two times,   I testify that Muhammad is a Messenger of Allah-two times, Come to prayer, come to worship, Prayer is better than sleep (only for morning prayer), Allah is the greatest-two times, There is no God except for Allah).

Since a lot of my non Muslim friends have brought up this topic I thought it would be a useful information for this blog’s readers as well. In Muslim countries the call for prayer is recited by the Imams (generally a respected member of the community and is elected to lead the prayer) of the mosques, but when this option isn’t available like in my case, I prefer to have something with me that would help me listen to it since the call for prayer not only is a way to remind you of prayer timings but also to make you think of the words that’s been said, and help you relax as well.


Carpe Diem

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by Alex Petric

In a week’s time, I’ll be heading back home for Reading Week. While I’m pretty happy to have a week off to visit everyone back home, it’s also making me realize how quickly time is flying by. It seems like only a little while ago I was in downtown Brampton, watching Sam Roberts and ringing in the new year, and yet more than a month has already gone by. Although I’ve made some great memories in the time since, it often feels like I’m just waiting for the end of a class, or the end of the week, or the end of the school year. Time seems to pass me by at times without me actually living in the moment I’m in at the time. When I go to an event, be it a class, a meeting, a social gathering, a sports event, or something else, what do I walk away from it with? Did I fully engage in it, or did I let the opportunity pass me by?

I think one of the greatest wrongs we can do is to let opportunities pass, and this includes letting time pass us by when we could be doing relevant things. However, I don’t mean this to be misconstrued as meaning that we should always be making grand gestures and doing exhilarating, adrenalizing activities. We shouldn’t drop out of school and pursue some fleeting dream just to live in the moment. Sometimes it takes time to plan and prepare for the important moments in life. As well, I feel that as long as we put our heart and soul into whatever we are doing and we are aware of what we are doing at a moment in time, we can live each moment to the fullest, even if we are doing something simple. This can be true for any activity, from a walk in the woods to a conversation with a co-worker.

When we are alone is one of the most challenging times to experience a moment fully. When I’m alone, I sometimes find myself mulling over recent events or thinking about things to come. Sometimes my mind flies off on a tangent without anything truly gained. Oftentimes, people can’t stand to be alone with themselves, so they fix their attention to other external problems that can’t be helped. We should be comfortable with ourselves when we are alone, instead of finding ways to distract ourselves from how we really feel. Otherwise, how are we to be comfortable with ourselves in our interactions with others and God?


Truth and Ego

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by Aubrey

“Let there be no force in religion: Surely- truth stands out clear from error. Whoever rejects evil and believes in the one God holds the most trustworthy hold that never breaks.” – The Holy Quran.

The above mentioned verse got me thinking this week. I have discussed truth before. Truth is revealed to us…and hidden. Truth deserves respect; respect that what is true is true and what is hidden is hidden. Truth separates Heavenly realms from worldly realms, and when they interact, respect for truth, hidden and clear, is fundamental. Saying what is true about hidden things is a hard thing to do. To even say God exists, in full truth, is a hard thing to claim to know. At most, I have only seen one proof for God: that we (everything) are here, and that doesn’t even tell me much about God, other than God wanted us to be here. But this opens a door for a relationship (what religion is).

Religion, for me, has to be based on genuine truth revealed to me, and respect for the truth that hasn’t. Often, I feel religion tries to claim truth about hidden things. Because I know there are hidden truths, the truths revealed to me are tools God gives to build a relationship. Sometimes I feel this leads people to believe we have to know the hidden things. I think we simply need to know they exist, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The advisory, the ego (Job 2:4-6 – I will write on this later), Satan, is at work all the time. Sometimes I want to think works like the Torah or Quran are full of only truth, and hidden things are being revealed purely. Until I decided who Satan was, I never thought the advisory had any business in religions. I believe truth stands out clear from error, even if it’s that we lack truth. The ego wants to tell me that the Torah, Gospel and Quran have not been tampered by the ego, and that the “systems” (religions) set up are on the right path. The ego never rests and goes ahead of us all the time! In reality, there is far too much I don’t know, and the ego wants to make sure I’m afraid to live in it.

Sometimes I feel all I can really do is resist the advisory, let go, and know the Creator is in control of the creation.