Finding a Way Back

-By Maleeha Babar

When we are young, there’s an enthusiasm for life, a zest that paints all of our actions. Exploring the world, finding out all the beauty it contains is an adventure that we look forward to every day. We possess curiosity and creativity, vigor and joy. We look forward to talking to other children, sharing with them and connecting. There’s life within us. When we make a mistake, it’s serious. When we do something good, it matters. When someone hurts us, it actually hurts. At the deepest level, we understand the miracle that life is. Yet, as we grow older, that very same spirit begins to wane as we enter the “real world”. We are subtly told that the lifeless homes we see, the race for money, the broken relationships and purposeless ostentation is “reality”. It’s as if what we experienced as children was a past life, something to be discarded and never looked back on.

Although it’s the very core of who we are. The spirit that we are born with as children, the longing for love, compassion, understanding, growth, exploration, and truth is what’s real.

And that reality never changes. It’s that we become blind to it.

Allah (SWT) says:

“So have they not traveled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not the eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts within the breasts.” (22:46)

But there’s still a part of as adults, a consciousness within our hearts, that longs to be heard. It’s an inner voice that tells us what’s right, that screams for us to listen, that was clear as a child but through each hurt, suppression and invalidation, turned into a whisper that drowns away in doubt. It is the voice of truth. I’d like to think it’s our fitrah (for Muslims), or call it our intuition, but it’s not there for a futile purpose. It has a purpose. When we know we’re going down the wrong path in life, making decisions that probably aren’t ours, but some person told us life is “this way” and although it’s contrary to what we believe, and our sadness, grief, unhappiness, and discontentment all points towards that fact, too, why don’t we listen? Because that voice has been discontinued way too many times. Or maybe we’re scared. But when you don’t listen to your truths (hopefully based on sound judgment and understanding), it really hurts.

Suppressing that voice leads to nowhere. And although we might think that avoiding that nagging thought in our heads will go away with distracting ourselves with countless gadgets, busy-ness, and extra work loads, or even pursuits such as marriage (been there, done that), it won’t. Because we’re not on this world to “be busy” or “keep doing thoughtlessly” and just “achieving,” we’re truly not here to do that.

And if we don’t look, contemplate and follow what we have come to discover as truth, it will continuously nag at us.

Unless we choose to merely exist.

And I think our life is way too important to just exist.