Sidewalk Bends

Exploring the soul and it's reaches.

Archive for the ‘Islam’ Category

Simply Me

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I am not Hindu. I am not Buddhist. I am not Christian. I am not Jewish. I am not Muslim.

That is not to say I do not believe in God, or whatever name you shall attach to that which has no name but is called by many names.

I claim no flag as my own. I live under no one roof. I am beholden to no one’s truth, but that which sits firmly in my own heart. That is not to say that I am separate, but that I go from day to day depending on my struggles and that I only know what I feel. And what I feel may change daily depending on my struggles.

That is not to say that I do not believe in anything, but that my faith is challenged every day. Some days I know myself as though 1000 years have passed, and other days I know myself as I know a stranger.

I do not always know why I am. I only know that I am here. And as I write this there seems not to be a purpose but simply to be me.

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Stoning the Devil

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Hajj - Stoning the DevilWhen we stone the devil, are we not in fact stoning ourselves? We each make choices in our lives. Surely we are guided and influenced in many directions, but ultimately we make our own choices. We make our own decisions, good or bad. We are who we are, not because of the devil or because someone has forced us into becoming who we have become.

At every step, whether we have been enveloped in love, or subjected to hate, we can choose how we decide to walk away from a situation. We can choose to nourish our hearts, or feed the disdain. We can spend our time ridiculing others, be it the devil, or someone who might seem different to our own sensibilities, but we must ask if this truly brings us closer to the divine. Do we shine brighter, or are we in reality tarnishing our own soul?

We each have much to offer, even if we can’t quite understand the person or the devil beside us. So we can spend our time contemplating someone else’s ill thoughts and behaviors, or we can work to improve our own. Ridicule and hate can never bring love and peace. They can only be stifled until we are ready to truly accept them.

Set down the stone, and remember the true strength it takes to put it down, and share it.

Written by Sidewalk Bends

October 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Withered Truth

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leather bound bibleBound leather.
Parchment paper.
Saints of men.

Stains of time.
Words warped.
Intentions lost.

Guidance sought.
Warped minds.
Confused soul.

Stay true to your heart. Stay true to yourself. In the face of pressure, in the house of another, do not judge. Accept as you wish to be accepted. Love as you wish to be loved. Compromise not the essence of your soul, but allow another to be.

The Sufi Way

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whirling dirvishA shepherd of men and women does not need a stick nor a lashing tongue. With his heart, he guides. He has no need to dismantle the gods of others, for he knows his place among all of creation. Superior to none, he does not dissuade those who are seen to be inferior. Blind to comparisons, he takes joy in all that is.

There is no better day, or another tomorrow; there is now. There are no loose threads, or misplaced beads; there simply is. There is no hope or regret; there is eternal acceptance. From the newest newborn to the most eldest among us, there are only wise men and women. There is no first or last and no best or worst. There is just the divine in infinite expression.

Written by Sidewalk Bends

July 15, 2011 at 4:24 am

Prophecy

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flood prophecyThe idea of prophecy has captured the minds of many over the ages. From religious and ancient texts to self-proclaimed psychics and seers to seemingly miraculous personal experiences, men and women from cultures around the world have contemplated its purpose and power. From seeing, whether in the waking state or sleeping state, to feeling, physically and or emotionally, the experience and idea of prophecy has left many to question their faith, the workings of the universe and sometimes one’s very own sanity.

For many people, the future is thought to be unknowable, but bound by something we call “time.” Just out of view it serves as inspiration, and hope for something better. It serves as motivation for improving one’s current state of existence. For others, the future is thought to be knowable, but only in dribs and drabs. Sometimes dreamlike, it entices the seer. What could be the reason for having a glimpse into the future? Is it really the future that is being seen, or has all of this happened before?

Regardless of whether what is seen serves as a warning or a fanciful “what if” moment, the experience often serves as a reminder of the mysteries that surround us. When one sees what they perceive as the future, are they an observer, or do they remain an active participant in their own lives? The idea of free will comes into question and suddenly one is thrust into contemplating a future and life that has already been predetermined. If life and existence itself were predetermined, is the value of life suddenly cheapened? Is birth, death and all that comes in between simply a formality?

Perhaps the question of predetermination and free-will are more a matter of perception than practicality. For many the idea of a predetermined life is slavery draped in different clothes. For others it is the acceptance of choices made long ago, but also made in this very moment. What if every choice, and every choice resulting from that choice, and so on, for all possible choices of every creation, existed all at once? What if like the threads of a blanket, by pulling and manipulating one thread, each thread of that blanket were affected? And so in being able to understand one choice, one has the ability to understand all other choices affected by that single choice and all other choices before it.

In that breathe, perhaps the past, present and future are all the same, existing simultaneously, although for many, experienced one at a time. Like a series of dominoes in every which direction that fall and reset themselves, the past, present and future are continuously unfolding. From the view of the domino it only knows itself, and what comes immediately before and after it. When seen together, one path is realized, and sometimes more than one path is realized at a given time. Which is the present? Which is the past? Which is the future? Does it matter?

When our choices are realized, maybe it is not the order in which they are seen that matters, but rather what is learned or understood in that moment. Like an intricate dance, all of existence is being expressed, and what we choose to see is up to us. Suddenly the power of prophecy lay not in the future, but in understanding the eternal now.

Prayer, Meditation with Purpose

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people in prayerThe power of prayer does not come from how many times we recite a prayer. The power of prayer does not come from how many people pray for the same outcome. It does not come from facing Mecca, or facing the Wailing Wall. The power of prayer does not come from sitting in a church or peering through a glass floor at the supposed birthplace of Jesus. It does not come from ringing bells, or lighting candles. The power of prayer does not come from intermediaries such as saints or devotees. The power of prayer comes from one’s true intent. Prayer is like having an intimate relationship with the Creator. Prayer allows one to speak directly with God/Allah to give thanks, or to ask for guidance. Prayer allows for communing with all that is. Prayer is meditation with purpose. Prayer is peaceful awakening.

You, Becoming Me

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I am a Sufi.
I am a Jew.
I am a Christian.
I am a Buddhist.
I am Hindi.
I am you.

I am a man.
I am a woman.
I am you.

I am a teacher.
I am a preacher.
I am a lawyer.
I am a servant.
I am a slave.
I am you.

I am creation.
I am destruction.
I am you.

I am you, becoming me.