How does your life flow?

Posted on March 21, 2011


The Japanese are caught in the horrific aftermath of the Tsunami. Their despair and sense of loss at this sudden catastrophe is enough to jolt anyone from their heedlessness. How fragile is our existence in the face of the commands of Allah? Yet the dictators still cling onto their thrones. It is as if they are blind to the imminent end and the meeting with Allah. The man-made Tsunami of oppression which they have unleashed drowns the hopes and aspirations of their people and relentlessly crushes them.

“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 eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts.” (22:46)

Helping Hands is collecting donations for both these disasters.

Imagine for a few minutes that your life is like a river. It has a path and a destiny; a beginning and an end.  But the course of one river is never like the course of another. For the sake of this analogy imagine that there are two kinds of rivers. One river is passing through a narrow channel strewn with massive, unevenly shaped boulders. The water churns white and frothy and foam and spray flies into the air. You do not see reflections in this river. The noise is deafening and it is difficult to communicate for those that travel on it. The water appears to flow very fast but it is constantly changing direction. There might be eddies in it where the water starts to flow in a different direction and whirlpools where it swirls aimlessly before it moves on.

Now imagine the wide expanse of a steady flowing river. Its path may have obstructions but they do not create violent crests on its surface. Its surface is clear, reflecting the wide expanse of the blue sky and the stately trees lined along its banks. Its path is carved into the soil and the water does not gush aimlessly from one side to another. It follows with a measured rhythm and the low hum of the river’s flow does not disrupt even ones thoughts. It chisels its path through the earth but in wide deep strokes that can carve canyons.

How would you judge the course of your life? Is it like a river where people go white water rafting? Is your life endlessly changing direction? Do you feel like you are tossed from one task to another? Do you feel constricted in your existence? As you crash one job after another the internal and external clamor of dissatisfaction and complaint leaves no time for reflection. Do people have a hard time communicating with you because the noise in your life is already deafening? When you come in contact with others do you chip away at their self-esteem with your abrasive comments? Do you fall into a lull of eddies that are not constructive or waste your time endlessly in whirlpool-like activities that do not necessarily take you forward in life?

It does not have to be like this. Every river has to pass over a course of time when the waters are choppy but it is necessary to move on. Life could also be like the steady river. That moves forward with a determined path through life. Its daily routines are engraved and it follows the same path with determination and tranquility. Those that come to this river find the beauty of Allah’s creation reflected in it. In it’s relatively still waters they can see the reflection of their own lives and contemplate and reform their existence. The company of this river is not a rough ride but a comfortable sail. Its goal is defined: to live for the pleasure of Allah…destined for the rivers of Paradise.

Posted in: Analogies