Sipping coffee by the lake
"Don't depend too much on anyone in this world because even your own shadow leaves you when you are in darkness." - Ibn Taymiyyah.
For those who know me personally, it’s a well-established fact that I love people. I love socialising, I love spending time with friends and family, I love organising social gatherings, I love talking (perhaps a little too much, as my mother would say) and I love laughing. I am happiest when I am with others. Indeed, this is human nature, to reach out and make connections, to understand our world, ourselves and our Lord through the help of those around us. There is nothing new in this, or wrong with it. However, I received some advice from a dear friend, who told me that although it was great that I am so sociable and so happy to be around others, I needed to learn how to be comfortable on my own, how to spend time on my own. These words really resounded with me and it made me realise that in becoming so used to being surrounded by company and if not company, then communication through mobile phones, through email, through Skype, I had forgotten how to enjoy my own company. I had forgotten to spend time on my own, reflecting, taking account of myself, absorbing everything that was happening around me.
I realised that although humans are naturally sociable creatures, one has to place the focus of one’s happiness on oneself and not on others. We can’t rely on others to create our happiness, rather it is something we have to create for ourselves. And it is necessary to have some silence and some peace. Umar (ra) recommended that at the end of each day, we take account of ourselves, so that we can identify good and bad, strengths and weaknesses and work on these, before the final account.
Going back to my dear friend, I took the advice I had been given seriously, and realised the joy and beauty in taking time out, even if it just ten minutes or half an hour, to process everything, to assess my direction in life, to take account of myself. In this busy world, I feel we need to make a concerted effort to find this ‘me’ time, to be with yourself and your Lord, without any distractions, switching off laptops and mobile phones and spending a little time on pause. It can only a be a positive thing.