The Importance Of Remaining Conscious

{ Friday, March 18, 2011 }
The world of today is filled with shiny distractions that make us forget about our true nature, and why we are here. It's hard to stay focused all the time, but it's something we really need to strive to achieve. 
A wise man was asked once what he would prefer: being extremely poor or extremely rich? He chose the first one. Why? Because the first one would keep him close to God, whereas the second one would make him forget God, and make him blinded by the splendor of this world. Wealth is a blessing, but also a test. It's easy to forget when you can buy anything you want and bribe anyone you want. It's so important to remember that when we die, we won't be able to take our money, our power, our diamond rings or anything that belongs to this world with us. The only things that will stay with us are our good and bad deeds, and the faith we showed in God during our lifetime. All the rest is only temporary, and will vanish eventually. 

Clarissa Pinkola Estés writes in her book "Women Who Run With The Wolves": 

The Koran wisely advises that we will be called upon to account for all the permitted pleasures in life we did not enjoy while on earth. However, too much or even a little bit of a good thing at the wrong time can cause a gross loss of consciousness. Then, instead of a sudden rush of wisdom, we walk about like an absentminded professor muttering, "Now where was I?" It takes weeks, sometimes months, to recover from these distractions of ours. (...)
We begin to understand that this process of remaining conscious, and particularly of not giving in to distracting appetites while trying to elicit psychic connection,is a long process, and one that is difficult to hold on to. We see the wily little dog trying his damnedest. Yet it is a long way from the deep archetypal unconscious back to the conscious mind. It is a long way down to the names, and a long way back to the surface again. Holding knowledge in consciousness is hard when there are snares along the path.
The kumquat pie and the bone represent distracting seductions that are in their own way other words, there are elements of everyone's psyches that are devious, trickerish, and scrumptious. These elements are anti-consciousness; they thrive by keeping things dark and exciting. Sometimes it is hard to remind ourselves that we are holding out for the excitement of the light." (1)

We are allowed to enjoy our life, but not to be blinded by it. It is a mercy from God that we as Muslims are called upon to pray five times a day, to be strongly grounded in consciousness of our own limitations and Gods greatness. But still, it's not enough to just mumble our prayers and be done with it. We need to be present when we pray, so that our hearts can feel the words we utter too. It's the only way our prayers will be accepted too. This is hard to do sometimes. I notice that my mind likes to use those times of prayer to go over the events of the day and what I still need to do. I try to fight it, but sometimes my mind wins over my will. Maybe that's what the author C.P Estes means with "trickerish elements of the psyche which are anti-consciousness". I always feel a pull to make excuses to not pray, like something in my mind tries to lead me astray. What we need to remember is that God is more important than anything. Prayer is more important than anything. All the things we have in life is thanks to Him. He can take it away too, if He wills. If you look around, and read the news, you notice that a lot of people have forgotten this simple fact. I always shake my head when I see how people adore popstars and moviestars nowadays instead of turning to God. Newsflash: all those celebrities are just as humane and mortal as we are, and they can't help us with anything. They are often arrogant and filled with self-importance. They see their mere presence as an absolute blessing for their fans, and their fans see it that way too. It's true that some are very talented, but who gave them that gift anyway? And who can take their fame away just as easily as He gave it to them? If people would only be a bit more modest and humble, the world would be a whole lot more beautiful and fair. 

(1) C.P ESTES, Women who run with the wolves, p122

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