Sunday, 23 February 2014

I met myself----(in another soul)

I met myself. I met myself in a mosque. I prayed next to myself, the gold light streamed in through the windows, the glass chandeliers glinted lightning bolts and we both prayed. Myself and I. Life is so strange, so completely incomprehensible and interconnected. I met this girl, I met this girl named Maria in the mosque. A pound fell out from my pocket and landed before her, she picked it up and handed it to me and then... we began to talk. There was something, some kind of otherworldly magnetism that kind of drew us to each other, of all the people in the world, of all the days in the year, of all the places- we crossed paths, there in that mosque. So we left, Maria and I, on what felt like the first day of spring, the sun shining down, our friendship began to blossom....

We wandered around Regents Park talking, the more we talked the more we came to realise how much we had in common, in fact her life was a reflection of mine at eighteen, so much so that it was uncanny. Sometimes we meet people, who remind us of our better selves, or of times we wanted nothing more in the world than to be our better selves, to be the best versions of ourselves... Maria reminded me of me, of a time when I was searching. Her life, her thoughts, where she was in life; who she was in life--- it went beyond coincidence, her visits to the cemetery, that complete dislocation from life and expectations, a weariness felt at societies desire to clip wings, to take away all sense of freedom and possibility, and then there was that complete alienation from the education system, from the procedures put in place, those learned protocols--- to follow the well trodden path to the so-called good life is the only one way (only its not- there is no only). More than all this, what got me were our shared (and rarefied) experiences spiritual malaise and its physical manifestation. See, before I learned anything I told her about my newest project, this book; this book I've been thinking about for years, about the death of a girl; from the onset she knew. She knew it wasn't a physical death, rather a gradual decay--- a death of the spiritual heart...the only heart we truly possess, the only heart that possess us.  

That very morning Maria, Maria the girl who lives by her own accord, who ventures out searching for God, in the mosque, in the signs, in the faces of the people and the stories they withhold; that morning she left her country home and came down to London in search of something or someone and the more we talked the more things came to make sense, the more life came undone. God knows us too well to let us destroy it all, he gives us chances, he gives us ten thousand chances a day to come back to life, to come back to reality, to come back to Him, but its up to us whether we follow through, whether we commit, and re-commit and re-commit and re-commit, through whatever.

And so there, giving advice to this beautiful girl I just met, but who I felt I knew forever... everything became so much clearer- nothing is certain, to settle is wrong, to have expectations is to destroy oneself- to just be, to experience the grace of God in all encounters and all moments of sublime, synchronisation and beauty; the kind you can't put to words, that you can't ever explain. Have you ever looked into someone's eyes, and felt like you were looking into your own? -and then to be able to convey, to get across everything you learnt and came through from that point, to this point--- impossible, but the challenge is there, so tempting and so dangerous, for both you and her; a soul you've (never)known since birth. The way it happens always, connecting with a complete stranger--- a series of words in a number of places, memories that will one day fade. And so there we were walking around Regents park where we met a few of my other friends before heading to South Kilburn studios, to a Rumi's Cave Live Lounge event, to support OneOfMyKind, my sister, with one of my kind, -- and then to witness all these other broken and seeking human beings express their own struggles and journeys through music and art and sharing, but still being there and feeling just as displaced as you do in all those other places. And Maria, she left, she left in the night, with a hug and a promise to be in touch- and no one at home knew where she was, for its what she would do. Maria disappearing, Sy reappearing, some place else. Some place completely different. 

And maybe you'd understand why this encounter was so incredible if you understood the context behind it. Have you ever lived an entire lifetime in a week? This week I feel like I have, a hundred thousand thoughts and emotions and places and people; a whole lifetime. In the duration of a week, I'd never felt so completely beaten down and low and close to giving up, then I'd never felt so close so where I needed to be, so at peace. I wonder why our souls reside in wastelands, in the middle of nowhere, on the prairies of madness? I wonder why we have to go back to go forth, to go forth to go back; these cycles, these material premonitions- and when I was eighteen I came back, when I was eighteen I would also seek refuge in a mosque and in quiet places, and no one would understand it, only God and so I sought to build that connection. And I've been trying to go back but forward to eighteen for six years.

This week, I was again questioning everything, there I was, I'd gotten my dream job, I was where I thought I had always wanted to be. There I was, so alienated and displaced, a heart gone cold, a mind full of blurs. But it didn't begin in that way, no at the beginning of the week I wandered across the bridge over the river at night. I walked through the wet city streets overcome by a deep sense of joy, and clarity; I was brazen and prepared. Then only a few days later I was wandering by the same river head hung low wanting nothing more than to disappears. But then I received a letter from a stranger, a friend... I don't know. I just know that I needed that letter, the message inside it, more than I needed anything.

To live a lifetime in a week, to experience each hue and shade of darkness, each hue and shade of light. I knew what I was to do, the time had finally come for me to write this book, this book I've been trying to write for so many years, but every time I'd put a pen to paper, my inspiration would dry up. I write to understand, to recognise and this book would bring me back; to understanding and recognition of the entirety.  It would be about death, about the intensity that overcomes one who's time is running out- the need, the desperate need to make sense of moments, the desire to connect, to truly connect to the One. And so she says, Lord if I were dying, I wouldn't be living in this way. I wouldn't be living in this way. The question remains, how would she be living? 

There is an emptiness within us all, a homesickness--- for this isn't home. We're not home. And this book would be all about that, about getting home, overcoming the sickness and reaching out alone. Because at the end of the day, we all walk the line alone. And after a week of  meeting people, so many people, trying to be someone, trying to be no one, trying to understand; locked out, overwhelmed--- I understood then, but then
and it was time to write, to pray and write. But it faded. It faded, and on Saturday morning, wholly confused, spiritually starved but wanting, I went to the mosque and I met Maria. Maria, a girl asking the same questions I was, all these years later. The questions never go away, the answer always remains the same. And to find it now-----to find it.

I feel so blessed to have met Maria, she said she asked God for a sign, for someone and that sign was me. God gives and takes at will, he brings people in our life when we most need them. She wasn't me, she was so much better and stronger then me, than I was then and than I still am now. But meeting her was the point. See she gave me something, something I pray I can hold on to. She renewed my purpose to write, she gave me the inspiration I was lacking.

To share---- it is a beautiful thing, a difficult thing, to give yourself to others, to expose parts of your soul in hopes that it will make others feel that much less alone, that much less afraid. To be a writer isn't easy, there have been so many times when I've felt like setting alight all my books, deleting all traces of myself, but then I meet someone like Maria, I get a letter in the post and I remember why I do it---- maybe I write for you as much I write for thank you....