Coffee shops and prophetic sayings on travelling

My loves,

I pray you’re blessed. I’m writing this with a cup of tea and a beautiful qasida in the background after spending a whole day in contemplation, meditation and life. It’s funny, life can be turbulent but the moment you have that warm mug of tea in your hands, you just forget. God’s mercy, eh?

This concept came to me last week. I’ve been waking up to pray tahajjud more than usual and it’s become my almost daily routine, just because I love how it makes me feel. I asked God a question at 4am and as I was about to go to sleep, I had this image of a coffee shop in my head. Simultaneously, the hadith “Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveller along a path” (reported by Ibn Umar) came to mind.

(For non-Muslims, a hadith is a saying by the Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him)

I’m no stranger to coffee shops. I love them. I love sitting alone and reading or blogging, I love having random conversations with strangers that take a very deep and spiritual turn (Coffee Plant on Portobello Road is the one for this) and I love the memories I make with friends.

Nothing warms my heart more than sitting with my best friends in a toasty cafe, with an oat milk americano on a winter evening, talking about life’s crazy affairs, whilst simultaneously watching people on the other side of the window passing by in their toasty coats and scarves.

Talk about Gilmore Girls vibes. Thank God for a woman’s ability to multitask, eh?

Back to my mini 4am visualisation. I started to really think about the way coffee shops are really the unsung heroes of society in the way they allow us to sit back and be present. Every single person who walks through that cafe would have been coming from somewhere and will be leaving to another place when they’re done. But for the moment they’re there, they’re just strangers having a nutritional, emotional and spiritual pick-me-up with a hot drink in their hands, flavour on their tastebuds and a whiff of humidity coming from the evaporation from their mug.

When I first came across the aforementioned hadith as a child, I was told it was a warning to me that this world doesn’t belong to me and I have no right to enjoy it. I was told that we must travel through this world with a hardened heart, because the enjoyments of life are only for those who disbelieve. It’s their world to enjoy and ours to suffer, as we enjoy paradise whilst they endure hellfire.

My heart knew that this wasn’t Islam and not the example of our beloved Prophet Mohammed, but I never felt into the hadith to really figure out what it means to me.

The dawn of my prayer, I realised the value of being a believer that is travelling. Our hearts are open to God and His creation, but from our ego’s perception, we detach. We travel through this world instead of taking ownership of it because our spiritual purpose is much higher than what is material. Just as my innocent younger self suspected, this Hadith is merciful advice to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. I took a sigh of relief as the truth came to me.

In a way, coffee shops are a modern depiction of travelling and pausing to find inner peace. Picture walking in a desert and seeing someone building a fire after walking a parallel path to them. They start off as a dot on the other side of the desert and they become bigger and bigger as your paths narrow to meet. You see what they’re doing and you help them, speak to them, and absorb the light and warmth they created as they share a drink with you. As you get up, you may find that your paths may continue together, or maybe not. Or maybe they do for a while until they get wider and you walk further away from each other until you become dots in each other’s sight again.

To me, coffee shops serve the same purpose as those fires. We gather somewhere warm to take a break from life and we allow ourselves to embrace the present. Everyone’s welcome, everyone’s taking their own space and everyone will leave to go back to travelling this sweet, crazy, raw dunya (world).

Weirdly enough, I got this image when I asked God for help because I was starting to fear losing something in my life. I found myself growing into a reality that was peaceful to me, especially after I gave up something for His sake. With this, came something beautiful, but I wasn’t sure if it was in my head or just a lotus waiting to sprout. I still don’t know. Sometimes I’m okay with not knowing, other times I’m not.

At one point, my heart became attached and it was starting to make me nervous. I hate uncertainty. I just wanted direct instruction and by praying, I wanted a definitive answer from the Divine. I wanted God to give me an answer in the way a fortune teller would. Sometimes this happens but now is not the time. It’s annoying, but look at what came out of it instead. Alhamdulillah.

I’m still confused and it’s making me feel sad. What I did get, however, was something better. A gentle nudge to the Islam I knew in my heart existed inside advice to relax, wrap my arms around the present and surrender to the unknown.

Allah told me to travel through this and to not worry about this potential loss because he is ar-Razaq (the provider). He told me to treat the moment as if it’s a chill out session in a café and to use my faith as a clutch that I cuddle between my palms the way I cuddle my oat milk americano as I laugh with my girls.

What’s meant to be will always come to be. Waiting can be uncomfortable and can invoke feelings of melancholy, but we’re passing by in this beautiful journey that is life.

Bismillah.

Life is a mirror, but there are seven of them: The Seven Essene Mirrors

My loves,

Today, I want to talk to you about something from mystical Judaism that blew my mind. The Essenes are a mystical sect who flourished between 2nd century BC to 1st century AD. It is said that they resided in Khirbet Qumran, which is south of Jericho in Palestine.

Their lifestyle hailed spirituality and God consciousness and they believed in communalism as a way of life. They (like Muslims) believe the soul is eternal and death is just a channel to the higher self.

They were a very tight-knit community and forbade marrying those outside of their sect. Those who wanted to be an Essene had to enter a three-year conversion introductory period.

They had many teachings, but one of them that blew my mind is the concept of the Seven Essene Mirrors.

When I started my spiritual journey, I remember reading that life is merely a reflection of who you are. Being low on consciousness and high on anxiety, I couldn’t rationally fathom it, nor could I quieten my mind enough to realise how everything truly is a reflection of the self.

As I expanded my awareness, I saw myself in others and I saw oneness in individual acts and circumstances. If there are infinite ways to look at a circumstance or a person and if no two people interpret a situation in the exact same way, that means much of our interpretations come from within.

The Seven Essene Mirrors teach just this, but with seven different levels. My mind immediately went to the seven main chakras, the seven levels of heaven and seven gates of hell in Islam, having to circulate the Ka’abah seven times, throwing seven stones at the devil, etc etc. My mind is running away from typing right now as it starts to lose control of what is coming out of my fingertips, but I think we should just sit and appreciate the significance of the number seven and all of the mysteries that come with it.

If we look at the seven mirrors, we see that each of them have their own guide to see how something may be a reflection of what is happening in your subconscious mind. You use these to unlock your thought patterns to let them go and achieve God consciousness (taqwa) and ego death (fana). In other words, the deeper you know your ego self, the faster you will be able to peel its layers to discover the true higher self that has unconditional connection to the Divine.

Even if you aren’t a believer, you can still benefit by coming to your higher self and releasing the limiting beliefs that hold you down. The less weighed down you are with attachment, the more you ascend.

Use these as a guide to figure yourself out when you have questions, or when you want to figure out the clutter of your mind.

The first mirror reflects what you are at the present moment

If you’re finding it difficult to gage who you are at a specific moment, look around you. How do things feel right now, at this very moment? You can be in the same situation twice, but notice different things based on your present mood. Are you more likely to notice the birds flying together, or their droppings on the floor?

The second mirror reflects what you judge

There’s an old saying of when you point one finger, three fingers point back at you. When you find yourself judging someone or something, there is something you haven’t forgiven within yourself or your past experiences. For example, if you’re judging someone for going out too much, you’re resenting a feeling of restriction either within or around you.

In order to manifest better for yourself, release the judgement by releasing the resistance.

The third mirror reflects what was taken away from you

When we see a quality in another person that we want for ourselves, that means we lost it. It could be a sense of femininity, masculinity, joy, confidence, self love, abundance, etc. At our essence, we are whole, but as we go through life, we lose our sense of complete self because of traumas that created limiting beliefs.

When you admire or envy something within someone, that means you need to go on a journey to find it within yourself. We need to enter a space of neutrality and release the limiting beliefs that stop you from remembering that you are one with your desire. The Qur’an does say that we were created from a single being after all (39:6).

The fourth mirror reflects patterns of a lost love

You know that feeling when you’re in a new situation and you keep comparing it to the old? Whether you’re comparing every new person you meet to your ex, or that feeling when you start a new job and you’re trying to draw parallels to your new colleagues and old ones? This is it!

When we look at ourselves through this mirror, we’re able to see our patterns of addiction. This gives us great spiritual power because recognising such compulsions give us an instant trigger into the shadow self when we foster a sense of curiosity about our patterns. When did this pattern start? Why do we feel the need to do what we need to do? Which relationship do we need to make peace with?

Keep in mind that when it comes to relationships, you can get closure without contact through meditation, understanding the deeper meanings and lessons, therapy, journaling, reframing, prayer and cord cutting. Please don’t text your exes or put yourself in a dangerous position with anyone else to clean up your fourth essene mirror!

The fifth mirror reflects your relationship with your parents

Our parents are our first window to the world and are the vessel of our soul’s incarnation to the earthly realm. This is the first relationship we have. As we grow, we find ourselves seeing the world through their eyes. This is why generational healing is so important, because much of the traumas they have are passed down to us.

This can range from our beliefs on money, God, our self identity and self worth, the environment and even politics. If we look deeply and access our subconscious mind, we can even see how our relationship with our parents manifests into relationships we have with others as adults.

How did you feel when you interacted with your parents as a child? Get to know the good and the bad aspects and this will give you a very deep an insight. Just as we’re human, so are our parents. We all view things from very limited scopes, even if we’re spiritual.

Then, you can practice some inner child healing and reparenting and rise above what may be limiting you.

The sixth mirror reflects your dark night of the soul moments

Our darkest moments, our most traumatic experiences, our struggles with mental health and the cloud over our head. When do we view the world through the sadness that lives within us?

Here, we’re talking about trauma. By definition, trauma is an experience that causes shock to the system. This manifests in physical, emotional and spiritual pain and leaves our fight or flight mechanism on. When we become aware of how we see the world through our traumatic experiences, we’re able to use discernment and question if things are the way they are because they truly are this way, or if it’s our trauma that’s talking.

When we become aware of how our trauma affects our perception, we unlock a new level of power — if we’re willing to overcome. Go easy on yourself because healing is nowhere near linear and we can get triggered at random moments. When this happens, we just need to ask ourselves what this moment is trying to teach us.

The seventh mirror reflects our ultimate self perception

So, this mirror is different to the first mirror because the first one talks about our state of being at any particular moment. You could be feeling happy and see roses and butterflies one moment, and then see fire in a few hours if something changes your mood.

Despite our shifting moods, we have a basal vibration, which is what this mirror talks about. Rather than asking what your mood is, you ask how you view yourself in the ever changing circumstances around you.

Using money as an example, a mood is feeling incredibly abundant after a payment. This can shift based on your current financial circumstances. Your self perception, however, is your ultimate relationship with money. Do you believe money flows through into your bank account easily? Or do you believe you’re a poor person?

The latter two are part of your self perception because they come from subconscious beliefs that you identify with.

This mirror is where we do the most exploration when we’re trying to manifest using the Law of Attraction. We can script, visualise, etc about being abundant, but if we don’t try to work on this mirror and understand the deep imprints of our subconscious mind, we won’t be able to rewrite and manifest.

I love this philosophy because it really breaks down how life can be a mirror to you. During your healing journey, you can use these mirrors as a reference point. What I like to do is write one aspect of my life down and pick a mirror that I feel relates the most. Then, I just speed write everything that comes into my mind, without even thinking about what I’m writing. When you’re writing very fast, you access your subconscious mind. Then I move to the next mirror.

Each mirror gets deeper, so if you want to do it with all of the mirrors, do it in the order that was written by the Khirbet Qumran.

I love you all so much,

Di xox

Here’s why you’re burning yourself out and what to do

Burnout is real. We want to push as hard as we can at the expense of our health, but is it because we aren’t identifying with our soul?

This age has been categorised by identifying ourselves with our careers. Our whole childhood education has trained us to do and contribute as opposed to just be.

Take, the innocent question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and the way we were trained to by well-intentioned adults to use childhood as a building ground to serve capitalist ideals. We went to class for a “future”, did homework so we could pass and go to university and then went to university, or training for a job. We were told to have realistic expectations and to not pursue dreams that could land us in financial trouble in the future.

We may have had creative outlets, but our identity was first and foremost, how we could contribute to capitalism and how we identified through its lens. Unless our passions were profitable, we were told to choose between what we love and what would let us lead the lives we love.

For me, writing was always my passion. I loved expressing myself through writing, but judged myself based on my grades, which naturally were fluctuant. I then went on to study politics and war at university and I identified myself as a student. Then I identified as a journalist and my highs and lows became dependant on how my career was going.

Little did I know, those perceived ebbs and flows were one single meander that is life and I was just navigating whilst plastering my identity to one tiny aspect of it.

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After realising this, I stumbled upon an article that said adults should identify with their health goals as opposed to their careers. It seemed legitimate, so I started to do it. I became Diana, the health conscious person and my fitness definitely improved… until I had days it didn’t.

Then came the same feeling losing your sense of self, but based on a different hurdle. I soon realised that the problem wasn’t what I was attaching my identity to, but the fact that I was identifying with temporary aspects of life, full stop.

Really, there’s no step-by-step to stop burning yourself out. We all do it in different ways and for different reasons, which change throughout our lives. Sometimes, it’s a necessity, other times it’s a survival instinct and then there are times we become addicted to the feeling of success. What we can do, though, is identify with something else.

Identify with your higher self, your soul. It could be too much to comprehend for some, especially for my readers who are new to spirituality, so think of it as identifying with your breathing.

“I am my breath. I am how I breathe.”

Take yourself there. How fast are you breathing? How deep are you breathing? Does your breathing come from your chest, or are you taking deep, belly breaths? Without judgement, focus on your breath, slow it down, put your hand on your heart centre and just say “I am”.

The rest of those identities will change. Success is relative, material is temporary. Even the body we have doesn’t stay with us forever, but our soul self, the self that was created in a completely dimension, will forever be ours and us.

Just coming to this realisation is enough. When you find yourself drifting with stress, overworking and identifying with success, just know it isn’t you.

Yes, life gets stressful, things get in the way of us doing what we want, but those are things that happen to you — they are not you. They do not need to become a part of you.

Don’t judge yourself for how well you’re connecting with your breath or identifying with your soul. Just do it. Allow negative thoughts to pass. They are not you and they do not stay forever. That extra sale may boost your confidence and dissolve those disturbing thoughts, realising your home is within lets you take a step back, allow you to feel how you want to feel, reminds you your thoughts aren’t you. Your thoughts are thoughts that affect you, but that doesn’t mean they become latched to your identity.

Get comfortable with stripping yourself of all of those labels and not identifying with the temporaries around you. Meditate on yourself, let go of the world and view yourself as the raw ethereal being you are. This is the purpose of spirituality and spiritual practice. You honour where you are, but you identify with yourself on a spiritual level to clear the material clutter in your mind.

Yes, you may need to do it more than once and yes it may take a while to retrain your brain to change the way you identify yourself, but by just having the simple awareness, you’re doing more than enough.

Baby steps, small wins and lots of gratitude and love.

I love you all.

Diana xoxo

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