By Anuradha Azeemi
The most common inference of dependency and being independent is that, if one is dependent, then one is still an immature child like personality, who is incapable of handling one’s life and needs constant guidance from one and all around. On the other hand if one is independent, it was inferred that one is matured and has one’s own ideologies in life which inspires many around and this person is perhaps a role model for the society at large. Mesmerizing stories are woven around the concept of being fiercely independent convincing more and more people towards the power of being unique than being united, the power of one than the power of oneness.
The whole society is driven towards being independent. The desire to make a child independent starts as soon as it is conceived. A separate room is readied for the child, there is a huge excitement of choosing the right shades of color for the walls, choosing the posters of inspiration, a tower of stuffed and colorful toys decorate the corners, a perfectly designed crib for the child’s safety is put in place, the sound system that alerts the parents in the next room when the child wails symbolizing the levels of commitment by parents are put in place. Being a behavioral therapist I have seen the flip side of personalities that have grown in the warmth of the luxury pillows of the crib instead of the warmth of the bodies of parents they need to snuggle close. I have seen the anxiety disorders and panic in adults when they are not heard because they have gone through the trauma of crying and wailing for nights to be picked up, while the parents are deliberately avoiding the much needed cuddle in an attempt to make the child independent off them. I have seen how adults have grown attached to gadgets and material possessions than people in their life as they only grew up independently with gadgets and toys instead of the attention of a supportive joint family system.
As a child grows, it begins to demand for independence. It wants to eat, drink, play, wear clothes, as per its own desire. Now is the time most children go through confusion, because, at this stage a child’s desire to be independent is considered as an act of disrespect to parents, labeled as being stubborn or rebellious. This power struggle continues all the way until the child is a teenager. And then suddenly the child is summoned for not being independent enough when it seeks assistance and guidance in choosing a line of education or career. Most often when a child is asked, “What you do want to be and do in life?” and the child responds as “I don’t know”, most adults are in distress that their parenting has failed in raising an independent child. The fear based living is imprinted in the child’s mind, pressure builds and the child most of the time finally consents to the lineage of the family as its own interest. As example in a family of doctors a child consents to be a doctor as continuation of family tradition instead of being targeted for saying “I don’t know”. And once this consent is given by the child the status of “confused” is changed to “independent” and pride beams on the faces of the care takers as they declare to the world that their child has finally chosen a line of education / career.
Now on the struggle between the dependent and independent deepens especially if the child now begins to call himself or herself ‘grown up’ and decides to choose a life partner or work in a country far from the ideals of the family system. Feud and arguments go on for years until independence succumbs to dependency or vise versa. But the compromised is already seething with revenge resulting in nuclear family systems. Further demonstration of how independence can create rifts.
And if you think this battle of independence ends here, it does not. At old age we have parents who wish to be dependent on their children and then there are those who want to remain independent off their children till the end of life. If this meets the understanding of children it is fine else we either have depressed senior citizens who cry all day for their children who are not around them or one finds senior citizens feeling confined to the routines of their children and will constantly try to break free and live on their own despite having many able children in their life.
This constant strive, drive to be independent is viewed as strength and positive virtue and admired, applauded and deemed courageous living by the society at large and the same society also labels this independence as rebellious, unkind and inhuman depending on the circumstances. However having lived in this messy whirlpool of interpretation of independence and dependence, one hot summer noon as I sat curled up with my head phones on and began trying to absorb the speech delivered by our beloved Murshid Khwaja Shamsuddin Azeemi on the occasion of URS of Qalandar Baba Auliya on 27th of January 1996, which was a good 21 years back from now, I was rendered speechless. Our beloved Murshid was only delivering on to us that the true way of living was that one of dependency and not being independent.
In all that I have related as my understanding of independence and dependence in the above paragraphs is solely through the experiences I have grown up with and none of them ever pointed out to God. And as I started analyzing I realized what a waste of interpretation, what a waste of confrontation, what a waste of striving, what a waste of judgment, I have been living in the wrong understanding of dependency all this while.
There is no wrong or right. Everything I gain is from HIM and what I lose is to HIM.
Being born orphan and left to wail is a story, just as being born to parents and left alone in the crib to cry is a story and being picked up and rocked in the arms of loving parents is also a story.
Being obedient and subservient to parents as children is a story, being rebellious and hurting them is also a story.
Being able to accumulate worldly certificates of education is a story, being rendered uneducated is also a story.
Being in a career that makes one renowned and successful is a story, being reduced to a pauper and beggar is also a story.
Whether happy or sad in the eyes of the world everything is a mere story woven by the mighty Creator to serve a greater purpose. We are all characters totally dependent on God Almighty to serve the part of a larger picture.
So what was real living? Real living is being an infant all your life, totally dependent of the creator and accepting everything and everyone that happens to us as HIS will. What a carefree life it is to know you are provided for in every breath of your life.
History has proven time and again, a child orphaned or a child reared by loving parents, both have gone on to be Beloved Prophets of God. Where does the theory of independence and its impact on behavior come into place before the will of God?
History has proven that the material possessions of saints and Prophets have been that of a fakir by choice even when they had powers vested by God to manifest all the material luxuries they wanted. History also has it that God took away all the possessions of luxury from Prophets and left them to face poverty to prove the mettle of faith in HIS beloveds. So where is independence in the theory of success the modern world weaves?
History has proven that those who did not school or graduate became the keepers of HIS Divine knowledge. And then there were also those who were highly qualified in the earthly education and yet went on to be saints and Prophets of the highest order in HIS administration. So where is the theory of education making one independent before God’s will?
History has it that a father with tens of children have been rendered childless in this old age and a childless man has been adopted by a loving saint or Prophet and reared and looked after till his very end of physical life. So where is this theory of expectation through independence before God’s will?
In short, I live because HE wills. I will die because HE wills. I will be rendered rich or poor because HE wills. I will be isolated or surrounded by people because HE wills. Life is only about dependency. Nothing is independent of HIS will. Most of the modern day stressful living would come to an end, if one embraced the fact that there is nothing for us to strive and make happen in this world. God has automated life for us. It will unfold and happen for us. All we need to focus on is the love and mercy with which HE has taken care of every minute detail for us on this journey on earth till we return back to HIM.
After listening to the talk delivered by our beloved Murshid, I came to a conclusion that Independence is losing sight of God behind a heightened ego that is falsely convinced that “I am the doer” and dependence is being in the arms of God in every moment of life and surrendering to “HE is the only lover and doer.”