By Anuradha Azeemi

We all put up great pictures to please the eyes on social media. We put up great fronts for people to see. Many a times, we get lured by the happy fronts people put up, and push ourselves, into deep misery. What exactly is behind those fronts? Easy life? Joyous life? Or, are they hiding secrets of their struggle and tough treads? Honestly everything is about what you focus on. Tough times can be struggle to some and challenge to some other. Happy people are truly happy inside out, whether on the edge of life or on the verge of death!

I put up very happy pictures of myself on the social media too. The first picture showed a brave me hanging from the parachute over a speeding motorboat. The second was a picture of me under seawater, feeding a school of fish. The third picture was of me bravely sitting with a young, strong, large tiger cub. I got raving attention for being adventurous and also comments suggesting how lucky and blessed I was for having all these opportunities in life. Nobody knew the stories behind the pictures until I decided to tell them the next day.

Why the next day? Just so, that there was a quick realization amongst the readers, what really is and what is shown are two different things whether in life or on social media.

I was on an annual holiday with my family and it was a power packed day full of adventure. I have this old habit of continuously being in conversation with my invisible friend, GOD. As I was being driven, the early morning cool breeze and blue sky, kept sweeping me into thoughts about my best friend. And I remember asking a question in curiosity to GOD, “Do you think your name will be the last I will utter when I am on the verge of death or will I again worry about my family and friends who I fear I will lose?”

I had forgotten my dearest GOD has a very good sense of humor with his beloved children.

I am scared of heights and claustrophobic too. When they announced parasailing I was sure it is just not for me. Then watching everyone being smoothly pulled up into the air and getting themselves safely landed down, I was beginning to feel okay about the whole experience and agreed with the gentle coaxing of my family to try it. I was told to run a few steps and that I would automatically be pulled up in the sky by the speeding motorboat.  As I began running, the speed boat decreased its speed instead of accelerating it and I instead of being lifted in the air, was dragged on the coarse concrete floor all the way to the edge of the ledge and just when I was thinking I will crash against the sea about 100 feet below me, I finally got lifted up. It was a disaster take off and I was the chosen lucky one that day for the experience. I was at the edge of death and I remember calling out “GOD” in my mind. As I was up there, dangling in the air, I remember smiling at the realization that GOD had indeed given me my moment and answer too. I said to GOD in my mind, “Okay that was a great experience, thank you, I know you were on my mind!” The scenic beauty of the sea and land from above mesmerized me and I was all in awe and got lost in GOD’s creativity. And then, the time arrived and I began to land. Unlike all others who had a safe landing, I was yet again dragged to the edge of the ledge all wrapped up in my parachute. 20 people rushed to save me from crashing into the ocean one more time. Just one feet away from falling down, I was kicked away from the ledge like a massive football by a professional expert who worked there. This time I was laughing hysterically. I mean what do you want me to do? GOD my best friend was still having some fun with me. My feet were scraped badly and I was hurt. As I returned to the arm of my shocked family who witnessed the mishap, I was shaking realizing how close I was to losing it all but with naughty smile I also realized I was so close to meeting HIM.

As the day was a power packed back-to-back adventure day, in 15 minutes of the above adventure, we were scheduled for deep sea diving. I do not swim and being claustrophobic it takes strength to jump off the yacht into the dark depths of the ocean. And of course being the one to never miss an opportunity of such beautiful under sea experience I did jump off! When I knelt on the seabed as per the instruction of the diver for a picture, I lost my balance and began to drown. The sea water, was entering the diving helmet and filling my mouth, I was blinded by the salt. I was trying to keep my self back on the seabed but I kept drifting up and away like a hydrogen balloon. Drowning, I talked in my head to GOD, “You are on my mind! You are the only one on my mind! Now please could you put me down? My family will be worried.” And in that very instant, I saw myself being tugged down and being steadied by firm hands. I realized GOD had inspired my husband who does not swim himself through his fear of losing me and saved me by reaching out to me with whatever length of arm, leg & body he had. Once up on the deck of the yacht, I looked up at the sky and with a chuckle in my head whispered “Dear GOD, Ether and it was you on my mind, Water and it was you on my mind. I hope that this is the last test. Please forgive me for asking you silly questions.” The beautiful golden sand and the roaring sea with fresh scent in the sea breeze, I forgot GOD’s sense of humor for a while.

We had to visit the tiger temple and I was so in love with these lovely beasts that had been raised to love humans. And I had my brave moment with these lovely souls as we caressed them, fed them with milk and played with them. After a photo session with the tigers, I sat on a bench close to the enclosure watching a playful strong large 2 year old cub. Something in me whispered that the tiger would jump on me and I had to move quickly and in that very moment the leash snapped to give the cub length to reach me and it jumped up very close to my neck and my presence of mind got me away from being hurt at the nick of time. “Okay! So ether, water or earth on the verge of death, you are on my mind GOD and once I am back from the edge, I am more in your thoughts GOD. I have gotten my answer. So can you please forgive me for tickling your sense of humor?” I pleaded my best friend GOD one last time! I could not stop laughing though! HE and I have a special bond. I speak and HE has always instantly replied but often with HIS large heart and great sense of humor.

My family was perplexed at my uncontrollable laughter. They thought I was laughing in shock and fear. It is often the case. People who are in terrible shock either react with intense crying or laughter. I told them I was neither in shock nor fear but I was enjoying my intimate friendship with GOD. My family then learnt about my Q&A session with my beloved GOD. 

I know I have great smiling pictures after and before the three experiences. I know I have posted my smiles all over social media and have been appreciated for my bravery through my experiences from people who have read and heard my story. Do I have to make these encounters my misfortune or can I view them as extreme challenges I surfaced through? Should I remember these instances as mishaps or make them my intimate moments with my best friend GOD?  We are always in these situations in life. Often tested to see if we have HIM, just HIM on our mind under all circumstances. To see if we succumb to the pressure of the situation or surrender to the will of the almighty GOD, and realize that this was created as our learning experience. A test of our faith, in HIM. All of the seemingly tough situations are just simulations in this illusory game called life, just like these claims of happiness through happy pictures on social media are illusory.  

How about never asking GOD “why me?” when tested? And realizing it is because HE trusts us to choose HIM over everything and everyone, HE puts us through these tests. As a conscious decision to be a happy person, our choice should be to be happy inside out through both life or death, as they are just experiences of being closer to GOD anyway.

Published by tasawuf.co

Spiritual Teachings of Hazrat Khawaja Shamsuddin Azeemi

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