It is in every bookstore, on the Internet, in the people around you but not in things……….

Yet for some reason one has to still the emotions, close all windows and doors to all competing external distractions to open the window of the heart. It is through this filter that if one observes, assesses and acts upon for an outcome that is pure, unsullied by avarice, greed or ignominy in this world and as far as we know in the Hereafter.

It is thus that I go to retreats to retreat from the world…not to hide in a monastery or nunnery but to be secluded in the mountains with people with a similar aim.

It is through the heart that we connect with Allah and His beings. Have you ever heard of anyone falling in love with the brain? The intellect may become a gateway to open the venues sometimes but still it is the heart that rules.

A heart filled with “things” cannot receive.

It is time to start giving away and it begins when I start packing for the retreat, I give away or pare down a lot of “things” I do not pack my fancy shoes but go for the comfort of walking and the ease of putting wet feet in for wudu, most of the things that enhance my facial beauty are left, as are the numerous accessories of daily wear. I remove from my suitcase all that will need care, or will delay my passage into the precincts of the heart.

I look at my computer and pause, do I want to take it with me or leave it, is it an accoutrement of lavishness and yet another reason to be away from the heart and I am conflicted.

I have never taken the computer with me on past retreats and though I have tried to capture with photos what I cannot with speech but a part of me remains unexpressed……….. for by the time I return I have lost or tarnished the intensity of the spiritual moment.

I am like one of those insecure people who want to hold on to the moment by writing or taking pictures of what touches me in the inner precincts of the heart. It is because I am realizing the truth of the Chinese saying that I decide to carry my computer with me this time and thus you are reading this from the first day of retreat. The chinese saying is:

“The palest ink is better than the finest memory”

——-and thus begins the first morning with Salah, recitation of the Quran and Dhikr…….

5 thoughts on “THE OPEN SECRET…

  1. subhanallah, beautiful. I am in my own retreat here in Pakistan. No family/ “fun “; just doing my humble two cents worth of being with my parent-in-law. With your post, I feel like I am there with you. Make duaa for me and my family please. Some of us in our 70s and 80s are still awaiting the beauty of submission to their Lord, as He (swt) wills. We think we submit but like you said, our wordly attachements/possessions veil us until we reach our grave.
    May Allah (swt) guide us and keep us in the shades of His rahmah and hidayah- both are related, aren’t they?


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