Is less more sometimes?

When I was young, I had memorized a Surat (chapter) in the Quran. Surat Ya-Seen is one of the most revered Surats considered as the heart of the Quran. It took me months to memorize the 89 verses since I could only read but not speak or understand Arabic. For many years afterwards, I held the Surat close to my heart and recited it almost every day. It made me feel peaceful, safe and connected to God in my own way. As time went on, my dedication to reciting the Surat slowly started to wean off. I had become too busy in my life’s happenings and before I knew days had turned into years that I did not think about reciting Surat Ya-Seen again.

A few days ago, I had a longing to open the Quran and read this Surat. I could barely remember anything past the first verse. Obviously, years of not practicing had faded my memory. I found myself struggling to read Arabic and could not recite the Surat even with the words in front of me. I felt disappointed and tried to focus on each word to recall how to recite it. In this struggle, something strange happened that gave me great perspective. I had momentarily shifted my focus from carefully reading each word to looking at the whole page in front of me, almost from a distance. All of a sudden, the words started flowing from my mouth naturally. I had tapped the little part of my brain that still held the memory of the Surat.

This experience made me think of a lesson that could be applied to dealing with problems in life. When faced with a problem, we often tend to analyze every single detail of the problem and make sense of it rationally. We repeat the words and run through all the details of events bothering us in our heads over and over again. In the end, we just feel more frustrated similar to how I felt when trying so hard to focus on the words in the Surat and analyze them. Perhaps, a better way to deal with the problem is actually to disconnect ourselves slightly from it and take a step back from the details. It is possible that the answer to the problem is already right there in front of us and all we have to do is shift our perspective to tap into a different, more intuitive part of our brains. Trying less could actually do more for us sometimes.

2 comments

  1. playball94501

    I look forward to reading Surat Ya-Seen for if it has had an impact on you, it will be enlightening.

    I read the Gospel most every morning. this practice helps put me in a good frame of mind to start and live my day. I don’t always live it as I should, but at least the intent is there.

    As you described stepping back and not trying focus on all of the details in a Surat at once, I’m reminded of my own experience with the daily verses in the Gospel. Without fail, there is always a line or two that leap off the page as if drawn away from the overall reading just for me. Somehow they always have special meaning or insight for whatever I’m thinking or feeling. I wish more people could “read between the lines” instead of taking literal interpretations of divine inspiration.

    You also mentioned how we become so engaged in life that we can be drawn away from the spiritual. For me, rekindling my spirituality has been a great source of peace in a very hectic life. Most people I run into have no desire to discuss such a topic or have deeper conversations. Especially men. I think the reason we always talk about sports is because you don’t have to open up to true feelings or show any vulnerability. I’m happy that you have broached the subject in your own writing. In your own way you extend a sense of peace to your readers.

  2. You bring up a good point. Most people would rather talk about trivial things like sports, TV shows and celebrity gossip and steer away from any deeper topics like spirituality. I think it’s because we would rather be safe and not “offend” others by expressing our views about things that actually matter. It’s also interesting how spirituality has been commercialized into fads like yoga and meditation classes that so many people are attracted to these days.

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