Friday, June 29, 2007

Background to ‘The Journey’

Background to 'The Journey'
By: Nasir Al-Amin

I could have attributed numerous titles to this forthcoming trip to Ethiopia. I thought of ‘The Awakening’, ‘The Transformation,’ ‘The Inspiration’ and various others, but I decided on ‘The Journey’ for a couple of reasons. First, of which was a penetrating poem written by Mary Oliver entitled, “The Journey.” This poem inspired me to go beyond just writing about the stories of orphans and vulnerable children, but to also convey how hearing their voices and seeing their tears affected me inwardly. It was their struggle that sparked an inner transformation and/or inward journey.

In various writings I have referred to an inner agitation that occurred after hearing and witnessing their plight (Inner Agitation: An Alarm is a Precursor to Awakening; Awakening: Ambiguity Fosters Clarity). That inner agitation led to what arguably maybe the most important benefit I derived from Mary Oliver’s poem, which was the reassurance and serenity it gave me through its spiritual undertone and remarkable insight into inward transformations.

It has been said that, “nothing can be more life-changing than an escape from your own preconceptions,” and after various trips to Ethiopia I have found this adage to be true. As what I witnessed during that trip, severed the ropes that held me confined to my habitual ways of viewing the world, beliefs and preconceptions about what is and is not important in life, all of which kept me at a safe distance from reality—allowing me to ignore that inner voice. When I make reference to ‘reality’ I’m referring to a state of consciousness that allows for one’s inner voice to be heard. That inward and/or internal spiritual dialogue with oneself referred to as the inner voice was now acutely audible and no longer able to be ignored. Listening to my inner voice has proven to be a pivotal decision that has affected the entire course of my life, hence the establishment of ALIF and making the commitment to a life of charitable work.

The second reason for the title, “The Journey,” is best conveyed by its meaning. The word journey by definition is a process of passage, a distance or course traveled, progression from one stage to another, going from one place/position to another. That is what this experience has been, an inward journey from one stage of consciousness to another. This inward journey is a major piece in this process, as an invaluable motif unveiled through this experience is the following: When an individual commits to a life of service to others and/or a life of “giving,” he or she will become awakened to their inner voice, and in essence a new level of consciousness (both inwardly and outwardly).

This led me to become conscientious of how my resources (financial, education, time…etc) can be used for the serve others. I’m more cognizant of how I view the world and my position in it. Now I find myself questioning how my actions will not only affect myself, but how my actions will affect humanity.

Before I transition to the logistics of “The Journey” let me make one point clear: I by no means want to give an impression that I’m more spiritually conscious/awaken or righteous then the next person. This is not a matter of judgment, but rather a written expression on the process of self-assessment, reflection and reprioritization, which I simply refer to as a transformation. And it is that on-going inward transformation/journey that has breached the cultural, societal and self-imposed levees constructed to suppress my inner voice, now that voice is amplified and in tune with a life of service.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

1 comment:

Tami said...

And you have said it all. I enjoyed reading your blog. As I move forward with my new journey I find myself wondering how do I help others more...I'm still trying to figure that out. "To whom much is given, much is required"