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Thursday, November 3, 2011

A clean slate

It has happened to me so many times. I pray my salat while preoccupied with other matters. I am not just distracted, I am actually absent, missing from my own prayer rug, from the reality of the present. It is one of the tricks of our mind to stick to a matter beyond its urgency, to analyze and compare, when we should lay it to rest. I wish there was a way for me to clean the slate of my brain and my heart before standing before Allah in prayer.

When I thought about it, cleaning the slate meant surrender. To give up my control over a problem, a debate, a situation and to submit. I read about this analogy somewhere and it inspired me. Just as little kids come to their parents and hand them their little treasures: a candy, toy car, shiny stone etc., and trust the parent to keep it safe, so too can we trust our issues, big and small, to Allah. As we stand to pray we can take a deep breathe and let go of our control over matters. We can out put burdens down, relax our weary shoulders and surrender ourselves to Allah with a clean heart and mind so we can truly receive the help we need and see the solutions that might be staring us in the face.

I was moved by the simple reminder a second-grade teacher had posted for herself in a classroom:
Breathe, breathe, breathe.

We cannot control or solve it all. Often we cannot control or solve anything. But there is Someone who can. Hand it over.

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