The Brain is Wider Than the Sky

I’m sitting at my workspace and my mind is racing. Niqabinja puts it best when she says, “My mind is so full but it’s empty.” There are ideas floating past and I’m trying as best as I can to keep up and grasp them before they are lost in the voracious void of what is the most remarkable creation on Earth. 

As usual, that grounded, I-know-what-I’m-doing-now feeling doesn’t last for even a month. I’m back at the drawing board and the list just keeps getting longer yet I don’t have a road map yet. I need razor sharp focus and a killer cup of coffee. As with any new project idea, this one has me up at night and then bright eyed and bushy tailed very early in the morning. This is when I know that it’s the way to go: when I don’t have to make an effort to keep it going. I grab my pen and a journal and make a mindmap but none of it is making sense. Bittersweet. 

Back and forth with Niqabinja as we throw ideas at each other, and we’re finally scratching out the rejects. Almost there almost there almost there… 

Surah Yunus in the background. A random choice meant to maximize my focus and catch a reminder or two as the storm rages on and maybe even end up with a productive revision session if nothing else. Typing away, backspace, backspace, scratch, erase, no no no and then it finally hits me hard and FULL STOP. 

قُلْ مَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَمَّن يَمْلِكُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَمَن يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَيُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَمَن يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ ۚ فَسَيَقُولُونَ اللَّهُ ۚ فَقُلْ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ

Say, “Who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? Or who controls hearing and sight and who brings the living out of the dead and brings the dead out of the living and who arranges [every] matter?” They will say, ” Allah ,” so say, “Then will you not fear Him?”

That’s what these ideas are. They’re alive. Floating, exploding, bouncing, doubling, tripling, inspiring, driving me to do things I would never have imagined for myself. Dozing off and then waking me as I find myself in the middle of a traffic jam. Dozing off and then waking me as I find myself scrubbing and scraping. Dozing off and then waking me as I reiterate the correct answers. Dozing off and then waking me as I stare at the walls in the endless corridors the way to which I have memorized.

They’re like bubbles of hope, bubbles that don’t pop, they simply rest on a fallen leaf until the next wind blows them up and away. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Just because you can’t touch it or feel it doesn’t mean that it’s not alive. The abstractness and intangibility is what makes you do the things you do.

Its the invisible pulls that tug at your heartstrings. What do you do when you don’t feel the tug anymore? What do you do when your soul has trained itself to ignore the tug? Do you even notice that it’s gone? Do you miss it? You have a head full of it, did you use it for what it was created? Its apparently the size of your fist, do you know what it can do for you? Seemingly its very alive. But is it really?

وَمَا تَكُونُ فِي شَأْنٍ وَمَا تَتْلُو مِنْهُ مِن قُرْآنٍ وَلَا تَعْمَلُونَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ إِلَّا كُنَّا عَلَيْكُمْ شُهُودًا إِذْ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَن رَّبِّكَ مِن مِّثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي السَّمَاءِ وَلَا أَصْغَرَ مِن ذَٰلِكَ وَلَا أَكْبَرَ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

And, [O Muhammad], you are not [engaged] in any matter or recite any of the Qur’an and you [people] do not do any deed except that We are a witness over you when you are involved in it. And not absent from your Lord is any [part] of an atom’s weight within the earth or within the heaven or [anything] smaller than that or greater, but that it is in a clear book. 

Two sides of the same coin. Did you die before you died?

-Umm Saifullah 



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